A Segmented Clock

I made this clock as a Christmas gift to my wife. It turns out leaving a complex crafting project until December isn’t a great idea, and it turns out it’s quite tricky to create all these digits so quickly, and just buy nice-looking numbers online is imposible. So this ended up with some slightly dissapointing black plastic numbers stuck on the front. Let’s just call it a post-modern ironic statement on the contrast of ancient crafting techniques and modern materials, shall we?

I don’t have a lot of in-progress images of this project, but here are what I have. The first is the initial dry-fit of the segments inside a former made of a slab of MDF will nails to hold in each segment. It took me a while to come up with a way of clamping something that wants to spring apart in every direction. It turns out that “wedges” were invented ages ago to do just that. The nails proved fairly effective though, as when they’re driven in at a slight angle they impart enough force all the way around for a nice joint. I did need a weight in the middle to stop it springing apart upwards. I’d like to say it was a fun couple of days working all this out as it sprung apart mid-glueup, but it wasn’t.

Next is the glued circle, which I had sanded to a decent finish with a random-orbit palm-sander. Not much to say here, apart from how you can see how much darker the Purple Heart is even with just the top surface sanded off.

The final image is where I used black epoxy resin to fill the knot-holes in the walnut. It’s just normal two-part epoxy glue mixed with some black pigment (common acrylic kid’s paint in this case) but it was very effective. You can really see how purple that Purple Heart gets – that’s natural without any finish on it.

Here’s the finshed article. I was very pleased with the overall effect, but do wish I’d made the effort of making my own numbers. Also, photographing something made of White Oak on a White Oak table, wasn’t the smartest artistic decision I’ve made.

[editor’s note: Its now 5 years later and the clock is still on the wall, the only real degradation in that time has been the inevitable result of joining wood in so many different orientations with no regard for grain or natual movement throughout the year. It’s still in one piece, but some cracks between the segments are visible]

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