This simple clock was transformed into a trophy for winners of Malaysia's Social Entrepreneurship Awards. It was co-designed by Biji-biji Initiative, Kerinthing Design Unit & MAGIC. The reason behind the design was to create a useful and functional gift that will not be just another dust collector on the shelf. The central feature of the design was time, reminding entrepreneurs to value and respect the most precious resource one has in their life.
Step 1: Gather Materials
1. 12 mm thick reclaimed pine planks. The pine planks are originally 20 mm as the thinnest pine planks available are 20 mm. These will be downsized to 12 mm using a planer.
2. 10 mm polished glass. If you are wondering whether you can use tampered glass instead, we would not advise you to do so. It is impossible to get tampered glass that is as small as 250 mm x 70 mm. Furthermore, if you wish to cut the tampered glass to a small size it is a very expensive process.
3. Super Glue; used for gluing the glass
4. Wood glue; used for the joints of the planks
5. Oak wood stain (gel type)
6. Nitro cellulose sealer and lacquer
7. Wood putty
8. Pneumatic nail gun
8. Motion sensing digital clock (solely by clapping your hands and snapping your finger) --http://www.lazada.com.my/2-x-aaa-usb-powered-mini-wooden-clock-led-digital-desktop-alarmclock-2850959.html
Step 2: Tools Required
1. Mitre Saw ; to cut the pine planks to 45 degrees
2. Table saw ; to cut planks to the desired size.
Refer to the picture for the lengths of plank. The width is 72mm.
3. Laser engraver for glass etching
4. Planer to reduce the thickness of the wood
5. Router for grooves
6. Digital inclinometer to measure the perfect 45 degree angle
7. Belt sander; used as the first sander
8. Fine sander; for polishing effect for mirror finish
9. Compressor and pneumatic nail gun
Step 3: Material Preparation
1. Plane the planks down to 12 mm by passing it through the planer several times. The best strategy is to plane as close to 12mm and then run all the pieces one after the other to ensure a consistent thickness between each plank.
2. The planks are sliced using the table saw to the required width (72 mm), Our reasoning here was because the clock was 62mm, we wanted to hide the buttons on the back yet still make it easily accessible if any settings were to be adjusted.
3. Belt sand and fine sand the planks to the desired finish. We started at #60 grit and moved up to #120, #180 and #240
6. Use the mitre saw to first cut pieces to size and then to further cut it to a 45 degree angle. Here we used the inclinometer on test cuts to set the saw to a perfect 45 degree.
4. Now we move on to applying the wood stain. A helpful tip for applying wood stain is by firstly, dipping your cloth in a thinner then proceed to dipping the cloth in the wood stain and finally applying it on the planks. Do not apply stain at the joints that are going to be glued.
5. Continue with finer grit sand paper at #300, #400 and #600 if you desire a mirror finish. We took our time on this step as we wanted the winners to feel special when they looked at their award. Any more sanding on our part and we could probably start to see our face in the planks!
7. Route a long slot/groove (3mm deep) on the wood to slot the glass in. The groove is at the top, bottom and the side of the pine planks. Refer to the image above. We did this using a simple homemade plywood jig to ensure accuracy and consistency between each plank. Bear in mind, any dimensions chosen must also be relative to the size of the clock (clock in the diagram is actually 62-64mm)
8. The graphics on the glass are designed using adobe illustrator according to the specs provided by our client. We then laser engraved the design using an epilog laser engraver from a local trophy shop.
Step 4: Assembly
1. During assembly, assemble everything with the clock in its final position for reference to ensure accuracy
2. The individual plank parts of the frame are assembled together using glue (as per the diagram) and fastened using pneumatic nail gun. The function of the pneumatic nail gun is to apply pressure so that the glue is stuck stronger to each surface. A pneumatic nail gun is a great tool to use if you don't want the nail head to be seen on the surface.
3. To make any corrections whilst gluing, always use a wet cloth to wipe the glue. Best and easiest time to do it is when the glue is wet. Leave the glue to dry overnight.
Step 5: Finishing
1. Wood putty any remaining gaps and leave to dry for several hours.
2. Sand off putty.
3. Stain any marks that are showing
4. One last round of fine sanding #400 sand paper
5. We use Nitro Cellulose (NC) as sealer followed by another round of sanding
6. Apply lacquer
7. Finally, add glue to the groove and slot the glass in.
Tips: The clock can be operated using a battery or charged via the usb jack. It is advisable to opt for the usb jack as it is more long lasting.
We created this instructables with hopes to share our journey in attempting to make this bespoke piece so others can draw inspiration and experiment further with the idea. At Biji-biji Initiative, we make things. And if we can make things, you can make things. To check out more of what we do, you can find us at
Hope this instructables has been as clear and informative as it can be! Feel free to ask any inquiries if you have any doubts. Good luck!