Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Mantel Clock

While working on the model of the loft apartment I placed a clock on the mantel.  I thought it looked good and included some detail on it.  The more I detailed it the more fascinating it became to me.  In order to develop it further I took the original model from the greater loft model and separated it out. 

I drew full scale working drawings of it.  The face door swings open to wind the strikes.  The back is removable to access the mechanism.  And the top conceals a hidden compartment that holds the winding key.  Note: I didn't design the clockworks, only the wooden cabinet that houses them, the 'body' of the clock.

When I laid the ink-on-trace drawings on top of each other they created a cool composite of the design.
In the course of designing it completely, it changed substantially, so I updated the 3D model to reflect those changes.

Final 3D model.
I found a professional furniture builder and clockmaker in Sandy Utah, Lawrence Cooke, to construct it for me and hired him to do so.  The following pictures of its construction and their captions are his.

The Raw Materials - A few board feet of American Black Walnut, and the precut red oak dial ring.

Planing the rosewood face elements

Cutting the rosewood dial parts and fitting them to the time ring.  Rosewood is very tough and hard on saw blades.  It is very hard to get a saw to cut a curve as the grain fights the blade and kicks it off track.  I gave up using a scroll saw and used a jeweler's saw to cut them by hand.  You can see where I had to use rosewood sawdust and glue to fill in.

Dial board: front view.

The rosewood parts are finished.  I mounted the wrong movement to the dialboard.  This movement uses a 3" pendulum instead of a balance spring.  This movement is for circa 1900 clocks.
I finally got the right movement installed, plus set the chime rods in place to see if I could figure out any install problems before they came.

The dial gets glued together.

The dial door gets clamped and glued flat.

The wood for the sides has been joined and edge-glued.  I used a lot of tape to protect the face from chisel slips while I chamfered the tic marks.
The dial frame gets fitted to the sides and base.

The columns/piers get notched via the radial arm saw.  I hand sharpened a steel hollowground planer blade to get a blade sharpe enough to cut the columns without breaking off the 1/8" space between the kerfs.  Most carbide blades that I can afford aren't sharp enough.

Here I figured out how to install the chime rods without cutting into the sides.  I moved the hammers back on their handles, just enough to clear the chime block.  The sides and bottom are ready for the lift/drop back.

The base is glued to the bottom.  The base parts were rift cut to get the effect of the grain-arch between the feet.

Parts cut for the top assembly.  The door is rabbeted for the glass.  It's a lot of chisel work.

The removable top is taped together for a trial fit.

Another view.  The floor of the top is edge-glued.

The roof assembly is glued together with millions of clamps.

The top floor gets a breadboard edge to that its 45 degree miters match the rest of the entablature.

The top is built, and the glass backstops are cut.

Nearly finished.  Waiting for the face door and hands.

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