The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

Click here to edit subtitle

Latvia Clock

I have built a lot of clocks from wood over the years.  Since I now know the basics of stained glass, I looked online for some stained glass clocks to design.  I found this neat design from the Laika Stils clock company in the country of Latvia: 

There are some other stained clock designs from this company, but some have curved tops. I asked my stained glass class instructor how the curved tops were made. He said you need a kiln to heat up the glass and then a custom form to go in the kiln. The custom form cost is hundreds of dollars, and the process takes about 24 hours because you have to very slowly decrease the heat after the glass has bent.  So, I can not make a clock design with a curved top right now, because I don't have the equipment and the cost would be prohibitive to  hire it done.

Clock Face or Movement
I drew up the design in Google Sketchup using the over-all dimensions from the web site (165x110x245 mm).  I found I needed a face with a 3 inch OD. 


I searched Klock-it and other companies online, and could not find a movement that small. Klock-it does have a 3.5" OD with a 3" mounting hole movement that will work if I scale the clock design up about 20% to accommodate the 3.5" OD.


The original design has a piece of clear glass around the clock movement, that is one piece. To use the 3.5" Klock-it movement, I would have to cut a 3 inch diameter hole in one piece of glass. I have never cut a hole out of a piece of glass. I checked Youtube, and a guy does it by cutting 2 circles, then breaking out the inner circle first, then he breaks out the outer circle.  I ordered a circular glass cutter to try it out.  For the 1st clock, I will probably just make the clear glass 4 pieces as shown in sketchup picture above. I can experiment later on whether or not I can cut out a circle from one piece or not.

When I first drew this up, I did not realize that you need to not have an overlapping joint at the corners. I ordered a book on making stain glass boxes.........

And it shows the proper technique in this book in Figure 3.........

Top Pull

I went to my Fairbury Ace Hardware store and bought a standard drawer pull to use on the first clock.


I also bought 2 different sizes of diamond drill bits, to drill the 2 holes for the pull in the top piece of glass. I have had good luck with the 3/8" size of this drill bit, so I think these will work ok. The 3/8" is too big for this project.

Wood Forms
In Sketchup, I designed up a wood form that can be used to assemble and solder the front and two side pieces at the proper angles.......

Front Form..........

LH Side Form..............

RH Side Form

Making the Wood Forms

I used a piece of 3/4" thick plywood for the main piece of the form.  The tricky part is making the small piece with the 27 degree nose. I set up the table saw with a sacrificial wood fence to cut the 27 degree angle. I also used the small c-clamps to attach a top guide piece of thin plywood, so the piece won't fall down into the throat plate after it is sawn.







One mold for front, one for RH side, and one for LH side of the clock.......


 I printed out the patterns from Sketchup, then penciled in the pattern on each mold. Note the angled pieces are the front or side view, and are not the right height for the corresponding glass pieces (the Sketchup paper pattern shows them a smaller height than they really are as a piece of glass).

Glass Selection

I went to Hobby Lobby in Bloomington and found some neat looking glass that should work. I also found some clear glass for the center piece around the clock insert.


LH Side Glass Cut

I used the glass grinder to make each piece exactly fit the penciled pattern on the mold, because they have to assemble to their mating pieces exactly.

LH Side Copper Foiled

I chose to put the textured side of the glass such that it will be on the outside of the clock when finished.

Soldering the LH Side

I applied flux and soldered the LH side. I found that I had to tack the side corners or joints to be able to lift the glass panel from the mold, and have it retain its proper shape.

I was really pleased that my mold method worked fine

I tinned all the copper edges, or applied a very thin layer of solder. This was an instruction in the book I bought on making glass boxes, so I followed it. Tinning all the copper keeps it from turning green from the flux, if  you wait several days until you work on the project again. I did wash the panel with flux remover fluid when I was done with it.

RH Side

Here is the RH side all foiled up and ready to solder. I used tacks to hold everything in position until it was solder tacked up.

As on the LH side, I solder tacked the edge corners to give it some rigidity until final assembly.

Front Piece
Here is all the glass cut for the front face........

And here are all the pieces foiled up........

I wanted to make sure the clock movement fit ok, before I soldered up the whole front assembly. I tacked the center 4 pieces that hold the clock movement, then used the actual movement to make sure it assembled ok.

Once I verified the clock movement would fit ok, then I soldered the rest of the front face assembly........

This took a lot of solder, to do the front and the back. Here it is completed...

The front is really pretty. My photographic skills are poor, and do not do it justice.

The next step is to cut the glass and solder up the back panel, then I can assemble the 4 sides together.

Klock-It Movement I Used

It is Model A shown above.

Back Panel for Clock

To give some additional strength to the back panel, I 1st soldered all the joints except the inside hole. I then gently picked up the assembly, and added a 2nd layer of copper foil around the inside of the cut-out or hole. Then I soldered around the hole.

Soldering Up the 4 sides

I stood the LH side up vertical, and stood the front up vertical.  I made a 1x1x3/4 wood block and used 2 clamps on the upper corner to secure the 2 pieces in the right position.  I tack soldered it. I then held up the RH side and tack soldered to the front, and the same method with the back face.

I had a couple joints that did not line up well. They had too big of gap for solder to fill. I stripped some 12-2 electrical wire, and used the copper wire as a filler. This worked well.

You need to have the foiled joint horizontal for the lead solder to fill it properly. I used coffee cans and other assorted items to temporary hold the clock in the right orientation to solder each joint.  I did not solder the inside of the joints. They are hard to get at, and there was plenty of solder on them already.

Drilling 2 holes in the top

To cut the top, I laid the clock upside down on a sheet of paper and traced out the exact ID of the top of the clock.  I cut the glass and ground to match the pattern.

I then cut a piece of 3/16" thick plywood and used the paper pattern to drill the 2 holes in the exact location needed for the top handle.

I used blue masking tape to hold the wood to the glass. I placed this assembly on a chunk of 1x12x3/4 wood board in the kitchen sink.  I filled the sink with enough water to submerge the glass and the wood.  I held the wood/glass assembly done with my left hand, and drilled the hole using my 3/8" battery drill. This method worked well.

Here is the clock all soldered up........

I applied the black patina using Q-tips.  I coated the outside joints and the inside joints also. I did not wear rubber gloves, and my fingers and arms did not turn a weird color from the patina.

Finished Clock

Finished  Clock in the Morning Sun

Closing Thoughts on this Project

I was very, very happy with the finished project   The clear seedy glass around the clock face is a very nice touch.

The original Latvia clock has 4 small sides on each bottom leg, and a small piece on the very bottom of every corner.  My clock seems to be sturdy enough not to need these additional pieces.

I was a little disappointed I didn't get a better fit between one side and the front face, since I used the wood patterns for each piece.  There are a lot of tolerances involved, and angles, so one should probably expect not to have perfect fits at final assembly.










Recent Photos