Ah summer. I love summer and I have been very busy with work, gardening and the local Farmer’s market. The nice thing about summer too is that most of the time I can do all my sanding and cutting outside and not worry about cleaning up the shop as much.
I was asked to make a clock for a friend who recently moved from our area to another province. He didn’t give me much direction as to what he wanted other than it was to go over the bar. Oh so many possibilities! I asked him to send me a picture of the space he was thinking of, which he did but until you see the whole surrounding area it was hard for me to imagine what to come up with. All I had was a large wall, a window and what looked like a counter top shelf. No other pictures of the room or area.
As I had given myself plenty of time, I set out to building the clock first and the design could wait. Sometimes once your “pallet”, has some structure, be it a color washed canvas or wood you have put together, as you are going along the design will come to you. At least most of the time for me it does.
I decided that since it was a fairly large wall area I would make a large clock. I picked out my pallet wood, cut off split and damaged ends and then sanded it with 60 grit both sides. I then dry fit my pieces on my work bench, measured, decided on center, marked and where my back pieces should go. I turned over my wood and clamped the pieces with large furniture clamps tight together and clamped it to my table. Once that was complete I measured my four back brace pieces and cut to length. I then glued and screwed them to my boards.
I let that sit overnight and then the next day I marked my circle to cut with chalk on the front face of the clock. It was a rainy day so I had to move indoors. Oh well. Marking a circle on a large piece was not as easy as I thought it was going to be. I nailed the center of my clock tied a string around the nail and the chalk. I measure my string, to make a 36″ diameter, circled around my boards being careful not to tip my chalk either which way and keep the sting taught. Well sting has a tendency to stretch and I didn’t meet my circle properly. OK let’s try this again. I took out my measuring tape and kept it around hooked to the nail and carefully using string and measuring tape went around the circle. Same thing. Deep breath and hubby to the rescue!
To make an accurate circle we used wood. Drilled a hole in the end 18 inches from center just big enough to hold a pencil. I used a colored pencil and then screwed the other end of the piece of wood to the center of the clock. Around I went and made a perfect circle. Now time to cut out my circle. I used a jig saw and slowly and carefully went around. After which I then cleaned both side of my clock with a bit of dish detergent and peroxide. Once dry I used a well watered down red stain I had sitting around.
I was now ready to start designing. I had so many things going through my head and found myself second guessing what I was going to put on there. I ended up going with my original idea and it started to come together very nicely. I use Roman numerals and bar coaster for the numbers. I went to one of our local lounges and asked if I could buy some of the card coasters they use when serving drinks. I got them for free.
At this point it is a good idea when you are making a clock to put your mechanism in place. It helps with proper placement of numbers if you are free designing a clock. As this is a large clock the hands are quite long and need a high torque mechanism to handle the balance and weight of the hands. The long hands are counter balanced with weights for accuracy. I cut out the center the size of the mechanism as the wood was too thick for the shaft length. This was easy to do as I had already drilled the hole for the shaft so all I needed to do was put it through and trace around it. To cut out the shape of the mechanism I drilled four holes in each corner of my trace and then carefully cut to each hole with the jig saw. I still needed to trim off a bit for a nice fit which I easily did with a wood rasp. Now the mechanism fit very nicely in place. Of course you could see the mechanism on the clock face. I had already decided to hide it with a decorative piece which I hadn’t decided on yet. Otherwise the other option was to router out the back to the proper depth leaving enough clearance on the clock face for the hands. You can accomplish it either way.
Now that my mechanism was in place I sized my Roman numerals and transferred them on the wood and hand painted. I was now ready to place his family name and fun saying around the center. I used PowerPoint and saved to PDF and printed out my size as poster. Anastasia Vintage has an awesome tutorial on using PowerPoint for making crisp lettering on wood. http://www.anastasiavintage.com/2015/12/how-to-paint-perfect-signs-graphics.html?m=1
I transferred on the lettering and hand painted using a small artist’s brush. I then placed my coasters around for the remaining number spots and used Mod Podge matte to glue and set. I let it cure overnight and then I covered the whole surface with Mod Podge. Once cured I added some fun little stick men and put two coats of Minwax oil modified water based Polyurethane in clear satin.
Now for the center. I decided to find a little travel flask in stainless for the center. I purchased one at our local liquor store at a reasonable cost, ($10.00). Before drilling a hole it the center I checked the depth to make sure the mechanism shaft would go through enough and the hands would clear. They did not. I thought of cutting it in half but then the spout would probably get damaged. I decided to flatten it out. Rather than pound it out with a ball peen hammer I put it between cardboard and drove over it with my car. The top and bottom seams came loose but was able to pry up the ends to put them back in. I drilled a hole in the center and put it on my shaft for placement. Once I decided where to put it I used Gorilla Glue secure it to the wood as well the shaft has a threaded washer that holds the mechanism in place.
To protect the walls once the clock is hung I glued felt on the back supports. This clock looks amazing and I again learned a lot of different techniques to accomplish this piece.