Making The Checkered Inlay

The checkerboard band across the middle of the clock is an eye-catching detail, and it really makes the clock. You'll find that it invites close inspection. For best results, use clean, straight material, and don't use any sapwood or wood with other defects. You'd only have to discard several strips of inlay later.

i. Prepare two "sandwiches" of material-one with a lighter wood in between two dark pieces, and the other just the opposite. Width and length aren't critical, but each layer of the laminations must be exactly :l4 in. thick.

2. Plane the edges of each lamination square to the faces, and make sure the edges are free of glue. Crosscut laminations into segments exactly M in. wide.

3 ■ Arrange segments from alternating sandwiches. Glue and clamp them together. Apply pressure down, as well, onto a steel plate or something similar, to ensure even registration all the way across.

4. When the glue has cured, clean up and square the completed checkerboard blank. Band saw Into Me-in.-thick strips. Using a knife to pull the thin strips along on the outfeed side of the blade helps. Select the best pieces for the clock inlay. ■

top. This gives the clock a lighter feel and is a detail found on many Arts-and-Crafts clocks made earlier this century. A K-in. cove routed around the underside of the clock's top gives it a visual lift.

With the top, bottom and sides made and fitted, I planed and scraped the pieces. They were sprayed inside and out with two very thin coats of aerosol nitrocellulose sanding sealer followed by one coat of semigloss lacquer. To keep the joints free of lacquer, I taped the stub tenons and temporarily fit /i-in. strips into all the dadoes. I scuff-sanded with 320-grit sandpaper between coats. Spraying before assembly allowed easy access into corners, eliminated drips and reduced overspray.

Middle shelf The middle shelf requires a I>--in.-dia. hole for chime rods and a 3-m. by VA-in. cutout for the pendulum, I made the hole on the drill press with a Forstner bit and cut out the cavity for the pendulum on the tablesaw and band saw.

A band of checkerboard inlay is let into a front rail, which is sphned to the middle shelf. I used the tablesaw to cut the slot for the /i-in. spline and to cut the rabbet in the top of the front rail for the veneered face panel. To create the recess for the checkerboard inlay, I plowed a Mi-m.-dcep groove across the center of the front rail on the tablesaw and planed it smooth and flat. Th en I glued and clamped down the checkerboard inlay, which I made of ebony and pear (see the photos on the facing page for a complete description of making the inlay). After die glue had cured, I planed the front rail flush with the inlay ¡ see the top left photo on p. 120), cut the front rail to length and clamped up the middle shelf assembly (see the bottom photo on p. 120). 1 taped the stub tenons and spraved the assembly before moving on to the plywood panels for the clock face and back.

Veneer the Face and Back Panel

Because I didn't want to worry about wood movement across the width of the clock, I

used %-in.--thick birch plywood for the face and the back panels.

I veneered the plywood with clear, quar-tersavvn pear. This way, the grain all but disappears. After shooting and taping the veneer seams, I glued the veneer to the plywood using yellow glue and a warm iron. Ordinarily, both sides of the substrate should be veneered so die piece won't cup later. But" because both panels ai$ captured, I didn't think it was necessary to veneer their inside faces.

After the glue had dried, I scraped the veneer tape off and cut the panels to size.

Io mark the center of the face for the clock movement, 1 struck diagonals from corner to corner and used an awl to make an impression where the lines crossed. 1 hen 1 scraped and sanded the pear veneer. I finished the face with sanding sealer and semigloss lacquer. By finishing the face before drilling for the clock stem, I didn't have to avoid the hole when 1 sanded or rubbed with steel wool.

I bored the hole for the clock movement on my drill press and screwed it to the back of the face panel (for part numbers, price and other information on the movement, see the sources box on p. 123). I set the back panel aside until the whole clock was glued up.

Glazed Door Swings Up on Dowel Hinges

The little door that swings up to provide access to the pendulum is of standard mortise-and-tenon construction. Both top and bottom rails are

VA in. wide, slightly wider than the stiles.'1 he top rail takes a mild curve, and the bottom accepts a small knob and visually anchors the design. I roughed out the curve in the top rail on the handsaw, and then I cleaned it up using a template and the template guide on my router table (see die top left photo on p. 122).

After the door frame was glued up, I routed a %-in. rabbet all around the inside to accept a pane of glass. i squared the corners of the rabbet and chopped small open-sided mortises in the back side of the door

Making the middle shelf

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  • annett schroder
    How to make checkered inlay?
    8 years ago

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