Simple Oak Barrel Stave Key Holder Rack

Oak barrels are widely known for their use in the production of wine and whiskey. These barrels are made from high-quality oak wood, which makes them a popular choice for upcycling projects. One such project is turning an oak barrel stave into a rustic key holder rack. In this article, we will guide you through the steps involved in upcycling an oak barrel stave and attaching hooks to create a rustic key holder rack.

Step 1: Acquire an Oak Barrel Stave

The first step in this project is to acquire an oak barrel stave. You can purchase these staves from online retailers, home decor stores, or even your local distillery. If you’re lucky, you might find one at a flea market or garage sale. Make sure that the stave is in good condition and free from any cracks or splits. I ended up buying a batch of staves off of eBay for my projects.

Step 2: Clean and Sand the Stave

Once you have the oak barrel stave, the next step is to clean and sand it. Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt or debris from the stave. Then, use sandpaper to sand the stave. Start with a coarse grit sandpaper to remove any rough spots or imperfections on the surface of the stave. Then, move on to a finer grit sandpaper to smooth out the surface of the stave. You can sand it by hand or use a power sander. I used by DeWalt Cordless Orbital Sander.

Step 3: Measure and Mark the Stave

The next step is to measure and mark the stave where you want to attach the hooks. Use a ruler to measure the length of the stave and mark the center point. I ordered this 58 Piece Black Small Key Hook set off Amazon for mine. Then, measure and mark the distance from the center point to each end of the stave. This will help you determine where to place the hooks evenly.

Step 4: Finish the Stave

The final step is to finish the stave. You can use a clear coat or stain to enhance the natural beauty of the oak wood. Apply the finish to the stave using a brush or rag, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the finish to dry completely before hanging the key holder rack.

Step 5: Attach the Hooks

Now it’s time to attach the hooks to the stave. You can purchase hooks from any hardware store or online retailer. Make sure that the hooks are the appropriate size for the stave. Place the hooks on the stave at the marked points and use a pencil to mark where you want to drill the holes for the screws.

Once you have marked the spots for the holes, use a drill to make the holes in the stave. Then, attach the hooks to the stave using screws. Make sure that the hooks are securely attached to the stave and that they are evenly spaced.

Step 6: Hang the Key Holder Rack

To hang the key holder rack, you can use picture hangers or keyhole hangers. I simply drilled screws into the stave. Screws could be countersunk and wood plugs used if desired. If you are using picture hangers, attach them to the back of the stave using screws. If you are using keyhole hangers, use a router or a chisel to make the keyholes in the back of the stave. Then, insert the hangers into the keyholes.


In conclusion, upcycling an oak barrel stave into a rustic key holder rack is a fun and easy project that can add a touch of rustic charm to any home decor. With just a few simple steps, you can turn an old oak barrel stave into a beautiful and functional key holder rack. So, go ahead and give it a try!