|Project by notajoiner||posted 09-29-2014 08:23 AM||1189 views||2 times favorited||3 comments|
After many moons of drooling over other people’s G&G clock builds, I decided to attempt my own. My secondary goal was to build this mostly with materials and supplies from my ample stash of garage clutter. (We’ll see how well that went.)
From the lumber pile I picked out a piece of well-seasoned if well-checked and well-bowed 4/4 lyptus. The nicest piece of heartwood I set aside for the top. I took the straightest sections and glued up some thick stock for the sides. The resulting grain and color match wasn’t so great so I routed an extra 1/2” groove in front, with the intention of adding an inlay band. Eventually I decided that the inlay would look too art deco-ish and just left the groove.
Lyptus is a pain to work with in its rough form, so keep a sharp clean utility knife around to dig splinters out of your palms :) Once surfaced it is surprisingly well-behaved. It cuts, planes, sands, routs, glues, screws, etc. quite nicely with a bit of care.
The magazine plans didn’t include dimensions for the clock face, assuming the reader will buy a component set including dial, movement, and decorative inset tile. Looking back I’d have to say that the component kit would’ve saved me a bunch of time and money. If you insist on doing things the hard way (me me me) I recommend the Seiko thin quartz pendulum movement available from a major clock kit supplier. I chose a set of 2 1/8” spade hands to go with a dial printed on card stock, attached to a hardboard backer with spray adhesive. (Off-topic rant: It is darn near impossible to find good quality card stock in a B&M store these days!)
Due to frequent workshop mishaps I used polycarbonate (Lexan) instead of glass. Despite what you may read online, no special blade is needed to cut thin polycarbonate—I had good results with a regular 50T carbide combination blade set low, with the workpiece securely clamped in an Eagle Lake-style crosscut sled. (This I discovered after a bad experience with a dangerously awful blade recommended by a Borg employee.)
I opted for a hammered copper inset tile—perhaps “dented” is a better description for this encounter between crafts-store sheet copper and the ball peen from the toolbox :) I cut the accents from 1/4” padauk and attached with Titebond III and 23ga pins using a simple MDF jig on the sides. The top I attached with #8 screws and 3/8 cherry face plugs. (The cherry absorbed way more stain than the lyptus but ended up looking pretty nice anyway.)
After sanding down to 220 grit I applied one coat of Minwax Colonial Maple then ragged on 2-3 coats of Zinsser Sealcoat and one thin coat of paste wax. I was pleased to see the shellac pop the nice grain of the lyptus—I don’t know if “chatoyance” is the right word but it certainly sounds impressive when pronounced with an exaggerated French accent.
I’d like to acknowledge some dear friends that got me through this project: the Eagle Lake-style shop-built crosscut sled and tenon jig (used to cut the slots in the top); the Shark trim/flush cut saw; the cabinet scraper (nice for that difficult end grain); and various hold-downs and featherboards (better their fingers than mine). Oh, and the aforementioned blue 50T combination blade.
-- Embrace imperfection.