The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Greene & Greene Style Clock

In November of 2010, Wood Magazine ran an article on making a Greene  & Greene style clock with a Motawi ceramic tile insert......

Here is another picture of this clock...........

I thought the clock design looked pretty cool, and plan to build one in the future. I ordered the kit with the clock movement and Motawi tile.........

The Motawi ceramic tile is $75 each.  You can read about them here.

Here is what my Motawi tile looked like when I unpackaged it.......


I entered the design into Google Sketchup, and rendered it with I-render software.....

 I ordered the parts kit to build one clock back in April 2016.  I got side-tracked on outdoors projects, and did not have time to build the clock. Now in October 2016, I have time to build this clock.

There are several unique aspects to this clock.  The ebony accents typical of the Greene & Greene style are interesting. The pattern says to use a black magic marker to make the black wood, I may actually use real ebony.  The Motawi tile is also an interesting design feature.

Ordering Plans

You can still buy plans to make this clock here.

Material selection

I have a lot of white oak in my inventory, so I'm going to use white oak instead of the mahogany specified in the pattern. I should be able to stain it to a color I like.

Here are the white oak blanks glued up to make the 2 main vertical side pieces....


I planed and sawed the 2 vertical pieces to their final dimensions. I used a straight 1/2" router bit to make the outside centralized groove. I routed in 1 direction, then rotated the board 180 degrees and routed that direction per the plan instructions. The final groove size is not important, but putting it on central makes it better looking..


 My old router table fence would not go far enough, so I had to clamp on this temporary fence to route the sides.

Square Holes in Vertical Side pieces for ebony pegs

I used my Delta mortising machine to make the 1/4 x 1/4 square holes....


Two Bottom Curved Pieces

These needed a 1/4 x 1/4 rabbet or groove in them. I used a scrap piece of 2x4 to help keep them straight on the router table, plus prevent excessive blow-out when the router bit gets to the end of the oak.......


I used the same technique for the smaller horizontal cross stiles as well.

I glued a paper patter of the curve from Sketchup onto each of the 2 bottom pieces, then scroll sawed them...

After sawing, I wet the paper with a wet sponge, then scrub off the remaining paper and white Elmer's glue. I use this technique a lot in woodworking.

Blanks for Top and Back

When I made the 1/4" thick back piece, I adjusted the plan dimensions to the "as-built" case dimensions.  I also only had a 3/16" high rabbet in the bottom versus the plan's 3/8" high rabbet, because it fits in a 1/8" tall groove.

Case Glue Up and Clamping

The plan says to glue in the vertical spacers first, then glue up the horizontal pieces. I chose to do it all at once, which worked fine. I used a wet dish rag to remove excess glue.

The case rocks a little bit on the horizontal surface. I will probably put the whole case on the table saw and kiss the bottom, so it is a perfect 90 degrees to the vertical.

I made the feet, and used my router clamping jig to hold the small pieces when I routed them with a 1/4" round-over bit.  This keeps your fingers away from the bit when doing small pieces.

Making the Top

I planed and sawed the blank down to finished size.  The magazine recommends using the table saw to cut the 1/4 wide by 7/8" deep slot.  I started in the center of the board, then flipped it end for end and resawed at each fence setting.  I ended up planning the mating 1/4" board to the closest fit I could get.

I tried table sawing the slot to fix an existing 1/4" wide board, but the fit was too sloppy. It is much easier to fine tune on the planer versus the table saw.

To get the specified 1/16" round-overs on the top and inserts, I used my 220 grit drum sander on the drill press.

Here is the top rough assembled to the case.............

 Kissing Top and Bottom of the Case on the Table Saw

I kissed both the bottom and top of the case on the table saw to square them up and give a flat surface. I removed less than 1/8" of material.


Attaching the Top to the Case

The plans specify just gluing the top to the case. Since this is a heavy clock with the Motawi tile, I did not want to rely just on glue.

I considered an angle screw from the case up into the top, but there is no access to drill it.  I decided using (4) 1/4" diameter dowels to be the best option.  I  used my 40+ year old Sears dowel center kit to mark the dowel holes. I used blue masking tape to temporarily mark the edge of the case onto the top.



The plans call for a piece of glass which goes in the top section of the clock, in front of the dial. I went to my local stained glass shop to buy a small piece of 1/8" clear glass, but he was closed that day.  I went to Hobby Lobby and bought a cheap $5 picture frame....... 


When I dis-assembled it, it used 1/16" versus 1/8" thick glass.  The thinner glass should still work ok.  The two vertical wood pieces that hold the glass in place......I attached them with small nails, so it the glass breaks someday, a standard piece of 1/8" thick glass can be used.....the 2 verticals will need to be pulled out and re-nailed. I cut the glass to the size specified in the plans, and it fit ok.

Making the Small Square insert Pieces
The plans say to attach a wood piece to your miter gage, then clamp a wood locator to this piece.  I chose a simpler method which has worked for me before:

-install dado set on table saw, 1/4 to 3/8" wide. Set height of cut to 1/16"
-find scrap piece of pine
-move fence so scrap piece gives desired spacing for cut. In this case, cut starts
  1/8" from end of piece
-manually hold piece to be notched against miter gage, set distance with scrap.
  The piece to be notched is 3/8x3/8"
-move miter gage away from scrap piece and make dado cut
-rotate piece 90 degrees and make next cut, etc


The scrap block in my picture above, does not move with the piece being cut.  For safety reasons, you never want to trap the right hand side against something, or the piece being cut will get caught and be thrown from the saw.

 I did trial and error until the square dado cut section fit into the square hole in the clock.

I had trouble with sections of the 3/8x3/8 white oak piece blowing out at about the 3rd rotation of cutting.  I used the old trick of scoring the cuts with a razor or Exacto knife before sawing. This pre-scoring preventing the blow-outs

Once I got my process figured out, I first rounded the edges of the 3/8x3/8" stock using my disc sander. I then did 1 notch cut, then Exacto knived the next 3 saw cuts, then made the saw cuts.  I put the piece in the vise, and hand sawed off the finished piece.

Ebony Wood or Black Magic Marker

I usually use real ebony wood on my projects, but I decided to try the black magic marker method on white oak. It worked pretty well, but I only have small point markers, and they did not fill some of the small voids in the wood. I bought a large point marker to do this.

For the long 3/8x1/4 accent pieces that go on the sides of the clock, I glued on a paper pattern from Sketchup for the end curves. I masking taped 2 pieces together and made the curves on the stationary belt sander.



Stain Color Selection

A couple years ago, I made a reproduction of a 1905 lamp using white oak.  The stain I used for that project was Natural Teak. I liked the look of that stained white oak, so I used the same stain on this clock.

The magazine plans suggest using blue masking tape where the 2 horizontal spacers will be installed later, so they can be glued with no stain or varnish.

I sanded the exterior areas with 220 grit using my orbital sander. I removed the dust with a tag rag, then stained the pieces.  I had to use a small artist brush to stain some of the interior case areas.......

Attaching Decorative Black pieces

I yellow glued the 8 small black pieces on the front.

I yellow glued the side trim pieces, but used the air nailer also.  The nails are so small you can't see them, so you don't have to fill the nail holes either :)

Ready to apply 1st Coat of Polyurethane

1st Coat of Polyurethane Applied

This is going to be a very nice looking clock when completed

 Angled Retainer Pieces

While I was doing the 3 rounds of 220 grit sanding and polyurethane, I made the 4 angled retaining pieces.  I followed the instructions and started with a 1/2 x 3 x 10 piece. I put a 45 degree chamfer on both edges using a chamfer router bit. Then I table sawed each edge at a 1/2" wide. 

I needed to drill a 9/32" hole for the #6 x 3/4 brass screw, so I found an old jig with a v-notch in it........

This old jig worked great for drilling the holes in the center. I stained the pieces and let them dry.

Final Assembly
I had to remove one of the bottom feet to be able to get the glass piece and the clock face into the inside of the clock.  Fortunately, I did not follow the magazine instructions to glue and screw the feet on.......I just screwed them on.  I was able to unscrew one foot, and slip everything in.

I put no glue on the 45 degree angle pieces that hold the clock face and Motawi tile in place. I used a couple drops of CA glue to hold in the 2 horizontal pieces, in case the tile or glass needs to be exchanged in the future.

Finished Clock

Closing Thoughts on this Project

I googled for this clock, to see  how many people have built it using the 2010 magazine plans.  I was surprised that only a few people have built it and posted it online. Maybe the relatively high price of the $75 Motawi tile and buying mahogany wood discouraged woodworkers from building it. If  you use real ebony instead of black magic marker, that drives the cost even higher.

This clock took longer than I thought to build. It took me approximately 20 hours to build. There were only two errors in the plans. One error was the instruction to center the 1/8" table saw cut for the back piece. This is incorrect, the groove needs to start 1/8" from the back of the clock. The 2nd error is the instruction to glue and screw on both feet. Do not glue on the feet, because you must remove one of them to be able to get the glass and clock face into position for final assembly. For complicated plans, there is usually at least one error in magazine plans.

My experience is that there is a substantial learning curve on these types of projects. Units #2, 3, etc will take less than 20 hours each to build.

This is a beautiful clock. My photography skills do not really do it justice.










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