Sunday, 7 August 2016

Tall case clock

This weekend my miniature group decided to make a clock. There are four clock kits in the series, of which one is very common and the other three less so and therefore expensive. I paid more for the very last one I bought than I will admit. But we decided to make the most common clock, William and Mary tall case clock.


I had had it for quite a while and heard intimidating stories of how difficult it was, as well as an encouraging story of how easy it was. Anyway, this was the kit we decided to make, and making things with the group has become a source of much joy.

I had never made a tall case clock. I have upcycled many clocks for my clockmaker roombox (this post also shows a clock made from a very crude kit). So I was rather apprehensive, but I have made some sophisticated miniatures recently.

I decided to stain the clock with light oak. Maybe because I only had very little left in the jar it was darker than I wanted, but I still had to use 3-4 coats.

Then I started the assembly in the order prescribed in instructions. Sometimes order is crucial.

The base was easy, but the case kept falling apart, and I had to fix it with masking tape. 

Gluing together the base and the case was easy, as was gluing together the top part, which I now know, after some research, is called the bonnet.

Then I glued on the pediment and thought it looked too large. My group ensured me it was ok. 


At this point, I needed to switch my attention to the door, and as usual I attached the knob while the door was still flat, but I had to varnish it before. Then there was quite a complicated operation involving hinge brackets which I did wrong and had to do again, and it took some time to dry.

Meanwhile, I looked at the pendulum, chain and weights. The instruction said cut the chin into two uneven parts, which I did before thinking, immediately realising that it would have made more sense to use the chain in one piece, running it through the holes and attaching weights after. But now it was too late. I used my strong all-purpose Swedish glue for the weights, not sure it would hold, but it did - so far. But rather than gluing the chains - with weights - into holes I used my favourite wine-bottle wire to hold them together on top of the block. 


I thought I was very clever, and maybe I was, but there was a problem later on, of which in due time. So far I tried the assembly in the case, and it looked good.

The upper block is not glued in yet because it had to be done together with installing the door. It was quite late in the evening, and I was tired so I left the door until the day after and instead finished the face. I considered finding a more interesting face on the web, as I did with some clocks, but decided against it. It wasn't too bad. In cheap clocks and on faces from the web, the hands are fake, but here were two tiny hands, and I knew there was no way I could glue them on perfectly in the centre. The instruction suggested that a small pin could be used (not provided), and I opted for this solution. My drill didn't like the metal plate, but finally I got through. I used an ordinary sewing pin cut off by half. This way the hands even can be moved.


Can you, honestly, remember whether the hour hand goes on top of the minute hand or the other way round? I had to go and check my 1:1 tall case clock.

The day after I finally had to deal with the door, and it went surprisingly easy after the first unfortunate attempt. The trick was to insert the door and the upper block with pendulum and weights at the same time. You'd need an extra hand. 

The last step was to glue on the bonnet, and here I realised that I had been smart with the chains and now had wire on top of the assembly which meant that the bonnet would not fit neatly. Since it was too late to do anything about the chains I had to cut out a groove in the bottom of the bonnet, which nobody will ever see unless they for whatever reason dismantle the clock bit by bit.


In the end, I am quite pleased. I still think the pediment is too large, but that's not my problem. As I was making this clock I believed that I wouldn't like it, but that I could always put it in the clockmaker roombox. As it is, I like it well enough to put it in the dining room. It is taller than the Barton clock that was there before, and therefore it is better visible. 


 The dining room is getting tremendously crammed with furniture, including the recent additions: the side table, the serving table, the dumb waiter and the cellarette

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