How To: Determine What Size Clock Hands to Use

Quartz clock movements vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, making it tricky to find the right clock hands for your clock project. Simply follow these two steps Continue reading

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How To: Increase Output in Your Woodworking Shop

Looking to increase output in your woodworking shop the smart way? Mr. Randy Sharp from Sawdust Inn recently conducted an analysis of a woodworking project to compare how much time was spent setting up machines to make cuts verses the time spent making the cuts. The results? Very surprising! See them here. Continue reading

Selecting the Best Wood for Your Next Woodworking Project

Like many woodworkers I’ve spent considerable time and effort setting up my shop and equipping it with the right tools to produce a wide variety of home décor items. I just haven’t been able to dedicate as much effort to understanding everything I should know about selecting the best lumber for each project. Continue reading

12 Tips to Get Your Shop Organized for Fall Projects

After some time away from woodworking due to a knee replacement, I recently ventured out to my shop to get started on some projects for upcoming fall and winter craft shows.

Woodworking Shop

I spent a couple of hours looking over my machinery and tried to find hand tools and supplies. They were not where they were supposed to be, so I decided that the smartest use of my time would be to get organized!

Most of you are probably more diligent than I am about performing shop maintenance. But if you haven’t tidied up your shop lately, I would recommend it! The tips below will help you get organized and smoothly move forward with woodworking projects this fall season.

12 tips to get your shop organized for Fall projects:

(1) Perform a thorough cleaning of your dust collection system and shop vacuum filters.

(2) Check all lighting and make sure overhead lighting fixtures are dust-free.

(3) Make sure heaters and furnaces are clean and exhaust fans are working properly.

(4) Check all electrical outlets and switches to make sure they are dust-free.

(5) Check all machinery power cords to make sure they are safe.

(6) Organize hand tools, boring bits, drill bits, saws, and files.

(7) Check all miter and rip fences to make sure all adjustment calibrations are correct.

(8) Perform test cuts to make sure power saw blades are capable of making cleaning cuts without burning or other problems.

(9) Check planer blades and jointer blades for signs of wear or damage and perform necessary maintenance.

(10) Check condition of band saw blades and blade tension. If necessary, replace worn blade guides.

(11) Make sure you have an adequate supply of lumber required for pending projects. And of course consumables, such as sandpaper, wood stains, finishes, and wood glues.

(12) Do you have enough wood clamps? Make sure your wood clamp assortment is adequate and that all clamping is in good order.

We hope these tips will help you get organized and perform at your best! Do you have any tips to share? Post them below!

Written By: John Cooper

John spent the better part of the 28 years he was employed by Klockit, designing hundreds of clock and furniture kits and plans and has continued with product design since his retirement in 2008. John’s love of clocks, his passion for creating furniture for his own home as well as for family, and his great appreciation for the beautiful finished pieces Klockit customers make from our kits and plans inspire him to continue to create still more new clock and furniture designs.

How To: Assemble a Quartz Clock Movement, Dial, and Hands Together

Have a clock with an old clock movement that has quit? Worried that you need to be a technical genius to change out the movement? Fear not! Allow us to show you just how easy it is to assemble a quartz clock movement. But before we go through the steps for mounting a new movement, let’s take some time to identify the key sections of the clock movement.

All quartz clock movements have a center hand shaft which is responsible for driving the clock hands for proper timekeeping. The center shaft is composed of sections: The threaded bushing; the hour hand shaft; the minute hand shaft; and second hand pin shaft. Note that the illustration is generalized (as some center shafts may not have a threaded bushing, and some minute hand shafts will vary from that which is shown). We will touch upon these oddities briefly within the assembly steps and illustrations below. With some terminology under your belt, it is time to dive into assembly.

Quartz Clock Movement Assembly

Step One

Place the rubber gasket over the center shaft of the quartz clock movement. Helpful Hint: The rubber gasket can be omitted if the need should be, more on this later.

Step One

Step Two

Insert the center shaft of the clock movement through the center hole of the clock face (dial) as shown. The battery compartment should be at the bottom (see back view). Helpful Hint: Some faces may be mounted to a board called a dial mounting board/panel. If so, you will need to determine the combined thickness of the dial board and clock face in order to select a clock movement that has the appropriate maximum dial thickness for the threaded bushing of the center hand shaft.

Step Two

Step Three

A portion of the threaded bushing of the center hand shaft should stick out through the front surface of the clock face (this does not apply to movements without a threaded bushing – more on that in a moment). Place the washer over the center hand shaft as shown. Washers are not typically used for movements without a threaded bushing.

Step Three

 

Step Four

The hex nut can be threaded onto the remaining threaded bushing which protrudes from the front of the dial face. A minimum of 3/32” (just under 1/8”) of threading is required to secure the hex nut. If you do not have enough threading sticking through the front of the clock face, try omitting the rubber gasket. If you still require additional threading, you may also remove the washer. The hex nut should be hand tightened + . turn. It is important not to over-tighten the hex nut (as it can actually restrict proper timekeeping if too tight).Step Four

Helpful Hint: Do NOT attempt to over-tighten the hex nut if the movement should want to pivot/rotate. Consider, instead, small dabs of hot glue overlapping the back of the clock face and each side of the movement to keep it from rotating.

NOTE: Clock movements with no threaded bushing will not include a hex nut, and will need to be secured by other means (double-stick tape or a couple dabs of hot glue work really well).

Step Five

The shorter hour hand can be pushed onto the hour hand shaft. Most hour hands feature a “sliced” mounting hub so that the hub can spread slightly for a tight friction fit. For most clock movements, the hour hand will be mounted at the 12 o’clock position (check chiming movement instructions for possible exceptions to this rule).

Helpful Hint: If the hour hand should be hard to mount, consider spreading the hub slightly. A small bend adjustment can widen the mount hole, but make certain to bend in small increments. Inversely, the center mount hole can also be decreased (if need be) by slightly bending the hub flanges (at the slice of the hub) closer together.

Step Five

Step Six

Mount the longer minute hand. For many quartz clock movements, the mount hole should be oval in shape (however, push-on minute hands will have a circular mount hub, similar to the hour hand but smaller in diameter).

In most cases, the minute hand should also point at the 12 position (once again, chiming movements may prove the exception). If it is not pointing to the 12, rotate the minute hand clock-wise to the 12 position. When adjusting the minute hand, you may find that the hour hand may move from 12. If need be, you can pull off the hour hand and re-mount it so that it points to 12.

Screen Shot 2014-12-22 at 10.22.20 AM

Step Seven

Skip this step and go to step 8 if you plan to use a second sweep hand on your clock.

With the minute hand mounted, secure the hand with the cap nut provided. The cap nut simply threads onto the end of the minute hand shaft. Helpful Hint: Push-on minute hands may not require a cap nut to secure the hand (as a push-on minute hand is a friction fit, like the hour hand). Take a moment to use the time-set knob to rotate the hands to ensure they have proper clearance with each other. Also make certain the hands are not touching the clock (dial) face. If there is a glass panel in your clock case, ensure that the cap nut is not touching against the inside surface of the glass.

Step Seven

Step Eight

Proceed with use of the open nut only if you plan to use a second sweep hand. Thread the open nut onto the end of the minute hand shaft to secure the minute hand. Helpful Hint: Push-on minute hands may not require an open nut to secure the hand (as a push-on minute hand is a friction fit, like the hour hand). The stem on the back surface of the second hand can be slipped onto the second hand pin shaft (located in the end of the center hand shaft). Press the second hand on so that it points to the 12 position (as with the other hands mounted previously).

Take a moment to use the time-set knob to rotate the hands to ensure they have proper clearance with each other. Also make certain the hands are not touching the clock (dial) face. If there is a glass panel in your clock case, ensure that the second hand hub is not touching against the inside surface of the glass.

Step Eight

Last But Not Least…

Congratulations! You have successfully mounted your quartz clock movement. See, we told you it would be easy. Generally speaking, all that remains is to insert the battery (or batteries) and set the time (noting that chiming movements include specific instructions for synchronizing the chimes with the time).

Just a couple of additional notes: Keep in mind that disassembly of any quartz clock movement will reflect the preceding assembly steps in reverse. Also, if you use hot glue to additionally secure the movement, use hot glue sparingly. Only a couple of dabs overlapping each side of the movement and dial back are necessary, as the movement should be able to be removed if ever the need should be.

Written By: Chris Akright

Chris is responsible for the kit, plan, and finishing technical support, which he has provided to Klockit customers for over 15 years. Chris also contributes new product designs, composes written and illustrated assembly manuals, and works to develop new kit and plan products for the Klockit catalog. Chris’s experience is the culmination of years of training under his mentor, and Klockit Designer, John Cooper.

How To: Choose Between a Quartz and Mechanical Clock Movement

When looking over movement options for a clock design, you can choose between a quartz or a mechanical clock movement. If you’re new to clock making, you may have questions like:

How do you determine which is the best choice? Is there any advantage of one type over the other? Are there any disadvantages that would sway a decision one way or the other?

In this post, we will explore aspects of each in order to answer the question of Quartz versus Mechanical Movements.

quartz-vs-mechanical

What It Comes Down To

The selection of a clock movement really comes down to factors of personal preference, although aspects of an existing clock case can predetermine movement selection for you (more on this at the end). Assuming that a clock case poses no restrictions for either movement type, let’s examine some of the key differences between the two in regard to personal preferences.

Price

Price point can certainly be a main factor regarding movement selection. Generally you will find quartz clock movements to be less expensive than mechanicals. Mechanical clock movements are constructed in a manner that is meant to last (to include the materials selected for movement fabrication).

In short, you do get what you pay for. Quartz movements are primarily constructed from plastic, which allows them to cost considerably less (roughly 1/3 to 1/4 of the price of a mechanical movement depending on the quartz movement features desired). If price-point dictates selection, quartz may prove to be more enticing.

Maintenance

Mechanical clock movements can be compared to a car. They require maintenance in order to work properly for years to come. Would your car last if you elected never to change the oil? No, and the same can be said of a mechanical movement. Mechanical movements must be oiled every one to three years. They must be cleaned and oiled every three to five years.

There are books that can help to guide you through doing this, or you can seek out a qualified professional (it is always good to have the movement professionally serviced every once in a while anyway). If you are not prepared to maintain a movement for years to come, a quartz movement may prove to be the better option.

Longevity

Generally a quartz clock movement will last around 10 to 15 years, although I will admit that it is not at all uncommon to see one last longer. The fact remains, however, that they will not last forever. Inversely, mechanical movements can last well beyond the time-span of the clock-maker himself (and even a generation or a few beyond him/her). There are mechanical clock movements from the late 1700’s that still work and keep accurate time today.

Mechanical clock movement longevity requires maintenance (see above), but you can count that it will outlast a few quartz clock movements in its lifetime providing it is properly serviced at the appropriate intervals. In regard to aspects of longevity, the mechanical movement is the better option. 

Sound

While sound only encompasses chiming movements, sound quality is still a personal preference that many look for. Generally, mechanical clock movements feature mechanical chime hammers which physically strike tuned chime rods of various lengths. The resulting vibrations produce certain notes depending on the length of chime rod. Furthermore, the wood case assembly (due to the structural nature of wood itself) will serve as an amplifier of sorts for those vibrations. This creates a rich, deep chime that is audible in even the largest of rooms.

On the other hand, quartz clock movements have an electronic chime recording, which is typically amplified by a built in (or remote mount) speaker. Inexpensive quartz chiming movements can sound “tinny” and electronic, but (for the most part) chime quality has improved for most quartz movements in recent years. Inversely, certain clock case designs can actually muffle the quartz movement speaker, inhibiting volume. Sound quality aside, the best volume will typically come from a mechanical style movement in a wood clock case assembly.

Precision

Many assume that works of a mechanical nature would be more precise than a quartz clock movement could ever hope to be. Others might argue that quartz is more precise. Actually, neither is necessarily true. Both movement options can prove to be equally as accurate. The main difference is that mechanical movement accuracy is adjusted by us, and therefore only as accurate as we adjust it to be.

That being said, you can always continue to “fine-tune” a mechanical. A quartz movement will always be as accurate as the oscillation rate of the quartz crystal. Understand that this is pretty accurate (less than 1/2 second loss per day if kept at a consistent temperature), however there is no real way to adjust accuracy beyond this. Slight advantage goes to the mechanical from a precision-adjustment aspect.

Intimidation

Many customers tell me that mechanical clock movements are quite intimidating. I can certainly relate, as they do look fairly complicated. But the truth is that they are not nearly as complicated as one would think. Similar to a quartz movement, there is no real sub-assembly required. You receive a factory-assembled movement ready for mounting with the provided hardware. Mechanical clock movements include accessories for ease of perfect mounting (in terms of centering the hand shaft and key-winds).

Many also feature auto-beat adjustment, which allows you to simply over-swing the pendulum so that the clock can regulate the beat on its own. Fine-tuning adjustments can take time, but are relatively easy to perform. Bottom line: While the quartz would appear to be easier to work with, do not be intimidated into purchasing a quartz movement just because the mechanical seems too “complicated”.

Movement Replacement For Existing Clock Cases

This was the topic we initially skipped at the onset of this article with the assumption that the clock assembly would present no issues. Generally this is not the case when selecting a mechanical or quartz movement replacement in an existing case. In this realm, quartz movements have the distinct advantage being that they are less restrictive in regard to case assemblies being able to accommodate them.

If you are replacing a mechanical clock movement in an existing clock case, the best replacement is usually the same make/model as the movement being removed. Purchasing a different make/model mechanical can (more than likely) require some case modifications and possible replacement of the clock face (not all key-wind hole patterns are the same).

Modern day cases should allow you to locate an exact replacement, but antique cases may house a movement, which is no longer produced. Since quartz movements only require a center hand shaft hole (which is typically a part of any existing clock case anyway, whether mechanical or quartz), they will generally require little to no case modifications and the same face can almost always be used.

So Which Is Best For Your Project?

In summary, a mechanical clock movement will typically be more expensive and require periodic maintenance, but has the longevity to last years into the future. Quartz clock movements are less expensive, however they will not last forever. Quartz movements have made some great strides to improve chime sound quality and volume, but chiming mechanicals remain the better of the two. Expect precision with either movement selection, and do not be intimidated by the appearance of a mechanical. Finally, remember that quartz will probably be the simplest option for replacing a movement in an existing case, but might also be the only option unless possible case modifications to accommodate a mechanical are considered.

Written By: Chris Akright

Chris is responsible for the kit, plan, and finishing technical support, which he has provided to Klockit customers for over 15 years. Chris also contributes new product designs, composes written and illustrated assembly manuals, and works to develop new kit and plan products for the Klockit catalog. Chris’s experience is the culmination of years of training under his mentor, and Klockit Designer, John Cooper.

6 Woodworking Tips and Tricks

Throughout my career at Klockit, I have learned many tips and tricks from customers that have greatly assisted with the success of many projects. While I am extremely fortunate to learn something new on any given day, I also believe it is important to pay it forward. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to offer some of the best tips and suggestions that have been passed along to me.

As a final note, I am always looking for additional tips and tricks in all aspects of woodworking. Feel free to post a reply comment if you have a tip or trick you would like to share.

1. Use stronger miter joinery glue-up

45-degree angles are typically cut on the ends of a board and result in the glue-up of porous end grain of wood pieces. End grain acts like a straw by absorbing the glue into the wood, which minimizes glue and compromises the strength of mitered joinery. In some cases, additional assembly aids can be used to re-enforce the miter joinery (cross-splines, etc). For smaller/thinner frame assemblies, however, this may not be an option. In these instances, consider re-enforcing mitered joinery with glue.

Begin by applying a thin layer of glue to the mitered end of all frame pieces and allow the glue to dry. This initial layer of glue will help to seal the porous end grain. Once the first coating of glue has dried, apply a second, thin layer of glue to each mitered end and allow that layer to become slightly tacky. Join the frames together, apply clamping, and check for square. Make certain to remove any excess glue and allow proper glue drying time.

2. Rub candle wax on screw threads

Ever have a screw that does not want to drive into a wood piece, even though your pilot hole is the correct size? Did it ever loudly “creak” or “squeak” as you tried to drive it in?

Before you break that screw, back it slowly out. Rub the threads on a candle. The candle wax will gather in between and onto the threads and work as a lubricant of sorts, which will also help to prevent any possibility of screw breakage. This is especially helpful with dense woods such as oak.

3. The least expensive drill stop

Drilling a screw pilot hole to a required depth is the perfect task for a drill press. But what if you don’t have a drill press? You could purchase special drill stops and what not, or you could make your own drill stop using masking tape from around the house.

Measure the required pilot hole depth on the drill bit by measuring up from the tip. Wrap masking tape around the drill bit at the required depth. Typically, the masking tape should wrap around several times so that the wrap is larger in diameter than the drill bit itself. Now you can drill.

Once the edge of the masking tape touches the wood surface you are drilling into, you’ll know you’ve hit the target depth. Just remember to remove masking tape periodically to prevent adhesive residue build-up on the drill bit.

4. My Wood Surface Needs A Shave

When removing glue with a water-dampened cloth, many woods will react by absorbing the moisture left behind. As the wood grain absorbs the moisture, it swells. This can produce a rough surface, almost as if the wood had the stubble of a 5 o’clock shadow. This is referred to as “grain raise”, and it needs to be removed before stains/finishes can be applied.

The fix is to allow the wood surface to dry completely. Once dry, sand the rough area lightly with 220-grit sandpaper until it is again smooth. Grain raise can be a big problem when working with water-based stains and/or finishes as well.

For water-based stains/finishes, consider wetting the wood preliminarily with a dampened cloth. Do not soak or drench the wood, but apply enough moisture to force the grain to swell. A dampened cloth will typically only allow the top layer of grain to swell, which will be the layer the water-based product will “stick” to. Once dry, gently sand with 220-grit to smooth the surface once again. Be careful not to over-sand. If you sand through the layer of grain, you will expose wood grain, which did not raise and you may see a re-occurrence of grain raise once you apply your water-based product.

5. Dowels aren’t just for assembly

Wood dowel stock comes in a variety of diameters and can be found at many hardware/lumber store. While dowel stock can normally be used to help support joinery, create straight spindles, etc., dowels can also be quite useful for sanding some end grain profiles (coves, for example).

One should always sand with the grain of the wood, but this can be complicated for the profiled ends of a wood piece. The problem is that sanding against the grain on profiled ends can create cross-grain surface scratches that become highly visible once finish is applied.

The solution? Select a wood dowel diameter that will fit the profile. Wrap sandpaper around a wood dowel and tape it taut in place. Simply spin the sandpaper-wrapped dowel to ensure you sand in the direction of the wood grain and prevent cross-grain scratching.

6. Don’t vacuum your wood piece

I cringe when people tell me they have tried vacuuming sanding dust from their wood surfaces. I can only imagine the surface scratches left behind, or the possibility of attachment bristles that may have broken off and lodged in the wood surface.

Removing sanding dust prior to staining and finishing is a MUST, but the most efficient and effective way to remove sanding residue is to use a clean, lint-free cloth dampened with mineral spirits. Since the cloth is damp, it will pick-up and remove sanding residue from the surface like a magnet, plus quickly evaporate and leave behind a clean, dry wood surface that is ready for stains and finishes.

Best yet, mineral spirits will not cause grain-raise, surfaces scratches, or result in over-looked attachment bristles that could become highly visible once finish was applied.

Written By: Chris Akright

Chris is responsible for the kit, plan, and finishing technical support, which he has provided to Klockit customers for over 14 years. Chris also contributes new product designs, composes written/illustrated assembly manuals, and works to develop new kit and plan products for the Klockit catalog. Chris’s experience is the culmination of years of training under his mentor, and Klockit Designer, John Cooper.