Building things for yourself – and gifts for others – is one of the greatest pleasures in the shop. And, when it comes to these projects, the ones that get used the most are nearly always the most appreciated.
A picture frame to hold a treasured photo for a friend’s desk is a useful gift. A cutting board that’s used for meal prep – useful. A bookshelf that holds a child’s collection of picture books – useful.
A wooden project with a clock in it – wow. Impressively useful. Looked at several times a day to keep track of appointments, meal times and bed times. “Clocks are exceptionally useful,” said Tim Walter of Eagle America, “But, they are so much more… they become a focal point in the room and help make a statement.”
Tim pointed out that clocks can be built in all shapes, sizes and styles. They can hold pens and pencils, be part of the lid of a box, or something even more imaginative. “If you want to start small, small desk clocks can be built with dynamic designs and wild glue ups, or with more traditional forms. For these clocks, try going with a small clock insert. With just a forstner bit, you can turn your project into something timeless.”
Going larger, you can go into mantle clocks or hanging wall clocks. “Now we start getting into larger statement making clocks. Mantle clocks offer a great deal of flexibility in design and material choice. Inlays, moldings, different face options – these larger clocks are easier for all to see.” Tim also told me that many woodworkers love the challenge of building schoolhouse or regulator style clock – a clock with a hanging pendulum. Eagle America sells plans for those who would like to build their own clocks from scratch and seek out their own works, or kits which include the mechanical works.
“Then, there are the big ones.. the grandfather clocks. For those really looking to showcase their talents in a big way, a full sized case clock is definitely the way to go.” Eagle’s ultimate clock plan is a mission style, full height grandfather. While the plans call for the traditional white oak, remember, the woodworker is the boss. “You want to go out on a limb and make yours out of figured maple? Cherry? Something exotic? Go for it. After all, it’s your piece.”