Wooden Replacement Enter key for Kinesis Keyboard

I broke the “enter” key on my Kinesis keyboard yesterday. I didn’t have any super glue to fix the original key, but did have some scrap wood, basic woodworking tools, a Dremel, sandpaper, some polyurethane, and some time. I think this outcome was much more satisfying anyway.

I used a manual miter saw to cut the basic shape then used the Dremel and hand sandings to shape it further.

I cut the cross-shaped mounting carvings shown here using a Dremel carving bit that was about the width of the plastic cross pieces that had to slip into the wood, maybe a little bit smaller. I eyed it up (out of impatience, not skill mind you) with the key I was replacing sitting on the workbench for reference.

The wood around the mounting cross (the bit that has to slip down into the key mechanism) was then shaped using a sanding bit at 10k rpm, not pressing down with much force.

Underside of unshapen key, showing mounting carvings:

Underside of unshapen key, showing mounting carvings

At first I was going to keep it rectangular-ish, but found the edge of my thumb being irritated since I’d nudge the edge of the key going between space and enter. Here’s the initial shape:

Original shape of the enter key

Hand sanded it down to have a slanted shape that would allow for faster transfer of the thumb from enter to space. Used a superfine painter’s sander for the finishing sanding.

Sanded shape, top view

Side view of slanted shape:

Sanded shape, side view

Test setting to ensure comfortable thumb clearance:

Test setting to ensure comfortable thumb clearance

A thoroughly polyurethaned key:

Polyurethaned key top view

Took about a day for it to dry. Here’s the finished product:

Top view of the set and finished key <div class="clearfix clear"> </div>

Key grouping <div class="clearfix clear"> </div>

View of the whole board with the set and finished key <div class="clearfix clear"> </div>

After a day of using it, I’m pretty happy with it; the setup of the enter and space keys on the Kinesis always slightly irritated my thumb since I’d graze the edge of the concave enter key on the way to the space key. I’m excited to have a convex key in that spot.

Something I don’t like is that the finished product isn’t silky, silky smooth. Not sure if there’s a way to solve that, but being one who unknowingly pounds the fuck out of keyboards I think I’ll have plenty more opportunities for practice.