Full Chisel Blog

November 12, 2008

Completed Wall Clock

Filed under: Furniture,Historical Material,Of Interest,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:49 pm

I got the clock dial finished, the minute marks, circle and Roman Numerals are all done with Iron Gall Ink.  I used the same liner that I did on the glass for the gold stripe.  I have a compass that holds a liner (inker) and used that for the circumscribe.

Clock Dial

I carefully located the dial by taking a square off the center of the clock hands on the movement.  I transferred these marks to the sides and top and bottom.  I carefully positioned the new dial in its proper orientation, marked the two struts and screwed it into place.  I then shut the door to take a look.

Well, I screwed up.  I didn’t notice that the entire movement and dial were mounted too high in the clock case.  Fortunately I had added an extension to the pendulum that was about an inch long.  I had done this to put the pendulum down further in the case.  Well there goes that idea.  So I merely lowered the entire movement, it only had two screws, the gong, it had one screw and the two small brass screws that hold the face.

Clock, screw up

It took about 20 minutes to correct the problem.  I had all the holes located vertically in their correct location it was the horizontal position that was off by 3/4″.  So I set the calipers to three quarters of an inch and removed the dial, movement and gong.  I then used a square to line things up and with the calipers transferred the hole straight down 3/4″.  I then put it back in place, added the rest of the screws, two extra in the movement and two more in the gong.

Completed Wall Clock

I had to adjust the pendulum down, I had plenty of room on the adjustment and have the clock keeping good time.  I will check it tomorrow but I am sure it is fairly close to being ‘on time’.



  1. Stephen,
    That really is a piece of work. I don’t think I will be trying it any time soon.

    I don’t recall having seen “four” written like that before in Roman Numerals, but then again, I have never numbered a clock face west of the Mississippi, or anywhere else for that matter.


    Comment by Luke Townsley — November 12, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

  2. Not only do I appreciate the quality of the work and the design of the piece, I appreciate that you showed your mistake. That shows us newbies that “To err is human – To correct is divine”. As for Luke’s comment about the number 4, I have seen it written that way on a number of antique clocks but I don’t know why they did it that way. I will tell you, though, I’m not sure which I’m more impressed with, the end results, or the fact that your hand is steady enough to create it.

    Comment by Mitchell — November 12, 2008 @ 11:27 pm

  3. Luke,

    It is the first thing I look for when looking at ‘old’ clocks. I have also seen at least two where the 9 was written VIIII, this is very rare. I think it was done to avoid confusing IV and VI. All Roman numerals until you get to C (100) can be carved in wood or stone with a straight chisel. I use numerals to mark pieces I am working on to keep them in order. The light cuts with a straight chisel easily mark the joints.


    That is the problem with a blog the whole world knows when you foul up. As for a steady hand, yes I have one however on the dial I did use the liner and a straight edge. I also did the serifs on the numerals with the circumscribe (compass). But then I did go over them freehand with a metal nib ink pen.

    This is the fifth clock I have built from the works up. I have restored several dozen over the years. I will have to get some photos of the Hepplewhite Tall Case Clock I made 5 years ago.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — November 13, 2008 @ 6:28 am

  4. Beautiful Stephen! A clock is definately on my tuit list. And one of these days you really must do a blog, or series of blogs on your painting and graining techniques. I don’t recall reading one here unless I missed it but I think it would be very interesting and informative, especially for those of use who can’t typically swing the $7+ per bf for species like Honduras mahogany.

    Comment by Bob Rozaieski — November 13, 2008 @ 6:40 am

  5. That reminds me of when I visited the capitol building in DC. One of the tour guides was commenting on all of the old clocks and how they were unique. That was about ten years ago, so unfortunately, I don’t recall the details.

    Comment by Luke Townsley — November 13, 2008 @ 7:47 am

  6. Bob,

    Thanks. That is a good idea about painting and graining, I will put something together. People think the graining takes a lot of time, but it takes me longer to properly paint a piece than it does to grain, it is quite simple, but you need to know what wood looks like.


    Be careful what you hear from tour guides, I was one once.


    P.S. I have added more to the Full Chisel Store

    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — November 13, 2008 @ 8:09 am

  7. Stephen, I think you should include the blogs about the clock when you deliver it. They are a great companion to the clock
    Dave B

    Comment by Dave — November 13, 2008 @ 3:49 pm

  8. Dave,

    I gave them the blog address, so they have viewed the clock. They were concerned as the one entry didn’t have the face. When I posted the finished clock with the face, they were happy. The first photograph of the clock was a hand held flash. The better photograph was from a tripod with the flash off and set the timer. Much better picture.

    They are leaving the country tomorrow for 10 days, so I have to find a dust free place to store the clock.


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — November 13, 2008 @ 6:45 pm

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