Photo-frame clock



A friend called me looking for someone to make one of those burl/slab clocks with a photo applied to it that she would provide. I don't like that style of clock much so I offered to come up with something different. Many hours of scribbling later produced the idea for the clock you see here which would hold all three of the photos I was given to chose from.
Trued up a piece of cotton poplar for the clock 'face' - bad choice as it is very 'furry' to work but the colour was what I wanted to match the 'sandy' colour of the photo backgrounds. Note the high-tech levelling device on the bed ways.
The blank for the 'frames' component made up from Aussie Red Cedar (toona australis) and some scrap.
Hollowing out the 'frame' to fit loosely over the 'face' to leave room for seasonal movement in the timbers.
The 'frame' hollowed and sanded.
The face is screwed into the frame at points that will be clear of the photo cut-outs. As the screws don't have much meat to bite into, the screw holes are flooded with CA to reinforce the threads.
A faceplate ring is then attached at the clock face centre and a counter balance weight attached also.
Mounted on the faceplate ring, a recess to suit the standard chuck jaws is cut into the front side....
.... and the clock is reversed and mounted on the recess to allow cutting of the recess for the clock movement.
Reversed again and held by shark jaws in the clock movement recess, the face is now turned out and sanded.
The time marker holes are drilled out using a simple guide mounted on the banjo and stepped out with the lathes built-in indexing.
The plugs for the time markers are cut from Australian Ebony and glued in place......
... then trimmed off and sanded while still on the lathe.
I used a cheapo hole cutter in the drill press to cut the holes for the photo frames. It could have been done on the lathe if you wanted a fancy rim profile but would have been a lot of messing about.
I then used a round-over bit in the router to shape the fronts of the photo frames, followed by a slot-cutter bit to cut a small recess for the glass. This recess was cut with the router against the front surface and a sleeve was slipped over the shaft of the slot-cutter bit (pictured) so it couldn't cut into the frame. I used the same slot-cutter bit to cut a hole in the back of the clock for hanging on a screw-head or picture-hook.
The waste on the 'frame' can be sawn off at this point and the top edge of the frame sanded.
I then taped a piece of cardboard on the overall centre position so I could use a compass to mark out the decorations without leaving a nasty hole in the clock face.
Used a pyrography pen to burn in the decorations then finished the whole thing with a couple of coats of Wipe-on poly. Once it was good and dry, I buffed the whole thing with Traditional wax and fitted the movement. Final step was to fit the photo's behind the 2mm thick glass disks which I had cut to suit the recesses.
Handed it over to one very happy customer who tells me the recipient was pretty happy with it also. Now I just have to make myself one 'cos I miss it hanging in place of my own grotty plastic thing.


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