Lamp-clock combination



This project started as my entry in the Emerald Woodworkers Group challenge competition. All entrants were given 2 pieces of rough-sawn Spotted Gum (eucalyptus citriodora) about 50 x 150 x 600mm long and could make whatever they pleased from it - with a few conditions such as the finished item consisting of at least 90% challenge timber. The task was made a little more difficult by the fact that the timber was only cut less than 12 months earlier so it was still moving a bit, something I had to allow for in places in my design.
The timber dressed and marked out for cutting.
Had to change direction to cut the feet due to the layout of the bandsaw.
Drilled a hole at the clock centre to enable mounting on the Shark jaws.
Cut out the centre to suit the clock insert (60mm) and parted in about halfway through the block to partly cut out the clock surround.
Reverse the piece on the chuck and part in from that side to leave about 2mm of timber holding things together. Remove it from the chuck and finish cutting the clock surround out by hand.
Mount the surround back on the shark-jaws, then shape and sand the outside.
Cut a recess into the rim each end - one for the clock and one for the plug.
Drill 6mm holes through each side for the pivots using a drill block in the toolrest and the lathes indexing to position it. (Thankfully not a soul noticed I got the grain orientation wrong here - if there is a wrong way for it)
Glue the two base halves together with a layer of paper between them (I just use newspaper). Once the glue dries, mount the blank on the lathe using a faceplate/ring with screws arranged so they won't interfere with the finished ring.
True the bottom face and cut the groove that the wire will lay in - I was lucky the groove ended up the right size to match my stepped bowl jaws for when the piece is reversed.
Trim the outside to size and cut the hole for the centre radius almost right through the blank.
Reverse the piece on the chuck and shape the top as close to round as you can get it.
Drill the centres of your posts out. I needed to use a 10mm bit which won't fit through my live centre on the lathe so I resorted to the pictured method, drilling in from each end, I was only a mil' or two out of alignment in the finish which was fine. The 'V' block guide is shimmed up so the drill aligns with the blanks centre height, everything is clamped in place and away you go.
The posts are then mounted between centres on the lathe and rounded down to the chosen diameter. The closer to the 'bend' you go, the less work there is later on.
The top of each post was 'cupped' to allow the seat of the light fitting to drop right in... a bit more to allow space for an earth lug. The brass cup will be attached by screws through the cup into the post.
The drill press table makes a good height-adjustable platform to use in conjunction with the belt sander to remove the waste from the posts and round them over.
Split the base ring along the glue-join and clean/true the ends up. I decided to dowel the joins in the base to help with positioning more than adding strength.
Glue up the two outside joins only at this stage so the two sides can be separated to allow easy access for blending the posts and rings together and to allow the clock-block to be fitted in the final glue-up.
The concave side of the wave shape of the clock-block was formed by passing the block across the table-saw at an angle, sneaking the blade up in steps of just 1 or 2mm at a time....
... and taking the excess off the convex side as pictured.
The wave was refined with a mixture of hand-planing and hand powered curved sanding blocks.
A simple rig for holding the clock-block perfectly square while drilling the hole through from the bottom for the threaded inserts.
I mounted the inserts on a length of 6mm rod to screw them into place to make sure they were aligned properly.
Mark and drill the posts and clock-block to take the dowels that will join them. I also stepped each hole 1 or 2mm deep with a 10mm bit so the brass tube that would slip over the dowels would appear to be inside the timber. Glue up the middle of the base and the clock-block at the same time and clamp - yes, it is tricky!
Turn the plug any way you like as long as it is removable to access the clock for battery changes. Because the wood was still moving, I turned the plug a loose fit and cut a groove to hold a piece of springy wire as a retainer - worked a treat! Alternatively, if you don't cut a recess for the clock, it could be pulled out from the front but I think it would look too obtrusive.
I used a trimmer (small router) to hollow a section of the base as a junction box for the wiring. This was later covered with a piece of hard plastic attached with a screw in each corner.
To get the type of light fittings I wanted, I had to buy a chandelier and cut it up. This compromised the earthing of the fittings as they are not double-insulated. My solution to this was to run and attach an earth as pictured. If you want to use this type of fitting and are not a licensed electrician, you MUST get one to do the wiring for you to ensure everyone's safety.
... and yes, it did win the competition which has a very tidy $400 prize attached.
 The competition is open to anyone so see you in it next year eh!


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