LumberJocks

Etched Copper Mantle Clock

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Project by splintergroup posted 05-18-2015 02:47 PM 1037 views 7 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is number three in this ‘class’ of clocks I’ve been making lately, the first one can be seen in my previous projects page.

First the general information:
Overall the clock is 10”x10”, give or take. The clock guts are a KlockKit quartz movement. I like these movements because they are accurate, inexpensive, and small. A removable rear panel allows access for battery replacement and time setting. The dial is behind a glass pane, which also can be easily removed if needed.

The clock body is made from Walnut, the finish is blonde shellac.

The dial face is copper with etched inlaid numbers and a Celtic knot pattern.

My two previous clocks used segmented wood dials with copper rod used for the hour marks. The construction details for the Walnut dial face show how that gets made. This time I decided I wanted more copper. To me, copper and dark woods just go great together for some reason.

The face began life as a blank FR4 printed circuit board with 4 oz. copper on a single side. I’ve made plenty of printed circuit boards as a kid and I thought this would be the perfect way to get my copper fix.

The nice thing about using printed circuit techniques is you can get any pattern with any level of detail etched into copper (and other metals). For this clock face I used an Arts & Crafts font for the numbers and arranged them on a circle. The Celtic knot was an after thought, used more as a way to fill the design void on the dial but I really liked how it came out.

Anyhoo, a picture of this dial design was printed onto transparency film which was then used to create a photographic mask for the printed circuit board. After some UV light, chemistry, etchant, and sacrifices to the Tree Gods, I had exactly what I wanted. The etching removed all the copper down to the fiberglass backer. Normally this would be good enough, but the fiberglass had an ugly green/brown color and I wanted black. The solution was to fill the etched recesses with black enamel and then sand the entire surface to clear up the spill over. Basically I replaced the layer of copper with a layer of black enamel.

The last thing to do was to make the copper look old. There are 100’s of recipes for copper patina, but I went with the old standby of salt and vinegar.
The final produce had a nice crusty blue-green variegation, but my wife grimaced when I showed it to her so I toned it down a tad (I’ll sneak in a nice crusty face in some future project).

Some spray satin poly to seal it all up, assemble the case, instant clock!

Thanks for looking!

5/21/2015
I added several macro shots of the copper face





12 comments so far

View bosum3919's profile

bosum3919

338 posts in 1083 days


#1 posted 05-18-2015 03:56 PM

This is a really attractive clock. Thanks for the detailed instructions.

-- Bob

View Northwest29's profile

Northwest29

1497 posts in 1954 days


#2 posted 05-18-2015 05:42 PM

Very unusual design that come together nicely with the clock face and the coloration of the woods. Well done.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View rustynails's profile

rustynails

663 posts in 1993 days


#3 posted 05-19-2015 02:08 AM

Great use of Copper and Walnut …..

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

4028 posts in 1815 days


#4 posted 05-19-2015 02:32 PM

I really like this design and thanks for the tips on how to make the copper face. Nice work.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View abie's profile

abie

818 posts in 3235 days


#5 posted 05-19-2015 03:01 PM

Beautiful….!!!

Now how about a tutorial on making the celtic knot pattern?

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

828 posts in 686 days


#6 posted 05-19-2015 03:24 PM

Thanks for the feedback guys!


Beautiful….!!!

Now how about a tutorial on making the celtic knot pattern?

- abie

I’ve thought about detailing the making of the dial since it opens up a huge avenue for design elements.
The knot itself is clipart, with some touchups in potential problem areas (usually a border between bands that is a touch to narrow).

In general, the photographic PC Board method works with any black/white line art. That art can either be a freehand sketch, a software drawing, or my favorite, manipulation with photo editing software. The end game is to have the drawing purely black/white, no grey. This is then printed onto overhead transparency film. I used a laser printer but I have read that an ink jet is actually a bit better.

It is true that one could just spray paint the design on a sheet of copper using a stencil or apply it free hand, but having it etched into the surface is so much better. Making a stencil is actually more work than the photographic process, and you have to deal with ‘islands’, those bits like the center of the number ‘zero’ that would fall away unless connection bars are left in the design. Freehand painting is perfectly fine if you have an artistic hand (which I don’t).
Etching lets me create exactly what I want, make it any color I want, and still leave the copper available for a patina or any other treatment where the chemicals used might not play nice with a design painted onto the copper surface.

View Mean_Dean's profile

Mean_Dean

5052 posts in 2611 days


#7 posted 05-19-2015 11:41 PM

That is a great looking clock—I love that copper clock dial!

-- Dean

View Dark_Lightning's profile

Dark_Lightning

2633 posts in 2573 days


#8 posted 05-20-2015 02:22 AM

This is really neat! I do coppersmithing and woodworking, and like to combine them as well…in spite of not posting them on my projects page, I have a considerable amount. I’m not clear on the Celtic knot part. It appears as though the loop at the 6 o’clock mark is offset. Is this an artifact of camera offset? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining- my camera skills (actually, the lack thereof) are why I have only posted a couple of things.

-- Random Orbital Nailer

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

828 posts in 686 days


#9 posted 05-20-2015 02:34 PM


This is really neat! I do coppersmithing and woodworking, and like to combine them as well…in spite of not posting them on my projects page, I have a considerable amount. I m not clear on the Celtic knot part. It appears as though the loop at the 6 o clock mark is offset. Is this an artifact of camera offset? Don t get me wrong, I m not complaining- my camera skills (actually, the lack thereof) are why I have only posted a couple of things.

- Dark_Lightning

Most of what you see is a combination of camera offset and the illusion of the hour hand being slightly rotated (It is 10 past 6 after all 8^)

I will admit there is a slight (1/8”) offset (side to side) between the center of the face and the center of the clock shaft due to issues aligning the numbers around the circle.

I’ll see if I can get some detailed closeups into the photos.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

23172 posts in 2330 days


#10 posted 05-20-2015 03:49 PM

This is a beautiful design and you did a fine job on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles
http://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Tomoose's profile

Tomoose

410 posts in 2837 days


#11 posted 05-20-2015 08:35 PM

super cool – I really like the look of the face.

Thanks,
Tom

-- “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso

View TMH's profile

TMH

40 posts in 2124 days


#12 posted 10-28-2015 11:58 PM

Absolutely beautiful. Great work!!

Tom

-- Theo's Grandpa Woodworking

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