The Old Clock On The Wall Says Its Time

Tedswoodworking Plans

Ted's Woodworking Plans

Get Instant Access

This Schoolhouse Clock is built from just two oak boards 6-feet long. That's not what I would call a lot of lumber. However, these boards must be cut up into 32 small pieces (just the right size and shape), and carefully joined together,

I think that's the most intriguing thing about clock-building. It doesn't require a lot of wood . . . but it does require a lot of woodworking skill.

joinery. Joinery is probably the most important aspect of this clock. Almost evenr joint is on display, so it must be cut accurately However, that's not easy because the pieces are somewhat small, and most of them are mitered at 22 ¥<a.

This miter angle is the result of the octagonal (eight-sided) design theme. The frame surrounding the dial, the part of the ease extending below this frame, and the frame for the glass door all require miters cut at 22!4°.

Since each of these miters is joined with the aid of a spline, grooves must be cut in all mitered pieces. Although this can be done on a table or radial-arm saw, 1 found it was a whole lot easier on a router table. I guess what I'm getting at here is that you might want to build the router table (shown in Woodsmith No. 20) before launching into this Schoolhouse Clock.

There is one other consideration. The woodworking part of this project is both fun and challenging. However, the result is not a clock. Rather, it's just the case for the real "guts" of the clock: the works,


We designed this schoolhouse clock to accept two kinds of works: either the traditional "gear and spring" movement, or the modern replacement: a battery-operated quartz movement.

For the clock shown here, wfe went all out and bought a German-made, solid brass movement from the Mosoh & Sullivan catalog (586 Higgins Crowel Rd., West Yarmouth, MA 02673). The movement we used is listed in their catalog as a "Calendar 'Bim-Bam' Key Wind Pendulum Movement,"

All of that means it's a 14-day, spring-driven movement that drives both the minute and hour hands, as well as a calendar hand. This movement also comes with a two-tone (Bim-Bam) chime, a brass pendulum rod and bob, and black serpentine hands. TheiWasof? & Sullivan Catalog No. is 3341X (14W>" pendulum). The cost: $81.0(1.

If your budget doesn't allow for that

kind of expense, you can also use a battery-operated quartz movement. The movement that we know will fit this clock is from the Klockit Company (Catalog: Free), EO. Box 629, Lake Geneva, WI 53147. The quartz movement is Cat. No. 12005, $25.95.

This movement has provisions for hour and minute hands (but not a calendar hand), Bim-Bam chimes (that sound something like an electric door bell), an in-


A Case Sides 8 Cose Bottoms C Case Top D Frame Sides E Frame Bottoms F Frame Top G Dial Frame H Molding Strips I Door Top J Door Sides K Door Bottoms

>A x 1'/« -Vi x 2 - B "/is * 3 -M 'k, x % -x V, -x V, -1J/i» x % -

63/n (7'A) cut to fit 6 (8'/i) 7V,„ (B'/z) 2 Vi (3 Vi)



tegrated pendulum movement, and a tick-tock sound. (Note: The pendulum length is measured differently on this movement — you need a 16" pendulum instead of lJVa".)

dial, bezel, etc. In addition to the clock works, there are a few other things you'll need:

1) The Dial. We ordered an 11%"-diameter enameled metal dial with a 31-day date ring from Mason & Sullivan (Cat. No. 7406S, $9.95). Note: when ordering, specify "key-hole punched for 3341X movement".

IF you choose the Klockit quartz movement, you can still order the dial from Mason & Sullivan, but there's no need for the date ring or the punched key holes, so any llW-diameter dial will work.

2) The bezel. This is the glass door and brass frame that fits over (and protects) the clock face. Again we used a Ma son & Sullivan bezel: Catalog No. 4200B, $19.50,

3) Hinges and knobs. In addition to the clock works, you'll need some miscellaneous hardware. We were able to purchase all of these items at a local hardware store. However, we're also listing the catalog number and price from The Woodworkers' Store {Catalog $2), 21801 Industrial Blvd., Rogers, MN 55374,

Brass Butt Hinges, two pair, (D3011, $.65 per pair)

Brass Door Knob, (D3038, §.55 each) Bullet Catch, ¥ie" diameter, W long. (D3601, $3.70 per 10) Thru-Button Latch. (D3057, $.95 per 10) Brass Hanger. (D3009, $1.55 per 10)

4) Glass for Pendulum Door. We used single-strength window glass for the pendulum door, and cut it to fit the door frame ourselves. Jon (our Art Director) added the black and gold painted borders: around the edge of the glass. This is a nice little touch, but not altogether necessary — it requires a little more artistic talent than I have.

Once the hardware and clock works are ordered (and hopefully in hand), the woodworking can begin. I started with the case,


The case (shown in Fig. 1) has six sides, with the bottom three pieces forming a partial octagon. To keep a continuous grain pattern from one piece to the next, I cut all six pieces from one board (as shown in the Cutting Diagram).

First I cut each piece to rough length (see Materials List), marking them to keep them in order. Then I ripped all pieces to

ZV" final width.

CDTTOLtNCTH. Five of these pieces (the two sides and three bottom pieces) can be cut to final length now. (The top is cut later), I started with the two side pieces (A), cutting the top end square. The bottom end is cut at a 22Vz miter so the final length (from the square end to the long point of the mitered end) is 21W.

Next, the three bottom pieces (B) are cut. These pieces are mitered ¡it 22Vf on both ends so the final length (from long point to long point) is 3%".

groovk for splines. Now the grooves for the splines can be cut. As shown in the detail in Fig. 3, the groove is positioned Vis" from the long point of the miter to allow room for the rabbets. Once the grooves are cut, the splines are cut to fit. (This technique is discussed in more detail on page 8.)

RABBETS. Finally, rabbets must be cut on both the front edge and back edge of the two sides (A) and the three bottom pieces (B> — the top is not rabbeted. The W x'// rabbet tin the front edge is for the door frame, and the W x 'A" rabbet on the back edge is for the plywood back, Fig. 3. Also, a W-deep rabbet on the top ends of the two side pieces (A) should be cut l-Vv" wide (to match the thickness of the top piece), see Fig. 2.

tup; top piece. Dry-assemble these five pieces (minus the top) to make sure everything tits properly. Now final measurements for the top (C) can be taken.

The top piece is joined to the two sides with a rabbet and dado joint, see Fig. 2. Cut a '/V'-deep dado right along the shoulder of the rabbet. Then cut a rabbet on both ends of the top piece (C), leaving a tongue to fit in the groove. The key thing here is that when the top is installed, the two sides (A) must be parallel. If this forces the mitered joints on the three bottom pieces slightly out of alignment, it's not too much of a problem because they'll be covered with a molding strip later.

ASSEMBLY. All six pieces for the case can now be glued together. I started with the bottom pieces and worked my way around to the top. I used two band (strap) clamps around the perimeter of the case to hold it together while the glue was drying.


As the glue was drying on the case, I started work on the door frame — the six pieces between the ease and the glass door. Since one of these six pieces is 2" wide, first I ripped a 2"-wide strip, 45" long.

Before cutting the six pieces to rough length, I resawed (ripped on edge) this strip to a W thickness. Then I cut off a 10" length for the top piece (F), and ripped the remainder lYa" wide for the two sides (D) and three bottom pieces (E).

Now. each of these five pieces is cut to


rough length using in the sequence shown in the Cutting Diagram to maintain a con-tinous .grain pattern. Next, both ends of each piece are mitered.

I started with the center bottom piece (E), mitering both ends at 22'//J. Then e glued it in place. Next, I cut the two other bottom pieces and glued them in place. Fig. 4. Getting these pieces to fit takes a little playing around. Although they should be mitered at exactly 221/>D1 in reality they're cut to fit so the joint lines are tight and match up with the joint lines on the case.

For the side pieces (d) one end is mitered (at about 22V-?) to mate with the bottom pieces. But the other end (the top end) is mitered at 45°. The final length of both side pieces should be 8W from long point to long point.

Before gluing the side pieces in place, E cut two notches in one piece for the door hinges. These notches are Vi" wide (or the width of the hinges) and Vse" deep. On the other side piece a ¥ie" hole is drilled for a bullet catch.

Finally, the 2"-wide frame top (F) is cut to fit between the rabbets in the case, and mitered (at 45°) to mate with the side pieces, Fig. 5.

Woods mith


Was this article helpful?

0 0
Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment