A Clock Build - or How I Made Time Stand Still

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Project by EarlS posted 12-03-2021 01:32 AM 1534 views 8 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For the Spring 2019 Swap, I made a box clock. Actually, I made 3 box clocks. One thing led to another and I wound up sending all of them out as part of the swap. I told myself that I would make another one so I had a version for myself.

Fast forward to the winter of 2020. Yep, the year of the dumpster fire. I’d been playing around on SketchUp and had worked up most of a design. About the same time, I promised a fellow LJ that I would make a clock for him. I promptly received a box with some chestnut, koa, and butternut pieces which prompted me to decide to make some clocks using just the scrap wood in the shop. So far, so good. Here is the SketchUp model:

Things started off reasonably well with the legs; mortise and tenoning work on the Leigh jig. I had plenty of scrap pieces so I made enough front and back rails for 8-10 clocks. I also made 6 sets of legs since I had all kinds of grand ideas for different wood combinations. Spring came along and shop time became less frequent and riding my bike (bicycle) was more fun.

I managed to cut the box sides out and get them mitered and cut a groove for the splines.

Shop time was starting to slow down.

Somewhere in early summer the side panels were finished. Here are the SketchUp details:

Again, I had lots of 3/8 in wood so there were plenty of options. I made a dozen or more side panels. Now all of the easy work was complete.

Next up were the clock fronts and all of the circle cutting.

Circle inserts for the clock hands:

Ring insert:

By now summer is over and Halloween is rapidly approaching. Time for the clock faces:

The frames and boxes were glued up.

More time passed. Turkey Day was fast approaching. The boxes and frames were stained and sealed. First coat of Arm-R-Seal was applied to everything.

Guess I’d better start working on the pendulums since Thanksgiving is over.

And we have arrived at today. This was one of the most challenging builds I’ve done. Not because the woodworking was difficult. Rather instead it was because of the time that elapsed between the various parts of the project.

Here are the final clocks.

Cherry box, cherry legs, walnut side panels, with square G&G style plugs and a very slight taper to the legs:

Maple box, maple legs, walnut side panels, with G&G plugs and tapered legs

Chestnut box, cherry legs, chestnut side panels

Butternut box, walnut legs, butternut side panels

Walnut box, walnut legs, oak rails and side panels

Oak box, oak legs, walnut rails and side panels

The clock project took most of a year to complete and I did manage to use a fair amount of scrap wood to build these clocks. I also threw away most of the scrap I didn’t use. Along the way I bought a new dust collector and a new bandsaw. I also started work on a roubo workbench (which I can get back to now that the clocks are done). I reorganized the shop 10-15 times, and rode nearly 4,000 miles. Quite a project.

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

31 comments so far

View VanDesignWoodworkin's profile


590 posts in 132 days

#1 posted 12-03-2021 01:34 AM

Awesome clocks!

-- "Wine gets better with age. Cheese gets better with age. It's not your fault that you're not wine or cheese."

View pottz's profile


22280 posts in 2317 days

#2 posted 12-03-2021 01:43 AM

damn nice clocks earl,love your design.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View Eric's profile


2829 posts in 1206 days

#3 posted 12-03-2021 02:20 AM

Those are some nice clocks Earl. And yes quite a project building 6 of them. A very nice choice of woods used and combined matches.

Along with your reorgazation, new tools, and a number of miles. Great job.

-- Eric, building the dream

View BB1's profile


2813 posts in 2181 days

#4 posted 12-03-2021 02:34 AM

Wow. Great projects. I was going to try to pick a favorite, but like them all. Each is unique even with the same general pattern.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

9309 posts in 1915 days

#5 posted 12-03-2021 02:35 AM

“So what’d you do this year, Earl?”

“Made some clocks.”

Looks like they were worth the wait!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View mtnwild's profile


4723 posts in 4860 days

#6 posted 12-03-2021 02:36 AM

Awesome! Really beautiful design, using great looking, well placed wood, skillfully done…

Man, i must admit I never explored your projects before…Impressed…Great portfolio…Super works…

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View JimYoung's profile


440 posts in 2920 days

#7 posted 12-03-2021 03:16 AM

Brilliant design on your part and Mother nature’s grain and species makes each one beautiful and unique.

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

View recycle1943's profile


6177 posts in 2955 days

#8 posted 12-03-2021 03:18 AM

My golly Earl, these clocks are nothing less than outstanding – I’m trying to figure out how you made the ring insert. Beautiful craftsmanship

-- Dick, Malvern Ohio - my biggest fear is that when I die, my wife sells my toys for what I told her I paid for them

View Lazyman's profile


8781 posts in 2720 days

#9 posted 12-03-2021 03:23 AM

Crazy cool Earl. Having received your last swap item, I know first hand how well these must be made. Fantastic design and details and I am a sucker for that FLW style on the faces.

BTW, what clock movement did you use for these. I purchased a pendulum quartz movement to replace a vintage battery autowind movement that I could not get to work. Only problem is that the pendulum is so energetic that it bangs into the sides of the clock. I even tried hot gluing a several 2” washers to the back of it to increase the weight.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View oldrivers's profile


2919 posts in 2899 days

#10 posted 12-03-2021 03:27 AM

I see a lot of good work there, Congratulations.

-- Soli Deo gloria!

View LittleBlackDuck's profile (online now)


8606 posts in 2153 days

#11 posted 12-03-2021 04:11 AM

Phew E’S, that’s a lot of, lot of, lot of clocks… Lucky you don’t stutter.

Like lazy, I’m interested in the movement… can I assume that the pendulum is not an integral part of the timing… lazy hinted at swing, so is there a separate little monkey in there slapping that donger around?

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Kerux2's profile


684 posts in 3065 days

#12 posted 12-03-2021 06:07 AM

Great stuff there!

-- Hey I'm Dyslexic! I don't have all day to check and re-check forum post.

View Peteybadboy's profile


4323 posts in 3282 days

#13 posted 12-03-2021 10:47 AM

WOW! Great design. They look beautiful.

-- Petey

View EarlS's profile


4983 posts in 3681 days

#14 posted 12-03-2021 12:22 PM

BTW, what clock movement did you use for these.

- Lazyman

Nathan – I get the clock works from Schlabaugh and Sons mostly because they have hands that are less than 2-1/2 in and will fit in the clock ring (5 in diameter). Klockit is another option I’ve used

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

View HokieKen's profile


20636 posts in 2471 days

#15 posted 12-03-2021 01:20 PM

Fantabulous! Those looks awesome man and this is probably the best use of wood scraps that I’ve seen yet :-) I really like the face mosaics and the glass inserts vs an open face. And the rest of the design and execution is no less than the perfection we’ve come to expect from your “Earls & Crafts” style.

I had fully intended to make a couple of clocks for my in-laws and my mom as Christmas gifts this year and FINALLY use the parts you sent me (2?) years ago. But then butter dishes and salt/pepper grinders were specifically requested and are more apt to get done in the time I have so… Maybe next year. I’m kinda glad I didn’t start on them yet though because I REALLY like this design and want to rob some elements of it :-)

FWIW, if I had made those 6 clocks in a year. I would feel superbly accomplished!

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

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