The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Cherry Tabletop Clock

I saw a pretty neat looking pattern at The Art Factory website. 


I ordered the pattern and 2 clock movements from the web site.



Then I entered the pattern into Google Sketchup:


I decided to experiment and build 2 clocks using Cherry wood.  I bought the cherry from's web site.


 As you can see from the prices above, woodworking is not the cheapest hobby!!  $75 for the wood and 2 movements means each of the two clocks has about $38 of materials in them.  I am making them as gifts, and hopefully they will remain family heirlooms indefinitely.

The next step was gluing up the cherry wood blanks:


 I sawed each edge on the table saw so they would mate together well.  It is my substitute method of using a joiner, since I do not own a jointer.

Since these pieces are 1/2" thick, I decided not to stack cut them.  I thought the stack would be too thick, so I cut them 1 thickness at a time.

I noticed my Olson #3 reverse tooth blade starting to smoke. I looked at the piece, and it was burned.  I then changed blades each time I noticed smoke, so as not to burn the cherry. The cherry wood has a different and distinctive smell compared to other woods.

Red cherry dust from planing operation........

 2 blanks after planing completed.  I added the 2 long strips to give more length for the planer.



Almost a Big OOOPS

 I glued the paper pattern on using Elmer's white glue. After cutting, I usually wash off the paper and glue using a damp wash rag.  I was having trouble getting all the glue off with the dish rag, so I decided to use steel wool to rub it off. 

I came back a couple hours later and the whole front of the main piece had black measles !!  Apparently the cherry wood and wet steel wool is not a good mix.  I was able to sand off all the black marks using 220 grit, so no permanent damage done.  Never try  steel wool with cherry!!




 Here is a color comparison between ordinary pine and the cherry wood...........


The cherry wood was relatively light in color with not much hint of  a red color.  I experimented with lye (sodium hydroxide) and cherry stain.  I chose to use cherry stain for this project.  I did not want to wait months or years for the cherry to turn a darker color. 



When I dry assembled the parts, I was not happy with the squareness of the bottom of the main piece.  It would not set upright by itself, indicating the scroll sawn bottom was not flat.  I used the table saw, with a wedge shim,  to make a nice perpendicular surface:


 I used blue painter's masking tape to layout the pilot holes for the screws in the base.  I marked the center of the 4 protrusions of the base on the blue tape, then connected the pairs with a pencil line.  I drilled a 1/16" pilot hole first, then a 1/4" countersink hole.  I held on the side piece, and marked the thickest spot for the most length for the brass screw.





 I used rubber bands to hold the assembly together, so I could drill pilot holes in the 3 vertical pieces.


 All of my drills were another job site, so I used my dremel to drill the holes for the brass screws.........I used blue tape as depth gage..........

 Now for final assembly...........


 I sanded each of the individual pieces prior to assembly with 220 grit.  For finishing, I did 2 cycles of polyurethane and 220 grit sanding.

And the completed clocks:




 Closing Thoughts:

 I used Olson scroll saw blade 64302 which is universal 3R, 13 TPI, 7 Reverse.  I had to change blades about 3 times cutting out the 2 clocks because the blade got dull and starting burning the cherry.

On a future project, it would be interesting to apply no stain, just polyurethane, and see how long it takes the cherry to turn color. I am very happy with the final color using the cherry stain followed by polyurethane.



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