How to Make a Bent Plywood Modern Mantel Clock

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Introduction: How to Make a Bent Plywood Modern Mantel Clock

About: I’M A SELF-TAUGHT MAKER, DESIGNER, AND CONTENT CREATOR. WHILE I’M ALWAYS TRYING TO LEARN AND WORK WITH NEW MEDIUMS AND TECHNIQUES, MOST OF MY CURRENT WORK FOCUSES ON LEATHER WORK AND WOOD WORKING. WHEN I’M N…

I’ve always liked unique clocks, so I decided to try and make one myself and here is what I came up with…I call it the Bent Plywood Modern Mantel Clock. To bend the wood, I used a technique called kerf cuts in which you cut almost all the way through the wood but leave just enough to still hold everything together. This was my first time doing this technique and I learned a lot along the way, and I hope you do too

Supplies

(Affiliate Links):

· ½ inch plywood

· ½ inch MDF board

· Circle Cutting Jig - https://amzn.to/30DQOaV

· Router - https://amzn.to/3jwr0om

· Jig Saw - https://amzn.to/3lxDBrx

· Palm Sander - https://amzn.to/3d2cFxw

· Simple Finish - https://amzn.to/2GEOucn

· 5 Minute Epoxy - https://amzn.to/3qkRoW4

· Strap Tie Down - https://amzn.to/39AA21F

· Clock Mechanism - https://amzn.to/33zKVgo

Step 1: Cutting the Kerfs

For this clock I started by focusing on the kerf bent wood base.

I started by using my table saw and fence to cut a three inch wide strip of quarter inch plywood.

To leave enough room to mount the brass rod later, I left about an inch in the middle of board and made a left and right mark that I will use to know where to start the kerf cuts

For the kerf cuts I found that leaving the top two ply’s worked out just right.

Now there are plenty of websites that will give you the exact depth and width of the kerfs needed to achieve a particular bend, but for this project the only thing that’s really important is consistency

So to achieve this I made a mark on my sled and used that as a reference point to line up the back side of the previous kerf

I started from the right center mark I made, and then worked my way all the way to the end before flipping the board around and doing the same thing from the left center mark, leaving about an inch of material in the center

Step 2: Prepping for the Form

I’m not sure how critical the next step is, but I a shirt steamer to steam the wood and then dry clamped it around a bucket to get the wood “used to” the bend before the actual glue up

While that was drying, I moved on to making the actual form I would use to bend the wood around during glue up

For the total form, I needed a thickness of at least two inches, but since I only had ½ inch thick MDF, I ended up cutting for matching circles using my router and circle cutting jig

To glue the 4 circles together, I used the trick of wood glue for strength and superglue for a quick bond and then just set some weights on top of the four layers until the wood glue dried

To prevent the epoxy and wood from sticking to the form, I wrapped the edges of the form with packaging tape

To clamp the stand around the form I simply used a tie down strap which ended up working perfectly

Once I was confident the glue up would work, I moved on to adding the epoxy to each of the kerfs to help the stand hold its shape

Step 3: Adding the Epoxy

For this project, I used generic epoxy you’d find at a big box store

I wanted to actually showcase the kerfs as part of the design, so I went with a dark gray epoxy to contrast the lighter wood

It was a bit tedious working the epoxy into all the kerfs, and I did it in two rounds since I didn’t know how much working time I’d have with it, but in the end the epoxy worked great

Once I had epoxy in all the kerfs, I wrapped it around the form and clamped it tight using the tie down strap

Step 4: Cleaning Up the Epoxy & Cutting It to the Final Dimensions

Once the epoxy had cured, I removed it from the form

The epoxy did a great job of holding the shape, but it was a big mess, so I needed to sand all the surfaces to clean it up

To do this, I used a combination of my disk sander for the outside edges and my oscillating sander for the inner surfaces

I wanted the base to have the appearance it was coming out of the table or mantel, so I drew a straight line from side to side an inch or so up and then used my miter saw to cut the stand at just the right angle

This also added more surface area where the stand will sit on the mantel, which should have the added benefit of making it more stable

Step 5: Making the Hanging Piece of Wood

Next step is to create the piece of wood that will hang from the top of the stand and hold the clock mechanism

I used a nice piece of Sapele to give it a little color pop, but any wood would work

I used the bottom of a round container that was the approximate size I was going for to trace the circle onto the wood

Before cutting the circle out, I decided to drill the hole for the brass rod first since it’s easier to drill onto a flat surface

Now I could have used the circle jig again to cut out the circle, but since it didn’t need to be perfect, I used my jig saw to remove the bulk of the material and then snuck up on the circle line with my disc sander

Once I was happy with the shape, I moved on to drilling the hole for the clock arm to poke through

The wood was a little too thick for the clock arm I was using, so I routed out a little recess on the back of the wood to allow more of the clock arm to poke through on the front

Step 6: Mounting the Clock Mechanism

To attach the brass rod to the stand, I started by drilling a hole in the middle of the underside of the stand

Then I found a piece of scrap wood that would raise the Sapele piece up so that the hole in it would be parallel to the hole in the stand when laid on their back. This allowed me to glue the rod to both pieces at the same time

Then I used my Dremel and a cutting disc to trim the brass rod to length

Before attaching all the components, I applied Maker Brand Simple Finish to finish all of the wood pieces

Once everything was dry, I used some 5 minute epoxy to attach the brass rod to both pieces

Once the epoxy cured, all that was left was to attach the clock mechanism

I just followed the instructions that came with it and I was surprised at how easy it was to assemble

And with that, the clock was done!

Thanks so much for following along with this project! I’d love to know what you think. Leave a comment below and don’t forget to watch the video on my channel!

See you on the next project!

Plywood Challenge

Second Prize in the
Plywood Challenge

2 People Made This Project!

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22 Comments

0
LincolnsCreations
LincolnsCreations

11 months ago

I might have to give something like this a try.

0
Ethan Carter Designs
Ethan Carter Designs

Reply 11 months ago

I hope you do! Let me know if you do, I'd love to see what you come up with!

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LincolnsCreations
LincolnsCreations

Reply 10 months ago

I'm actually thinking about the plywood and curved edge for another project. Did the epoxy sit well in the slots? I want to do a much bigger project and won't be able to create any sort of mold to hold it in, so I was wondering how fluid it was.

0
Ethan Carter Designs
Ethan Carter Designs

Reply 10 months ago

For this project I used Devcon Plastic Steel Epoxy (here's an Amazon link, but I think you can get it for $6 other places https://amzn.to/3sBjwFw ) - It is thicker than a lot of epoxy's which makes it harder to work into the kerfs, but to your point, it also helps it stay in the kerfs and not instantly run out. It has a lot longer curing time than 5 minute epoxy though, which might be an issue without some sort of mold to hold it in place while it cures. I hope that helps!

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tittiamo68
tittiamo68

11 months ago

Compliments
Beautiful watch
Minimal and simple

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Ethan Carter Designs
Ethan Carter Designs

Reply 11 months ago

Thank you so much! I appreciate it!!!

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andreawray2015
andreawray2015

11 months ago

Positively beautiful 😍 thank you

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Ethan Carter Designs
Ethan Carter Designs

Reply 11 months ago

Thank YOU! I really appreciate it!

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chuckitup
chuckitup

Question 11 months ago on Step 1

What is the length of the 3" X 1/2" plywood piece?

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Ethan Carter Designs
Ethan Carter Designs

Answer 11 months ago

I just went and measured the final length which ended up being 25 inches, but I did cut off a few inches so that it would sit flat on the mantel, so I'm guessing the starting length was probably 30 inches long

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ChiefInstructor
ChiefInstructor

11 months ago

Nice work. Well done. Great video and explanation. You have a natural storyteller's voice.

0
Ethan Carter Designs
Ethan Carter Designs

Reply 11 months ago

Wow, thank you so much! I've always been self-conscious about my voice, so I really appreciate that!

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rayp1511
rayp1511

11 months ago

This came out beautifully! Very unique. Well done Sir.

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Ethan Carter Designs
Ethan Carter Designs

Reply 11 months ago

Thank you so much! I'm a little surprised it came out as well as it did haha

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Penolopy Bulnick
Penolopy Bulnick

11 months ago

This is a really fun design! I really enjoyed seeing it and how you made it :)

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Ethan Carter Designs
Ethan Carter Designs

Reply 11 months ago

Thank you so much! It was a really fun one and I'm honest, I wasn't sure how/if it would come together when I started, but really happy with how it came out!

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NirL
NirL

11 months ago

Thanks for sharing:) good luck with your channnel too:)

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Ethan Carter Designs
Ethan Carter Designs

Reply 11 months ago

Thank you so much, appreciate it! Thanks - this was actually my very first YouTube video...hopefully that's apparent if you watch some of my more recent ones haha

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seamster
seamster

11 months ago

What a fun, unique project. I love the techniques and result!!

0
Ethan Carter Designs
Ethan Carter Designs

Reply 11 months ago

Thank you so much! I had a blast and definitely learned a lot along the way!