31 Day Wall Clock

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Project by rilanda posted 07-18-2012 05:00 PM 1665 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a clock I made for my daughters mother-in-law about six years ago, to my knowledge it is still keeping good time today. It is a chiming clock, chiming on each quarter hour, counting the hours each hour. It is made from American White Oak and stained. This lady is also the owner of the writing bureau and a number of other items I have made, they are currently in her home at a coastal resort on the east coast of England. the four pictures show 1- The finished clock, 2- Making the cornice, The end rails were so short they were made in a multiple length, tenoned, rebated and molded before separating into the individual pieces, 4- Fitting the clock movement.

The clock movement was purchased from The Yorkshire Clock Company along with the pendulum, dial, hands, & gong. The fixing brackets are supplied attached to the clock however these were carefully removed and transferred from a front face fixing to the back of the clock movement to allow the movement to be fixed to the back of the case. I then constructed a temporary housing for the clock movement to determine the relationship of movement to dial and movement to the gong. From this information, I then went on to design the case you see in these photographs. The clock case is made in American White Oak with a MDF back and a 6 mm MDF dial panel. The dial panel is veneered both sides and finished the same as the clock case. The back is painted satin black on the inside of the case; the sides and door are both glazed with 2 mm clear glass; the clock is stained to a medium Oak colour and finished with one coat cellulose sander sealer, followed with two coats melamine lacquer and finally wax.
Cut and prepare all materials to the cutting list then start the manufacture by marking out the stiles and rails for both the door and the end panels; these frames are the same height as each other, therefore the stiles although different in width can be marked out together. Mark-out the mortises with a 6 mm set back to allow for the rebate in the rails; a haunch is also required to each mortise based on the 1/3rd haunch 2/3rd tenon rule. The mortise is central in the stiles thickness and is mortised to a depth of 26 mm in the end frames and 32 mm in the door; the haunches should be produced at 10 mm deep, this will provide a haunch of 4 mm deep after rebating has been carried out. The end frames are rebated 12 mm x 6 mm deep and the moulding is a simple bevel with a quirk of 1 mm on the outside of the frame and 2 mm flat left to the glass; this allows the tenons to be square shouldered with masons mitres to the moulding. The rails for the end panels are very short, these would be extremely dangerous to tenon, mould, & rebate if they were to be cut off to finished length so it is advisable to leave them in a longer length (minimum 300 mm) and complete all work to these rails while they remain in the long length. This presents difficulties particularly with the tenoning but this can be overcome if the tenons are produced using a router with a tenoning jig, the tenons are central in the rails thickness; for the end frames, they are square shoulders with the moulding being mason mitred at their intersections. Once again, these can be difficult if the rails are cut-off to finished length, much easier to produce these mitres while the rails are still in multiple lengths. The stiles and bottom rail for the door are rebated 12 mm x 6 mm the same as for the end frames, however the mould applied to the door components is a stopped chamfer. This chamfer is stopped 20 mm from the intersection of rail and stile and was produced using Wealdon cutter Nr. T916B. The top rail for the door is shaped; the radius of the arched shape reflecting the radius of the clock dial; as this was only one item, the rail was marked out, cut out on the band saw, and finally cleaned up on a bobbin sander. The top rail is grooved 4 mm wide by 6 mm deep the face of this groove to line up with the rebate in the stiles. The front face of the top rail is stop chamfered as the stiles and bottom rails with the chamfer terminating 20 mm from the junction with the stile. The top and bottom rails for the door have a centrally placed long and short shoulder tenon with the short shoulder being on the face side of the door; shoulder offset is 6 mm. With this work complete it is now possible to assemble these frames but remember to clean up all the inside edges and mouldings before assembly. Assemble the frames with a good quality P.V.A. adhesive ensuring the frames are square and flat. When the adhesive has cured, the end frames can be rebated on the back edge to receive the back panel (cutting list item number 7); this rebate is on the inside face of the rear edge of the frames and it is 12 mm x 6 mm deep. Bear in mind this rebate hands the frames so remember to make a pair. Remove the horns from the end frames and clean up the ends checking that both frames are the same height. Carry out a preliminary clean up to the inside face of the end frames to make sure the shoulder intersections are level. Then mark-out and plough the groove required at each end on the inside face of the end frames, these are to receive the tongues on the top & bottom (cutting list item number 6). These grooves are 6 mm x 6 mm deep and stop 15 mm from the front edge of the end frames. Now cut the top & bottom of to finished length rebate the ends to form tongues to fit the grooved end frames. Trim back the tongues from the front edges then fit into the end frames, assemble and check the carcase dimensionally and for square. Break down the dry assembly; clean up the inside faces of all components; then re-assemble the carcase with adhesive; set aside for the adhesive to cure. Fit the back in the case aiming for a good fit; drill & countersink for Nr. 4 wood screws, trim to length the top & bottom clock mounts (cutting list item number 8) and screw & glue in position to the back; use Nr. 6 woodscrews, fixing through the back. Position the gong on the back and fix into place using M5 nuts & bolts with the nuts on the inside. Determine the gongs position by installing the clock movement first, this must be set centrally, and the movement must be perpendicular. The gong is positioned central on the case back with just a little clearance between the hammer and the gong. The gongs position relative to the hammer can be adjusted with a little judicious tweaking to the gong with a pair of pliers. Remove the movement from the back and remove the gong from its holder, leaving the holder attached to the back. Remove the back from the clock case, apply a coat of clear MDF primer, and allow drying. When dry, apply two coats of satin black paint to the inside face of the back, allow drying between coats. Make and mitre the glazing beads into place, the 15 bevels applied to these beads was applied by passing the beads through the thickness planer on a jig. The dial panel mounts (cutting list item numbers 9 & 10) are fixed into position with pins and glue 13 mm back from the face of the clock case and mitred together in the top corners; ensure that the panel mounts attached to the clock case side do not extend below the dial panel itself. Veneer the dial panel both sides and fit into the case aiming for a good interference fit. Now cut the shape to the bottom edge of the dial panel and clean up, but do not re-fit to the cabinet.
Clean up the outside faces of the case and pay particular attention to the top and bottom surfaces. These must be true and flat, they receive the base (cutting list item number 12) and the cornice base (cutting list item numbers 18, 19, & 20); no gaps should be apparent at these intersections. The outer faces of the end frames should be cleaned up to a good finish, finishing with 240 grit papers. The project is to be dyed to a medium oak finish therefore it is imperative that no cross sanding should be allowed as this will only be highlighted by the wood dye. Preparing these surfaces for finishing at this time is important; some areas will be difficult to clean up effectively once the base and cornice have been fitted. The base (cutting list item number 12) is cut to finished size and the mould applied using a router table. The router cutters used to produce the moulding was Trend Cutter Nr. C150 panel raising cutter with an 8 mm shank this was set to cut to a depth of 26 mm and 7.5 mm high; this cut should be made in several passes to avoid the risk of overloading the router or cutter breakage. To avoid any burning cutters must be sharp, reduce the routers rotational speed, and keep a steady constant feed speed through the cutter, avoiding any dwelling. When this moulding is complete, apply the next mould to the edge to complete the moulding; for this mould, I used a Wealdon cutter Nr. T708B; this is a 6 mm cove fitted with a bearing, and avoid burning by applying the same procedure as before. I always find that to leave a little less than 1 mm for the final cut would produce a tool finish particularly across end grain that requires very little cleaning up afterwards to produce a finish suitable for both staining and polishing. Remember several passes removing a little at a time is better for the router, better for the cutter and better for the finished piece of timber. On small pieces of timber it is also safer to make several passes to avoid large cuts, however on a point of safety remember all guards must be in position and operational, this is especially important when small items are being worked. The base is fixed to the clock case with four 6 mm dowels these are set 18 mm into the base and 12 mm into the case bottom. Drill the positions in the base and carefully transfer the centres to the case carcass, clean up the contact face of the base; some of this face would be seen, then glue into position and carefully clamp until the adhesive has set.
The cornice is a composite structure consisting of several components; the first part of the cornice is the base (cutting list item numbers 18, 19 & 20). To avoid end grain appearing on the cornice returns I chose to make this from MDF lipped on three edges; however part of this MDF will be seen on the finished clock so it is necessary to veneer this item. Veneer is applied to both sides to keep the MDF balanced before a 6 mm x 6 mm groove is applied centrally in two short and one long edge. The edges should be left in one length; rebated both sides to leave a tongue that fits the groove. Now cut off to length and mitre the joints; apply adhesive to the tongues and make sure to cover the mitres (this avoids the end grain of the mitres absorbing the stain thereby leaving a darkened area at the mitre). Place aside for the adhesive to cure and continue to make the next section of the cornice (cutting list item numbers 21 – 26) these form the mid section of the cornice. The front and returns for this section (cutting list item numbers 21 & 22) are left in one length and the moulding is produced using Tornado Crown Moulding Bit Nr. TR237 obtainable from Rutlands. The back face of these components are grooved to receive the fixing block at the bottom and grooved for the top at the top. Both grooves are 6 mm wide x 6 mm deep and are 6 mm back from the edge. The fixing blocks (cutting list item numbers 24 & 25) are rebated on two sides to leave a 6 mm tongue to fit the groove in the previous item. The top (cutting list item number 26) is rebated on three edges (one face only) to leave a 6 mm tongue. Now produce the top section (cutting list item numbers 27 & 28) once again these should be left in one piece for safety reasons; they are moulded using the Trend C150 panel raising cutter set to project 20 mm x 7 mm deep . Now return to the cornice base and remove the clamps , flush the edges down level with the veneer face and carry out a preliminary clean up of the surfaces. Now apply the moulding to the 3 edges; the cutter used for this work was a Wealdon 10 mm cove T712B, make several passes to ease the cut. Start the assembly work of the cornice by cutting the component of roughly to length leaving a little on the length for final trimming back when mitred. Glue the fixing blocks (cutting list item numbers 24 & 25) into the appropriate groove of the correct fronts (cutting list item numbers 21 & 22) cramp into position and set aside for the glue to cure. Once the glue has set then proceed to produce the mitres, these I cut roughly on the band saw and then finish the mitre on the disc sander. The disc sander must be accurately set up with the face of the disc set at 90 to the table and I prefer to use a timber fence that will guarantee a 90 angle from two 45 mitres. Drill & countersink the top face of the fixing block for Nr. 6 screws. Now carefully assemble the mitres using adhesive; the adhesive I chose to use was a slow cure (20 – 30 seconds) cyanoacrylate adhesive. I used this with a zapper that reduced its time to approximately 10 seconds. With the mitres assembled ensure the bottom face of this assembly is flat and them fit the back block, this simply cuts between the inside face of the returns and over the fixing blocks, it is screwed & glued into position through the fixing blocks. Clean up all of the seen surfaces of this composite finishing with 240 grit paper, then screw and lightly glue to the top face of the cornice base having cleaned up this item before. Apply a little adhesive to the tongues and insert the top into its grooves. Clean up the seen surfaces of the top section (cutting list item numbers 27 & 28) and mitre to length before drilling and countersinking from the top face for Nr. 6 woodscrews. Fix these to the top of the cornice with screws and a little glue; make sure some adhesive is applied to the surface of the mitres to prevent absorption of the wood dye into the end grain and to keep the mitres together. A final clean up of the completed cornice is needed before fixing it to the clock case to ensure any adhesive is removed particularly from the areas of the mitres. The cornice section is then attached to the clock case with four screws; these screws are inserted through the top (cutting list item number 6) and screwed up into the cornice base, a small amount of glue was also used to provide a strong joint. Now trim the horns from the door, fit to the door opening and clean up; the hinges are a pair of face fixed brass butterfly hinges that are applied to the outside face of the door. The door catch is a small brass cabin hook fixed with a countersunk screw to the clock end; the retaining screw is a small brass round head screw. Now remove the door and all of its fittings and take the door and the dimensions for the side panels to the glass merchants to have the 2 mm clear glass cut; most glass merchants will do this while you wait.
The clock was dyed to a medium oak colour; the dye used was Colron medium oak wood dye that is a solvent base dye and will not raise the grain. However, my own preference before any timber staining is to dampen the timber surfaces to raise the grain. This is allowed to dry and the timber surfaces lightly sanded with the grain using a 240 grit paper to prepare the timber for the stain. Carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the tin and apply the wood dye accordingly to all of the clock and the loose components , leave these to dry for at least 24 hours then wipe over the surfaces with a clean lint free cloth to remove any dust etcetera from the timbers face. The clock then received a brushed coat of cellulose sander sealer; this was allowed to dry thoroughly before being cut back lightly with a 320 grit silicone carbide paper. Remove all of the dust this process produces before applying a brushed coat of melamine lacquer; this is treated in exactly the same manner as the previous coat before a second coat of melamine lacquer was applied. Once this second coat of lacquer is dry, the clock case is then finished with Liberon black bison wax colour medium oak applied with a fine webbax pad. Glaze the ends having first made sure the glass is clean; the beads are fixed into position with very fine 10 mm panel pins, the beads being predrilled to avoid bending the pins . Now glaze and fit the beads to the door; use the same methods and care as used for the ends. Fit the dial panel into the clock case; this is simply fixed using very fine 10 mm pins that are punched slightly below the surface of the panel and filled with matching wax filler. With the dial panel fitted refit the door to the clock case and check the operation. The clock movement is now carefully refitted to the inside face of the clock case back; this is then fitted into the clock case and screwed into position . Set the clock case up so that it sits upright in both directions then fit the pendulum and start the clock movement going. Listen carefully to the clock ticking, which should be even, if the ticking is uneven then adjustment may be necessary to the clock mountings or to the clock movement itself. Fit the clock dial to the panel taking care to position it to centre above the hands spindle and the key entry positions line up with the key positions. Make sure that the 12 o clock position is vertical immediately above the 6 o clock position and screw through the positions provided with 6 mm long Nr. 2 brass round head wood screws. The hands can be now carefully attached to the clock spindle making sure they are in the right position to match with the clock chimes. Wind up the clock fully and leave in a perpendicular position for a number of days to check the clock for accuracy. If adjustment is required then adjust the mechanism using the small threaded screw at the bottom of the pendulum; shorten the pendulum to make the clock gain and vice-versa. Once satisfied that the clock is keeping good time then hang into position using a 2 slotted glass plates fixed to the top of the clock back and hang from a suitable round head screws fixed into a wall. The clock needs to hang perfectly vertical for the movement to operate correctly.

-- Bill, Nottingham. Remember its not waiting for the storm to end, but learning to dance in the rain that counts. If you dont make mistakes, you make nothing at all.

6 comments so far

View RKaste's profile


144 posts in 2297 days

#1 posted 07-18-2012 05:21 PM

Very nice. Thanks for the information might just to make one thanks

-- --May you have fair winds and following seas--

View Tom Godfrey's profile

Tom Godfrey

488 posts in 2317 days

#2 posted 07-18-2012 05:30 PM

you amaze me not only with your projects but being able to give all the details for anyone else to try their hand at making the same project. I for one don’t think I can ever stand in your shoes. Because of you I want to do better. You along with a lot others have set the goal high for us beginners.
I accept the challenge to improve.

-- Tom Godfrey Landrum South Carolina (

View Stephen Fox's profile

Stephen Fox

110 posts in 3535 days

#3 posted 07-18-2012 05:39 PM

Sometimes when I look at a project it is not obvious how much work goes into it. Your narrative reminds me of all the time, skill and dedication not only you but most LJ’s put into these things. Looks like I need to get busy.

-- Stephen NYS

View Ethan Harris's profile

Ethan Harris

300 posts in 2286 days

#4 posted 07-18-2012 05:59 PM

Awesome clock piece.

-- Ethan, CT: Check out my Small Business at & also follow me on twitter

View bobman58's profile


300 posts in 3124 days

#5 posted 07-18-2012 07:29 PM

a beautiful clock i like it a lot

-- robert dignam

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2330 days

#6 posted 07-18-2012 08:34 PM

A handsome clock !

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

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