Sliced Wood Clock




About: Come spend some time in the shop. I'm a hobbyist woodworker and professional computer geek in Northern California. I guess my projects will vary widely, and I have no clue what I plan to make next...
This grand clock is made from two walnut boards measuring 4" x 16" and opened up like a fan!

I wanted a project to challenge me and this fit the bill. The final size is 34" in diameter and quite a striking addition to the wall. let me show you how I made it.

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Step 1: Cutting Up Your Stock

I learned about this sliced wood technique after stumbling on Seth Rollands website. I did an separate instructable on the process that can be seen here:

This Instructable will focus more on the project and less on the technique.

I started with a large piece of walnut. I cross cut it down to 16" then ripped that down to 4". My original hope was to make the entire clock from a single small board. I was a bit off in my guesstimate and ended up using 2 boards, each measuring 16" x 4" for this project.

Step 2: Setting Up the Cut

For cutting you need a band saw and a straight fence to reference the cuts off of. For me, I just clamped a board down to the table to act as my fence.

I made a number of "units" that would used to space out each cut. They are approx. 1/8 of an inch. The number doesn't have to be precise, just as long as they are all a uniform thickness. I then cut a spacer equal to 8 units and one equal to 16 units, so there would be fewer individual pieces to try and manage.

I then used a marking gauge to scribe a line on all 4 ends of my project board about 1/2 away from the edge. Now we should be ready to begin cutting the board.

Step 3: The Cutting Process

  1. While keeping the work piece against the fence cut the length of the board
  2. Stop the cut right at the 1/2" margin you marked earlier.
  3. Back out the cut completely
  4. Add one "unit" strip up against the fence.
  5. Flip the board end for end and make another cut, again stopping at the 1/2" margin mark.
  6. Rinse and repeat

You will begin to see this zig-zag pattern emerge with in a few cuts. It's just a matter of following the steps. Add a strip, make a stopped cut, flip the board over and begin again.

Once you've gone 7 strips deep, you can replace those with your "8 unit" board. Then you can begin adding the strips again till you get to 15 and replace both with the "16 unit" board.

It's not terribly difficult, but you can begin to zone out. If you find your attention wandering, turn off the band saw and give yourself a moment to collect your thoughts. Zoning out at a power tool is recipe for a bad day....

Step 4: Relief Cut & Some Sanding

In order to add both visual interest and more flexibility I made a relief cut on the band saw. It was a simple 'S' curve that added quite a bit of drama to the look of the piece.

Now is a good time for a bit of sanding as adding a finish is the next step. Sanding between all the slats is a very tedious process....I only went to 120, but probably should have gone up to at least 180.

Step 5: Oiling for More Flexibility

In attempting to get even more of a radius out of the piece I decided to add the finish. I used a heavy coating of boiled linseed oil and allowed it to soak in over night before checking on it's progress.

The fact was, I was only getting about 180* of curve from the board. Honestly for a 4" wide board that was pretty good, but if I wanted a clock, I would need to cut a second board...

As you can see, I with the two of them together, I've got my full circle. I used wood glue and clamps to join the two halves and create my 34" clock face. The process was not without complications, and I would direct you to the video if you care to watch a grown man weep....

Step 6: Turning the Hub & Finishing Touches.

Now that the main body of the clock was glued together it needed only a center hub to give it the rigidity it needed. I used an off cut of the walnut and turned a 3" flange shape hub on my lathe. Add a healthy dose of epoxy and a bottle for weight.

The next morning, I added some more oil and the clock movement.

Step 7: Completed Clock

The finished clock is already one of my favorite pieces and is hanging in my office.

Let me know what you think and thanks for checking out this write up!

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    10 Discussions


    2 years ago

    I want to make some.. but I'm wondering about the clock hands and the clock movement.. Can you please show me how to put it? Cause' it was like there's no clock movement in it.


    3 years ago

    fell in love with this clock a couple months ago after watching the video, just looking for time to make it.


    3 years ago

    This clock is striking and I would love to try out the technique. Would you think I could get the full circle from one piece of 8" x 16"?


    4 years ago

    I used a band saw once in high school... broke the blade & ran off before anyone could see who did it!

    Great job, as always. I'd love to have this in my home.


    I like your vision of how things can be, well done!

    Think about donning a beret, this is a very Daliesque design.

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    This looks so classy! The technique is really awesome, it's time for me to get more comfortable with the bandsaw!

    1 reply

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. The band saw is one of those highly versitile and highly fussy tools!