Octagonal Clock

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Carpentry And Furniture Designs

This wall clock is a classic design of the late nineteenth century, most often associated with schoolrooms but also seen in railway stations and mercantile establishments. The version offered here is an excellent reproduction and features a calendar dial with a separate hand to show the day of the month. It also has a pendulum movement with a chime that strikes the half hour and counts the hour.

Original clocks of this type are getting scarce and expensive, but any woodworker of moderate skill can build this heirloom piece. It's a challenging project that demands accurate cutting and joining, but the finished clock will be a lifetime source of pride and pleasure.

The builder is advised to have the dial, bezel, and movement on hand before beginning construction of the case. All components for this clock, including hardwood (oak, cherry, or walnut), bezel assembly, and decorative door glass can be ordered from the Mason & Sullivan Company (see the list of suppliers, p. 243. for the address). Their catalog offers a fine selection of clock parts and kits. We used their T-l 22 calendar movement that, like the bezel assembly, comes with installation instructions. For those readers who lack the time or inclination to build this clock from scratch, an identical clock can be assembled from a kit that contains complete instructions, hardware, and accurately precul parts.

Many of these clocks were built of oak, though cherry and walnut are also fine choices, The woodworker is urged, however, to use hardwood for the case as it can be machined to closer tolerances and is more appropriate for a good reproduction. Most of the case is built from %" stock, and care should be taken to choose stock that is both clear and flat.

Begin construction with the back case, which houses the movement and provides for mounting of the dial and pendulum door assembly. Referring to Figures I, 2, 3, and 4. and the bill of materials, you will see that the case consists of two sides (1), a top (2), and three pieces that make up the lower case (3). There are also two Yplywood back panels (4 and 5).

Parts 1 and 3 can be cut from one piece % x 3% x 46" (this allows a bit of extra length for the miter cuts). Shape one edge of this piece to a half-round profile before cutting it into the required five pieces. If you tack a router or shaper, the half-round molded edge can be shaped by hand by first cutting the corners off at 30 degrees, then rounding with file and sandpaper. A cardboard template will be useful for keeping the molding uniform over its entire length.

Miter the slanted sides and bottom (3) to an angle of 67% degrees, as shown in Detail A. This angle may show on your miter gauge as 22% degrees, depending on how the gauge is scaled. Also miter the lower end of each side (1) to 67% degrees. It is strongly recommended that these miter cuts be done on scrap stock first, to check the accuracy of the gauge setting. A good fit between these parts is essential.

Again referring to Detail A, cut stopped grooves along each miter face to receive a %" plywood spline. Also cut a % x rabbet across the

Cut Square Cut With Miter

top inside face of the sides (1) to take the top (2), which is % x Y/i x 8". All pieces, including the top, are rabbeted V* x >V along the back edge to provide a recess for the two back panels.

Sides (1) are dadoed, as shown, for the chime-mounting shelf, and are also notched at an angle of 45 degrees to provide a ledge for the dial frame (8). Note that this notch will remove all but the lower 514" of molded edge along the front of each side. The notch is cut %" deep. Run the notch as far as possible on the table saw, and finish up with a sharp chisel and fine-tooth backsaw.

Finish sand all pieces and join with glue and splines. A flexible web clamp is extremely useful for clamping the case together. All clamping should be done on a flat surface (a pane of glass is ideal) and the case should be checked for squareness before the glue sets. Use extra care to wipe all glue drippings from the case to insure that the stain will penetrate evenly.

Cut the cleats (6 and 7) and glue and clamp them to the inside of the case as shown in Figure 3. These cleats provide a fastening surface for the pendulum-door frame. Referring to Figure 5, cut the parts for the pendulum-door frame. Note that three parts (13) are mitered 67Ji degrees, while two parts (12) are mitered 6754 degrees on their lower ends, and 45 degrees on their upper ends. The top of the frame (II) is cut as shown, and dadoed to receive %" butt hinges. All parts are grooved 14 x Vt" to take plywood splines. Drill a V*" hole in the top edge of the bottom piece for a bullet catch as shown in Figure 5. Finish sand all frame parts, taking care not to round off sharp edges, and assemble the frame with glue and splines, securing it to the case by gluing and clamping to the cleats.

The pendulum door (Figure 6) is cut from %"-square stock. First cut the V* x '/«" rabbet along one edge; then round off the outside edge as shown in Detail B. Cut the six separate pieces for parts 14. 15, and 16 to length and miter them to fit the door frame. These pieces should also be grooved % x for splines. Sand well and join with glue and splines, clamping on a flat surface. When the assembly has thoroughly dried, run an outside a x 'As" rabbet around the door, to overlap the door frame which serves as a stop. Glue small hinge blocks to the top of the door and set the door aside for later installation.

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stock with the outer edge rounded olT as shown in Detail C. The opposite edge is given a 54 x W rabbet to provide a recess for the plywood movement mount (9). Each of the eight pieces of the face frame is cut to a length of and mi-tered to 6754 degrees. Again it is advisable to cut pieces from scrap first, and fit them together on a flat surface. Poorly fitted joints will most cer tainly spoil the overall appearance of the clock-Each piece must be given a % x 54" stopped groove for blind splines. After careful sanding, assemble the frame with glue and splines. Fasten the completed frame to the case with six [" #6 flat-headed screws through the rabbeted edge and into the case, and two 154" # 7 flat-headed screws through the upper door frame (11).

Cut a 54* plywood movement mount (9) to fit the recess in the dial frame. A 2X«"-radius hole is drilled in the center for the movement and key winding shafts. The calendar movement recommended for this clock has four mounting ears, which are fastened to the plywood mount with small screws and washers, instructions for mounting and regulating are included with the movement. A shelf is needed for mounting the coiled gong, and it can be cut from scrap hardwood and fitted into the dadoes cut in the case sides (1) as far forward as it will go.

The lower back panel (5) is cut from 54" plywood. and fastened to the case with six %" #5 flat-headed screws. The upper panel (4) is mounted with two V brass butt hinges as shown in Figure 7. The panel is held closed with a small turn button. The enameled metal dial face is fastened to the movement mount (9) with small wood screws. The brass bezel assembly comes complete with glass, mounting hinge, clasp, and instructions for mounting. It will be necessary to mortise the dial frame for the bezel hinge, and also to cut a small slot in the frame to lake the catch. This process is shown in Figures 7 and 8, along with the 54 x 54 x 154" turnbutton that holds the catch.

Remove the movement, dial, and bezel for finishing the case. Stain color is a matter of preference, and certainly the stain should be tried out on a scrap of similar wood to achieve the desired tone. Oak with its open, coarse grain requires a filler for a smooth finish. A golden oak finish is particularly handsome for a piece of this period, and can be achieved with a golden oak stain, followed by working a light brown filler into the grain. When the surface appears dull, wipe across the grain with a piece of burlap to remove excess filler. Allow the remaining filler to harden for 24 hours and then sand lightly with 400-grit paper, working with the grain.

The clock may be given a shellac, lacquer, or varnish finish. It's best to use a product and finishing schedule with which you are familiar. The synthetic varnishes in a satin finish are easy to apply, and will give very satisfactory results if used in a reasonably dust-free room and rubbed down between coats with 4/0 steel wool. Always use a tack cloth to remove all dust before adding additional coats.

After finishing, install butt hinges to the pen dulum-door frame, then mark the locations of the hinges on the mounting blocks that were previously glued to the top of the door. The decorative door glass is secured by bradding small strips of pine or rubber molding to the door rabbets. Add a brass knob and small striker plate to the lower rail of the door, and insert a bullet catch into the hole previously drilled in the door frame's bottom rail. Finally, reinstall the dial, movement, and bezel assembly, and install a sturdy hanger at the top rear of the case. Refer to the instructions that come packed with your movement for getting the movement started and properly regulated.

BILL OF MATERIALS

Key

Part

Pes. Req'd

T

w

L

1

sides

2

J6S4"

2

top

1

fiH

y/i"

8"

3

slant side.

3

**

3*"

3%"

bottom

4

upper back

1

YS

8"

8"

5

lower back

1

V

8"

1054"

6

cleat

2

7

cleat

3

Yi"

354"

facc frame

8

3"

9

movement

1

Yi"

f<r

10"

mount

10

chime shelf

1

54"

IX"

8"

11

door frame, top

1

1»"

754"

12

door frame.

2

1"

4"

sides

13

slant side.

3

1"

354"

bottom

14

door lop

1

6"

15

sides

2

V

3"

16

slant side.

3

bottom

Hardware butt hinges 4

wall hanger 1

turnbutton 1

bezel with glass 1

dial I

Me" brass knob 1

bullet catch 1

movement 1

glass retainers—as req'd

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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