I am up to the nerve wracking part of this build. I need to put some dados into the sides of the clock, but since both the sides and front/back are angled, the dados need to be angled. I’ve been thinking about how to do this since I started this project. Use a stack dado set and the table saw? Yeah, that would work, but I don’t think the cut will be as precise as I need it to be and the cut would register on the front edge of one side and the back edge of the other side. That seems like a mistake waiting to happen.
I think I am going to go the router path. Here’s what I decided, first, I wanted to locate the top and bottom shelves from the rails on the front. I just lined it all up and made a mark.
I had kept the back of both sides straight so that I could reference off of it to this mark. That let me scribe a line across the side at the proposed top of the shelf. Then, with Father’s Day coming up, I requested a new tool. I figured a trim router would be better for this job. Plus Fine Woodworking had just published a review of trim routers. Lucky me, I got a DeWalt 661 trim router package for Father’s Day. So I made a little jig that shows right where the bit will cut, nothing hard, just a fence glued to a piece of plywood that I then routed away the excess leaving me what the bit will leave. Let’s make those dados!
This was the most nerve wracking thing, I had put a ton of work into getting these sides to look good and I did not want any screw ups at this stage. So guess what happened? When I was routing the grooves that will hold the clock’s mechanism, I had clamped my jig partially off the the side…it moved. Here’s what I did to fix that and a view of the dados.
If you look closely, you’ll see the left side has a groove that is wider than the others. I made a plug to go into that groove and rerouted, a little less deep. Plus the second dado down on the left has little “wander” where I didn’t hold to the jig well enough. It’s the underside of a shelf and I can’t think of how that can be fixed, so it’ll stay. If somebody sees it, I’ll yell at them “Get your head out of that clock!!”
I don’t need that square reference surface on the back of the sides anymore. Off to the bandsaw to cut that to its intended slant.
I cleaned those sides up while clamped together with my handplanes. Now they are both the same shape. After much thought, I realized that the easiest thing would be to set up a bevel square with the angle I needed the dados to be and chisel the bottom edge to that angle. Plus, I could then trim that as needed with a block plane to get each shelf married to its dado. Here we go.
That went great. I was a little surprised but pleased. I just worked my way through them, pausing every once in a while to look at them standing there. As you can see, they are not cut to width yet.
Then I wanted to remove the finish from my upcoming joint for the glue and create a rabbet for the side to register into. I used a skew block plane with the fence set the width of the side. The front and back got rabbets on their insides.
Now I actually need to glue this thing together. A drop of Titebond III in each shelf’s dado at the front, place the selves in, run hide glue down the rabbet (I didn’t have total confidence in the glue up being right so the reversibility of hide glue appealed to me and I wanted the quick tack that hide glue gives you) and place the side onto the front, clamp and wait. Here’s one side in the clamps.
No problems, my glue team came together for me. We glued the sides to the front, no problem. I wanted to add some corner blocks at the legs for extra strength. I used a chisel to peal away the finish, and glued some blocks in there.
Next, I layed the clock body onto the back and scribed a line where the rabbet needed adjusted. I increased the depth of the rabbet and made it to fit the width that the clock body now required. Once that fit well dry, I assembled my team and we glued. Hide glue on the rabbets with the body then lifted into place and apply clamps (FYI, got some new clamps out of this project, too). I had left the sides inset a bit so they could be trimmed flush. Who’s best for that job? I think it’s the block plane to start and the Low Angle #4 to finish. Here’s some plane pictures.
After that, it’s time to stand up and start looking like a clock.
Looks good, huh? Within 3 minutes of setting it upright for the first time, my daughter’s cat climbed onto one of the shelves and laid down like it was made for her. I’ve got BLO on the sides in these pics but will be putting shellac onto them tommorow. Once that’s all satisfactory, it’s onto the “guts” of the clock. It is now 10 weeks and 5 days until the wedding. I think I’ll lose 2 weeks of work on this project for vacation and the week of wedding prep. Still seems tight on whether it’ll be done. At least it’s upright. Thanks for following.
-- Every cloud has a silver lining