Introduction: R2D2 Woodburning Clock

This was a gift I made for my wife. Even though I have access to a woodworking shop with large expensive tools (former employer), I really didn't do anything conventional. Someone gave me access to some downed cedar trees that had blown down and were already quite dry due to being uprooted for 8 years. I wanted to take a project all the way from a tree that I cut up to a finished project so here's what I came up with. You could do something similar by just buying dimensional lumber from a lumber yard or home improvement store.

Step 1: Decide on Your Pattern and Get Some Wood of the Correct Size

I took an 8' long log and a chainsaw and cut it into planks as flat as I could get them while it was hanging out the back of a truck. I then ran the very rough boards through a planer until they were as smooth as lumber you would buy. Because I chose to leave some of the rotted wood visible for character, I didn't get very wide boards, so I glued two together to get the size I needed. If you don't have access to fresh cut wood, rough sawn lumber, or a planer, you can typically buy an individual 1x12 (pine/fir being one of the softest available, oak being one of the hardest generally available). In most cases, the store will even cut the boards to length for you so they are easier to manage.

Step 2: Print Your Pattern and Trace It Onto the Board

I just took a sharp pencil and traced the R2D2 I had printed onto the board, leaving an impression in the soft cedar. I then went back over the lines with the pencil so I could see the pencil marks. At this point I used the full pattern I had come up with , but had not yet decided on how I would hang or stand the clock. I ended up taking the middle "foot" and cutting it out separately for a stand in a later step.

Step 3: Start Wood Burning

Because I hadn't yet decided how much I wanted to cut out, I just proceeded to follow every line with a wood burner. I actually used a high temp soldering station, with a tip I didn't care about, but it worked the same as a wood burner. I believe it went to 850-900 degrees. Having never done wood burning, I have no idea how hot wood burner tips get, but because this was a softer wood I figured it would work. Along the way, I got out the clock works kit I had purchased and placed the hands where I thought I wanted the center to be, just to make sure the ends of the hands wouldn't extend past the edges of the wood much. At this point I decided I needed to keep some of the wood above his head attached, so I thought of adding a chat bubble.

Step 4: Cut Out the Shape

As I said, I didn't really use large shop tools for much of this, other than the planer to smooth out the boards. For cutting out the shape, my old boss's scroll saw and band saw were both broken, so I went home and got my Dremel Moto Saw found here:

This saw attaches to almost any table and can be used like a scroll saw, even though it is much lighter duty. I think it's main uses would be for finer crafts and very small pieces. Because of the amount of flex in the plastic body of the saw, I don't think I'd have used it if I were working with a harder wood.

As you can see in this photo, I cut off his middle foot to be used later, since i had decided at this point to make a stand using that foot.

Step 5: Test Fit Clock Works and Final Assembly

The clock works I bought worked great. I did trim the hands so they didn't stick out too far past the wood, as I didn't want to risk them getting bent. The hook on the back allows it to hang straight, and even though it's off center a bit, the weight of the chat bubble portion counterweights the extra width of the wood on the left.

On his leg, I mounted the foot to a small piece of cedar which I cut a bevel into the top of. The bevel allowed me to set the foot back at an angle which has him leaning back as he would in the movies when he's in motion. I also drilled the screw holes a second time at another angle, so the leg could be reversed and sit flat to the back of the clock (as seen in the first pic, where it's laying flat on a table). I did wood burning on both sides of the foot, so it looks consistent no matter which way it's flipped. When assembled with the leg flat to the clock, the clock works and hook sticks out from the back about the same distance as the leg, so it doesn't rock on the wall.

I used no finish on this clock, and as it's cedar it really shouldn't matter. My wife loved it!