Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stop: Hammer Time Clock Works

You'd be amazed at the things you can turn into a clock. Well, you might not be, but I am.

I'm not sure what got me started  on it but I decided I wanted to try making a clock (likely the boredom of recovering from back surgery and desperately wanting something to do). I spent weeks looking for things that would make a good clock. From light fixtures, to dinner plates, to old toilet seats. But nothing jumped out at me until I bought a wine barrel off Craigslist ($35) and broke it open. There on the shop floor, stained burgundy by the wine it held, lay the foundation for my first clock. And, since a wine barrel has a top and a bottom, my second clock as well. And some candle holders, some art work, some wine bottle racks, I'm amazed what one can make with an old wine barrel. But this post is about clocks! I'll get to all that in later posts.

This barrel had been stored outside and had some spider webs and a few old bug carcasses in it. So the first thing I did was rinse and scrub it with a brush. Because the staves (I think that's what they're called, wine barrel anatomy is on par with my spool anatomy) that make up the top and bottom aren't glued or nailed together (it's amazing to me these things don't leak like sieves). I worked some wood glue into the seams to give it some stability and clamped it overnight.

I looked online for some clock parts and learned two things. 1) The size of the clock body would require large hands which would require a high torque motor to move the hands. And 2) it's not called a motor, it's called a movement. Seriously. I found the appropriate sized hands and movement (giggidy) through and they were quite reasonable (defined as 'less than what I had expected'). About $15 if I remember correctly, but still the most expensive movement I've had (I can't help myself).

I found a neat way to find the center of a circle on YouTube, and drilled the appropriate sized hole in the center. I placed the movement in the hole (this is killing me), traced around it and used my brother-in-law's router to make a pocket for the movement to sit in (I'm done, I swear).

I used some 1/2" shiny silver tiles from a second-hand store (no pun intended) for the 3, 6, 9, & 12 and used silver thumb tacks for the other numbers.

After having made two of these, I imagine I could complete one in an hour or so. The most time consuming part was making sure my measurements for the hour markers were exact. I used a lot of complex math to figure the exact distance between each hour then repeated it to make sure I did it right. Unfortunately, as I write this I'm realizing that if I put the hands on the movement and rotate the minute hand it will tell me exactly where the hour markers go. Note to self.

Also, and I learned this one the hard way, never turn the hour hand on a high torque movement (Seriously?! I'm sorry, I just can't let that one go). It breaks the teeth off of the gears and you have to buy a second $15 high torque movement.

I honestly never expected this to digress into poop jokes. But, come on. High torque movement? That's going to be my new after-coffee euphemism.

1 comment:

  1. I know I love my high torque movement. I mean I love my high torque movement clock. I never thought I'd hang a high torque movement on my wall.