Grand Piano Pens

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Project by kenn posted 12-16-2008 11:16 PM 2107 views 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My youngest daughter has been playing piano for about 10 years. The piano is right above my shop so I often get to enjoy her practicing while I’m woodworking. When I saw these piano pen inlay kits, I knew I had to give them a try. I made one for her and one for her piano teacher and one for the scrap pile.

We don’t often post our screwups on lumberjocks, but I thought I’d share my expensive lessons learned photo. That third picture was my first attempt. I lost a black key during turning but was able to mostly recreate it with CA glue and wood chips. Unfortunately the CA glue led to the black bleeding throughout the holly. Then I had a white key pop out while turning. Ultimately I put finish on it just to see what it would look like and regrouped.

To successful turn these, my advice is lay open the holly inlay like a book, coat all areas where the keys mate with thick CA, carefully but quickly place the holly in the rosewood, coat the tube with glue and insert it, hold the whole gluey mess together with gloved hands until its dry. Then I flowed thin CA glue everywhere I could, turn at a little slower speed- I used about 800 rpm, use freshly sharpened tools, take small cuts, take your time, use a scraper to clean up the finished pen- I used a sharp skew, then skip to the finest sandpaper you feel you can use- I went to 400 grit to start then went up through the micro mesh to 12000.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

11 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4393 days

#1 posted 12-16-2008 11:43 PM

DOes the keys go all the way through to the other side. Or are they only visable on one side?

Nice looking.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 3877 days

#2 posted 12-16-2008 11:52 PM

Wow kenn, you really had the time with the pens. Glad you finally got the better of them. I didn’t seem to have the problems you had, the insert pens can be a challenge. I’ve been afraid to try the ‘puzzle’ pen. I’ll let you go first. :)


View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3713 days

#3 posted 12-17-2008 01:28 AM

Karson, the keys are only visible on one side. I bought mine here The kit comes with a square piece that you drill and make the pen body. You also get a predrilled, round piece that has been laser cut for the holly inlay which is also laser cut. they are fun, a bit of a challenge, and quite amazing to look at. Thanks for the interest.

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View RichardB's profile


70 posts in 3482 days

#4 posted 12-17-2008 04:26 AM

Ooooh! I like these!!

For whatever reason, I’m just not into pens, but these are totally cool!

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3760 days

#5 posted 12-17-2008 03:53 PM

Great looking pens, Ken. Thanks for sharing.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View dustygirl's profile


862 posts in 3721 days

#6 posted 12-17-2008 06:12 PM

What great gifts.That should make them very happy.

-- Dustygirl..Hastings,Ontario.. How much wood can 1 gal chuck if 1 gal can't cut wood?

View rayzir's profile


15 posts in 3544 days

#7 posted 12-20-2008 08:30 PM

Those are sooo cool. I’d like to try my hand at turning pens. Nicely done!

-- Travis (

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3867 days

#8 posted 12-20-2008 08:49 PM

Wow, expensive mistake, very nice recovery.

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 3824 days

#9 posted 02-24-2009 07:43 PM

This project popped up on the front page today…

I’ve always wanted to try some of these great inlay kits – the puzzle one is very neat, and the flag, and the piano… I like ‘em all! But I’ve been scared of destroying one. Thanks for messing one up for us, it was nice of you to do that as an investment in educating us other jocks. I’ll definitely use your tips when I try my hand at one of these.

The finished pens look fantastic, I’m sure the recipients were very pleased.

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View borlak's profile


9 posts in 3141 days

#10 posted 10-13-2009 10:21 PM

very creative :)

View a1Jim's profile


117085 posts in 3570 days

#11 posted 10-14-2009 03:35 AM

cool pens

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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