I love the look and feel of handcrafted wood objects–a guitar, a speaker, a cutting board are all pretty typical, but a keyboard made of wood? I’m not sure I could get used to that. However, the Oree Board 2 may make me drop that plastic keyboard like a chunk of wood, err… you know what I mean.
The board itself is beautiful, crafted from a single piece of either maple or walnut, sourced from family-owned forests located in the eastern area of France. Le Point published this making of video a few years ago that looks at the lengthy process of making each one of the boards.
The Board 2 is manufactured by CNC machining both the case and keys, which is then belt-sanded to smooth the rough edges and then further hand-sanded for a smooth finish. The keys are engraved with your preferred typeface and can even be custom engraved. Once sanded, food-grade varnish is applied for protection and to bring out the wood’s natural grain.
The keyboard connects wirelessly to your Windows PC, Mac or tablet via a Bluetooth 3.0 (Broadcom BCM20730) connection with a pair of AAA batteries required to power the plank. While Oree doesn’t state what exactly is under the hood, my guess is it uses the same scissor-type key buttons found on some traditional keyboards; better than standard membrane keys, but may not appeal to some.
Oree also offers a pair of accessories to compliment the Board. A wooden Trackpad is available, which functions the same as any touch-based interface, but can also be used as a Numpad, switching between the two modes with a simple hand gesture. A hand leather carrying case is also available, and doubles as a tablet stand, perfect for those of you who prefer to be more mobile.
Surprisingly, the cost isn’t that much of a shock. At $129 you get a custom keyboard that, while smaller than a traditional keyboard, stands out. Sure, you could get a wireless, plastic keyboard with all the extra function keys. Don’t get me wrong, Oree uses scissor switches to maintain a low profile, making the board that much more compact and they are vastly superior to membrane switches regarding responsiveness and lifespan, but they could have made mechanical switches an option at that price-point.
They do offer a “Romance Edition” of the Board 2 as well that comes with the custom engraved initials of your significant other as well as a custom engraved poem on the back, which ups the price to $250 (just in time for Valentine’s Day). For those who would like more information on the Oree keyboard or to purchase, it’s available on their website.