Tag Archives: tall case clock

More Uses for Handscrews

IMG_1459This week I worked on the hood details of my tall clocks – the plinths for brass finials. The parts are small. As I worked, I discovered that my handscrew clamps were often drawn into action. These clamps are a great way to hold small parts.

The center plinth had to be shaped with a small radius cut at the front and sides. The first use of the handscrew was to hold the two (one of each clock) plinths face to face so I could easily drill the front radius; one 3/8″ forestner bit cut and created a small 3/16″ radius. I then went to my spindle sander to form a similar radius on each of the two sides of the plinth.

IMG_1462After the radius was created, I had to remove the material left below and sanding away that amount was too time-consuming. Band saw, here I come. At the saw, I wasn’t going to hold the plinth with my hand. Handscrew to the rescue. With the small part locked in the clamp, it was easy to trim the waste.

Two more uses for what should be a staple in the shop. And I find old clamps best, so shop auctions in you’re looking to add handscrews to your selection.

The hood (shown below) is coming along great. I now need to begin final sanding and finish. Below is a look at the hood without the brass finials. I need to get those ordered. At $70 each, I’m not in a big rush.


Build Something Great!

Glen D. Huey


Filed under Methods of Work, Tall Clock

Furniture Detective

Take a look at the photos below. Here is a look at the bottom of the original Egerton Tall Case clock. What do you see?

I see tons of information about how pieces, clocks in particular, were built during the period. While I have come to understand that construction methods used back in the day are questionable when viewed with today’s eyes, I am constantly amazed at what we see.

For example, The bracket feet on this clock are attached under the transition molding that wraps the base on three sides – they may just catch the base sides and front, but if they do it’s not by much. Glue blocks, placed at the corners, fit under the case to carry the load. The rear feet in the photos are aligned with the clock’s backboard. Were the feet installed after the back was positioned? Or did the rear feet simply flop in the breeze until the back was added, at which time a nail made the final connection?

In the top photo, a missing glue block answers the question of how the feet were joined. The faint over-cut lines on the rear side foot indicate that the rear foot was dovetailed to the side foot. (Front feet are mitered.) If the block were in place, as it is in the second photo, we would be left guessing.

Notice, also, how thin the base sides appear. My best determination is that the sides are 1/2″ in thickness. With this information, it is clear that I plan to build an adaptation of this clock, not a reproduction – I don’t see the value in working with stock that thin.

Another question is how the bottom is attached. I have photos from other period clocks that show bottoms held in place by glue blocks (see below). That type of construction may seem shoddy, but there is a reason to adapt this method. Sometime during the clock’s life, it is possible that weights, which drive the movements, could be dropped in the case. At 10 – 14 pounds or more, these weights would do severe damage to the case bottoms. If the bottoms were an integral part of the base, repairs would be difficult if not impossible. Easily replaced bottoms keep the clocks in good repair.

I’m sure there is more information shown. If you see something in the two photos, leave a comment below. Information garnered from more than one pair of eyes makes us all better craftsmen.

Build Something Great!



Filed under Antique Pieces, Design