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Thread: Wood clock hands?

  1. #1
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    Sep 2007
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    Wood clock hands?

    My wife wants a wood clock. I got a beautiful piece of curly shedua for the face and will use maple strips to mark the hours. But I need some maple hands. Is there anyplace to buy them? Google is no help at all.

    I tried making plywood out of 3 pieces of veneer, but cutting it just made a mess.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wade Lippman View Post
    My wife wants a wood clock. I got a beautiful piece of curly shedua for the face and will use maple strips to mark the hours. But I need some maple hands. Is there anyplace to buy them? Google is no help at all.

    I tried making plywood out of 3 pieces of veneer, but cutting it just made a mess.
    Do you have a good sroll saw or a friend with one? I've seen small pieces of very thin baltic birch plywood at a hobby store and at wood craft. Would that work? Cut out hands with a scroll saw. Or resaw some hard maple, dogwood, or boxwood and saw out the hands.

  3. #3
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    I don't have mine yet but that would be an easy job for a CNC laser (probably not a hobby diode laser though). A decent part of the job would be to make the design, which if you're handy with a computer you could do. Just understand that the better the quality of the image the better the result will be.

    As for making plywood what I do is use lauan flooring. It's thin and solid. Veneering something like maple to the face would be easy. I usually do it when I want a full 1/4" thick material. I'll make it a little more than 5/16 and then run it through my planer to just over 1/4". Then a pass or two through the drum sander to finalize the size. To do it I use the bandsaw to resaw the wood I want on the face.

  4. #4
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    Sep 2015
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    Take a look at clockworks dot com (I'm not endorsing them, there are probably others out there that are equal) at the battery powered movements, hands and at the dials (under mechanical clock parts).

    I have a 40 year old grandfather's clock that needs to be re-bushed. The estimated cost to do that was close to $900. So I put in a chiming quartz movement for under $100. It even runs the pendulum and chimes on the quarter, half, 3/4 and on the hour. Sounds decent. Keeps very good time. I got my parts from those people.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Cedar Park, TX - Boulder Creek, CA
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    I'm thinking the veneer might be better with some reinforcement added. Like some light cotton cloth between the layers. Should work fine with ordinary wood glue. Probably be ok with synthetics, rayon etc, as well. Glass or carbon would require epoxy. And both are hard on saw blades.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Wayland, MA
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    Aircraft plywood in 2-3 mm thickness cut with a laser might be a good way to go. I've seen plenty of hands made from solid wood in those kinds of thicknesses though, I think you just want to be sure to pick a tight, straight grain, quartersawn piece to optimize your chances of keeping it flat. Traditionally they would have been cut with a jewelers saw or fretsaw using a birdsmouth to hold the piece. That will absolutely still work. A powered machine really isn't much of an advantage for such a small job.

    Once the hands are in place they shouldn't be subject to any significant stress, so strength isn't a huge issue.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice Rogers View Post
    I have a 40 year old grandfather's clock that needs to be re-bushed. The estimated cost to do that was close to $900. So I put in a chiming quartz movement for under $100. It even runs the pendulum and chimes on the quarter, half, 3/4 and on the hour. Sounds decent. Keeps very good time. I got my parts from those people.
    I hope you kept the movement! $900 is a ridiculous price for rebushing a tall clock movement. A complete overhaul shouldn't run but a third of that. (With most good clock guys it might take 2-3 years, but that's another story!) My great aunt had a wonderful, if strange, art deco tall case clock, unlike anything I've ever seen. The family was going to toss it in the dumpster, but I got to it in time. My uncle had replaced the movement with a quartz one because "winding it was too much trouble". Fortunately my great aunt didn't throw stuff away and we found the movement nicely packed away in a closet. Cleaning, rebushing, replacement of a worn gear, and regulation was about $200 15 years ago. The clock is now re-united with its proper movement in our living room, and I enjoy ratcheting up the weights each week.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2016
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    Modesto, CA, USA
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    Make sure they works are rated for the extra weight. Pay attention to balancing each hand. There is a reason for the big lump of material on the opposite side from the pointer.
    Bill D

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