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Old 08-28-2009, 05:58 PM   #1
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Default Thomas Wooden Clock

With the encouragement of Rick & Tim I thought I'd do something similar to what Rick did with his wooden clock adventures. Hopefully not as nerve racking or time consuming.

I ordered the full Thomas Clock Kit as shown on the following web site.

The Thomas Wall Clock Kit

Being a little leery about my abilities as a clock maker I figured it would be best to start out with something that only required...... as the manufacturers like to say..... Some assembly required.

I thought the kit was a little pricey but as Rick told me by the time he got done with his it probably cost him as much. But he ought to recoup his money when he sells all those "extra" parts he made.

I downloaded the plans, altho the kit comes with the plans and a video I wanted to hit the ground running, so to speak. One question that comes to mind is that parts that are laser cut have a black, or dark brown edge to them. According to the plans this leaves a small amount of carbon residue. The plans say that you should scape this off the gears, but am wondering if just for appearances sake the end result would look better if the edges of all the parts were dressed down to. Your thoughts?

Second question, and one I don't recall seeing an answer to on Ricks clock thread. When you get the clock done how critical is it to have the clock square with the world, fore and aft, up and down, and left to right? I would THINK that some of this might be critical as if it's off to much things might bind up.

Now the problem. Already????? Yep! The plans say I have to come up with 1/8" & 1/4" dowel rods. The two places I can get them in town don't have 1/4". Got enuf 1/8" Oak rods in stock, so guess I'll have to travel to the big city and get the 1/4" ones.

That's about it for now. Depending on when the kit is shipped I should have it the next day, so am looking at early next week.

Pete

Last edited by Pete_M; 08-28-2009 at 10:48 PM.
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:16 PM   #2
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Pete I see you are in Iowa . Wonder how close to me, I,m just on the NW corner of Des Moines.
Anyway on the clock. For the dowels they need to be the full 1/4" dowels. The borg dowels are normally undersized. I used to order them from like Woodworker Suppy and get actual size dowels.
As for sanding the gears to get rid of the carbon. Be sure not to sand too much or they will be undersized and the clock will bind when running.
I knew the guy selling the plans, I drew up those plans and have done work with him on some of his other clock plans.
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Old 08-28-2009, 07:31 PM   #3
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Pete - How many dowels do you need? <--- see picture LOL!

Woodcraft has 1/4" oak dowels: Hardwood Dowels - Woodcraft.com

Probably a bunch of other on-line shops do too.

I would think you want your clock to sit level and plumb. Mine is pretty close, but not perfect. I think a little off would be OK. BTW - My clock stopped working today. The weather came in with extremely high humidity and I think some of the larger gears swelled up just enough. Time to do a little rounding of the tips. I'm sure I will be back in business shortly.

You didn't know I had more dowels than spare gears and parts! Just goes to show you what can happen at an auction!!! The thing that became costly with the clock was all the brass. The extra hardwood probably amounted to $25 wasted. On the other hand Lowe's got rich selling me eight brass washers for $0.97. I'm sure you get the idea. If I made clocks for a living I would find much better sources for brass and oak.

Good luck with your project we are all pulling for you.
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Old 08-28-2009, 08:27 PM   #4
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Pete

The parts that hold the plates together are what keeps the clock "square". But you are on the right track you should try to make everything as level and square as possible.
As for dressing the gears I have never dealt with anything laser cut so I am not sure how deep the burn will be. I think I would just try a real light sanding.

Once you get it in your hands you will have a better idea. I would sit back and watch the video before you start building just to see if they address any of your questions and it will also help you so you get a visual image. As somebody once said a pic is worth a thousand words.

I usually get my dowels from Woodcraft they usually have full size dowels not like Lowes or the Depot.

Tim
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Old 08-28-2009, 10:44 PM   #5
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Hey guys! Thanks for the come backs and the encouragement on this project.

@ Rick H

Good to hear from a fellow Iowan. I live up in M'town. Will probably be swinging by Grimes on my way to the "Candy Store" (Woodsmith Store if you haven't figured that out). Figured I could get the dowel rod from them and stop at the new Bass Pro Shop on the way home.

You can be sure I'll be very careful in sanding/scraping any carbon off any edges. In the plans they call for me to do that with the gear teeth. Forget now exactly why but the plans are real specific on doing that with the gears at least. I just thought I might give the edges of the rest of the parts a little sanding to if you guys didn't think it'd do any harm. I kinda think that black/brown edge wouldn't look all that great when putting on the finish.

Hey now! You'll be the guy to talk to about the plans then if you had a part in drawing them up.

@ Ktown Rick,

The plans call for 54" of 1/4" dowel and 18" of 1/8". I think the plans need a little revision as in one part they mention that you have to get exact diam. dowel or else things won't fit right without some additional work. Then in another part they claim they've sized the holes so any dowel will work. But I'm taking my dial mike along and will cherry pick those that equal or exceed 1/4". The 1/8" ones I have from Menard's (similar to Lowes or Home Depot) are just a coupla thousandths big. I can also do a little sanding on them in the lathe so that's no problem. If I can't get what I want I'll have to order them from Woodcraft. Good to hear you guys say they have full size dowel rod.

Little later.... Just got done looking at Wood crafts dowels. A quick look and I couldn't find how long they are. I assume 3 ft. Right?

@ Tim,

I had a lot of experience with laser cut parts during my RC airplane life. Never bothered to clean the edges, but then you deal with thin stock that doesn't really show the edges, and you mostly cover or paint it anyway. On something of the order of 1/4" & 3/8" stock I don't have any idea how deep the laser burn is either. Guess I'll find out!

I agree that everything about the clock should be as square as you can make it. Was more wondering about the wall you hang it on. Having done a little remodeling work I know there are very few vertical walls, so was wondering if this is fairly critical, and would I have to shim it.

Good advice to watch the video before proceeding with the building. And Amen on a pic is worth a 1000 words! My biggest fault is getting in to much of a hurry. Comes from having to make quick, and the right, decisions, yesterday, so to speak, when I was working. So I'll really need to slow down. My mantra will have to be "Slow & Easy Does it".

Pete

Last edited by Pete_M; 08-28-2009 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 08-28-2009, 11:13 PM   #6
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Pete

I know your excited about the project but try to relax you don't want to rush anything with a clock. The plates on my Thomas are around 18-20 inches tall with the wall mount a wall should not be to far out in 20 inches, and if it is you can shim if needed. Since you have a lathe you could get 3/8 dowel and work it down for 1/4 and 1/4 for 1/8 the lathe is another advantage in your favor. Keep us posted on what you find. You could also use metal rod if that is easier for you to find. I guess on the site you posted there is something there to download so I will take a look and see if I understand what they have on there. And yes the dowels at Woodcraft are 36" at my local store they can order longer if needed though like for the pendulum rod.

Tim
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Old 08-29-2009, 03:00 AM   #7
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Hi Pete

This is from the Woodcraft site:
Finest quality, 36", straight-grained, smooth sanded for a variety of woodworking projects. Buy any 10 dowels, mix or match, and we will deduct 10% of their total cost! Buy any 50 and we'll deduct 15%! Note: Minimum order for dowels is $5.00. Deduction will not appear on your online order form because this software is not capable of doing the calculation. The deduction will be applied to your order prior to billing.
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Old 08-29-2009, 08:46 AM   #8
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You splice the dowels together to make a longer one for the pendulum. Not that hard to do and the directions show you how to do it.
You will have to stop by on your way to the candy store. You will be going by within 3 miles of me.
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Old 08-29-2009, 06:14 PM   #9
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@Tim,

The lathe I've got is really a metal lathe and as such I only use it for wood when all else fails. Little thin whippy stuff is hard to work on. But did find the 1/4" dowels I needed at the Woodsmith Shop. Had to sort thru about two dozen before I found five that were at 1/4" or a few thou. over. That should take care of that problem.

I agree I could use metal for the the places needing dowels but I want to try and make it all out of wood.... except for the chain. Gotta have chain! What's on Rick's clock really sets it off in my opinion. Wonder if a guy could make a chain small enuf to drive the clock?

Ok on not needing a whole wall vertical to hang the clock on and I can shim it if necessary. Got to wondering if that might have been one of Rick's problems before he figured the anchor thing out.

@ Rick,

Thanks for the length info from Woodcraft. I clicked on the 1/4" dowel icon expecting to get more detailed info but didn't get it. Maybe I was in to big a hurry. So didn't poke around till I found it.

Also sorry to hear your clock stopped running. We get somewhat high humidity here at times but the house has AC so hopefully I won't have that problem.

@ Rick H,

Nuts! Would have liked to stop by, especially after I looked at your web site. That wagon wheel clock plan you've got kinda caught my eye. Do you have a regular store or just work out of your home?

Figured I'd have to splice dowels together in order to get the pendulum rod(?) long enuf. Think I'll try cutting a side in half abut 1/2" from the end and dress it down so when glued together they make a whole piece.

Was expecting maybe I'd get an email saying they'd got my order, but nothing so far.

Pete

Last edited by Pete_M; 08-29-2009 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 08-29-2009, 08:36 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete_M View Post
@Tim,

The lathe I've got is really a metal lathe and as such I only use it for wood when all else fails. Little thin whippy stuff is hard to work on. But did find the 1/4" dowels I needed at the Woodsmith Shop. Had to sort thru about two dozen before I found five that were at 1/4" or a few thou. over. That should take care of that problem.
Now if you are good (evil grin) you can thread one end of the one dowel and tap one end of the other dowel and screw them together!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete_M View Post
Ok on not needing a whole wall vertical to hang the clock on and I can shim it if necessary. Got to wondering if that might have been one of Rick's problems before he figured the anchor thing out.
No, I didn't change a thing in regard to plumb and level. It's was pretty close from the get go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pete_M View Post
@ Rick,

Thanks for the length info from Woodcraft. I clicked on the 1/4" dowel icon expecting to get more detailed info but didn't get it. Maybe I was in to big a hurry. So didn't poke around till I found it.

Also sorry to hear your clock stopped running. We get somewhat high humidity here at times but the house has AC so hopefully I won't have that problem.
The weather played havoc on the main drive gear and blew it up a hair. I fixed that problem and oiled the four moving arbor joints. The clock has been running for the past 10 1/2 hours without issue. Thanks for asking Pete.
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