How To Build A DIY Modern Live Edge Wall Clock
For this week's woodworking project, I turned a live edge slab into a modern wall clock.
Tools Used On The DIY Modern Live Edge Wall Clock (affiliate):
- Festool TS55 Track Saw
- Powermatic PM1500 Bandsaw
- Low Angle Jack Plane
- Powermatic 15HH 15-Inch Planer
- Oscillating Belt Sander
- Drill Press
Materials Used On The DIY Modern Live Edge Wall Clock:
Voiceover Script :
You might remember a few weeks ago when I built a pair of live edge end tables from a Walnut slab I had lying around. I ended up cutting the slab into a few pieces, and had this cool crotch cutoff leftover from the project. I’ve been trying to come up with ideas for that piece and, after hunting around on Pinterest, found these super cool live edge clocks.
The common thread between all of these style of clocks was the metal ring that contained the edge of the clock, which really gives these clocks a clean, modern look, so my first step was to hunt down some suitable rings.
After considering and then rethinking buying a ring bender and making some rings myself, I started looking around for an already-available option, and found these 14” macrame rings at my local JOANN Fabric. At $3.50 per ring, they were plenty cheap and had a super cool look, so I bought a handful and brought them back to my shop.
This slab was pretty rough, with a good amount of twist, so the first step was to get it flat. I removed the excess from the slab at the bandsaw, so that it would fit through my planer, and then got to flattening.
To get one side flat, I decided to pull out my low angle jack plane and put a little sweat equity into the piece. The slab was too wide for my jointer, and I figured this would give me some good practice. I got the piece mostly flat and then moved over to the planer to get it totally flat.
There was still a little twist left in the slab, so I had to encourage it through the planer on the first few passes, but I eventually got it flat.
After the piece was cleaned up, I carefully traced the inside of the ring onto the piece and then moved over to the bandsaw to cut it to shape. I made sure to really take my time here and stayed well clear of my line on the first pass. I wanted the rings to have a friction fit on the piece, so I needed to be careful not to remove too much material.
I purposely left a good bit of extra material when cutting the piece on the bandsaw, so next I moved to the oscillating belt sander to slowly sneak up on the fit. It’s surprisingly easy to refine curves with this tool, and I just took my time, checking my fit regularly. I used a 120 grit belt on the sander, so that I wouldn’t overshoot my fit, and this worked out really well.
After about 15 minutes of sanding, I got the perfect fit I was looking for, and went ahead and added all of the rings. Since they were so tight, they really didn’t need any kind of adhesive, but I added a few spots of CA glue off camera, just for a little extra insurance.
With the rings fitted, I went ahead and sanded the piece up to 180 grit to prep for finish.
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After sanding, I applied a few coats of wipe-on poly, which really brought out the figure in this crotch slab, it’s just gorgeous. I love the little bit of remaining live edge, it’s just enough to add some visual interest to the piece while still keeping it super clean looking.
Once the finish dried, it was time to install the clock movement. First, I needed to find the center of the clock, which proved to be a little tricky. I looked up a few methods online and finally found one that worked for me, and marked the center point of the circle.
Next, I moved over to the drill press and drilled a hole for the movement to fit through. By the way, I’ll have a link to the exact clock movement I used in the video description below if you want to build one of these for yourself.
After drilling the center hole, I needed to clear out an area on the back side of the clock for the movement to fit in. This recess serves two purposes: first, it recesses the movement and allows the clock to sit flush against the wall, and second, it allows the shaft of the movement to have clearance past the face of the slab.
To create this recess, I used a 1 ¼” Forstner bit. This recess doesn’t really need to be pretty, since no one will ever see it, and the drill press is a lot less messy than a router, which would have been my other option.
And even though no one would ever see the back of the clock, after drilling out the recess, I still cleaned it up a little bit with a chisel, mostly to silence the haters in the comments section.
Finally, I could test fit the movement, and it fit perfectly.
The hands on the movement are white out of the box, but I decided to add a little color pop and spray paint the hands this awesome mint color, which I really think pairs nicely with the Walnut and gold rings.
Once the paint dried, I permanently installed the movement, and then installed a d-ring for hanging the clock.
After that, all that was left was to hang the clock on the wall and get a sweet timelapse to show that the clock actually works.