I have made a copule of tuning keys recently.
The first one is a normal T shaped key in bog oak, with gilded bands. The gold against the black of the bog oak looks really lush. This one has a brass prong, which goes nicely with the gold. I have yet to try a gilded key with a steel prong – I am not sure how well it would work visually. Though you could make a grumpy argument that a harp with steel pins is not high-spec enough to deserve a gilded key I suppose!
The second key is an experiment, something a bit different. I had an offcut of bog oak that was too pointed at one end for a normal T shaped key handle, so I had the idea of doing a long key, with the socket in the end. I have been aware for a while of the tuning key from Sigtuna, which dates from around 1200 and is labelled by its runic inscription as belonging to a harp, so I think there can be little doubt that it really is a tuning key (unlike many of the objects labelled as such in museums and commentaries!)
The new key is not a replica of the Sigtuna key, though having at last sourced good photos of the original I may try that at some point. It is more of an artistic statement, a piece of wearable jewelry that also is a functional key.
I say functional – I have not been able to try it out! It has a 4.8mm socket, to fit the standard pedal harp sized pins, but I don’t have a harp here that it will fit! I will try it tomorrow on one of the rental harps in Dundee when I am in for my class.
If you want more info on my keys, check them out at the Emporium.