Tag Archives: Tall Clock

Dressing-up the Keystone

IMG_1394With the moulding installed around the arched opening for the dial, there’s one last detail on the hood before moving on to the goose-neck mouldings of the broken-arch pediment. The Egerton tall clock has a small keystone that separates the two pieces of the arched moulding. The keystone is made from solid mahogany, but the face of the piece is a small assembly of veneer. And by small I mean 5/8″ wide at the bottom, 1-1/4″ wide at the top and about 1-1/4″ from top to bottom. That’s not a lot of inlay, so I can easily get that from scrap pieces already on hand. (Check out the photo. You can see a picture of the original clock between the hoods of the two clocks I’m building.)

To get things started, I thought it best to lay out the design to better get a feel for the pieces and steps. That also made it easy to get the sizes of the maple veneer just right, IMG_1381and that made the work go much quicker. After I had the design, I snapped off pieces of the ebony stringing and cut the small pieces of maple from a leftover sheet of shop-made veneer – I’m tired of sanding through the 1/40″- or 1/64″-thick commercial veneer and vow to never purchase it again. To make sure things went as planned, I stuck the pieces to a piece of tape, then checked the size against the actual keystone.

I was now ready to stick the pieces to the keystone. With a thin layer of glue on the keystone, I positioned the veneer and stringing. IMG_1382(Again, I really like the Titebond No-Run, No-Drip Wood Glue.) A neat technique was to lock one leg of my spring clamp into my bench vise, leaving the other leg operable. This allowed me to easily move or reposition the keystone in any way necessary. At this time, I wasn’t concerned about the length of the pieces applied to the workpiece. I didn’t want them to run past the top and bottom, but I also didn’t need them to be perfectly aligned. After everything was placed and slide to its final position (moving the veneer pieces up or down influenced the overall width of the assembly so I could easily match the keystone face), I set the piece aside to allow the glue to dry.

The next step after the glue dried – about 10 minutes – was to saw the top and bottom edges to add the last pieces of ebony stringing. IMG_1384A marking gauge is perfect to scribe lines to which to saw, and I particularly like a Japanese saw for these types of cuts. With the assembly locked in the spring-clamp vise, I sawed the two lines then peeled the waste parts easily off the keystone. A little more glue was added before I position the two last parts to the face of the workpiece. After the glue dried I used a rasp to level and smooth the inlay, then sanded everything smooth with #180-grit Abranet.

The finished keystone is shown in the opening photo. It’s a small piece that adds significantly to the overall look of the clock. And that’s what inlay does, at least to my eye. Also, if you look at the opening photo you can see the first carved rosette that fits at the end of the goose-neck moulding. I ran through three alliterations before arriving at what I think will work. To get a quick look, I stuck the half-finished rosette in place, then stood back to make a decision. So far, so good. But there is more work to be done.

Build Something Great!

Glen

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Filed under Design, Inlay, Tall Clock, Veneer

Egerton Moulding Install

I promised last week to show you the moulding installation. But if you stopped by, you found that I was unable to post. So as promised, here is the technique I use to cut, fit and install the lower moulding on the tall clock.

Layout is the important step. First position the arched moulding to the hood. After it’s in position draw a line along the back or top edge. IMG_1365Make the line run the entire length of the moulding, or at least indicate where it crosses the inlay at the center and the lower 2″ at the hood’s base. The second step is to lay in the straight line to indicate where the moulding runs along the base – show the area that fits between the arched moulding and the hood’s return. To obtain the angle needed to fit the two pieces (arched and short straight) draw a line from the two corners as shown in the photo above.

Moulding Marking

To reveal the cut lines on the moulding, slide the arched piece back into position then use a couple of spring clamps to keep it in place. On the top edge of the moulding, mark where the lines intersect – the intersection of the arched and straight, as well as where the arched crosses the inlay should be marked. Repeat the steps to mark the two points on the inside edges of the arched moulding. Both steps are shown above.

On the back face of the moulding, make a couple of tick marks that show the two points then use a rule or straightedge to draw the line from mark to mark. Strike the lines at the two layout points. IMG_1374I also square the lines down the back edge of the mouldings to provide two points of reference as I cut. Because the moulding is arched, a couple of spring clamps will hold the piece secure as you cut. The easiest way to cut the lines is to grab your handsaw and make the cuts. I like a Japanese saw for these cuts because the finer teeth are easier to start, and glide through the cut better. This saw is from Lee Valley (link). Make the cuts while watching both lines – it’s the same as when cutting dovetails. After the arched moulding is cut (touch-up the cut with a small plane if you’re off your layout line), reposition the arched moulding to the hood.

The next step is to cut and fit the short, straight moulding at the base. You can repeat the same procedure to cut this piece; layout the two points, IMG_1375strike your line then saw the cut by hand. But for this cut – because it is a straight piece of stock – I work at my miter saw. I simply guess the angle then make a couple of cuts to hone-in on the final angle. You could, of course, use a bevel gauge to setup the correct miter. Even using a bevel gauge, I find myself fine-tuning the cut, so I go right to the saw. Make sure your fit is tight and that the moulding profiles align. You will have a small amount of work to do to bring the two profiles to match, but the work should be minimal.

For me the tricky part of this installation is the next step. On the top edge of the straight moulding, mark the start of the 45° bevel, and indicate the direction of the bevel. IMG_1377(That’s where I sometimes have problems.) It’s easy to get things turned around as you move to make the cut. I, again, use my miter saw. This is also a straight piece of stock and easily set and cut at the miter saw. Because it is a small piece, you may not feel comfortable at a power saw. If that’s the case, use your handsaw and a bench hook to do the job.

The last piece – on this first side – is the return. It’s a simple 45° cut at the front with a 90° cut at the rear. With all the parts cut and fit, turn your attention to the second run of mouldings. IMG_1378The process is the identical, but the angles are reversed. When both sides of the mouldings are fit, use spring clamps to hold a run in position as you prepare to attach the pieces to the hood. Working with the arched piece of moulding, add a thin bead of glue to the back face, then position it to the hood and to the short straight piece that is clamped in place. A few #23-gauge pins hold everything as t he glue sets. Work from there to the return, then repeat the same steps to install the second run of mouldings.

Build Something Great!

Glen

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Filed under Hand Tools, Methods of Work, Power Tools, Tall Clock

My Night Cap

#5024-01There are times when I need to get into the shop just to have fun. That time generally rejuvenates me so I can get back to my projects with a renewed vigor. If that fun time also happens to be something I need for one of my projects, I consider that a bonus. This week was a bonus. I needed to make a piece of inlay for the tall clocks. In the photo you can see, on the original Egerton clock, the piece of inlay I needed to make, the Night Cap perched on the post. This post is more pictorial that text filled, but you know what is said about a photo.

Step one was to develop a pattern for the inlay. I could have drawn the design free-hand, but it’s easier to pull the image into SketchUp and trace over the lines. After I had the plan, I spray-glued the images onto a piece of scrap holly and cut the pieces at my band saw.

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When I had the pieces cut out, I smoothed the edges as best I could using a disc sander and fine rasp before moving on. I also made sure the two pieces fit together nicely. I wasn’t worried about a super-tight fit because the separation would better show the delineation between the two pieces.

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Using a bench hook, I sawed the pieces into thin, usable slices. I like my Japanese saw for this cut. It’s thinner kerf saves material, and the small, finer teeth make the task easier.

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Sand-shading is great. There are few techniques as simple as this. And the results add a crap-load to the overall look of your work. The only pieces in this design that get shading are the small ovals.

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To inlay the pieces into my stock, I have to excavate the waste. This is really where a router becomes valuable. I positioned the pieces to my backer, then carefully traced around each piece with a sharp pencil. With a 1/16″ straight bit loaded into the tool, I set the depth of cut then hogged out as close to the lines as possible.

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Afterward, I used a small carving gouge to tweak the inlay area to my layout lines. I tested the fit of my inlay to the excavated hole, then trimmed any needed spots. (I want a tight fit, but not so tight as to break my inlay.)

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With the areas cut away and trimmed to an exacting fit, I added glue into the recess and hammered the inlay pieces into place.

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The rod for the Night Cap holder couldn’t be easier. I used the same 1/16″-diameter bit, set the workpiece flush with the edge of my bench then used a guide fence on the router to cut the line. The rounded ends from the router bit worked great against the small ovals to complete the design. A piece of string was cut to fit, a small amount of glue was injected then I hammered into the recess.

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At my table saw, I set the fence and raised the blade to trim the edges for more string banding. The pieces were cut to size and I mitered the corners using the reflection in the back of my chisel to set the angle – too easy. Glue to hold and blue tape as a clamp, then let it dry.

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With the glue dry, I sanded each face – I built two of the pieces – then cleaned up the edges with my block plane. Before I install these on the clock hood, I’ll thin the assembly somewhat. The two pieces are a bit different. So, are the results perfect? No way, I wouldn’t expect that. Was it fun to do? Hell yes. Every once in  while you need to get into the shop to just have fun.

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Build Something Great!

Glen

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Filed under Design, Hand Tools, Inlay, Methods of Work, Power Tools, Routers, Shop Tips, Tall Clock

… Just Scratch It

IMG_1141Last week I worked on the arched moldings for my clock and left you with going back into the shop to used different setups and a new design. It worked. Kind of. It turns out that I did use my Micro Fence circle-cutting jig, but I had to also use my shop-made jig, too. The Micro Fence system did not allow me to get as small as I needed to make my moldings. The opening photo is that of the second profile as it came off the router. (You can enlarge the photos if you click on them.)

This week I began from the profiled arched moldings.IMG_1144 Three things to do: cut the arched pieces from the stock, make a set of straight moldings to match what I had in the arched set and work the small bead of the moldings. At the band saw, I cut away the waste to free the almost completed arched moldings. A quick trip to my disc sander (the outside edge) and my spindle sander for the inside edge and I was ready to begin matching the profile on some straight stock.

One of the ends of each of my four arched moldings is square cut – IMG_1147the ends that met in the middle of my setup. Using that end, I worked through the profile using the same router bits used to make the arched pieces. I had to set the depth of cut and the fence location to accurately match the design. It took about two hours to create a matching design on my straight stock. The last cut was the 1/4″ round-nose bit profile. With its work complete, I could rip the molding pieces free.

The last step was to create the 1/8″ bead on each of the sticks of molding. IMG_1150My first thought was to carve the pieces. I grabbed a small, bent-back carving gouge from the roll and got ready. After a couple minutes, I knew this was not the answer. Plan B – which should have been Plan A in retrospect – was to make a scraper for the task. Simple enough. I drilled an 1/8″ hole near the edge of one of my scraper blades, then ground it (sanded it with my spindle sander) so only half the profile showed. Work began on a straight piece of stock. Scrape. Scrape. Scrape. Done. It was too easy. The second, third and fourth pieces of straight molding went just as quick. But what about the arched pieces? I clamped one in my vise and went at it. The results were just as great and just as quick. The finished molding is shown above right, and the process is shown below. (The inset photo is the bead scraper.)

Combined

If you run into this need, make a scratch beader your Plan A. It’s way easy to do. And it works.

Build Something Great!

Glen

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Filed under Hand Tools, Methods of Work, Shop Tips, Tall Clock

Circle-cut Moldings

High_Res ScrollI’ve returned to the Egerton tall clock this week to begin work on the hood moldings. Due to the dial design selected, this clock has a circular molding that is cut at an angle to fit to straight runs before it turns back the sides of the hood. I’m beginning with the arched section because it’s easier to produce a match when working on the straight runs, than it is to work up a perfect match on the arched section after the straight stock is made.

For this operation, I find it best to use my router along with a circle-cutting jig. You find the radius of the cut, which changes with each router bit used as you make the profile, then swing the setup as you make your cuts. IMG_1128For this clock, because there is a small added inlaid piece up the center of the hood, the arched molding is divided. That allows me to set up the stock as a pair of pieces instead a single piece with the entire arch cut. This translates into stronger moldings because there is no short grain where the piece can easily break.

In the photo above, you can see the setup. I have my router attached to a shop-made circle-cutting jig and yes, that is a drill bit I’m using as a pivot – no right-sized dowel in the shop. (Make do with what you have.) In the photo I’ve made the first pass, creating the thumbnail profile along the top edge of the molding. The workpieces are held with double-stick tape, as is the pivot platform.

The trick to this work is to properly set your router and the length of the jig to cut exactly where you need to produce the profile.IMG_1129 To do just that you need to accurately measure for the hole location (pivot point) on your jig. As you can see in the left-hand photo, you don’t need to be centered of your jig. As long as the measurement from the pivot to the correct edge of your router bit is right, your cut will be in the correct location. There are times when you’ll set to the far side of the bit and times when you use the near side to cut your profile.  Once determined, I use a bird cage awl to start my hole so the drill bit stays put as I drill. It takes some time to get the position just right, but it can be done.

IMG_1131The results are great if you use the correct router bits and get the setups just right. In the right-hand photo you can see the results of three passes using the setup. The first was the thumbnail. For the second cut I used a round-nose bit. The third cut was with a straight bit and it was simply to clear the material for the subsequent passes.

It was after the third pass that I realized I had used the wrong round-nose router bit. The width of the round-bottom trench was too wide for the profile as I had it drawn. You know what that means, right. Yep, start over. I’ll choose the right bits this time, and I think I’ll re-design the molding somewhat; I wasn’t thrilled with how it was coming out. Also, because it is time-consuming to accurately position the jig, I’ll switch to my Micro Fence circle-cutting jig which allows me way more accuracy as I work.

That’s my Sunday (another day in the shop, yeah). What are you planning?

Build Something Great!
Glen

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Filed under Jigs, Routers, Tall Clock

More on a Punched Scroll-board

IMG_1113I’ve been leery of the Egerton tall clock punched scroll-board veneer from the git-go. Until this weekend my concerns were in how to attach the  veneer – backed by what appears to be speaker cloth – over the scroll-board. If I glue the speaker cloth over the holes drilled into the scroll – holes that are to allow more bell sound to emit as the movement strikes on the hour – I’m sure to get glue on the cloth. That’s not going to work. Also, as I then glue the veneered face to the assembly, once again glue seeps into the cloth and the mess continues.

This weekend I found a new concern. How would I finish the clock if I worked out all the attachment issues? There will be no dye or stain, but I will add a layer of boiled linseed oil to highlight the grain in my mahogany. IMG_1109And with shellac as my topcoat, how the hell would I brush, wipe or spray shellac without filling the open weave of the speaker cloth? I’m at a loss and turning to plan B. Or is that E? Not sure.

The next plan was to attach my punched veneer directly over the scroll-board without using a cloth between. To glue the face veneer to the scroll would be easy, but the holes would be a problem. Some of the holes do not go all the way through the scroll and the look in a mocked-up sample was less than stellar. I used a brad-point bit to cut my holes. The center point of the bit left a nasty look in any holes not drilled completely through. IMG_1108Maybe a spoon bit and a brace? Too much work. A round-nose router bit plunged into the scroll? Too much rigging, With another quick look at that arrangement, I knew it was out. Next idea, please.

My mind scrambled for an answer. How about black veneer behind the punched-out face veneer? Finishing would be OK. Oil and shellac would work fine on top of the veneer. The look would be similar. Where was the problem? (There had to be one, right.) Sound. That’s it. The idea of the cloth and holes was to elevate the sound of the bell ring. No holes equals less sound. It’s OK to not have holes in the scroll-board. Most clocks don’t and the sound of the chime is still heard. I moved forward.

IMG_1110Black-dyed veneer was cut and fit to the punched face veneer. A thin layer of glue was spread and the two veneers were sandwiched between wax paper and two make-shift platens. Clamps held everything flat as I waited to see my results.

As the glue dried and I worked on other areas of the clocks, Dave Griessmann, a friend who spends time in my shop on Saturdays – he also forces me to have doughnuts in the morning and lunch at BW3 – suggested that I still place a few holes through the scroll-board to help with the sound. Good idea. I think sound would increase if it only had to pierce two thin layers of veneer. A few well-placed holes are being considered, but that decision can wait until later.

Being the visual woodworker that I am, I thumb-tacked the veneer sandwiches to the hood and stood back to take a look. That’s what you see in the opening photo (click on it to make it larger). The contrast is more now than it will be when the mahogany is colored and finished. I like it, but I need some time to decide. You have any ideas?

Build Something Great!

Glen

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Filed under Tall Clock, Veneer

More on the Pierced Veneer

After fooling around with shop-made veneer for the pierced hood on the Egerton clock and not being satisfied, I decided to purchase a wood-backed veneer. IMG_1099I went to joewoodworker.com and bought a 4′ x 8′ sheet of ribbon-stripe mahogany. I opted for the backer veneer to run across the grain for added stability – I am punching through most of the veneered front. I placed my order on July 15th. Friday the 19th my veneer arrived. (Joe has great service. I was notified at every step.)

In the shop I cut off a 24″ section from the sheet. The opening photo shows how I went about establishing the angle of the grain, and it shows that I made a mistake as I rushed to get started – I laid out four sections (two pieces for each clock) angled the same direction.IMG_1100 I needed two sets with the grain at opposing angles.

What I am particularly fond of is how easy it is to work with backed veneer. I cut the pieces to size using a pair of scissors. How easy is that? To get setup to do the punch work, I cut a piece of plywood a bit over-sized to act as a backer, then tacked and clamped my patten (slightly adjusted to show areas covered by moldings in the finished piece) to the plywood. I clamped one end so I could easily check my progress as I completed some of the work.

I began by using an 1/8″-wide chisel to cut at each of the four corners of the small patterns in my design. IMG_1102Work was just as with a machine in that I grabbed the chisel, oriented it for one corner then cut that corner in every contorted square. In the left-hand photo you can see the completed run of the first stage of work. I have to say that my hand was cramping as I worked the corners while holding the chisel between my thumb and index finger. I used a light mallet tap to punch the corners.

As I began step two using the small gouge, I decided that my mallet was unnecessary. Mere pressure could cut the veneer. I worked the small squares one at a time, removing the waste as I worked. IMG_1103A couple times the waste would slide under the veneer before I could grab it, so I had to remove the clamp in order to clear the way for the next square. And I could check my progress.

After nearly four hours I finished with the first half of one pierced piece of veneer. When I held it up to the hood, it looked good. What wasn’t good was the temperature. My shop has no air-conditioning, so I loaded up the necessary tools and veneer and took off for home. I could punch the remaining pieces at my kitchen counter.

Next week I’ll give you a look at the two finished pieces. Not bad so far.

Build Something Great!

Glen

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Filed under Hand Tools, Tall Clock, Veneer