Piano Box - Willow Burl

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Project by Matt Snyder posted 02-15-2020 11:08 AM 814 views 2 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife is a pianist so I decided to make her a piano box for Valentine’s Day. I again used the willow burl I salvaged from a stump the city cut, down the street from my house. The whole thing is carved/routed from a single solid piece of wood. The piano keys are made from moose antler and the black keys are black walnut.

I started by drawing the outline of a piano to scale on a piece of hardboard which I then cut out with a jigsaw and attached to a piece of the burl wood with superglue. I used a 1/4” router bit to hollow out the edges and a 1/2” bit to hog out the rest to around 1 1/2” deep.

To form the legs I used the bandsaw where practical and a coping saw where not to remove the bulk of the wood.

Next I took it to the router table to clean it up. Once I got the legs close to where I wanted them I used a belt sander and sanding block to do the final shaping.

To felt the inside I masked everything off and applied spray adhesive to both the box and the felt and pressed them together.

The keys are made from a piece I cut from a large chunk of moose antler. I marked an arbitrary spacing on the combination square and used it to score the antler at regular intervals with an exacto knife. For the black keys I used some scrap black walnut and a chisel to get a general size, then used tweezers and a sander to get the final shaping.

After sanding down to 1000 grit with 2” rotary discs I used Danish Oil to make the complex grain in the wood really pop. I feel it turned out really well and the wife loves it. Another treasure made from an ugly piece of salvaged wood. Thanks for checking it out and reading my story!

-- - I learn more from my failures than my successes.

7 comments so far

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

499 posts in 3215 days

#1 posted 02-15-2020 02:24 PM

very cute box and some really nice burl.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View PaulDoug's profile


2394 posts in 2584 days

#2 posted 02-15-2020 03:23 PM

Nice work! Beautiful wood.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View therealSteveN's profile


6436 posts in 1455 days

#3 posted 02-15-2020 03:26 PM

That burl is awesome. Putting it together as a piano was neat. Thanks for the pics of the journey.

I imagine the Wife liked it?

-- Think safe, be safe

View jeffswildwood's profile


4634 posts in 2858 days

#4 posted 02-15-2020 11:38 PM

Very nice job, the burl wood is beautiful. I bet your wife did love it!

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View Matt Snyder's profile

Matt Snyder

29 posts in 634 days

#5 posted 02-16-2020 02:18 AM

Wife did indeed love the piano box. Thanks for the comments.

-- - I learn more from my failures than my successes.

View swirt's profile


5564 posts in 3853 days

#6 posted 02-16-2020 03:00 AM

Cute, and impressive.

-- Galootish log blog,

View Goed's profile


12 posts in 458 days

#7 posted 02-17-2020 03:50 PM

Excellent use of a salvaged piece of figured Willow wood. Very impressive. Thanks for sharing the steps in building it.

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