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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Perth
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    58
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    211

    Default Mantel Clock Build

    I am several years overdue in making a mantel clock for my son. I dug out the instructions from our friends at HB Clock Plans / Hermle, blew the dust off and thought about how to do this. I already have the right mechanical movement from CMT Hermle, a 320 with a moon dial. It's been sitting in the shed for about five years!

    The size of the mouldings for this design had always held me back, they are so big you almost need a spindle moulder (which I don't have of course). I had also just packed away my router table, and my 1/2" Triton router is playing up also. I don't like routers, so noisy and everything in the workshop gets covered in dust. Also, power routers tend to burn blackwood (which I am using), but no chance of doing this with a hand plane!

    In keeping with my Zen-motivated move toward the Dark Side, I decided I would do all the mouldings with my Stanley 55. I have been meaning to get to know this plane better, so I sharpened the appropriate blades and got to it. Firstly, I decided on the profiles for the top and bottom, the one used in the instructions is just plain ugly (IMHO) and also difficult to make with the 55. So the base will be two stacked Roman ogees (I've used this design before and quite like it) and the top will be a combined bead and cove profile. The photos below show the progress I made with these profiles, it is great fun to use the 55, and I managed to teach myself (well, "stumble across" might be more accurate) a few techniques as well. The key of course is razor sharp blades, I have acquired enough diamond plates, files and ceramic stones to be able to do this now. The old blades that came with the combination plane were, of course, in a bad state, but they came up nicely enough.

    I ploughed some trenches for the splines that the instructions recommend as well, the plane made very short work of this with a 3/16" blade.

    So mouldings done, now to make the mitre joints and assemble the base and the top. I don't know how long it will take to complete, I'm in no rush!

    Cheers
    Swifty
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    Swifty

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  3. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Age
    58
    Posts
    211

    Default

    I noticed in the plan that the case is suited to a different slightly larger dial face than the one I have, so I put the clock together first to check the measurements.

    The determining factor for the case width is actually the chime block, which lies directly behind and underneath the movement and is wider. The movement is a 340-020 spring balance Hermle mechanism, it's purring away quite nicely at the moment. That's something new as all my other clocks have had pendulums.

    I will only need to adjust the width of the door stiles to reach the edges of the dial, and maybe make the case a little bit shorter. I'm glad I checked before I made any cuts to the profile mouldings!
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    Swifty

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Rushworth, Victoria
    Posts
    360

    Default

    Love that plane Swifty, but too much energy for my lazy bones, must be good to see the profile come to life but. Following
    "World's oldest kid"

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Age
    58
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    211

    Default

    After remeasuring and recalculating (there wasn't much difference actually), I dimensioned all the timber to the correct thickness. The second photo just shows why I really like my Stanley No 7 jointer, those edges align perfectly!
    The last two photos show the base and the top profiles being glued up after being mitred. That's as far as I got today.
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    Swifty

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    836

    Default

    Another nice looking project Swifty. I'm taking notes on this one, would love to do a mechanical clock build one day.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Age
    58
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    211

    Default

    I haven't had much time in the shed the past two weeks. I did manage to put the back components on the profiled base and top. The plan just says to glue these pieces, but glue is never enough and its all long grain on end grain, so I added some home-made blackwood dowels to pin them as well.

    I cut the boards for the main housing for the clock and just stacked them to give an idea of what the clock eventually will look like. It's not going to be that tall, those sides will be cut shorter. I ploughed trenches in the sides to hold the dial frame, I just stuck a piece in there for the photo.
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    Swifty

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Perth
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    58
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    Default

    All the components have been cut to width, time for some joinery. The rebates for the main housing were done with a Stanley 78 at first, then I just used a bandsaw, a backsaw and a hand router for the second board, which was a lot quicker. A dry fit-up of the housing in the base, with the clock board put in for measuring the final dimensions of the dial frame and door.

    I had to adjust the design again, once again I don't like glue-only joins as specified in the plans. So there will be some hidden screws as well to hold the base on. I cut the chime block and the supports for the clock itself, it's time to get that finished and mount the clock once and for all, I gave seven coats of shellac, wiped on with a rag, just need to put it together now.
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    Swifty

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Rushworth, Victoria
    Posts
    360

    Default Shellac

    Nice work swifty, do you find shellac easy enough to use. I went to Lost Trades Fair and saw a guy doing it but it sounds so temperamental.
    "World's oldest kid"

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Age
    58
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    211

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AndrewPatrol View Post
    Nice work swifty, do you find shellac easy enough to use. I went to Lost Trades Fair and saw a guy doing it but it sounds so temperamental.
    Hi Andrew, yes I am comfortable using shellac. I used a small rag folded over and over, ended up about 2cm wide, which I dipped into some shellac and laid down on the timber as strips parallel to the grain, very slightly overlapping. Not too much, shellac doesn't like it, once it's laid down leave it well alone, it will dry quick enough (ten minutes touch dry). I let about an hour or two between the seven coats I laid down. Oh, and a new piece of cloth for each coat. Between coats a very light sanding with 600 grit sandpaper. The wood is prepared by sanding to 600 grit, then applying a coat of sanding sealer (that's shellac diluted 1:10 in metho), let that dry and lightly sand again at 600 grit, then you're on your way. At the end, I rubbed with EEE ultra shine using another rag, to even it out and improve the surface quality.
    The shellac itself was a fresh brew of dewaxed blonde flakes, made into a 2 lb cut, that is, 50 grams of flakes dissolved in 200 ml of pure metho.

    This part will be hidden inside the clock and rarely seen (once every five years for the clock oiling!). The visible outer parts I will French polish, which is an entirely different matter.

    PS. It won't start to look consistent before the fourth or fifth coat; I just keep putting them on until I'm happy with it!
    Swifty

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Age
    58
    Posts
    211

    Default Clock cradle done

    Here is the clock in its cradle. Hopefully I won't need to take it apart again. The base is actually a piece of New Guinea Rosewood that I had, that happened to be the exact thickness required for the chime block, which needs to be three mm below the hammers. The struts are blackwood of course, you can see I had to chop out a piece on the right strut to make way for the chime block, so I glued on an extra piece for reinforcement. The moon phase wheel can be seen, unusual to have one is such a small clock but the option was there so I got it. The front board is just a piece of 6mm plywood, it won't be visible of course, it will be covered by the dial frame. The clock mechanism is screwed onto the front board through four steel brackets, one of which can be seen on the top right.
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    Swifty

  12. #11
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    Jan 2008
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    Perth
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    58
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    211

    Default Dial Frame and front door assembly

    The dial frame and front door are being put together now, the dial frame is already glued, I need to do make some rebates on the door styles before I glue these up. I chose some featured blackwood for the door, I reckon it will look good when it is finished. The second picture shows the dial frame behind the door, as it will be seen. Internal edges will be routed to nice profiles, and the door will have a 3mm glass pane added.

    The bottom rail is joined to the styles with a hand-cut mortise and tenon, the rounded top stile I just cut some lap joints which I could tweek very accurately using a hand router. It came together OK!
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    Swifty

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Perth
    Age
    58
    Posts
    211

    Default Getting ready for FP

    I am a bit rusty on my French polish, and I wanted to test out the Aqua Coat pore filler to see if it would work, so I dug out all my FP gear and did a bit of a practice run on a blackwood off-cut.
    It has been at least 12 months, so I was pleasantly surprised to see my old rubbers were still usable and moist, I store them in jam bottles with really good seals, so the alcohol was still there. This saves me a lot of time because I don't have to break in new rubbers.

    I think I didn't do the Aquacoat thing properly, worked it too long and left it on too thick. Ended up having to do quite a bit of sanding at the end, and although the pores looked filled, the surface was ugly. So I went over it again using the traditional method with some pumice powder from a ponce, this finished filling the pores and left a good surface. So at least the Aquacoat saved me some time. It's only a small piece, so I needed to be careful not to overload with shellac during the bodying sessions. I've done about ten sessions, I am fairly happy with the result (they say French polishers are never truly happy with their results), the pictures below tell the story.

    I think the finish will look grand when the project is done! Slide13.jpgSlide14.jpg
    Swifty

  14. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Brisbane
    Posts
    836

    Default

    That's a lovely polish you've got going there. The clock is coming along nicely as well. Do you plan to polish all of the exterior surfaces or just the face?

  15. #14
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    Jan 2008
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    Perth
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    Default

    Yes, the outside will all be french polished, except the back which won't normally be seen. Inside, the Dial Frame and the back of the front door will also be polished, as these will be visible when the clock is being wound. In fact, I've already started on the FP for the dial frame you can see in the photos. I'm about half way through that. I thought I would do that while I waiting for hinges to arrive, also I started turning the columns.
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    Swifty

  16. #15
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    Jan 2008
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    Perth
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    211

    Default Columns coming along

    I glued up the front door after adjusting the hinge rebate and fitting it to the case with bent flap hinges, it should just screw straight back when it's ready. I turned the four columns. These were pore filled with AquaCoat. In the picture, the left column has been pore filled, and the other two are a bit further along with a few French Polish sessions done. There is still a ways to go before I get the glossy finish I want, I am happy with the surface preparation so don't see any problems hopefully. I had to make a little baby rubber that could reach into the coves and corners of the beads.

    All I need to do now is compete the lid, pre-assemble and screw the whole case, then take it all apart for the French polish, then very carefully put it back together again (some parts will be glued at this stage). I will have to be extra careful not to damage the polish when I do this!
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    Swifty

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