Norman Mackay is a musician, composer and furniture maker based in Edinburgh. Woodeye Furniture is his furniture making business. He brings together his love of music and woodworking in some of his pieces like the accordian coffee table.
The Woodeye Piano is one of Norman’s most recent woodworking projects. He designed and rebuilt an upright piano in his signature chunky style using Scottish Elm.
Norman got in touch to ask if I could engrave two of the piano panels with different versions of the Woodeye logo. Both would be visible when the piano was played and would act as his maker’s mark.
He wanted the plain logo to be on the underside of the keyboard cover (see below) and the more intricate logo on the panel at the top of the piano that could be open when played.
As both pieces of wood were within 1330mm long, the length of my laser’s cutting bed, I knew I could help as long as the pieces were engraved prior to installation!
Engraving a piano
Norman sent me photos of the logos drawn on pieces of paper and taped to the wood. The keyboard lid was more complicated as he’d attached the front lip (see above). I was worried that the laser head would collide with it during engraving as it has to be 10mm from the surface of the material, but he wanted it on the opposite edge so I knew it would work.
Then, he arranged to come to the workshop with the wood sections. First, I scaled the logos to the size he wanted. After we marked the wood with pencil to show the panel centres, I aligned the laser head with them to position the logos accurately.
I engraved each logo twice to get extra depth and darkness to the engravings. This worked really well with the chunky elm and its distinctive grain.
The Woodeye Piano in action
Norman took a few months to assemble and finish the piano. It felt like a very long wait as I was so excited to see how it would look!
This video shows Phil Alexander playing ‘The Inventor’ composed by Norman on the finished Woodeye Piano. The piece is on his latest album, The Inventor, launched at The Caves in Edinburgh where the piano was onstage and played by Phil.