Make Some Time - A Clock Build Blog #1: Inside Out

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Blog entry by EarlS posted 03-22-2019 02:42 PM 927 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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For the 2019 Spring Swap I decided to make a clock based on this picture:

Anyone else notice that the lattice on the left side of the frame doesn’t show up on the right side??

The only thing that provided clues to the scale of the clock was the clock face and hands. Fortunately, I was able to find the exact clock face on The smallest size had 3” time ring , with 4-5/8” art on 6” paper which I promptly ordered for the prototype. Other sites I have used include Klockit and Schlabaugh & Sons.

Clock faces are generally printed on high quality paper using graphics art printing processes to provide high quality, long lasting faces. They can be purchased in sheet form, with backing board, laminated, glossy, matte, you name it. Generally, I purchase the clock face on a backing board without the movement hole drilled in it. For two of the clocks, I made the clock face from exotic wood.

There are myriads of sites that come up by searching “clock face”. Most of them appear to use similar language explaining the pertinent terms. One of the most important is the time ring, which is the diameter of outside edges of the hour numbers or markers. Divide the diameter by two. That measurement will give you the minute hand length which is also used as the clock hand length. You don’t want a size that is larger than the recommended length or else the minute hand will be stick outside of the time ring. Klockit and Schlabaugh & Sons have multiple sizes and styles of hands to choose from when purchasing a movement. If the exact size isn’t available, use the next smaller size.

I got a little ahead of myself discussing hands. After deciding on the clock face size decide what kind of clock movement to use. There are numerous kinds of movements out there. Klockit and Schlabaugh & Sons sell Quartz pendulum movements that work well for this kind of clock. I chose a basic Pendulum Quartz Clock Movement which includes the pendulum rod, bob, and hands.

At this point you need to know how thick the clock face (dial) will be because one of the ordering options is maximum dial thickness. The dial thickness dictates how long the threaded shaft on the dial needs to be. Check different movements and also different sites as everyone seems to have a slightly different selection.

I didn’t want a second hand but that is an option, as is a chime. You should also be able to select the hour/minute hands using the size determined above. If the hand selection for that movement doesn’t include the size/style you want, check around. There are so many options to choose from.

No matter what kind of clock you want to build, choosing the clock face and movement needs to happen before anything else can begin. From here the clock box design can begin.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

14 comments so far

View TomGrin's profile


89 posts in 1189 days

#1 posted 03-22-2019 02:53 PM

Thanks, Earl. A clock is now on my list of projects. I was wondering about the sizing of the hands and now you provided the answer before I could ask.

-- Tom, May your safety glasses never fog,

View KelleyCrafts's profile


4456 posts in 1794 days

#2 posted 03-22-2019 03:04 PM

Looking forward to the rest of this blog. Thanks for posting it Earl!

-- Dave - - pen blanks - knife scales - turning tools

View HokieKen's profile


17295 posts in 2193 days

#3 posted 03-22-2019 03:40 PM

Well, I already know how to do this but I guess I’ll follow along so I can point out all the stuff you do wrong ;-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View sras's profile


5949 posts in 4184 days

#4 posted 03-22-2019 03:59 PM

I’m looking forward to this!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View PoohBaah's profile


522 posts in 2595 days

#5 posted 03-22-2019 04:05 PM

Good stuff Earl. I can’t wait to see my clock be born. Thanks again.

-- Neil, Indiana - Instagram: neilsalomon

View oldrivers's profile


2520 posts in 2621 days

#6 posted 03-22-2019 04:39 PM

Good Blog thanks for sharing.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View JimYoung's profile


404 posts in 2641 days

#7 posted 03-22-2019 04:40 PM

Following along…

-- -Jim, "Nothing says poor craftsmanship more than wrinkles in your duck tape"

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4389 days

#8 posted 03-22-2019 04:43 PM

Thanks for all the useful info Earl. I might want to build some clocks as Christmas gifts and this blog should therefore be very helpful.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View duckmilk's profile


4468 posts in 2379 days

#9 posted 03-22-2019 10:12 PM

Interesting, I’ll follow this. So, is there a reason the lattice isn’t on both sides of the base?

-- "Duck and Bob would be out doin some farming with funny hats on." chrisstef

View mikeacg's profile


1903 posts in 2112 days

#10 posted 03-22-2019 11:43 PM

I’m watching this to see if Duck can keep Kenny in line…
Thanks for taking the time to do this Earl! I definitely want to build a clock! I have one in just about every room of my house. I got the greatest mantle chiming clock with my house when I bought it and I still have one of my Daddy’s old 7-day wind-up clocks with a pressed wood design on the front. (He used to go around the house every Saturday night and wind all of them.) It was hard to sleep when I went away to college without hearing the ticking and chiming all night long…

-- Mike, A Yooper with a drawl,

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7257 posts in 1637 days

#11 posted 03-23-2019 12:00 AM

Geez, Earl. You haven’t even started building and you already broke the lattice out of the right side of the picture. ;-)

Why is it I suspect my making it up as I go, and your making it up as you go are almost completely different animals? I’m looking forward to watching though.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View EarlS's profile


4408 posts in 3402 days

#12 posted 03-24-2019 01:23 PM

Dave – I suspect that you are comparing my finished “make it up as I go” to your actual “make it up as you go”. I spent 3+ months working on this, or more accurately, trying stuff out, pondering, looking at it, pondering, throwing stuff away that I messed up (measure, cut, realize I forgot to include a dimension, throw away) that is why my shorts bin has so much stuff in it.

Your “made up” work usually includes a lot of thinking on my part (think Fibbonaci gauge) just to follow the math you did.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View splintergroup's profile


4978 posts in 2277 days

#13 posted 03-24-2019 01:53 PM

It’s good to chatter going on in your head while you were making these fine creations Earl 8^) I’m glad I’m not the only one to realize all clock parts need to be at hand before beginning…

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7257 posts in 1637 days

#14 posted 03-24-2019 10:49 PM

And I’m happy for your shorts bin, Earl. The Fibonacci gauges (I made another yesterday) all came almost directly from your shorts bin. Plus, I needed to make a sheath for a knife this afternoon, and two offcuts from the Fibonacci gauges, plus a piece of eucalyptus that was a failed plane wedge from the swap ended up doing a pretty good job.

The only thing I measured when making this knife was the width of the blade, so I knew how big of a hole to drill in the brass. Everything else, including the sheath, was trial and error. I think it came out ok, though. I did have to spend about an hour widening the narrow slot that the knife goes in after I had glued everything up, though. Bother.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

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