Penmaking articles Penmaking Tips
Mantle Clock Building

Americana Mantle Clock

by Joseph M. Herrmann of Timber Treasures
Reprinted by permission from Creative Woodworks and Crafts Magazine

Attaching the molding
After the paint had dried, I applied glue to the miters and attached the molding to the clock with No. 18 x 1-1/4” brads. I covered the resulting holes with spackling compound and repainted the blemishes.

Clock face backer board
A backer board must be used to support both the clock face and the mechanism. I used a piece of 1/4” Luan plywood that I cut to fit very snugly inside the case of the clock.
A 5/16” hole must be drilled in this piece of stock so it is dead center in the middle of the 5-3/4” hole cut into the face of the clock body. And, therein lies the problem: how do you locate the center of a hole that has already been cut? You could use a “trial and error” approach to find the center, but there is a more accurate procedure that you might have learned back in your high school drafting class.
Insert the Luan plywood backer board inside the clock body and, with a sharp pencil, trace the opening onto the plywood.
Referring to the Clock Face Center Location Drawing, (found in Pattern Section No.1) make pencil lines “AB” and “BC” somewhere in the upper half of the circle. They don’t have to be of any special length or placed in any special position within the circle. The two lines do have to touch at point “B” and be above an imaginary horizontal centerline.
Next, set a compass so that the radius is more than half the length of line “AB” and, with the compass point on points “A” and “B,” strike two sets of arcs to locate points “D” and “E.”
Reset the compass (if necessary) for a radius greater than half the length of line “BC” and with the compass point on points “B” and “C,” strike two sets of arcs to locate points “F” and “G.”
Connect points “D” and “E” and points “F” and “G” with two straight lines to locate point “H,” the center of the hole.
Before you do anything else, reset your compass to draw a 6-1/16”-Dia. circle at point “H.” This will be a reference line to locate the position of the clock face when it is attached to the backer board.
Now, using a drill press and a 5/16”-Dia. brad point drill bit, drill a hole all the way through the plywood backer board. Be sure to have a scrap piece of stock under the plywood when you drill the hole to prevent the underside from splintering.

Attaching the clock face and mechanism
I placed a couple of small pieces of double stick tape on the back side of the clock face and positioned it very carefully within the 6-1/6”-Dia. circle that I previously drew on the backer board. I then placed the backer board inside the clock body to check its position.
When I was satisfied with the placement, I removed the plywood from the clock and inserted the stem of the clock mechanism in the 5/16”-Dia. hole that I drilled earlier. I placed the small brass washer over the stem and
tightened down the brass hex nut.
I attached the hands to the stem by placing the hour hand in the 12:00 position, then rotated the stem so that the flats lined up to position the minute hand directly over the hour hand. I placed the second hand directly over the other two hands.
I secured the backer board to the clock body by placing one No. 18 x 1/2” nail in each corner of the backer board. Then, I installed the AA battery and left the clock to run for awhile to be sure that the hands were aligned properly and everything else worked as it should.
All that remained was to make and install the board to enclose the back of the clock. I used a piece of 1/8” masonite. I cut the panel to 8-1/4” x 10” and secured it with a No. 2 x 3/8” roundhead brass screw in each corner. This allows me to gain access to the mechanism when the battery needs to be replaced.

Fig. 1. Make sure that the slots are equally spaced. Note the piece of tape placed on the throat plate used to line up successive cuts.

Fig. 2. Make a layout for the rabbets on the end
of one of the vertical members.

Fig. 3. Be sure that the scrap piece is to the left of the saw blade
so it won’t be kicked back at you.

Fig. 4. Assemble the box with brads and a little glue.

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