Episode 81 It’s Time

Episode 81 It’s Time

It’s Time

At the Melbourne Working with Wood Show I had taken a slice of burl, and used the Torque Workcentre to start surfacing it as a demo of the TWC, and the idea quickly progressed as the timber talked, that it would make an interesting (large) desk or mantlepiece clock.

That block of burl has been sitting in my shed ever since, waiting for the project to be completed.  And after 6 months since the show, I finally got around to doing just that.

At the Wood Show, I had bought the clock mechanism I needed (from Carrolls Woodcraft Supplies) with an extra-long shaft, so I could keep the burl as thick as possible.  So back in the shed, I did some final passes with a surfacing bit on the back of the burl to get it to the final thickness I needed.  I could have used a drum sander with twin passes per layer, but it would have taken a LONG time.  And the thicknesser would have had all sorts of problems on the gnurly grain, even if it could fit.  So the TWC is by far and away the best tool for the job.

Cutting out the square mortise in the back for the clock can be done a number of different ways, router, chisel,  oscillating cutter. But when there is a tool specifically designed for cutting a mortise, why not use that!

Testing the clock fit, and with some real minor tweaking, it was a very successful method.

And seeing the Domino was out of the box, it was also perfect for attaching the stand to the back of the burl. (An offcut taken from the burl early on)

It sticks out over the bottom, ready to be cut off, then sanded flush.

Next will be finishing the front face, attaching the clock and shifting it to its final location.

Update, for those who missed it, here are some photos of the burl near original size being flattened.

Starting the burl surfacing

Revealing a surface, 5mm at a time

When I first got the idea of the clock

Offcut that will become the clock stand

Completion of Clock Project

Things were able to progress faster than I was expecting – the Liquid Glass finish from www.photogloss.com.au was ready for the next stage by the following day (guess I got my mixture pretty right)

The last step was pretty straightforward – fix the clock mechanism to the burl (only requires a single central nut on the clock shaft), stick down the numbers, add the clock hands.

It was a while ago that I bought the mechanism, so the template for the position of the numbers was long gone (not that it is particularly hard – 30 degrees between each position), but I had an ace up my sleeve anyway – The Sewing Revolution 6-8 template.  It gave me exact positions for the numbers, and included exact position from the centre.

Number Location using Sewing Revolution

Number Location using Sewing Revolution

The Sewing Revolution seems a perfect tool for clockmaking – not something I had originally thought of, but made perfect sense when it did.

Completed Burl Clock

Completed Burl Clock

It almost became a shed clock, but foolishly I had it inside the house for the final finishing stages, and it got repurposed to replace the lounge clock.

Ok, not a bad thing, because I get to use it every day now.  Looks good – I’m happy!

Clock's Final Home

Clock's Final Home

A Burl Clock for the Shed

To start the process, I’ve been preparing the burl slab itself, and the first part of that was the recent YouTube Chronicles video, running the burl through the drum sander.

Next, I took the random orbital sander to the surface, starting with the unusually coarse (for me) 80 grit paper (the burl is very hard), and continued through the grits to 400. For previous clocks I would normally oil the surface (with a burnishing oil), but in this case I didn’t think it would be needed to get the grain to show up, and I didn’t know how the Liquid Glass would respond to it.

I’ve then flipped the board over to mill out a cavity for the clock mechanism.

Creating the Template

Creating the Template

I needed a template to route out the opening, so started down the tradition path – marking out the opening, drilling holes, cutting with a jigsaw, filing off the jigsaw marks, and all the while I was thinking to myself – there has to be a better way. Then I remembered the Sonicrafter that I previewed for the manufacturers – one of the high vibrating speed cutting tools (takes different blades etc, the well known version is the Fein). This one is Worx brand (the bigger brother of the Rockwell that has recently hit the Aussie market) It will be in the marketplace soon fwiw. I gave it a try, and it worked like a dream – the perfect tool for the job. In future it will be the first tool I turn to for jig creation! I made the template out of MDF, and before you ask why I didn’t just cut the actual opening this way: burl is really hard, and I think any of these cutters would probably struggle, and secondly, and more importantly, I needed the opening in the burl to be a partial depth only.

A big reason for me using this tool, is I can cut a square opening, with straight sides a lot easier than my older methods!

The opening in the template is larger than the actual clock mechanism, as it needs to take into account the distance between the outside of the template and the router bit. I set the router bit depth, taking into account the thickness of the burl, the length of shaft of the clock, and the various components that are attached.

Router Bit Depth Set

Router Bit Depth Set

I used the Wixey Digital Height Gauge to set the height accurately. So once I had the template, this was clamped to the burl, and the opening created with the router.

Mechanism Opening

Mechanism Cavity

A perfect opening

A perfect opening (centre still to be removed)

The above-image has the outside routed to full depth, but as you can see the middle area needs another pass.

Back of Burl Clock

Back of Burl Clock

So this is the back complete.  I tend to leave it raw so I can see the difference in the finished front and the raw back when I want to.  I know this is not best practice, if for no other reason than it can encourage warping when the stock is thin.  Still, it’s a choice I make (in some circumstances).

Oh, and for the doubters, yes I do use my JawHorse, all the time, and for almost every project!

Next post will be about finishing the front.

SSYTC007 Preparing a Burl

Taking a slice of burl, and getting the surface flat has traditionally meant I have broken out the belt sander which (unless it is a particular shade of green) is NOT a precision machine.  Some will use handtools – planes, scrapers etc to get the surface flat, but circumstances (and a complete lack of time) means I tend to select powered (electron murdering) machines, and the drum sander is particularly suited to the task.

Toy Clock Design

I’ve just been playing around in AutoCAD designing a toy clock for the Holmesglen Toymaking course that I am running end of November.

Here’s a quick look at progress so far:

Toy Clock

Toy Clock

The idea is that each of the removable numbers will have a number on them – possibly carved – haven’t decided!  They will be made from a piece of dowel, and the holes cut with a forstner bit.  The overall clock cut out on the bandsaw using a circle cutting jig, and at the rear of the clock there will be a stand that folds away so the clock can either be used flat on a table, standing up on a table, or hung on a wall.

Overall dimension is 300mm diameter for the clock, with each number being 20mm diameter.

One (good) suggestion is to fit magnets underneath each number – definitely sounds like a good idea (so long as they are affixed strongly enough – do not want a child eating one – or rather eating more than one – that is very dangerous.  However, if mounted properly, this isn’t a problem.)

I’m also now thinking about how I could have a removable mechanism so when it is not being played with, and is hanging on the wall, that it actually works as a real clock.

A More Fitting Clock

Saw this in Carbatec, and just had to have it on the shed wall!  Thought it’d look good in the background if it happens to be in view in a video. Good ‘timing’ too, upgrading the clock during the shed upgrade.

What really sold it for me were the clock hands – the minute hand is a saw blade, and the hour hand is a hammer.

Silly really, but I like it! Ok, so I’m a big kid. 🙂

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