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Project by CaptainSkully posted 01-28-2010 07:26 PM 2268 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The other day, I popped into the woodworking store and on the clearance shelf was a bunch of half-hour and hour glasses. On an impulse, I grabbed one and gingerly brought it home. As a sailor, I’ve always been intrigued by old-school timekeeping devices (a mechanical tall case clock is on my to-do list). A design just kind of appeared to me out of the nether regions of my rum-soaked brain.

It’s made basically from scrap. I wanted a simple design that would go with our Arts & Crafts decor, but something jazzy enough that I wouldn’t feel ashamed of the end product. I even experimented with decorative spindles. In the end, I settled on plain ones and embellished the ends. Loving latin and always on the lookout for boat/dinghy name combinations, I engraved “Tempus Fugit” (time flies), and “Carpe Diem” (seize the day) into the ends. I think they’re appropriate for an hour glass. I used one of my favorite pirate fonts, “Windlass”. I think it came out pretty well. I timed it once, and it came out to 58.5 minutes. I figure I’ll use it to simmer rice.

I was pretty concerned about assembly because it’s so fragile. I envisioned broken glass and sand all over the garage floor. Luckily, I was able to tap it together and make the ends parallel with just a touch of wiggle room on the glass. Whew!

My girlfriend liked it well enough to suggest “we” makes some for gifts. Custom engraving is easy, so these may be good filler projects while waiting for glue or finish to dry.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

9 comments so far

View patron's profile


13716 posts in 4311 days

#1 posted 01-28-2010 07:39 PM

nice little project ,

and you gained a minute and a half every hour ,
and it’s free time !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Chris Pond's profile

Chris Pond

63 posts in 4017 days

#2 posted 01-28-2010 07:41 PM

Nice work, I thought of doing one too. But like you “glass” and my hands? You seem to have put it together very well. Oh by the way “who get’s to flip it and then count the time:)”

-- Chris, Fernie, BC

View Mean_Dean's profile


7057 posts in 4117 days

#3 posted 01-28-2010 07:50 PM

Very nice timepiece! Where did you get the hourglass?

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4528 days

#4 posted 01-28-2010 08:08 PM

They were on sale in last month’s Woodcraft flyer, and on the sale/clearance rack by the checkout. I think I gave $15 for it, max.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Napaman's profile


5533 posts in 5047 days

#5 posted 01-29-2010 05:11 AM

they look great…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View OutPutter's profile


1199 posts in 4960 days

#6 posted 01-30-2010 09:09 AM

Love the time piece and I think I remember a TV show about how much accurate time keeping affected sailing once upon a time so I get the facination. I also did Latin in high school so I like the inscriptions. You mention that it’s easy to do custom engraving. Can you tell me how you do it that it becomes easy and you get to pick the font and everything? Oh, I love the table in the background too (read the blog). ;-)


-- Jim

View CaptainSkully's profile


1615 posts in 4528 days

#7 posted 01-31-2010 01:34 AM

I just read “Longitude”, which was really cool. I print what I want to engrave in Word, using one of my thousand or so fonts, then spray adhesive it to the wood. I then use a Dremel tool to carve it with a small diameter burr, sand off the paper and away we go.

-- You can't control the wind, but you can trim your sails

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4085 days

#8 posted 02-02-2010 09:36 PM

great little pocket watch you have created there
and the words was just the right:-)


View a1Jim's profile


118153 posts in 4547 days

#9 posted 02-02-2010 11:01 PM

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