Clock Case rebuild

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Project by tom427cid posted 09-01-2011 06:21 AM 1310 views 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is sort of a short story of an English clock about 1820.After almost 200 years the nails had rotted in half and most of the glue blocks were only holding on one side. Problem: The clock would not stand up straight-it wanted to fall over. The area between the base and the waist was trying to act as a hinge. The base moulding(feet) was new, nailed on, and painted black.
First step,disassemble up to the waist.Engineer some way to prevent the hingeing action,reassemble as close to square and plumb as possible,and install new feet. I discovered that there was no continuity of square or plumb from the top to the bottom-the boys must have had a couple of pints to many! And the waist was 17 1/4 wide at the back of the base,but the front was 17 3/4 wide! This meant that I had to recut many joints. Not much room for error.Another small issue was that the back board had a twist about 1/2 inch top to bottom. This necessetated
more than a few trial fits before glue up. I did save the bottom board-probably shouldnt have but I wanted to save as much old color as possible. The final step was to install levelers in the feet that would help compensate for the odd stance. Everything now is between an 1/8 and 1/16” out.
Hope you enjoy,comments are always welcome.Thanks for looking.

-- "certified sawdust maker"

4 comments so far

View Woodwrecker's profile


4148 posts in 3572 days

#1 posted 09-01-2011 06:46 AM

Really nice work Tom.
I like that 6×6 clamping caul in picture 5.
The leveling feet was also a smart idea.
That old wood had to be pretty brittle.
Really enjoy seeing your work.
You have a great touch.

-- Eric, central Florida / Utor praemia operibus duris

View tom427cid's profile


294 posts in 2467 days

#2 posted 09-01-2011 07:13 AM

Hi Eric,
Actually it’s not so much a caul as it is the way that I establish the base line for the back. I use two-one at the top and one at the base.This way if I have to move the center section then I can jack it up or clamp it down. Then I use chalk lines between the two and I also use 2’ levels as winding sticks(3).
It takes a while to set it all up but it does tell me where there are problems-like twist and not being aligned from top to bottom. I have done three or four this way and I must say that this one was the most difficult. The last one that I did when all was done I had to add about .030” under one foot to have all four on the platform. The platform is a torsion box built of 3/4 birch veneer ply with leveling screws. Because in my shop NOTHING is level. Well, at least it stays dry-it’s a barn built about 1840.
Thanks for the comments

-- "certified sawdust maker"

View woodzy's profile


418 posts in 2675 days

#3 posted 09-01-2011 03:33 PM

If a picture is worth a thousand words then the picture of that glue up is a text book.

You’ve given this clock a lease on life. I hope in the next 1oo years when more of the original work has rotten away, someone will take the care you have to keep her ticking. Thanks for sharing your work.

-- Anthony

View Michael1's profile


403 posts in 2656 days

#4 posted 09-01-2011 05:00 PM

WOW nice work. A restoration like that I am sure is time consuming and nerve wracking. You definitely have a nice touch with such a delicate piece. Thanks for posting

-- Michael Mills, North Carolina,

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