Anyway, after retirement, dad was able to truly exercise his creative muscles. Though he wasn't trying to be environmentally responsible, a lifetime of what I call trash shopping (perhaps inspired by a thrifty Jewish father) led him to begin to create amazing sustainable sculptural masterpieces. His assemblages use materials collected from garage sales, dumpsters, and recycling centers.
One series which has garnered a lot of attention from friends and neighbors is his line of folksy Functional Found Art Assemblages (known to the rest of us as clocks). I have one hanging in my building in Brooklyn. Coincidentally, I also design clocks and watches, and I absolutely adore my fathers work. I asked him to help me write up a description of his process so that we could post it on instructables to encourage and inspire others. I can't imagine anything greener than creating something useful and beautiful entirely from recycled and reclaimed materials, and I'm sure there are a few people out there who will appreciate this idea.
Be sure to read all the steps before you start, as the steps are not necessarily chronological so much as logical. Steps 2-5 outline what you will need to collect. The only tools you'll need are a saw, a ruler, a couple pencils and some string, paintbrushes, masking tape, double sided tape, and maybe a protractor and/or compass if you want to be fancy. Also some other methods of attachment like screws, nails, and/or glue depending upon the specifics of our design. Steps 6-9 describe the preparation and assembly process, some of which might be started before you've completed steps 2-5.
Step 1: Dial (aka Face)
Step 2: Figures (aka Numbers)
Step 3: Movement (aka Mechanism)
Step 4: Paint
Make sure to pick your paints to coordinate and contrast with your plywood from step 1. You are going to decorate your dial in at least a few colors and paint your hands. You want your hands to stand out so you can read the clock. If you want to paint the dial, you can do that. Choose two colors and pick up some crackle coat from a local store. You can use masking tape to easily create hard-edged designs.
If you dont have any brushes lying around, you may be able to find them at garage sales. Modern latex indoor house paint is water-soluble so if you wash your brushes while the paint is still wet they will last until they fall apart. You can use small, cheap craft brushes from a discount store if you like.
Step 5: Prepare Your Dial
Cut your wood with a jigsaw, bandsaw, or coping saw. Since your wood is already weathered you need not bother with sanding unless your cutting job is very messy.
Drill a hole in the center large enough to fit the pinion from your mechanism. The pinion is the part that goes through the dial and accepts the hands.
Step 6: Painting
If you want to paint your dial rather than leave the existing surface but still want the weathered look, use a crackle coat. These allow you to put down a base coat, apply a clear crackle coat, and then add another color. The second color will crack, showing the color underneath. There should be more specific instructions on the can or bottle.
Paint the cut edge of your wood. You can mark a circle around the edge of the dial and paint that in the same color as your edge to create a frame.
Mark out smaller circles in the center. Pencil-mark your minute markers and paint over them with a thin brush or use a potato stamp. Masking tape will probably come in handy if you don't have a very steady hand.
Minute marks are 6 degrees apart, hour marks are 30 degrees apart. If you don't have a protractor, you can make a 30 degree angle by folding a piece of in thirds from the corner' dividing the 90 degree right angle into thirds gives you a thirty degree angle. Move the paper around the circle with the point at the center to mark thirty degrees, and then eyeball four minute markers between each hour. Mark and paint triangles to point to each of your numbers. These not only add decorative interest but help make your clock more readable.
Step 7: Assembly
Put some double-sided tape onto the front of your mechanism or back of you dial around the center hole if you need it to attach your mechanism to your dial. Insert the pinion of your movement from the back of your clock (so it sticks), and then reattach the hands from the front.
Put in fresh batteries. Most clock mechanisms take a standard AA battery. A rechargeable battery will work just as well and won't need to be charged for quite a while as the draw from a wall clock is minimal. If your clock sets from the back, set it. If it sets by manually moving the hands, you can wait until your clock is hung.