Ith the times

"A clock maker I spoke to said that he chocked the front of tall clocks to give a slight backwards lean for added safety"

All the sycamore and ripple sycamore, with the exception of the mouldings, is from boards finished to 19mm (3/in) thickness. The face board, to take the dial, is sycamore faced MDF, glued in all round for stability, as the spindle from the clock movement runs through it.

The backs of the lower case and bonnet are also sycamore faced MDF. The source of all my veneer faced MDF board is Spa Laminates of Leeds - they seem to have everything.

Construction

The front is made up from 50mm (2in) strips of ripple sycamore for the edges, and the centre from three pieces of sycamore, to make the top, door, and bottom pieces. All three pieces for the centre are cut from the same board so that the figure runs through.

The edges, and top and bottom centre pieces, are cut to size, edge planed, glued, and clamped-up leaving the door opening. Rebates are then cut in the edges to take the sides.

Sides

The sides are cut to size with the tops stepped back above the line of the top moulding, to run between the bottom braces of the bonnet. The sides protrude into the bonnet to finish just under the seat board rails.

Two housings are cut in the front and sides to take the base and the false base. The false base is necessary for bracing and strengthening, as the top is open. Its height above the base is dependent on the drop required for the weights.

The bases are both cut to size in solid timber with the grain running in the same direction as the sides. I use PVA glue when fitting them, and leave 3mm in) clearance in the depth of the housing in the sides, relying on the 'stretch' in PVA glue to provide sufficient give for movement across the grain on such a relatively short span.

The sides are morticed to take the top brace which is cut to size and tenoned to fit. The top brace, sides, as far as the false base, and the top of the false base, are slotted to take the sycamore faced MDF back, which is glued in all around.

The sides below the false base, the base, and underside of the false base are rebated to take the lower part of the back. This lower back is screwed into place so that it can be removed. A heavy weight could then be put inside the bottom of the clock to improve stability if needed. It turned out to be unnecessary in this case, but it might be a useful option.

All the pieces of the lower case are finished, dry fitted, then glued, clamped, checked for square, and left to dry.

Mouldings

The top and bottom mouldings are made and fitted with mitred corners using two different sizes of a simple cove profile. The actual profiles used are a matter of personal taste and the cutters you have for your router, spindle moulder, or moulding plane!

The mouldings are screwed from the inside using double counter sunk holes to allow for movement.

"All three pieces for the centre are cut from the same board so that the figure runs through"

'The actual profiles ABOVE! simp,e

1 dock face and used are a matter moulding*

of personal taste and the cutters you have for your router, spindle moulder, or moulding plane!"

continue the clean lines

BELOW: Double countersunk screws allow for movement as in the door braces

BELOW: Double countersunk screws allow for movement as in the door braces

Door

The door is a simple construction of a single board with an internal brace top and bottom. The edges of the braces are rounded over to a 6mm (!4in) radius, and are screwed to the door, again in double counter sunk holes - but this time the holes are plugged.

The turn catch is also a Shaker design which I made in fumed oak to give a little contrast to the front. The door stops are fitted inside the case at the top and bottom of the opening. It is worth noting that everyone who gets close enough to this clock will want to open it to see the 'works'. Make sure the turn catch is strong enough to take the initial pull before they realise that a turn is required!

"It is worth noting that ever/one who gets close enough to this clock will want to open it to see the 'works'!"

Bonnet

The bonnet top is cut to size, housings cut for the sides, and an ogee moulding formed on the front and side edges. A stopped slot is cut for the sliding back and a stopped housing for the face board.

The sides are cut to size and housings cut for the back and face board. The bottoms are morticed for the braces, and the tops shouldered back 6mm (%in) to fit the stopped housings in the top. The seat board rails are screwed on, in double countersunk holes.

The braces are cut to size and tenoned to fit the pre-cut mortices. Housings are cut for the face board and back.

All the parts are finished and dry fitted, then glued and clamped, checked for square, and left to dry. A piece of sycamore faced MDF is cut to size and fitted as the sliding back, in which I drilled a 25mm (lin) finger hole to assist opening.

Bonnet door

The door frame is made from ripple sycamore to frame the face. I did not want anything to break the line, so I used a magnetic button catch behind the frame, and recessed 38mm (l!^in) brass butt hinges as far in as possible.

The frame pieces are cut to size, the top and bottom rails morticed, and the side rails tenoned to fit. Rebates are cut on the inside of the frame for the glass and glazing bead. The glass is fitted into the frame on a thin bed of clear silicone mastic, the glazing bead pinned into position, and the pins counter sunk and filled.

The door is then fitted to the bonnet, the bonnet to the lower case, and any necessary adjustments are made.

Finish

I decided to finish the clock before finally fitting the movement - but I did do a dry run first to check that everything fitted! To keep the whiteness of the sycamore I chose a satin finish, water based, acrylic varnish with a UV filter. I applied three coats with a sponge, rubbing down between coats to denib, and finished with two coats of clear wax.

MOVEMENT

The bonnet is removed from the lower case and the door and back from the bonnet. The movement seat board is cut from 13mm (l/2in) ply to the detailed dimensions provided with the movement, and screwed to the rails inside the bonnet.

The movement is offered to the back of the face board, and the position for the hand's spindle is marked. A hole is drilled for the spindle and, using this to locate the face, it is glued to the face board with one of the 'I can't believe it's not nails' glues.

The detailed fitting and adjustment of the movement is not complicated or difficult and full instructions are provided with the movement from the Yorkshire Clock Builders. It would be worth checking that the supplier you use does provide the instructions for fitting, and is willing to give advice if required.

I found it relatively easy to adjust the clock to an accuracy of +/-10 seconds a week. There are several choices of movement for this type of clock. A battery driven quartz movement with false weights and a moving pendulum is available.

above: Simplicity Is the key to this door and latch below: Sliding back for time adjustments, note carcass sides locking into bonnet, and side board rails

above right: More ornamental version in oiled mahogany and burr elm

Conclusion

I enjoyed making this clock - and it has attracted much favourable comment, and sales. I used the basic design for a more ornamental version in oiled mahogany (Swietenia spp) and burr elm (Ulmus spp) with a glazed lower door and a full Westminster chime.

There seems to be some mystique about these long case clocks - people viewing my work, in the full knowledge of what I do for a living, are surprised that I made the clock, but not surprised that I made a chair with compound joints, contrasting inlays, and steam bent arms. The clock is only a couple of boxes with doors, after all!

Enjoy the project and its disproportionate effort and praise ratio! .

"There seems to be some mystique about these long case clocks - people are surprised that I made it, but not surprised that I made a chair with compound joints, contrasting inlays, and steam bent arms!"

extending bonnet

extending bonnet

HDF veneered I back glued in groove

Solid side*'

False base*

"h Back screwed in

"« Top brace tenoned into sides

• Side extends into bonnet

Housing for base?

Base*

Rebate to take sides

  • Solid middle panel
  • Door stop m

<¡3

  • XfT<?l
  • Door brace double countersunk to allow for movement

Fumed oak door catch

Door stop

* Solid bottom panel

Moulding

SUPPLIERS

Duffield Timber, Green Lane, Melmerby, Ripon HG4 5JB tel: 01765 640564 fax: 01765 640600 Spa Laminates, 59 Pepper Road, Hunslet, Leeds LS10 2TH tel: 0113 271 8311 fax: 0113 270 3968 Yorkshire Clock Builders, 654 Chesterfield Road, Woodseats, Sheffield S8 0SB tel/fax: 0114 255 0786

Vision

How to make a TV cabinet in elm and burr elm

"One important thing to remember when designing the cabinet is the heat generated by these appliances"

MANY PEOPLE enjoy watching television while it is on, but when it's turned off, they find that it becomes an unsightly piece of equipment that dominates the room. A purpose-built cabinet is one way to disguise the television, video and hi-fi, and it can be designed to fit in with the decor.

Obviously each cabinet needs to be tailored to fit the individual pieces of equipment. With the choice of such hardware being so large, it is difficult for a furniture manufacturer to provide a broad enough range of cabinets to house them - what they do produce tends to be on the large side, on the grounds that you can put a small television in a big cabinet! Luckily for bespoke makers, many people find this an unsatisfactory solution!

Design

I made this cabinet some years ago to house our TV and video. The requirements were simple - a cupboard to hold the equipment, and a drawer underneath for cassettes and programmes, and it was to have a Georgian feel so that it would blend in with the style of our cottage.

One important thing to remember when designing the cabinet is the heat generated by these appliances -a good circulation of air is essential. The tube of a television overhangs at the back, making the depth much more than you would think. In this case the cabinet was to stand in a corner so I decided to have no back at all in it. The back of the tube projects into the dead space behind the cabinet, thus reducing the cabinet depth and allowing for a good circulation of air.

Construction

The top is made up from two pieces of elm (Ulmus spp) that had some nice 'cat's paw' markings. The boards are selected and positioned so that the figure runs through the join. When jointing up important pieces to increase the width I carefully match

"The cabinet was to stand in a corner so I decided to have no back at all in it"

right: Cabinet open with TV and video in place

"It was marked whole lot went out well into the oversize and the kiln for a month"

LEFT: Cabinet in elm and burr elm - and the TV discreetly disappears the grain direction and colour, and ensure that the figure runs through to disguise the join.

The edges are planed straight and flat on the surface planer, then finished with a jointing plane to take out the ripples, and the centre of the join is planed slightly hollow.

BELOW! Fig I Traditional sprung joint

Slight hollow*., at centre

When the pieces are clamped-up, the ends are under slight pressure, which compensates for the extra shrinkage caused by faster drying at the ends through the end-grain. I reinforce the join with a loose tongue, see fig 1, or nowadays, a number of biscuits.

9 Loose tongue

BELOW! Fig I Traditional sprung joint

Slight hollow*., at centre

9 Loose tongue

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