Introduction: Cigar Box Memory Clock

I made a clock out of a cigar box for my wife's parents for Christmas, using pictures of their children (4) when they were very young, 50-60 years ago. The box can also be used as a small storage container for keys, change, or whatever.....

Unfortunately, the one I made as the Christmas gift is several hundred miles away now, and I wasn't aware of the contest when making it - so I tried to re-create the process for this Instructable. The actual finished product is pictured on the "intro page."

Step 1: Basic Materials

Following is a list of the basic materials used to construct this instructable:

> Wooden Cigar Box
> Clock mechanism (available at most hobby shops)- i.e., for less than $4 @ Michael's w/coupon
> Pictures of children, the size where they can be cut into 1" circles (for primary clock numbers)
> Dowel rod long enough to be cut into 8 pieces the depth of the box top (around 1/4" each)
> Polyurethane for finishing the cigar box
> Stain or paint, to finish the ends of the small dowels (for the non-picture clock numbers)
> Small felt pads to be placed on bottom of box/clock to protect furniture
> Glue to adhere the pictures and small dowels

Step 2: Basic Tools

Following are the tools required (and some might be optional) for this project:

> Drill or drill press with appropriate sized bits for drilling the hole for the clock mechanism, picture numbers, and dowel numbers (I used 3/8" for the dowel holes and the clock mechanism; while using a 1" wood spade bit for the shallow picture holes- could possibly use a Fortsner bit)
> Scissors or 1" paper punch for cutting the pictures into circles
> Paint or foam brush for adding color (stain or paint) to the dowel pieces and applying the polyurethane finish
> Steel wool or fine sandpaper for use between polyurethane coats
> Measuring devices- I used a tape measure and a carpenter's square
> Might need a small/tack hammer to insert the dowels

Step 3: Center and Drill Hole for Clock Mechanism

Using the measuring device of your choice, determine and mark the center of the cigar box top. Once done, go ahead and drill a hole for the clock mechanism according to the instructions on the package (but don't install this yet.... you'll do that later).

Step 4: Prepare "slight" Holes for Placement of the Pictures

With the 1" wood spade bit, drill a slight hole for the pictures. There were 4 children, so the pictures will be placed in the primary clock number positions (12:00, 3:00, 6:00, and 9:00). Depending on the size of the box, drill the holes 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 inches from the center hole...... basically whatever distance looks good to you and is symmetrically positioned (@ 90 degree positioning) for accurate time keeping.

Remember these 4 holes are very low-profile- maybe 1/32". This is to allow each picture to be flush with the box top when installed.

Step 5: Drill Holes for Dowel Placement

Using the same diameter of bit, as is the diameter of the dowels, drill 8 holes completely through the top of the cigar box (for the numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 10, and 11), symmetrically placed 30 degrees apart- again for time keeping accuracy.

Step 6: Cut Pictures Into 1" Circles

Using scissors, cut each of the 4 pictures 1" in diameter, so as to fit in the 4 low-profile holes. You might try to find an object this diameter and trace the 1" circle onto the picture prior to cutting. I was fortunate, as a neighbor who does quite a bit of "scrap booking," had a 1" paper punch I was able to use.

While this might have been "over-kill," the pictures were laminated prior to cutting the circles and installing in the holes.

Step 7: Glue the Pictures Into Place

Using only a slight layer of glue, position and glue the 4 pictures into place.

Step 8: Prepare and Install the Dowels

Cut dowel into 8 pieces, the depth of the box top. You can use any number of tools; I used large metal cutters and gave the ends a quick sanding. Not having any stain that contrasted the cigar box enough, I used black paint to color the ends of the dowels.

After allowing them to dry overnight, I installed the dowels with only a little glue in the 8 non-picture clock number positions. Be sure to use the same diameter of dowel as the holes drilled in the box top. If a little tight, you might want to use a small hammer, such as a tack hammer to position the dowels flush with the top.

Step 9: Finish the Cigar Box With Polyurethane

Apply 3 or 4 coats of polyurethane with a foam brush, allowing it to thoroughly dry between applications. Prior to applying each subsequent coat, lightly sand with fine sandpaper or steel wool.

Step 10: Install Clock Mechanism

Into the previously drilled hole in the center of the cigar box top, install the clock mechanism in accordance to the instructions on the package.

Step 11: Install Felt Tabs

Place 4 felt tabs, near the corners of the bottom of the box to preserve the furniture where the clock is placed.

Step 12: And With a Little Luck......

....... there will be a smile on the in-laws' faces.....

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Participated in the
Craftsman Workshop of the Future Contest

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