Kit-Cat Clocks Celebrate 80 Years of Fun

Black Kit-Cat Clock
Black Kit-Cat Clock

The Kit-Cat clock has been in American homes since the 1930s.  The cat clock was designed by Earl Arnault in Oregon during the Great Depression.  The clock brought happiness during this period with its wagging tail, rolling eyes and infectious smile.  The wall clock experienced immense growth in the 40s and 50s when a new design change was enacted, giving the cat top paws and a bow tie.

The 1990s finally brought the clock into limited color edition Kit-Cats.  And the lady Kit-Cat clock was first introduced in 2001, changing the bow tie to a pearl necklace and adding eye lashes.

White Lady Kit-Cat Clock
White Lady Kit-Cat Clock

The famous Kit-Cat Clocks are now 80 years old in 2012.  To celebrate this achievement, the cat wall clocks were featured in the 2012 Pasadena Rose Parade.  The wall clocks are also featured in movies and television.  Kit-Cat has created a new Pinterest board that showcases their sightings.

The Kit-Cat Clocks are now sold at Klockit in 3 colors: Black, Red and the White Lady.  Also available is a Lucite Stand that allows the clock to be placed on a desktop or mantle.

The Kit-Cat Creed

  • Put a smile on everyone’s face;
  • Love in everyone’s heart;
  • Energy in everyone’s body;
  • And be a positive force in everyone’s life!
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Troubleshooting Pendulums

As moderator of the clock forum, I am seeing an increase in the number of people experiencing problems with pendulums not swinging (or not continuing to swing after being started).  In most cases, this occurs after a clock has been moved from one location to another.  Before a repairman is called, here are some initial things that can be done to possibly correct the issue.

Begin by making certain the movement (within the clock case) is perfectly level front to back and side to side.  Once you have ensured that the movement is level, you may perform beat adjustment.  Beat adjustment is the process of making certain the clock is in proper beat (characterized by an even “tick-tock” once complete).  This process balances the verge, a see-saw like lever near the top of the movement, which controls the action of time train (escape gear).  Note that newer movements may allow for automatic beat adjustment, but older movements may have to be adjusted manually.  For auto beat adjustment, simply over-swing the pendulum (diameter of the pendulum bob + 6”-8”) to one side.  Release the pendulum and allow the movement to self correct.  If you do not know if your movement is equipped to self adjust, perform manual beat adjustment as described below.

Manual beat adjustment is a bit more involved, but is certainly not anything too complicated to do.  Looking at the back side of the movement, the pendulum will hang from a piece called the pendulum leader.  As you travel up the leader, you will notice an arm that sticks out through the rear movement plate.  This arm, called the crutch arm, inserts through the pendulum leader just above the pendulum.

Remove the pendulum from the leader, and then remove the leader from the crutch arm.  Take note of how these items are removed so that they can be replaced by reversing this process.  Swing the crutch arm from vertical center to left, until you feel slight resistance.  Return the crutch arm to vertical center and swing it to the right until you encounter slight resistance.  For an even beat, the crutch arm MUST swing an equal distance from center to left, as it does from center to right.  If the swing is shorter on one side, push through the slight resistance to adjust until the swing from center to left and center to right is equal.  Re-mount the leader, re-hang the pendulum, and then start the swing.  Note that further adjustments may be made if necessary.

Mechanical Movements

Hermle 451-030 Slim 'n Trim Westminster
Hermle 451-030 Slim 'n Trim Westminster

You finally have received that Grandfather Clock you always wanted, complete with a mechanical movement. Now that the initial investment is made,  it is a good idea to learn how to care for your movement to maximize the life span of your investment.  A mechanical movement is much like an automobile.  Proper maintenance care will insure your movement, like a car, will last for many years to come.

You would not run your car without oil, and a mechanical movement is no different.  Movements should be oiled every 1 to 3 years in order to prevent wear of gear pivot points.  Dry or arid locations should plan to oil the movement every year.  Note that new movements are factory pre-oiled, and should not require application of oil for another year or two.  There are a variety of clock oilers and maintenance kits available, however  the oil selected should  be specifically for clock movements.  Do NOT use spray lubricants (such as WD-40) or sewing machine oil.  A drop or two of clock oil is applied into each gear pivot point.  Be careful not to apply too much oil.  If the oil runs out and down the plate of the movement, it will pull all the oil out of the pivot point with it.  This leaves a dry pivot which would be susceptible to eventual wear. If this should happen, wipe away all oil from that pivot point and re-apply oil.

Clock Oiler Kit
Clock Oiler Kit

Dust is the major enemy of any mechanical movement.  Dust will collect and mix with oil to form a destructive grime that can quickly wear away pivot points of the movement.  Cleaning is the best way to ensure that grime does not cause eventual movement failure.  Cleaning should be performed every 3 to 5 years (more arid climates should plan to clean the movement at least every 3 years).  Dusty environments may warrant more frequent cleaning.  Use mineral spirits and a small brush to clean the movement (especially pivot points).  Clean the inside of the works as well, cleaning the gear teeth and brushing away dirt particles from pivot points.  Wipe the brush on a clean cloth sporadically to remove dirt collected.  Once clean, wipe the movement with a clean, dry, lint-free cloth.  Use a hair dryer (on low) to help dry the mineral spirits.  Once dry, proceed to oil the movement so that all pivot points are (once again) well lubricated.

Reflections on 2011 Craft Shows

I just finished my last craft show for 2011 in which I was one of only maybe one of 8-10 booths out of about 250 total vendors offering functional/decorative wood crafts for the home. Based on the activity in my booth (as well as sales and comments by visitors to my booth), I am more excited than ever about the prospects of making supplemental retirement income in 2012 by selling products I make in my home shop at craft fairs.

A word of caution however! While attendance at most good shows was still very good in 2011, I did definitely notice that people are looking for items that can be used (displayed in the home) year around and items that are functional as well as decorative.

While the tough economy has people being very careful with non-essential purchases such as crafts, there was ample evidence that people still appreciate high quality American made woodcrafts over the typical poorly made imported products available through many retail shops.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I, once again, want to strongly urge the many fine woodworkers that are Klockit customers to get out into your shops this winter and start making clocks, furniture items and other wood creations to sell in 2012! Hopefully I’ll see some of you at Wisconsin and Illinois craft shows.

Matching Stains

Trying to match a stain coloration?  What could one do if the stain coloration was not known?  You may wish to consider playing the “mad scientist” and intermixing your own stains.  Here’s what you would need:

  • A variety of pre-mixed stain colorations – You can purchase small canisters of pre-mixed colorations to experiment with.  These stains should all be from the same manufacturer to ensure that there would be no compatibility problems with the resulting mixture.
  • Some small, disposable paper cups (Dixie® Cups work best)
  • Some plastic spoons
  • A piece of paper and a pen/pencil
  • A scrap piece of sample wood to test colorations on.

Take a good look at the original coloration you want to achieve.  Try to indentify the various hues that make up the coloration.  Select a pre-mixed stain color that you feel is close to the desired coloration.  This will be referenced as the base color.  Determine what coloration the stain is lacking.  Perhaps you need to achieve a more reddish hue, or maybe you are looking for a darker brown.  Identify other pre-mixed stains that would add these desired hues to the initially selected pre-mixed stain.

Now you get to play “Mad Scientist”.  Use plastic spoons (one for each color stain that you will use) to add a spoonful (or more) of each stain coloration into the paper cup.  The paper and pen is required to keep track of how many spoonfuls of each color you added.  How much you will actually add of each color is simply a matter of trial and error.  Make certain to make note of your formula (for example – Formula One:  2 parts Golden Oak to 3 parts Red Oak stain).  Mix well and then apply the resulting mixture to the scrap piece of wood (label the stained portion with your formula mixture number).  Once dry, check the coloration to see if further “tweaking” is necessary.  If you should proceed to experiment further, do not use the initial mixture cup (make a new mixture and then increase parts of any certain stain as required).  Always begin with a fresh cup and spoons so that your formulation and notes will be as accurate as possible.  Remember that this formula will be used to create a larger amount of the color.  Also, remember that this is a trial and error process (so do not expect to come across the desired color on the first go-around).

 Once you have achieved the coloration you are looking for, you may use your formulation to mix a larger amount.  Let’s say that the desired color formula happens to be 2 parts (spoonfuls) of Golden Oak to one part (spoonful) of Red Oak.  To make a larger amount, your formula tells you what you will need for each color.  In the case example, I would purchase and mix 2 quarts of Golden oak to One quart of Red Oak stain in an empty gallon container (smaller amounts can be made from smaller canisters of pre-mixed stain).  Use a permanent marker to label the top of the gallon container with your formula for future reference.  If coloration should run low, but you still require more, make certain to save about 1/3 to ¼ of the initial stain mixture.  Mix a new batch (as per your formula notes) and add it to the original remaining mixture.  This will help ensure color consistency between batch mixtures.

Note that color mixes can involve more than two pre-mixed stain colorations (however make certain you keep a detailed record of your mixture).  Most of all, have fun with your experimentations.  You never know what colors you will come across when doing so.

‘TIS THE SEASON TO PROFIT FROM YOUR HOBBY

Pretty much everywhere across the Country (and especially here in the Midwest), Fall is the season where Arts & Craft Fairs are everywhere and every weekend. Shows in September and October typically offer a wide array of home and yard décor strong in an Autumn theme and with special emphasis on Halloween décor. Craft fairs in November and December are, of course, more orientated toward the Christmas holiday season.

There are large shows in expansive facilities with hundreds of crafters selling their creations. There are also many, many more small craft fairs held in schools, churches, town halls, county fairgrounds, parks and tons of other locations. While a lot of the larger craft fair venues are what is referred to as “Juried” shows where your crafts are pre-judged in order to purchase space in the show, the smaller craft fairs are not “juried” and are (BY THE WAY) much less expensive to participate in. Many of the smaller craft fairs offer nice spaces to show and sell your creations for fees ranging from $ 15.00 to $ 25.00 and do not require you have any sort of elaborate display booth.

Having worked with thousands and thousands of Klockit’s woodworking customers over almost 30 years, I realize most of these talented people are reluctant to believe that their wonderful creations would have “market value” but THEY ARE WRONG! Being a recreational woodworker myself and, being about only a fraction as talented with woodworking as many, many of Klockit’s customers, I have been selling my woodcraft creations in craft fairs pretty much since 1991 and I have had a ton of fun plus made some pretty decent extra income that has helped me purchase new woodworking equipment and other “toys” that a woodworker just “has to have”!

I strongly recommend to all my fellow recreational woodworkers and other hobbyists that you check for upcoming craft fairs in your area and consider participation in one or more of these shows. Even if you do not get rich (AND YOU WILL NOT), it is a lot of fun having people admire your handiwork. ALSO, it is always a good idea to let your wife hear these people compliment your work because it makes it easier for you to convince her you need ALL of that equipment in your shop. I’m just kidding about the last thing I said (sort of).

New Interactive Catalog

Our new Fall catalog has been out in full swing for a little over a month now. With that, we have a new feature to enhance your catalog viewing pleasure… our new interactive catalog!

The new interactive catalog offers many more features than our previous online catalog. You’re now able to search products within the catalog bookmark pages and make notes, and click on a product to be taken directly to the product page on the Klockit website. Here are a few pointers for navigating the new catalog:

To bookmark a page, click on the favorites button on the right hand side or under tools at the top. It will give you the option to just bookmark the page or make notes about something you see on the page. We’ve made it easy for you to go back and find all your favorite products.

To search for an item, click the magnifying glass with what looks like papers behind it up on the toolbar on top. Let’s say you want to find all references to inserts or the insert pages, type it in and it will show all the pages mentioning inserts on it. Or if you want a specific insert like a 2 ¾” insert, it will bring up all the kits that mention a 2 ¾” insert and the 2 ¾” insert page.

If you want to order a product from the catalog or view more information about it, just click on the product in the catalog and it will take you directly to the product page to order it.

The catalog also gives you the option to share with your friends through email, Facebook, or many other options, the choice of sharing the whole catalog or individual pages.

The new interactive catalog takes the Klockit catalog to a whole new level to make your viewing more enjoyable and make your product search much easier. We hope you enjoy our new feature as much as we do. Be sure to let us know how you like it.