LED Lighted Wooden Wedding Clock




Introduction: LED Lighted Wooden Wedding Clock

I started this project to make a unique, one of a kind Wedding Clock for my Sister and Brother-in-law.  Wanted to make something they could have light up and show some aspect of their wedding day for a long time to come. Went thru many designs and finally decided on this design after a few months along with choosing the wood pieces.

The2 main pieces of wood were purchased from E-bay after a LOT of searching.  Those would be the Curly Maple main clock piece with the natural bark edges and the Gmelia Burl Base (from Hawaii).  The back piece that houses the LED Lights is a piece of Quilted Curly Maple.  More about it in later steps...  The clock positions and above/below the initial are all Swarovski Crystals.  Initial "C" and clock hands are cut from 1/16" Solid Brass.  Silhouette was cut from 1/32" Solid Copper.  Base and light cover on back are all attached with Solid Brass wood screws.

Tools used for this project were:  Drill Press with various Drill bits, Countersinks and Forstner bits; electric hand drill; scroll saw; belt sander; router and various bits; compass; ruler and chisels.

Hope you enjoy this clock as much as I had fun building it.

Step 1: Materials Used...

38" Flexible Lighting 96 LED string (http://www.save-on-crafts.com/uniquelights.html) and optional 12 volt plugin adapter (http://www.save-on-crafts.com/acadapter.html)

#8 x various length (depending on thickness of wood) Solid Brass Wood Screws (Menards, Home Depot or Lowe's)

#4 x 1/2" Solid Brass Screws (Menards, Home Depot or Lowe's)

4ea Swarovski 14mm Art 4866 Bermuda Blue Crystals (E-bay)

8ea 20mm Crystal Droplet Prisms (E-bay)

2ea 8mm Crystal Droplet Prisms (E-bay)

Piece of 1-1/2" thick Curly Maple (Main clock body) (E-bay)

Piece of 2 1/4" thick Gmelia Burl (clcok base) (E-bay)

Piece of 7/8" thick Quilted Curly Maple (houses light string mounted to back of main clock body) (E-bay)

Gel clings, like you put on windows for holidays (color of your choice, I used dark pink from Easter Egg clings) (Department Store)

1/16" Clear Plexiglass sheet, size depending on lighting area (holds lights in back) (Menards)

1/32" Solid Copper Sheet, size depending on what you cut out for backing of clock face (E-bay)

1/16" Solid Brass Sheet, used to cut the initial from along with the clock hands (E-bay)

1ea High Torque Clock Movement - I used a battery powered one from Klock-It (http://www.klockit.com/products/dept-157__sku-aaaag.html)  If you don't create your own hands, then a regular clock movement would be just fine.

2" Head Pins (from jewelry section of Hobby Lobby or any jewelry supplies store)

Various grits of sandpaper

Paint brushes

Varnish, I preferred the Gloss for this to give it a lot of shine

White Paint

Clear Spray paint (to cover the brass and copper to keep from tarnishing/getting finger prints)

Gorilla Super Glue

Masking Tape, Self Adhesive Paper (http://www.sloanswoodshop.com/misc_.htm) and #1 Jewelers pinless blades (http://www.sloanswoodshop.com/scroll_saw_blades.htm) for cutting the metal pieces

Step 2: Layout

First I determined where the center of the clock face would be located on the maple piece.  I also used a couple of pieces of notebook paper taped together to trace the outline of the front of the clock.  This is what I used to cut the back where the light string would be housed.  Once that was cut out, then had to figure out the layout of the trough for the string of lights to wind around in.  38" doesn't sound like a long string of lights, but in the limited space I had, was a little challenging to get that.

I also laid out the placement of the crystals on the face and marked them with a sharp pointer on the front to drill the holes later for the crystals.

Step 3: Routering and Drilling

Next was to drill the holes for the crystals on the marks from laying everything out.  The Bermuda Blue crystals for the main clock positions (12, 3, 6 & 9) were drilled using a 3/8" forstner bit so it would have a flat bottom for them to be glued into as they won't be lit up directly with the LED lights.  The teardrop pendant crystals were drilled with various bits and countersinks to get the correct taper on the hole so they would fit snug, but still protrude thru the back enough to catch the light from the LEDs

After fitting the crystals on the front, then started on the routering of the back of the clock to allow the clock movement and space around for the lights to shine into.  Due to the thickness of the high torque clock movement, there was not much thickness (probably 1/8" or less, remaining from front to back in that spot, but it was enough to mount the movement to.

I then moved on to the routering out of the light string making sure to leave some area around the perimeter to be attached to the back of the main clock piece.  I had to router it close the the complete thickness of the wood to allow enough room for the lights, as when standing strait up, they were a little thicker than inticipated, but still worked great!

Then I moved on to the routering of the whole area to allow more light to reach into the teardrop crystals as shown in the pictures.  This was determined after the back light holder was routered, so as to get as much of the light output into that area as possible.  I also routered deeper around the crystal teardrops to allow the insertion of a small piece of the jewelry head pins to hold them in place from the back side (more on that later in the assembly).

As I was routering everything, I did test fits quite often checking the clearances on the movement, light string and crystals, adjusting as needed.  I also decided to router out a little deeper on the light holder as to put a piece of plexiglass over the light string and difuse some of the light to make the crystals light up more evenly.  Without it, some crystals were lit up brighter than others depending on where the LED's lined up.

This is also where I decided to add the initial inlaid down in the front of the clock.  Figured out the layout of that along with the teardrop crystals for that area.  Then drilled progressively bigger holes in the back for the lights to get to them as well.  Also came up with the idea to use the gel clings for windows to "color" these teardrops as they are actually just clear crystals.

Let me say, things did not progress as quickly as I anticipated, but still worked out in the end.

The pictures show the progress in the routering and test fits of things to this point.  The second picture also shows where I painted white inside the back light cover to reflect more of the light.

Step 4: Metal Pieces

Here are the metal pieces I cut for this clock on the scrollsaw.  The letter "C", the clock hands and the silouhette of one of their wedding pictures.

All the patterns were made up on the computer and printed to Self-Adhesive paper from Sloan's Woodshop.  Both metals were finely sanded beforehand, then taped with masking tape.  The printed patterns were then cut out roughly and applied to the metal for cutting.  The masking tape and selfadhesive paper helps on the scrollsaw to keep the blade 'lubricated' and prolong the life of the blades.  After cutting them out, the masking tape is pealed off which removes the pattern as well, leaving just the bare sanded metal.  I used the #1 Jewelers Blades in cutting.  Once the items were cut out, I sprayed a couple of light coats of clear gloss spray paint over them to seal from corrosion and fingerprints.

I neglected to get pictures during the process of cutting these out, but the finished items are shown in the pictures.  On the clock hands, I also engraved their first names on the hour hand and their wedding date on the minute hand. Since these are quite a bit heavier than standard clock hands, I opted to use the high torque clock movement

Step 5: Test Assembly Before Varnishing

At this point, everything is cut out, holes drilled, test fitted everything many times already, but did a final 'test' assembly and put all the crystals in their places to make sure things were lighting up and looked proportional as much as could be.

I included pictures of both with the lights on and off.  The "lights on" picture picked up a lot of glare from the camera flash.

After ensuring everything was to my liking, all was disassembled again, ready for varnishing/painting the wood pieces...

Step 6: Varnishing and Painting

Painted the inside of the back light cover white (as mentioned before) and the inside of where the crystals would protrude through.  This was mainly done to ensure more light was reflected around in the back and make it to the crystals.  Before I did this, they seemed to be dimmer.  I also taped up the clock movement and painted it with silver to reflect light as well.

After all the white/silver painting was completed and dried, then I started the 4-5 coats of varnish on the remaining.  The maple pieces didn't require as many coats as the base.  Reason being, they are a harder, more dense grained wood and started to seal up and take a shine faster than the base piece.  Being it was burl, it took about 2 heavier coats to get the wood sealed before it started building a shine.

The pictures show some of the pieces before...Final Assembly!  More pics in the Final Assembly step...

Step 7: Final Assembly

Now that everything is varnished and/or painted, it was finally time to put it all together for good.

First I put the crystal pendants in their holes for the clock face.  As it shows in the first picture of this step, this is where I used the 2" Head Pins.  I cut a small piece of them to insert in the pendant hole on the back side of the main clock body.  This was not as easy as I thought it would be as I kept having to use a dremel with engraving tip to "router" out a place for the pin to set.  Once I had the pin fit for that particular cyrstal, I glued it in with Gorilla Super Glue.  This way, they would not have any chance of falling out.  I then "very carefully" painted the exposed pins white.  The smaller crystals above and below the initial, I just glued in as the pendant hole was too small to insert the head pin pieces.  Also want to note that I angled the pins on each toward the center of the clock movement because it put a very faint line in the crystal when lit up.  This way they all pointed to the center. 

As shown in the second picture, this is where I used the colored gels.  I cut out to fit inside the holes and just used an old Glad sandwich container lid to cut the holder out of.  Then attached them all in place with a brass screw in the center.  All it needed to do was hold the gels in place.

The third picture shows the back of the clock after the crystals were in place and paint touched up.

Here's where it got interesting...I found out I should have affixed the front silouhette of copper before I put in the crystals.  Reason being that the front was not completely level or the copper warped a little.  This made it so I could not get it to glue down completely flat without clamping it down.  So...I found a piece of scrap wood and laid out where the crystals were, drilled holes where the crystals were and clamped the front silouhette down and left overnight.  I just used the Gorilla Super Glue to affix it and the brass letter C on the front.  Also used the super glue to affix the 4 crystals in the 3,6, 9, 12 positions.  The last picture shows after the complete assembly of the main clock body.

Then all that was left was to put the LED sting in it's holder and attach the plexiglass cover (fourth picture).

After the main pieces were assembled, it was just a matter of attaching the back led cover and base to the main clock body.

Finally, I was done!!!

Step 8: Completed and Notes

First picture is a front view of the completed assembly and lit up with the LED lights.
The second picture shows from the top and trying to show how the back was attached.

This whole process was probably about 6 months off and on, along with figuring things out as I went.  I hope you enjoyed looking thru the steps and I would appreciate any comments or questions you may have.

Don't know if I'll ever make another, but would like to try again!  Really like the way the lights lit up the crystals.  I did include a picture of them in the dark (back in the intro), which didn't turn out very good because the lights are really bright!

Thanks for looking!

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