Quality Wood Crafts


Clock Part 2

In continuation of the previous clock Blog, i had decided to scrap the idea of an oak clock with turned “unknown” branches along each of the eight sides. In my mind, in order to make that type clock look good, I was gonna have to use a chisel and hammer on the edges of the clock, and make all eight flat edges contour with the beads of the turned branches (see below post entitled Clock Part 1). It is not that i couldn’t do it, but i l knew i was gonna mess up again and i didn’t know how much time i was gonna spend on it. So i had to choose…..1.) Try a new idea or 2.) continue with this setup, and strive for perfection. I know i would eventually get close to it, but the question was… how long and how much time do i want to spend on this project? Well, I have already invested over 2 hours in this project, it was time to switch directions.

I bought about 20 wet ash cross-cut slabs from someone in the sellersville, Pa about 1” to 1 1/2” thick. They were used in wedding, and that wedding was ransacked by coyotes, and the groom was eaten alive. So the ash slabs brought the bride bad memories. They sat it in my very dry basement for about 6 months. At the time i bought them, i did not really have a wood drying area in my shop, so they were stacked on top each other underneath my workbench. This means there was not much air flow to allow them to dry. But this might have been a good thing, since the ash slabs on top of each stack cracked pretty bad. The slabs underneath the top slab had almost no air flow, and therefore drier much slower and didn’t crack, but you will see soon that they didn’t dry enough.


ABOUT THREE WEEKS AGO, i MOVED THE ASH SLABS, AND ALL THE WOOD I HAD INTO TWO LOCATIONS, AFTER I HAD MADE A MOVE IN MY SHOP. I WAS ABLE TO STACK ALL THE SLABS ON TOP OF EACH OTHER WITH STICKERS IN BETWEEN. sO THEY SHOULD BE MORE DRY… i GRABBED AN ASH SLAB NOT FOR MOISTURE LEVEL, BUT FOR appearance and convenience. I found a slab that was both most round with the pith closest to the middle and one that i didnt have to tear down the entire stack for.

I started sanding with 60 grit of the orbital sander. After that, i did my best to find the center and drilled a very small 1/16” hole through it. then i drew out the clock mechanics, and starter chiseling out the edges of the area where the guts would go. buuuuuuuut, i got a little hammer happy and forgot to wedge out the wood horizontally along with vertically, and…break!!!!!!…

The Break… go to about 1:53:XX


the log snapped into two pieces. I wasn’t too worries and i was sure i could hide it, and i hid it well. After i was done using a combination of titebond and saw dust, the crack was gone, and i could continue. I start to cut out the gut area using a router, slowly lowering the depths of the cuts, then chiseling out the sides, then the router, then the chisel, then the router, repeat… i did want to add burn marks to this, which is where the project when downhill. Since the wood was not fully dry, when i applied heat with the flame, the ash warped and cracked, especially in the middle where the wood was weakest. i both heard the wood cracking and saw it, so i stopped and but the wood in the fridge that was downstairs… not sure if that was the best idea, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

After I got it out of the fridge, i gently sanded and was gonna hide the cracks again, but this time for some dumb reason,i used CA glue and saw dust instead of titebond and saw dust, and now the cracks are transparent… so i got the glue out with an exacto knife and re-glued it properly. followed by gently sanding to get the excess glue out. AfteR all that, I sanded down as much off the odd scraps that i could in the time i wanted to spend, and stained it, followed ca gluing rusty roman numberals to balsa woods and titebond gluing the balsa wood to the ash in 30 degree segments. and i let the letters dry overnight before i apply a clear coat of lacquer over the project.

what did i learn?

Well, two things….

1.) let wood dry completly before applying heat. This brings me closer to making that small wall mounted DIY low-powered kiln. I think if i had placed that wood in this kiln i have in my mind for about a week, maybe two, i could have gotten it to below 6% humidity, and then maybe the burn marks may have worked.

2.) i should have used my planer. Well… not ‘my’ planer, pino’s planer. the only problem is that one of the wings are broken, so snip will be inevitable. so n my mind what I need to do is to build a an outfeed/infeed table for the wen planer… in order to do that, it should have a permanent location in the shop…. A.) to prevent the tables from breaking and because B.) the planer is heavy as F*&K, and it should be on tabletop… in a permanent spot….to do that, i need to clear stuff out of the other side of the shop….which means i have to convince my wife to let me cut down the food stock area!

Nick Valenza