The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

Click here to edit subtitle

Please use link below to go to updated page with images

My photo hoster went out of business, so I lost all of my photos on this page.  I redid the web site..........and please use this link to see the updated page with photos..........Thanks

2018 Mini Grandfather Clock

A couple of years ago, I built 2 of these as gifts to my children.  Now each time I see the one at my son's house, I think, "Darn, I should have made one for myself also!"

So I decided to build one for myself.

When I built the first two, on 1 of them, the clock turned out to be crooked when it was fully assembled, and I had to rework it.  See this story here.

I decided to be extra careful in the assembly of the 3 boxes, to avoid the crooked clock syndrome.  I ordered the parts to build 1 clock.  It was $80, most of the cost was the wood.  I have a little walnut in inventory, but not enough to build a complete I decided to buy all the wood needed.  On the ScrollerOnline web site, they did not list the clock movement as being available for purchase.  I called them, and they had over 20 in stock, but for some reason it was not showing up on their web site.  She took my complete order on the phone.

Starting to Build the Clock

I used stop blocks on the radial arm saw, to make sure the pieces in each box were cut exactly the same length.  I used squares during clamping to make sure the boxes sides were in the right orientation.

I used my trusty yellow Titebond II glue on this project.  I did use the oven to cure the glued parts faster at about 115F.

Top Box Assembly

Top Finial

The finial that ships with the kit has a 1/2" diameter dowel at the bottom..........which won't fit in the top decorative board that is 1/2" I turned the finial down to 3/8" diameter on the lathe.  I put some blue masking tape on the top of the finial, to prevent the steel chuck jaws from marking it. I used my smaller carbide lathe tool to do the turning work.

All Walnut Pieces Completed

Not Much Walnut Left Over

Checking the Clock for Straightness

I placed the dry assembled clock on my table saw work surface, since it is very flat. The clock looked ok to the eye, from a leaning perspective.  I tried to use the digital angle finder on top of the clock, to assess how much it was leaning in front-to-back, and side-to-side directions.  I had to push down on the assembly, and I got readings from 0 to 0.35 degrees. I still did not like how the dry assembly rocked a little bit when I pushed down on it.

So, I took the 3 boxes to the electric miter saw, and "fuzz sawed" a little from each end of the 3 boxes.  When I got done, there was no more rocking of the dry assembly.

In retrospect, I could have made all 3 boxes about 1/4" longer in height than the plan, then miter sawed both ends of each box to insure perpendicularity of the assembled clock.

I did have to saw a little off the ends of the 4 spindles so they would fit loosely at assembly.


This is one of the rare projects where you do not apply stain after all the woodworking is done.  On this project, you stain the walnut pieces before you assemble the pieces........because if you waited until the maple parts were glued would get dark stain on the light colored maple parts.  I used the oven at 115F to help dry the stain faster.

I used Spanish Oak stain, since I liked that better when I built the 1st two clocks a couple years ago.

Glue Up and Clamp of Walnut parts

I basically sequentially worked my way up the clock in many clampings. The basic process was:

-position piece to be glued onto its mating lower piece

-by eyeball or measurements, get the piece in its proper place

-mark the correct position with temporary blue masking tape

-apply glue

-use masking tape to know where to place and clamp the part to be glued

-clamp using 1/4" scrap pieces as protectors, so as to not dent the wood with the clamp fingers

-place in oven at 115F for at least 15 minutes for glue to set

-start on glue and clamp-up of next piece.......etc

If I was building a bunch of these clocks, I would design a fixture that would allow all the pieces to fit at one time in the proper location, then 1 clamping would clamp them all..........versus about 6 different clampings like I did.

Scroll Sawing

While I was waiting for the glue to dry in the oven, I worked on scroll sawing out the parts from 1/8" thick maple.

Based upon Lessons Learned from the prior build of these clocks, I drilled my starter hole in the curly-cue, and sawed it first.  I still broke 1 curly-cue.

Discovered Neat time saving trick

I don't know why I did not think of this years ago!  On my steel bar clamps, I usually do not use any protective cover on the clamp jaws.  But on small projects where I am concerned I might mar the wood with the jaws, I keep a box of small 1/4" thick wood pieces, that I use as protective covers.  Many times the wood pieces fall off as you are trying to tighten the clamp........which is time consuming and frustrating.

So, to keep the wood pieces on during clamping, I simply rolled up a short piece of blue masking tape, which essentially makes it 2-sides tape.  They worked excellent on the clamp jaws!!!!!!

Gluing and Clamping the Maple Scroll Sawn Accent Pieces

It is about impossible to remove and glue squeeze-out on these scroll sawn pieces.  Therefore, I put a puddle of my Titebond II glue on a piece of scrap 2x4, then used an artist's brush to apply it.  I only got a small amount of squeeze-out, and I used a toothpick to remove it.

I used a wood paint stirrer stick to space the right angle maple pieces 1/8" from top and bottom trim pieces.........

"A Woodworker can never have too many.............clamps"   :)

Excellent Plans on this Project

Most paper plans contain dimensional mistakes, and are hard to comprehend.   This paper plan from ScrollerOnline is one of the clearest, and best paper plans I have ever used.......and I have used 100's of them!!!!!

Ready to Varnish

Finished Clock

Closing Thoughts on This Project

If I build another one, I think I would build the 3 boxes about 1/4" longer than plan, then use the electrical miter saw to trim each end until the final dimension is achieved. The 3 boxes did fit in my Makita miter saw ok.

I would also build a fixture to properly hold the parts for final glue up of the walnut pieces.  There is no easy way to use a square as you assemble to make sure each element is oriented correctly.