Instead of making a boring clock for my dad I made a clock with hidden storage. The inside would otherwise be wasted space to allow for the clock movement but instead of wasting the space I made a pull out box to go inside. The body is made from poplar and there is a red oak veneer in the front and back to add a little detail.
To make this you will need:
- A bandsaw. I'm not sure if there is a way around using a bandsaw on this project.
- Some type of sander to clean up all of the cuts.
- A drill.
- A planer isn't entirely necessary but it will help for cleaning up the thin strips.
- An electric sander if you have one.
Materials are dependent upon your unique design but I used:
- About 6' of 1x6 poplar
- About 10" of 1x6 red oak
- Clock movement.
- Wood glue
- Finish of choice
Using power tools incorrectly can result in a very bad experience. Be safe friends. You can walk with a wooden leg and hold things with a wooden hand but you can't see with a wooden eye. Wear your safety glasses.
Step 1: Prepare Your Project
Determine the size of your desired shape and figure out how thick you want the project to be. For me I chose to go by the maximum thickness of my bandsaw which is a little more than 6". I knew I was going to add a couple thinner strips at a later step so I took those thicknesses into consideration in this step.
After cutting all the pieces to length glue them together to form a larger block of wood. It's important to get good glue coverage. Adding too much glue can be wasteful when a bunch squeezes out of the side during clamping but not spots without glue can result in cracks opening up over time.
Step 2: Cut Accent Strips
While the glue dries the next step can be started. To add some visual appeal I wanted to add a couple strips to the front and back faces of the clock. To make the red oak just an accent I cut a matching thickness piece of poplar. When they are glued on at a later step the poplar will be on the outside so all you will see from other angles is just a strip of red oak.
The bandsaw blade I was using left a really rough face so I used a thickness planer to clean up the faces for gluing later. This can be done by hand if you don't have a thickness planer.
Step 3: Cut Your Shape
Transfer whatever design or shape you are cutting onto the dried block of wood. I chose a simple design influenced from looking at nautical clocks and a bandsaw box from my friend David at drunkenwoodworker.com. Both the outline and the interior cavity where the clock will be mounted and the hidden compartment will be need to be cut.
Step 4: Make a Bandsaw Box Out of the Inside Piece
The interior piece is essentially just a bandsaw box. So really we're making a clock....with a bandsaw box inside it. This is the most difficult part to explain so hopefully the series of images will help. First, we need a way to hold this box inisde the clock from below so I chose to use magnets. Rare earth magnets or anything more powerful would have been my first choice but I couldn't find any locally so I used cheap ceramic magnets. They worked but barely. I drilled two holes with a forstner bit to the appropriate depth to seat the magnets in. Do not glue the magnets in just yet. (first pic)
This is where it gets complicated. The part marked by the blue marker is the space needed for the clock movement so it needs to be removed permanently. (second pic)
The remaining space is where the box will be cut into. The front and back of this area will be cut off and glued back on in just a couple minutes. (third pic)
With the front and back of these areas removed I drew a shape to remove to form the inside of a box. (fourth pic)
Finally the front and back pieces cut off in the third pic need to be glued back on. With that complete I used a belt sander on it's side to clean up all of my cuts and glue lines. (last pic)
Step 5: More Gluing
Glue on the back panel accent pieces. Red oak followed by the poplar. After the glue dried I cut the extra off and drilled matching magnet holes in the back. I used a mix of 5 minute epoxy to glue the magnets into the back of the hidden box and into the back panel. A little is all that is needed. I used way too much and ended up having epoxy squeeze out which was a pain to remove.
After a successfull test to make sure the box will stay with the magnets used the front panel can be glued in place. Then trimmed to the final size. A sander or file can be used to clean up all of the faces at this point.
Step 6: A Few Details Before the Final Assembly
Drill a hole in the front face for the clock movement. A forstner bit will produce the cleanest hole. Brad point pits work well too.
I finished out of order here. I should have put the finish on after gluing on the clock reference marks (numbers). But instead I applied a coat of Danish oil first. Then used Mod Podge to glue on the reference marks which were small pieces of red oak. I have no clue as to why I used Mod Podge to glue these on but in the end it worked.
Step 7: Make It a Clock
I originally used double sided tape to install the movement but it didn't last overnight. The next day I used some more 5 minute epoxy to hold it in place.
Step 8: Enjoy It or Gift It
Most of my projects end up going to other people. This one went to my Dad.
I hope you enjoyed this project and if you aren't able to make something similar hopefully you were able to at least get some ideas from it. If you liked this project you can see a lot more at my website jayscustomcreations.com. I've been regularly creating projects since 2013 and have over 400 posts for you to browse through. Have a good one and be productive!