• The Fastie Keyboard Silencer Pro+

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    HARDWARE By Will Fastie Getting a quiet keyboard is easier than you think, especially with my new product concept. I type a lot. That’s what editors d
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    • #2533896

      My spouse is ever seeking the proper placement of her top tier Filco Majestouch tenkeyless keyboard. There are several pieces currently giving aid and comfort to the proper keyboard angle, including an an IKEA book stand purchased for a couple of dollars at a local thrift store. However, proper cushioning and quiet are also essential qualities which are also sought. A recent “solution” was to use thin anti-skid matting found at local dollar stores. It worked well until one day I found the matting had reacted with the plastic on the bottom of the Filco keyboard and turned into a gooey mess. A razor blade scraper was required to clean it up. The quest, I am told, continues!

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    • #2533922

      My OptiPlex lives in the corner of the family Dining Room.  I use a Logitech K800 full sized keyboard and it is nice and quiet.  I am not a touch typist so that may contribute to the low noise level.

      At work, I used to have a dedicated keyboard tray that attached to the underside of the side table in my office.  That had two 1/4″ thick urethane foam pads on either end of the tray bottom.  They held up for 20+ years.

      For your home, you might invest in a piece of kaizen foam.  This foam is stiffer than the urethane foam in the keyboard tray.  Kaizen foam is used to make those custom cushioning/storage areas for tools and sensitive electronic equipment, in their storage containers.  You can buy it in sheets from 1/8″ to 2″ thick from various online and local sources.  It should stand up to the repetitive pounding better than a towel.  You can trim it to any shape that you desire with simple tools.  Depending how fancy you want to get with your customization, you may want to use a Dremel or Router to shape it to the exact shape that you desire.

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    • #2533932

      You might consider using an automotive sound/heat dampening material.

      Very high density sound absorbent material, easily cut, potentially adhesive should you wish to secure it to your desktop / bottom of keyboard.

      Negatives, between 70 and 80 mils thick.  Might be thicker than the other options you noted.

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    • #2533941

      EVA foam (https://www.amazon.com/EVA-Foam-Cosplay-Density-Foamory/dp/B08YXYJW7R?th=1) or polyurethane (4 mm, other thicknesses available) look like good options for quieting keyboard noise. (Polyurethane might become sticky without adding a layer of cloth stitched to the top. And possibly something on the bottom.)

      Some Reddit posts recommend packing material inside the keyboard to quiet it down.

      Mousepad foam is also available in greater thickness. X-Raypad is one example, available in a variety of sizes or  custom cut. But it is pricey.


      I bought a non-mechanical quiet membrane keyboard just for Zoom meetings. But my typing suffers considerably, as this keyboard does not have full-travel keys. Still, avoiding the “clicky-clacky” of my Redragon Surara with its OEMU Red switches is essential to successful meetings.

      Let us know what works best for you, Will.

      -- rc primak

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    • #2533942

      Noise is not a problem here, just me and the puppies most of the time.  I use a logi wireless board and the matching mouse.  This combo is solid as a brick.  I tend to pound when I get serious.  No problems there.  the keyboard is lighted, something I like in my little corner.


      This tool is pricy, MXKeys and MX Mouse are the flagships of Logi production.  They are worth a look.

      • #2534072

        I have the same setup. I love the MX Master mouse. The keyboard is solid but I have the same issue mentioned in the article of wearing off the letters on the home row of keys so I’m on my second keyboard and about half-way through wearing the letters off this one too. The other issue with the keyboard is that the battery is beginning to lose charge more quickly than when it was new and although it appears to have a battery compartment on the back, the battery is not there. It is inside the case and is not commonly available.

        I wish Logi would make this keyboard with injection molded keys. I wish ANYBODY would make a solid keyboard with injection molded keys.

    • #2533945

      I have long used a 1994 vintage IBM Model M 101-key clicky keyboard.  I have long been enamored of its tactile feedback and I do not mind the noise.  Neither does anybody else here, because my home office is relatively away from other parts of the house.  I have learned to live without the Windows key.

      I have dealt with the noise problem when I did the minutes as secretary for a group meeting via Zoom during the height of the pandemic.  So I shut off my audio except when I wanted to say something.  My other choice would be to use my laptop, but I can pound away at the keys a lot faster with the Model M than with any laptop keyboard, let alone the one on a 12″ laptop.

      To each his own.  Keyboard, that is.

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    • #2533946

      At times, I have had to use a Dell keyboard like the one in the photo. Really, it is a very good keyboard, but still no match for the model M.

    • #2533961

      I have long used a 1994 vintage IBM Model M 101-key clicky keyboard. I have long been enamored of its tactile feedback and I do not mind the noise.

      I concur. I have a 1984 Model M. It’s built like a tank and has given me no trouble at all for the 18 or 19 years I have owned it. Yes, it’s noisy, but I can type quite rapidly and accurately on it. My wife doesn’t mind. I think she likes knowing where I am and what I am doing. She is occasionally amazed at the machine-gun-like sounds emanating from my lair. If you want it, you will have to pry it out of my cold, dead fingers.

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    • #2533969

      Upon reading Will Fastie’s (informative and well-written) article on quieting a keyboard with a placemat, I immediately deployed a surplus (and unattractive) quilted cloth placemat beneath my keyboard, not so much to quiet keyboard strokes, as there is no one to be bothered by the noise but me, but rather to stop the annoying rattle of the keyboard interacting with the undermounted desk tray it rests upon. The solution worked perfectly. And now I fully anticipate being sued by Will in short order for appropriating his brilliant Fastie Keyboard Silencer Pro+ design without permission pursuant to Max Oppenheimer’s (also excellent and well-written) article on creating a derivative work from an (certainly by now copyrighted) original work of authorship fixed in a tangible medium.

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    • #2533981

      I believe that the absolutely best sound deadening material is open cell foam. You can get it as packing material in rolls if you need that much. You can get 1/8 ” thick sheets of  several feet wide. It is used extensively in the acoustic engineering industry to quiet entire rooms. It is also an excellent thermal insulator. You can cut it with scissors and or a knife.

      Cut a sheet of about 1/4″ or 1/8″ thick foam to fit under your keyboard. Open cell foam silences all audio frequencies because the cell sizes are random all over the sheet.  You can put up Japanese folding screens of open cell foam around your work area to quiet external noise and shield one work area from another. Use folding screens, shield the inside. leave the outside decorative like louvered or bamboo or cloth or kids art. They kill the echo which is 80 % of the obnoxious noise you hear.   Grab some scrap and experiment with it.
      I silenced a Teletype machine in an instrument cabinet by paneling the bay with foam and setting it on a 1/2″ thick foam sheet. All of it was scrap from the receiving area of my company.



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    • #2533993

      Interestingly, putting a cloth under the keyboard made almost no difference in my keyboard’s noise level. However, a quick test revealed that most of my keyboard’s noise comes from two things: a slight bit of play between hard plastic surfaces, and my fingertips actually hitting the keys after being slightly raised.

      At work, I use a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite, and have done so for the past 20+ years. Once I learned to type B’s with my left hand instead of my right, I found I loved it. Ever since, any time I have to use a flat, non-split keyboard, it feels like forcing my feet into shoes that are too small. But I digress …

      On this keyboard, the actual keypress noise is pretty minimal, but because of a slight bit of “play” between one or more parts of the all-plastic mechanism, any side-to-side movement of the keys also adds a much more “clacky” sound. You can also test this on your own keyboard by putting your hands in the home position and wiggling them left and right without pressing the keys down.

      My quick test also revealed that the tap of each fingertip onto any key also produced a slight but noticeable noise. If you’re a touch typist like me, most of your keypresses come after slightly raising the finger – something I’d never thought about before. In normal typing, several of these taps occur every second, so they produce a sound rather like drumming your fingertips on a tabletop – even if there were no mechanical play. So, when combined with the play, that’s where most of my noise comes from.

      Eight-second video demonstrating some of these things: https://youtu.be/TLGl617YnL8

      On occasion, such as when I’m on a phone call, I’ve been able to dramatically lower my typing noise by consciously keeping my fingers as close to the keys as possible and pressing them very softly, thus mostly eliminating both the side-to-side play and the percussive tapping noise. Unfortunately, this seems to cut my speed nearly in half.

      So, in the end, no real conclusions, but it was an interesting topic to consider. 🙂

    • #2534013

      I have the Logitech keyboard you criticized in your article. (Actually an earlier variant, a K270. The layout and mouse are identical however). My mouse has not failed in three years and I don’t have your problem accidentally swiping the wrong key. Personally, I think that preferring keyboards is a question of personal taste.

      – Jack

    • #2534035

      Now that Will has a good read on what makes a good keyboard place mat, I would note that spring cleaning & yard sale season is fast approaching. A little time spent checking out yard sales or local thrift stores could yield a near optimal result along with a stack of replacements for just a few dollars!

      4 users thanked author for this post.
    • #2534054

      A little time spent checking out yard sales or local thrift stores


    • #2534055

      I think that preferring keyboards is a question of personal taste.

      No question about it.

      Then again, in the ’80s I thought they’d have to pry my IBM PC keyboard from my cold, dead hands.

    • #2534056

      I highly value silence as I still have excellent hearing.  That is why I went with water cooling and large, low-rpm fans on my server case desktop years back.

      I also look for quiet keyboards.  I don’t understand the gaming people who opt for those newer mechanical keyboards where every keypress makes a noticeable click.

      Right now I am using some Dell keyboard that I picked up at Goodwill that is very quiet but has good key response.

      • #2535124

        The feedback is important for people who need instant control as in gaming or very fast typists. Another advantage of full-travel keys is that typing accuracy for most of us improves.

        -- rc primak

      • #2536887

        I don’t understand the gaming people who opt for those newer mechanical keyboards where every keypress makes a noticeable click.

        Movies?  it seems most movie keyboards clack like machine guns…

    • #2534063

      Not commenting on the noise issue … but key legends wearing-off keys: for years I’ve had that problem with laptop keyboards.  I ‘solve’ it by making single-character labels (from Dymo tapes – the modern ones, not the embossed ones) and stick them onto keys (which needs tweezers to get them accurately placed before the adhesive ‘takes’).  I then paint over them with clear nail varnish (and will redo that every so often too), mainly to try to prevent finger contact from loosening the edges of the labels.  Sometimes I’ve used white letters on a black tape so the new labels look vaguely like the real keys, and sometimes black on yellow to make it easier to see some keys in low light.

      After a while the new labels need to be replaced.  That needs a sharp knife (or the pointed end of a tiny screwdriver or nail scissors) to prise a corner of a label up.  I clean the remains of the label adhesive off the key with isopropyl alcohol (as used for cleaning tape heads on tape recorders etc), then make a new label and stick it on.

      I’m quite looking forward to having an illuminated keyboard on a new laptop, at some point.

      Regarding mouse lifetimes, there’s no doubt that manufacturing quality has dropped.  I suppose the makers realise that there’s no continuing market unless their products cease working and have to be replaced.  I spend a lot of time in bed, with a laptop on an overbed table, and use wireless optical mice running either on top of the duvet, or under the duvet, on top of the sheet.  Mice scamper off the bed onto the floor quite often and don’t always survive the fall, so I often have to buy new ones.  Reviews (on Amazon) indicate that many manufacturers’ mice are of falling quality, mostly in the microswitches which (in many makes) often end up sending double-clicks when you press them once, or not sending a click at all.

      Right now I’m trying my first “vertical” mouse, which (as I sit with my hand at hip level under the duvet) works better for me than a conventional mouse regarding wrist angle, and I’ve noticed that the mouse’s peculiar shape seems to make it more inclined to roll (like a paratrooper arriving at the ground) when it hits the floor then topples onto its side.  So far it’s lasting quite well.


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    • #2534064

      Hi Will, thank you for your thoughtful and fun discussion of your stable of keyboards (and mice).

      I have been a long-time fan of old IBM PC keyboards. I have none left. I am currently typing on an HP model KU0316, which is OK. It is not silent, but I find the sound level to be comforting. I would love to have a better keyboard, but I’m sure that is a vanishing species of hardware. I have used Dells, and they are OK, but nothing comes close to the IBM. I no longer have one of those, sadly.

      I searched the web, and found this link:


      These are in the US $200-300 price range mostly, apparently they are re-manufactured. Do you have any experience with rebuilt keyboards? I am intrigued. I will probably continue with my aging HP keyboards.

      I spilled espresso on one of these. I quickly flipped it upside down and shook repeatedly; then I disassembled the unit. I found the unit was a bit dirty (cleaned it up), but then in reassembling it I did something to the right control key, which now sticks. Sigh. I still use it, and have trained myself to use only the left control key when using that keyboard. Certified nut here.

      Keep up these great articles. Love it!

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      • #2534268

        Do you have any experience with rebuilt keyboards?

        Only in the sense that I’ve taken many keyboards apart to clean or adjust them.

        In a general sense, I tend to trust refurbished products because they are individually tested before being sold. Manufactured products are statistically tested – some small percentage is taken off the production line and tested. But this is primarily meant to assure that the machines building the products are working properly. This assures that only a very tiny percentage make it to the market in a defective condition, a percentage the manufacturer is willing to tolerate (the cost of which is built into the selling price).

        But a refurbished product must work as advertised before it is sold. And, of course, some refurbs are done by the manufacturer – those that don’t make it off the production line are rebuilt as necessary, then sold on a secondary market, clearly marked as refurbished.

        At the moment, all my camera equipment is refurbished. It all continues to work perfectly.

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    • #2534114

      One of the ways I’ve “quieted” a keyboard is to use the rubber perforated shelf liner sold at places like Target (see https://www.target.com/p/con-tact-brand-excel-grip-non-adhesive-shelf-liner-alloy-gray-12-39-39-x10-39/-/A-52047673). It is about 1/8 inch thick and can be cut to size as needed. The roll is typically 20 inches by 10 feet for about $6.50. The key thing is it is perforated which increases sound absorption. It is often used for lining the drawers of tool boxes.

    • #2534409

      … as there is no one to be bothered by the noise but me …

      I close the door to my home office when working, so I don’t really bother anyone else. But the noise bothers me. I’m the one who wants it quiet.

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    • #2534470

      … but key legends wearing-off keys …

      In the ’70s, the terminal I had on my desk had double-shot keys, so the legends would never wear off.

      I’d like to find a keyboard with Cherry MX Silent Red (or Black) RGB key switches and with double-shot keycaps.

    • #2534574

      … but key legends wearing-off keys …

      In the ’70s, the terminal I had on my desk had double-shot keys, so the legends would never wear off.

      I’d like to find a keyboard with Cherry MX Silent Red (or Black) RGB key switches and with double-shot keycaps.

      Any number of higher end manufacturers make keyboards with Cherry MX Silent Red switches and double shot key caps. Filco (Diatec) is one such manufacturer. I have several of their keyboards. There are others out there. Expect to pay a premium for such keyboards.

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      • #2534647

        My Corsair K68 keyboard uses the Cherry Red switches of which you speak. I am not sure what exactly is meant by a double-shot keycap, but the K68 is a backlighted model, and the key legends can’t be painted on with those. The back of the keycap is clear plastic, but the top is black… I suppose that is probably what is meant by “double shot,” in that the molding was done in two stages. Not only that, but the keycaps are easily removable, with Cherry type keycaps being available individually.

        I like the K68 a lot, save for one thing: It has a permanently-attached cord, as with all the other corded keyboards I have owned. That might be okay if the manufacturer would be willing to sell a replacement cord when my old one wore out, but when I called Corsair about this a few years ago, they told me the part was not available.

        Now that I know that keyboards with detachable, fully standard cables are a thing, as on Cherry’s own line of keyboards, I would not settle for less.

        Dell XPS 13/9310, i5-1135G7/16GB, KDE Neon
        XPG Xenia 15, i7-9750H/16GB & GTX1660ti, KDE Neon

        • #2535129

          Typically, the main housing of the keycap is one piece, while the cap’s legend is separate. This double shot method ensures that the legends never fade over time since they are separate pieces of molded plastic.

          As you use the keyboard and your fingers constantly rub against the surface, it is only a matter of time before they chip off. Double shot keycaps will stay sharp, consistent, and never rub off.


          So it dowes make a difference. And double-shot keycaps are sold separately, so with effort, a good mechanical keyboard’s keys can be replaced with better, longer-lasting keycaps.

          Backlit keys also can wear out over time, resulting in illegible characters.

          -- rc primak

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    • #2534531

      Go with a Apple MAC with its absolutely quiet and wonderful Magic Keyboard.  After nearly 40 years with Microsoft, Dell and Windows accessories I switched to a MAC and I am not going back!

    • #2534787

      Ha! I have been using the exact same Dell L100 keyboard and Microsoft USB Optical Mouse for about 15 years also. The noise has never bothered me enough to do anything about it. Now that you’ve brought my attention to it, I do notice the keyboard is a bit noisy. Thanks for the article. It reminded me how much I like this keyboard and mouse so I bought a spare for both just in case they fail. Thanks again!

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    • #2534950

      Will, my wife has a dozen large cats & 6 macaws, so there’s seldom a time when there’s no background noise. But I agree that the clacking noise of keys isn’t pleasant. Being a retired engineer who owned my computer consulting company for 34 years, I’ve used hundreds of keyboards, & the ones with scissor-switch keys were always the quietest.

      I bought, & returned, 11 different keyboards (Thanks, Amazon Prime!), & it was #12 that finally hit the bullseye! Not only was it quiet, the keys were incredibly comfortable, & although it’s wired, the Kolude KD-K1 keyboard was well worth it! Although it doesn’t appear to be available, right now, you can check it out at https://www.amazon.com/Keyboard-Docking-Station-Full-Size-Aluminum/dp/B099QW56MT has solved more than just the noise problem.

      Right now, I have it connected to four (4) 16 TB external drives, my phone charger, & a FHD monitor that shows a 3D rendering process. It works with my Android phone, & a Mac, if I owned one. It has my vote for the best keyboard on the market!


    • #2535017

      my wife has a dozen large cats & 6 macaws

      You must love your wife very much.

      Kolude KD-K1 keyboard

      I think I’d have a lot of trouble with that one due to the placement of the cursor keys. I’ve been able to tolerate that sort of arrangement for laptops, but only for short periods. Even when I was a road warrior I traveled with a dock and asked my clients if I could borrow a “real” keyboard. But I can see how the built-in USB hub could be helpful.

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    • #2535208
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    • #2535465

      UPDATE: I had forgotten that I have quite a bit of cotton flannel on hand from long ago projects, so I cut a piece to double the size I needed and folded it. Very effective, and no fuzz yet. At $9 per yard, it’s less expensive than the towels I bought at Walmart.

      We’ll see if it holds up.

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    • #2535831

      I loved the tactile feel of the original IBM 5150.  Plus it had the function keys on the left, where God intended them to be, so you could do <CTRL> and <ALT> + Function key combinations with one hand!

      The only keyboard I ever found that rivaled the feel of the IBM keyboards was the Northgate OmniKey series of keyboards.  I worked in the IT department for Monterey County for 29 years, and when the OmniKeys came out, we started recommending them all over.  Unfortunately, in the Transcription section of the Admin Department, they didn’t work, because those typists were pounding on those keyboards at the frightening rate of about 160WPM and the OmniKey just wasn’t up to the task.

      I’ve been through several keyboards since then at home, and I’m currently using an old Lenovo keyboard.  It’s a wired USB keyboard, noise level is low, and the feel is pretty good.

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    • #2536757

      Very much enjoyed this article.  The noise of clacky keyboards doesn’t bother me as much as all the key markings rubbing off.  I finally had to give up on my Dell Keyboard (no idea how old – but old, cause I am) because all the most common letters were gone and my various solutions using tape, ink and the like were annoying or did not work well.

      So I went to my garage stuff cupboard and dug out a cheap Verbatim board which definitely clicks and clacks and is also wired.  But the fun part is it is super easy to type on.  Keys strike quickly.  I whiz along and all the keys strike the same so I don’t miss and make any weird typos.  Also, I don’t have to move my hands much at all out of position to go chugging along.

      I have a more expensive wireless Logitec board sitting at a less used computer that is super frustrating because the “t” constantly doesn’t strike in fast typing.  A few other letters do the same.  And at another computer, I have a cool-looking hp board that is very flat and also annoying to type on – but that is a “looks pretty” and is a “not so good” All-in-one system.

      Since I am a quilter I shall now try out your new invention but I suspect this little Verbatim will still clack and it really doesn’t bother me and takes up little space even though full size.  I learned to type in 8th grade on an old manual and loved all my typewriters over the years.  Maybe that is why I don’t mind the noise and like the feel of this little $12 critter.

      I put that old Dell in the garage cupboard.  Maybe I will figure out a good way to put the letters on the keys and still keep the finger feel ok.



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    • #2536761

      I shall now try out your new invention

      Let us know how that goes. My flannel solution is working very well, although it is not quite as quiet as the towels. But there is no fuzz!

    • #2536764

      Plus it had the function keys on the left, where God intended them to be, …

      I think the positioning of the function keys on the left was an intentional “accident,” which God (that is, IBM) corrected later. I have no solid evidence to back this up, but I think an attempt was being made to assure that the IBM PC could not be confused with IBM’s other mainstream terminals, most notably the IBM 3270. Remember, to mainframe types, the IBM PC looked like just another terminal.

      You may recall that IBM issued a variant of the IBM PC XT called the 3270 PC. That model had the left function keys but also a big array of keys along the top of a rather massive keyboard. Then came the IBM PC AT a year later, which is when the function keys moved to the top – IBM finally threw in the towel. That’s the general arrangement that has lasted for nearly four decades now.

    • #2536884

      I’m a fan of the late Microsoft Ergo 4000 keyboard and I’ve tossed a lot of them because the key cap legends wore off, just as your Dell L100 keyboards. Before I tossed my current ones, and because I do not like the Ergo 4000’s replacement, I went on an Amazon quest. To my delight, I found two kinds of replacement key stickers. These fit the keys perfectly and stay put when applied (so do so carefully!). Now to find out how long the Ergo 4000 will actually last!

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0725MXJ3T/, Universal English Keyboard Stickers, $5.95  (This has two sheets of stickers)

      https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NBTMQAL, [2 Pack] Universal English Keyboard Stickers, $8.89

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    • #2536892

      replacement key stickers

      How did you prepare the keys before applying the stickers?


      Honestly, I don’t think I did anything, but I probably should have wiped them with an alcohol pad.  I did get one sticker a bit off-center and played he.. getting it off.  Thus the note about applying carefully!  I did not try to reuse that sticker.


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    • #2537011

      Maybe a bit of preemptive maintenance: Coat the key with nail polish before it gets dirty and the character wears.


      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #2537016

      nail polish

      That’s an interesting thought. I wonder how it would affect the feel of the keys.

      I’ve used clear nail polish for other types of repairs (e.g., eyeglass frames) with great success.

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