The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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More Mission Style Shelf Clocks

In early 2013, I made 2 of these clocks.  They were extremely popular with family members.  Another page of this web site shows how I built these 2 here to see it.

I decided to make 4 more clocks as Christmas 2014 gifts to family members.

Design Improvement

When I made the first two clocks, I made the back of the clock removable, in case the glass ever broke and had to be replaced.  Making the back removable added a lot of work to the project.

I came up with an alternative design where you can slip the glass in when the clock is done, then secure it using two 1/4" dowels. I will put a small dab of glue on the dowels, so they can be removed if the glass ever breaks.

This design improvement is shown in Google Sketchup below. The red pieces are 1/4 x 1/2 inch short pieces of oak attached to the clock using small brass screws......

Router Table versus Table Saw Dado Blades

On the original two clocks, I used the dado blade set to make the 1/4x1/4 grooves. They actually came out bigger than 1/4 inch, which caused some assembly issues. I decided to use a 1/4" straight router bit in the router table to make these clocks.

Since I made the first two clocks, I figured out how to fix the troublesome height adjustment on my old Sears router, so it is not as difficult to adjust the height now.

Holding the small pieces by hand while routing on the table is a safety issue.  A while back I bought a holder jig from

This small parts holder worked extremely well to hold the small pieces of this clock design and route the 1/4" x 1/4" grooves required!!

Wood and Stain Selection

On the first two clocks, I used white oak from a friend, with a light stain.  I used up that batch of white oak, and decided to switch to red oak (which I can easily buy at Menards) with a light stain.

I stained a piece of red oak, so I could choose an appropriate light color stain......

It looked like Golden Oak gave the same light color as the white oak I used on the previous two clocks.

Clock Movements

 I ordered 4 of the square clock movements from Klock-it model number #15705: 2 1316" Square Clock Insert  (4)  $35.96. I have tried both the round and square movements, and for this clock design the square design looks better.

Making blanks for front face

The first step was to saw the vertical blanks for the front and rear faces. I used a stop block on the radial arm saw, so they were all exactly the same length.  I then ran them thru the table saw so they were the same width. I added 1/4" inch to the finished 1" dimension to allow stock removal when the taper is sawn later.


Routing 1/4 by 1/4" grooves in vertical rails

 On the first piece I routed, I got some twisting of the piece at the end of the cut.  The net result is not a straight groove. To eliminate this, I temporarily clamped a piece of scrap pine to keep the piece against the fence. It worked well.

Scroll-Sawing Curved Bottom for Front Piece



Using Safety Holder to Route 1/4 x 1/4 Inch Grooves


I used the safety fixture to cut the grooves on the bottom curved pieces, and the pieces where the clock face will be inserted to.

Gluing and Clamping Front Face


I use the string and nail crude clamping method on about all the small projects I make. It is simple and effective. It works when regular c-clamps or bar-clamps will not work.

The design calls for two pieces of 1/4 x 1/4 inch between the bottom curved piece and square clock face.  I combined the two pieces into one piece 1/4 thick by 1/2 inch wide. I will have to update my Google Sketchup design to show this.

Clamping and Gluing Back Pieces



Marking and Drilling Clock Movement Hole

I bought the big 2-3/8" diameter Forstner bit when I built the first two clocks, so I used it again to make these 4 clocks.

First I marked the centers using a straightedge across the corners........

Then based upon Lessons Learned from building the 1st two clocks, I temporarily clamped a pine stick on the drill press to hold the piece when the big bit catches on the wood.......

Using the clamped stick is a good safety practice when using large bits, even with the drill press at its lowest speed.  You can pinch your fingers between the piece and the drill press column.........or you lose your grip and the piece rotates violently and hits you.

 Sawing 4 Degree Angle on Clock Sides

You can use a band saw or table saw to do this. You do not have to be perfect, because you sand the sides after the 1.5" center piece is glued to them.  I chose to use the table saw.  I sawed from the right or left depending on which side I had to saw.




Sawing Thin Strips to Retain Glass

This design uses 1/8" thick by 1/2" wide oak strips to retain the glass on the top and two sides. A while back I bought a jig made for sawing thin strips safely.......



This jig worked very well.  You can use small brass screws or small nails to attach the glass retainer pieces. I was out of stock on brass screws, so I used small 1/2" long brads......


I drew in the border of the side pieces to make sure my retainer pieces did not hit them. You can also see the removable 1/8" dowel pins which retain the glass on the bottom. After the clocks are finished stained and varnished, I will install the glass last, and manually push in the 2 dowel pins to retain the glass.

Sanding the Clock Sides

My Harbor-Freight belt sander does not have enough hp to sand these, so I used my portable belt sander......


Rounding the Edges of the Clock Tops

I used a 3/8" round-over bit on the 1/2" thick wood to round the edges. You can not use a 1/2" round-over bit because there is no stock left for the router bit bearing to ride on.


Gluing and Clamping the Clock Tops

 I used rubber bands to clamp the tops to the clock cases. Make sure you install the tops with the routed edge down! Most things have the routed edge up, so it is easy to forget (I did it on one piece, but found the error in time to fix).

The next step was to sand with 220 grit on the whole clock.  Look for any scratch marks and remove them with 60 grit with the grain, then finish with 220 grit.

Mixing up the Behlen's Grain Filler

I put the drill press speed at its lowest RPM, then used a paint stirrer to carefully stir up the grain filler.  It settles out in only a couple of days, so always assume you will need to re-stir it again before use.


Grain Filler Dried

I applied the filler with my finger, rubbing it into the grain.  After about 10 minutes, I wipe off the residue across the grain using burlap I bought from McMaster-Carr. You wipe across the grain so you leave the filler in the voids. If you wipe with the grain, you can pull out the filler from the voids.

Here are the clocks after the grain filler has dried. The next step will be to sand to 220 grit, then re-stain the clocks.

In the photo above, you can see the white filler in the grain of the red oak.

 Modifying Glass Retention Design

I wanted the glass to be easily change-able, so I had some axle pegs that I drilled 1/8" holes through, then glued on a piece of 1/8" dowel 3/4" inch long. This gives a nice handle for the fingers to pull out the 1/8" dowel. It works very well. The axle caps came from American Woodworkers Supply online.



 Kokomo Glass

I had green glass left over from building the 1905 reproduction lamp. I went online and ordered a couple of more colors from Kokomo glass.  I ended up selecting 3 colors of glass for these clocks. Each person who receives one of these clocks will get 3 different colors of glass, and they can install whatever color they like best, or change colors when they want.

I was proud that I had a 0% scrap rate cutting the glass for this project.  I learned how to cut glass on the 1905 lamp reproduction project, so I guess I am an expert now:)

Finished Clocks

Here are the finished clocks with the 3 different colors of glass illustrated.

All 3 colors are nice on these clocks.

Concluding Thoughts

 These clocks were much faster to build than the 1st two I made. I simplified the design by eliminating the screwed on back pieces.

The grain filler added some process steps, but the super smooth finish makes it worth it.









Recent Photos

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