A new series to make the wall clock

In a couple of weeks the Online Broadcast we started will come to an end and the next projects will take us into the new year. You can of course still sign up for the series on the wall clock and the methods and techniques will give a solid beginning for hand tool instruction. Over the next few blogs, however, I will be posting the steps for building one that will accompany the online series so let me introduce this series.

The wall clock is made from pine and I chose this because it enables you to locate your wood easily from almost any store or lumberyard and it works especially well with hand tools. To make the clock you will need a few hand tools, a workbench of some kind and a vise to hold your material as you work. First of all we should take a look more closely at the wood we use.

Going through wood lots and lumberyards has been a part of my life for almost five decades. I do it most weeks and this is how I source most of my materials. I have a good idea what i am looking for but sometimes I find materials that are more scarce or unusual and I buy for that reason alone. Looking at pine is actually one of my favourite things to look through. Here I often find wood with beautiful grain configuration and some might say hidden beauty. As I was looking through the wood at the Mochdre store I usually go to in North Wales, I found many boards that had no knots and nice even texture.This type of wood gives me the least problems but can sometimes be dull and boring. In this case and on this day I found many boards I liked and some had some very beautiful figuring a felt would be good to stock for other future projects. A major consideration when I drive to buy would is to economize on my trip. If I can think ahead, I can choose wood fr other projects and in this case I wanted extra wood for making my tool box that I would be making during the month long class I just completed last week. For this workshop I needed about 150 board feet plus my own so I carefully selected the boards I needed with enough for my clock. I also picked up some oak for my online broadcast series starting at the end of the years. I did have oak already I stock but I wanted to take people through the steps for my selection.

For the clock, I chose my pine carefully. I usually look for flatness and minimal defects when choosing planed stock as this might cause unnecessary difficulty in hand planing the surfaces when I removing machine planer marks. I also look for good, straight grain with pleasing configuration but not fancy grain with crotch patterns or burl figuring and such. That type of grain in pine can be difficult to smooth with a hand plane, even for experienced woodworkers, and  you cannot generally use a bench cabinetscraper to take care of this type of grain as you might in say oak or other such harder, denser-grained woods.



My timber yard (lumberyard US) allows me to pick through the wood and I always restack neatly. This company also allows me to cut the length I need as long as I leave two metres on the board.

With my hand picked wood ready to go I went back to the workshop and ripped my stock to width and planed all of the surfaces smooth by handsaw and hand plane.

I cut my pieces to length according to my cutting list before ripping to width. This enables me to plane the ends on the wider board, which is easier than on narrow ends unless of course you have a shooting board.

The width of my side pieces is 3 1/2” so I can use either the combination square and pencil as shown here, or I can use a marking gauge, which is a traditional method. I set the combination square to 3 1/2” and ran a pencil line along the length using the square as a guide. This is quick and simple. You can also use a marking gauge for this too.


I used a 10ppi panel saw to rip down the length of the board and left the line there for me to plane down to.


I planed both boards together in the vise. This practical in that it gives extra width that helps support the plane and keep me square.


With my pieces cut to width and length according to my cutting list I was ready for grooving the side pieces along the length.


I set the plough plane’s depth by setting the adjustable shoe 5/16″ from the actual cutting edge.


Most of this work can of course be done by machine if preferred but hand cutting gives me a certain rhythm I don’t get with the machine so whenever it’s practical I use hand power.



Setting up the plough plane is quick and effective. My groove could be any size between 1/4” and 1/2” and I chose 3/8” of an inch and set the distance 3/8” from the front edge of the side piece.


To use a plough plane it works best if you start at the end furthest away and work backwards in successive strokes to start. Once the course is cut into and through the surface fibres and along the full length, you can deepen the cut with long, even strokes until you reach the set depth. In this case the depth is 5/16”.


The cutting list for the clock is as follows:


Main Clock Body

Top 1 @ 7/8” x 4 3/8” x 9 7/8”

Bottom 1 @ 7/8” x 4 3/8” x 9 7/8”

Side 2 @ 7/8” x 3 1/2” x 17 1/2”

Cross rail 2 @ 7/8” x 2” x 7 3/4”

Panel 1 @ 7/8” x 7 3/4” x 13 5/8”

Undercarriage 1 @ 1 3/4” X 2 5/8” x 6 3/8”

Cove 1 @ 7/8” x7/8” x 15”


  1. juryaan on 2 December 2012 at 12:05 am

    Hello Paul,

    I really enjoy watching the wallclock project.

    I have almost finished my first clock by now and i hope to make

    some more before christmas for my family.

    I never could have thought that creating something myself with

    just handtools was so satisfying.

    Can’t wait for the other projects.

    Thank you Paul for bringing woodworking in to my life.

    • Paul Sellers on 2 December 2012 at 5:34 am

      Well, Juryaan, I am so glad that you and many like you are finding the rewards of working wood by hand an alternative reality to the future of woodworking as a whole. I find myself feeling at my best when I make something that has meaningful results. I hope that you will enjoy the next couple of videos which includes some radical ways of sharpening saws and a project that gets people started in hand tool woodworking. I’ll be discussing the essential ten tools and joinery as we progress through the course. I know that you will also enjoy our major project, which is the Arts and Crafts rocking chair. We bring some unique twists into that too.
      Best regards,


    • J Guengerich on 2 December 2012 at 6:49 am

      Beautiful clock body!

  2. J Guengerich on 2 December 2012 at 6:47 am

    Hi Paul, this is a great companion to the video series in the Master Class program. Thanks for all the work and care in putting these together.

  3. Dave on 24 April 2013 at 5:36 pm

    I am a bit late to the party but have a dimensional question. I have looked throughout the blog more than once and can’t make sense of the length of the rails and the width of the panel. Overall width of clock (ie. length of top and bottom) is 9 7/8″. Distance in from ends to inside of stopped dado is 1 3/4″ each end. This leaves clear distance between dados as 6 3/8″. Adding 5/16″ stub tenon at each end of rails (or sides of panel) gives an overall length of rails (or width of panel) to be 7″. Cut list calls for 7 3/4″.

    I can’t believe I am the first to ask this question. Either that or I am totally missing something. Can someone please clarify.

    Thanks, Dave

    PS Any chance of seeing photo of bottom of clock showing undercarriage and cove? Or is it necessary to purchase this project to see that info?

    • Paul Sellers on 24 April 2013 at 6:00 pm

      You are the first and I am not sure where we are with it. I will check soon and get back to you.

  4. steve gemmell on 4 May 2015 at 8:00 pm

    Hi Paul I really enjoy all your videos and I’m making a wall clock but where do you get the clock faces from many the steve

    • Paul Sellers on 4 May 2015 at 9:46 pm

      You can buy them from Axminster in the UK or Lee Valley Veritas in the USA or Canada.

  5. Eric Uglem on 15 July 2017 at 7:24 pm

    I watched your entire 8 episode wall clock build with great interest as you have become my favourite new woodworker, in fact I have also ordered a few of the tools you use. Thankyou for that. My biggest problem is with finding the wood for the project and for any of the projects I have wanted to build over the years. I live in Canada on the prairies, and I have NEVER been able to find clear pine of the thickness you are using at any lumberyard or home centre EVER in my entire life and I’m 64. It really irks me when I see projects in American woodworking magazines like a six board chest for example (Mike Dunbar) that he just went down to his local home centre and picked up 12” x 1” thick clear pine boards! They don’t exist here, and we have one of the largest pine forests in the world.( Saskatchewan)The argument being that we Canada ship all our best wood to the states, which may be true, I don’t know.If I want a pine board, it’s a special order at my lumberyard and I certainly won’t have the luxury of being able to pick it out and it will only be a 1 by. and full of knots, Ridiculous.

  6. Eric Uglem on 4 August 2017 at 2:44 am

    7\8 ths of an inch? Ridiculous.

    • Paul Sellers on 4 August 2017 at 7:17 am

      In what way? Let me guess, you like metric only!!! Imagine life without imperial measurements. How drab if the whole world worked only in metric!