Ryan Schoek of Supplied West produces leathercrafts and metalworks out of his small workshop in Utah, USA. Having a fascination with the art of key carrying and a strict philosophy in material sourcing, Ryan first began studying and refining the simple but elegant Japanese key-hook around 10 years ago. Through his Supplied West brand, Ryan offers a variety of handmade key-hook designs which complement the leather goods produced in the same workshop.
Today we’ll have a look at a very cool variation of the Japanese key hook – the copper key hook!
The key hook came carefully parceled with a complimentary cotton carry bag. What we have here is a heavy duty, solid copper Japanese-style key hook, otherwise known as a fish hook key holder or a coiled key hook.
The most common version of the Japanese key hook is made of brass, and in East Asia it would often feature leather tassels and glass beads, Native American style. This type of key hook was previously introduced on the blog in the Angelos Leather brass key hook review which featured some years ago.
Supplied West’s take on the key hook, whilst similar in overall appearance, was shaped to accommodate thicker gauge metals, and is full-sized in order to facilitate storage of the keys in the back-pocket if desired.
The hook, the coil and the jump ring are hand-made by Ryan out of pure copper, whilst the split ring is solid brass and made in Japan.
Ryan sources the copper used on this key hook from the American state of Georgia. If a brass version is desired, Ryan utilises brass from the state of Ohio.
I chose the copper version, instead of the standard brass, for two reasons. First is my opinion that copper is a better companion to natural vegetable tanned leathers and indigo denim, as copper ages in a more compatible way with leather and indigo. Second is that a solid copper key hook is very rare, and can surely be considered a house-style for Supplied West – I do not know of another person or workshop making copper hooks.
The flat split ring is from Japan and is made of solid brass. It is a much heavier and thicker than most split rings I’ve come across…heavy duty indeed! The brass will likely patina at a much slower rate compared with the copper.
The thickness of the split ring is 2.9 mm, whilst the width of the brass is a monstrous 3.6 mm! Probably the nicest brass split ring I’ve come across.
The process begins as Ryan cuts a piece of copper to length and then hand-shapes the smaller, lower loop. Ryan then hand-coils a thinner length of copper to seal off this lower loop and create a window for the jump ring that is to be attached.
The larger, upper loop is created after the copper is once again heated and hand-shaped. The copper jump ring is similar worked out of a slightly thinner length of copper into a sturdy donut, forming the link between the hook and the brass split ring.
Finally, the entire hook is tumbled and hand-sanded to create a matte finish that is very smooth to touch, with the intention of encouraging patina development (copper & brass oxidation).
I could find no flaws or rough edges in this hook, its entirety being streamlined and carefully crafted.
Considering materials and hand-work, coiled key hooks don’t get any better than the ones made by Ryan at Supplied West. I say this after having seen many Japanese brass hooks and using a high quality one from Angelos for a couple of years.
In terms of coiled designs, this is as heavy duty as it gets. Another point of difference is the tumbling and hand sanding finishes, which you won’t find on other commercially available key hooks.
If you look closely at the photos in this review, you’ll see that initially I had another split ring attached to the brass one that was built in…this is because some of my keys and torches couldn’t be threaded through the brass split ring due to its thickness. In the end, I decided to minimise my key ring to just my house key, as you can see below 😛
Ryan recommends tucking your keys into the backpocket, and this key hook is certainly designed to facilitate this method of carriage easily. However, given that I carry a coin pouch in addition to my wallet in the back pockets, I’ll have to let my key hang loose for the time being.
At $45 USD, this key hook is a little more expensive than the basic brass key hooks which usually retail at $30 USD. However, the premium in cost, I feel, is entirely justified by the pure American copper and top-of-the-range Japanese split ring, as well as the detailed and meticulous metal work by a one-man workshop.
This is a key hook which complements leathers and denims very nicely, and the minimalist aesthetics allows it to be used as an EDC without looking unprofessional in a work or office environment. Overall, high recommended!
Ryan also offers the same coiled design in other metals (brass, brass+copper, gunmetal, etc) and has additional hook designs available, such as the signature Hangman hook. To see more, check out the Supplied West website!