Neo-Classical Mantle Clock

I upgraded to Vetric’s Aspire CAD/CAM software because of my interest in 3D CNC carving. This mantle clock was built from free plans provided by Vectric.  I have built other items from their monthly plans and have found them to be fun and useful for learning about vector creation, component creation and tool path generation. I hope you enjoy this pictorial blog about my new clock.

Pre-finish Assembly

Here is a photo of the loosely assembled parts so you can visualize what the project is about.

Gluing Joint Bit

Many projects require gluing stock to obtain the desired width of a blank. I routinely use a glue joint bit to help with alignment and increase the surface area of a glue joint. This Freud bit is used on a router table and I have found that best results are obtained by setting the height at 1/2 the thickness of the stock plus 0.624″. It’s very important to set the fence flush with the indented cutting edge or else the joint won’t go together completely or it will suffer significant snipe at one end.

Gluing Jig

Here is a look at my gluing jig and the board edges after they went through the glue joint router bit.

CNC Carving

The front face of the clock as it’s being cut on the CNC router.

Mach3 Screen Shot

As you can see, I’m 3 hours and 46 minutes into the cut and have another 2 1/2 hours to go. I’m using a 1/16″ tapered ball nose bit for the finish cut with an 8% step over. This translates into 0.0047″ step over per pass.

Finished Cutting

Here is a look at the blanks with the individual parts held in place with tabs.

Cutting Tabs

Sometimes I use a chisel to cut through the tabs but instead I used a scroll saw for this project because I didn’t want to take a chance on splintering the wood.

Router Bit Splintering

Despite my best efforts, I did get some splintering at the cutout profile using a 1/4″ down cut spiral bit. Oh well, a little CA glue will fix this before finish sanding.

Component Parts

Here are the parts separated from the blanks ready for further processing.

Finish Sanding

I use a Dremel tool with rotary disks for much of my finish sanding on the highly detailed parts.

Gluing Sub-Assemblies

Gluing sub-assemblies for further processing. Sometimes clamps are used and sometimes weights are used as you will see in later photos.

Stationary Belt Sanding

I have several abrasive machines to help with the tedious job of rough and finish sanding. This is a combination belt / disc sander making short work of sanding end grain.

Mop Sanding

Sanding mops of 120 and 220 grits are used to remove the rough sanding ridges.

Spindle Sanding

A reciprocating spindle sander is a great tool for smoothing both internal and external curves. Here the clock insert hole parts are blended to provide a uniform cavity to accept the clock mechanism.

Staining the Parts

After finish sanding the parts, they are stained with General Finishes Pecan oil base stain.

Sub-assembly Glue Up

As I mentioned previously, sometimes clamps work best and other times weights are used when gluing parts together. I left stain off of the areas that receive glue. When possible, I prefer to stain the pieces before gluing them together because it’s easier to stain without all the nooks and crannies created by corners.

Sand Bag Gluing

A cotton bag full of sand is very useful for holding flat weights on a curved surface.

Finish Coat

Two coats of a matte clear coat finish the project.

Completed Clock

The project turned out beautiful. A quartz clock movement from Klockit completes the Neo-Classical Mantle Clock.