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A Clockmaker's Diary
THIRD INSTALLMENT -- The Base Assembly


WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 4:

I want two quarter columns to ease the front corners of the Base. These split turnings are made from a single 2-3/4-inch turning blank. Glued it up so the glue line wouldn't show once the piece was cut apart on the Bandsaw. Used woodworker's glue and allowed plenty of time for setup/drying. While it was drying, I practiced turning my previously drawn design on a piece of 4 X 4 pine.

The oversized blank leaves me enough margin to split the single turning on the Bandsaw, then remove the saw marks by using the Jointer. Used the Jointer as well to backcut the quarter-columns so that I got good contact all along the front edges.

These split turnings were the last cuts for the clock construction -- except for the back piece.

Last of the construction... the back. It's to be 3/4-inch veneered plywood. It'll not only support the entire weight of the clockworks, but also act as a sounding board for the chimes that will be attached to it.

Finally, I put the entire case together -- from top to bottom -- to check for final fit. And though it seems like I'm almost done with the clock, the final sanding and finishing is yet to come.

WEEK ENDING DECEMBER 18:

Sanding the moldings is a real challenge. Have to take careful care to keep the corners sharp and clean, with well-defined lines. Started sanding with 80-grit Garnet paper, them moved on to 100-grit... ending up with 150-grit.

Worked in stages, sanding and finishing the Hood first, then the Waist and Base. When I got to the final sanding, I applied a coat of oil finish, then worked it in with 220-grit, silicon carbide, wet/dry sandpaper. As I rubbed out the finish, the oil and sawdust mixed to make a paste that filled the wood grain nicely.

Finished the inside of the Clock as well as the outside. Used the same number of coats of finish to help prevent warpage that could result from finishing only one side. I'll finish up with a high quality paste wax for a really hard finish. Rubbed the wax in with #0000 steel wool, then buffed it out with a soft cloth. Three coats did the trick.

After completing the clock, I stood and looked at it for a long time. It's become a lot like a close “friend” who speaks to me every quarter-hour... and starts a conversation every hour.

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