Cherry Steeple Clock

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Project by TomFran posted 06-22-2007 01:01 AM 2330 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I used a modified plan which I purchased from Emperor Clock Company to build this clock. It took me quite a while to complete the project because it challenged my abililty at the time. I actually put it away for at least a year at which time I plunged back into it and completed it.

I later gave it to my mother. While she had it, it kept stopping (because it was not being lubricated on a timely basis like these movements require), so she took it to a local “clock repair shop” who removed the solid brass West German movement and installed a AA battery movement. He told my Mom, that he couldn’t fix it. Oh well – that’s life.

Anyway, I’m glad I finally finished it…

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

21 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


15872 posts in 3006 days

#1 posted 06-22-2007 03:36 AM

Very elegant, Tom. Unless you’re a real purist, battery movements are the way to go.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View oscorner's profile


4564 posts in 3098 days

#2 posted 06-22-2007 04:08 AM

Nice Romanesque clock. Very pretty wood grain on the side, too.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2782 days

#3 posted 06-22-2007 04:25 AM


I wish they would have had them when I first built the clock – it would have been a lot cheaper! And, I agree with you that today, with how reliable these quartz movements are, it is definitely the way to go. But, I seems like there’s just something “more sophisticated” about an all brass movement from West Germany… ;^D

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View cajunpen's profile


14443 posts in 2853 days

#4 posted 06-22-2007 08:34 AM

Excellent job Tom – did the repairman return the brass movement?

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2948 days

#5 posted 06-22-2007 10:51 AM

you think maybe he really liked the brass movement from West Germany and well… did the old switcheroonie??

Beautiful clock.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2782 days

#6 posted 06-22-2007 02:09 PM

Bill & Debbie,

That’s the part that makes me wonder – he did not give the old movement back to my mom. : (

The movement also “gonged” on the hour and half hour. In today’s money, it would probably cost around $200.

The good news is that the new movement works and has a pendulum that swings, and that most folks wouldn’t even realize any of these finer details!

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2948 days

#7 posted 06-22-2007 04:49 PM

and such is life … things happen and we hopefully learn from them.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 2824 days

#8 posted 06-22-2007 05:05 PM

That’s really nice. Clocks are on that long and ever growing list of things that I want to make. So many projects, so little time. I can live vicariously through woodworkers like you, Tom. Thanks!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View rudedog552's profile


47 posts in 2798 days

#9 posted 06-22-2007 11:33 PM

Great job! how did you finish it?

-- Randy - Live by the spirit...Galatians 5:16

View Karson's profile


34925 posts in 3188 days

#10 posted 06-22-2007 11:37 PM

I’ve made a few clocks using sawmill slabs, that still have the bark on them. They are a cheap and easy way to make them.

But nothing is quite like a handmade clock.

Sorry about the rip-off on your mother. But she is happy. Satasfaction is #1.

Great Job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2782 days

#11 posted 07-07-2007 03:48 AM

I finished it with 3 coats of varnish and then rubbed it out with pumice to get a nice even sheen. I also applied a “splatter” finish to give it an antique look. The splatter is with a thinned jet black paint that is applied by flicking the brush at the project. The final coat is then applied over that.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 2964 days

#12 posted 07-07-2007 10:51 AM

This is real nice, Tom.

From the front view it looks like the clock has two columns. But from the side it’s apparent that the columns run into the sides without a break. I’m curious as to how you made this. Can you tell us more?

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2782 days

#13 posted 07-07-2007 05:06 PM

Don, perhaps this picture will help to explain how the sides and columns are constructed.

Clock Image 1

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2782 days

#14 posted 07-07-2007 05:11 PM

Here is another view from a different angle. The front columns are, of course, wider than the 3/4” stock of the sides. You can see, in both pictures, the gong that is left over from the West German movement that used to be in this clock.

Clock 2

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2782 days

#15 posted 08-31-2007 12:48 AM

”I’m curious as to how you made this. Can you tell us more?” - Don


I was looking at your comment today, and realized that I didn’t really tell you more about how I made my clock. So here is a little more commentary on this project.

First of all, I made this clock when I had a large shop and all top notch machines, along with a full size European cabinet maker’s workbench made of solid beech. I also had a wood lathe, which enabled me to turn the top finials. I ended up selling ALL of my equipment and went off the Bible college to study for the pastoral ministry. Iif you look at my project page on this site, you’ll see that I have a turned lamp with a Tiffany shade, an oak lapdesk, and a night stand. All of those projects were made, when I had all my machines and a nice spacious shop (about 5 times bigger that the one I have now). It was located in my basement when I lived in Pennsylvania. I also had an abundant supply of local hardwood (like the cherry I made this out of).

On this clock, I did deviate from the plans that I had somewhat. The plans did not include the feet on the bottom of the clock.The finials were a little different, and the molding on the base was not on the original plan.

To join the members of the front clock door, I used spine joints, which worked well (photos below).

The back door is resawed cherry that I “bookmatched” as you can see from the the third photo on the top of this page.

The glass with the ship painted on it , clock face, and door pull, came with the plans and the German movement that I ordered at the time (Emperor Clock Company).

The project was really was way over my head, and it challenged me, because everything had to be so precise. Building clocks is not like building a deck. If you’re off by more than a 64th, you may as well throw the piece out.

While we were raising my children and providing for their Christian education, I didn’t do a lot of woodwork, because I was busy working a lot of overtime. Now that they have all grown up and moved away, I have some time to get back into woodwork and some money to buy some tools again. Maybe I’ll get back into this level of woodworking again (not that this is so amazing, but it is more difficult than say, my Pelican lamp).

Spline at middle of door.

Spline at door bottom.

Mortise for bullet catch.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

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