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