Wooden Clock

I had an idea to create a simple wooden clock face where the familiar clock dial was evoked through the basic shape and grain of the material. I wanted to try to wrap the wood grain around a full circle with subtle changes in grain direction marking the hour divisions. Originally I was just going to make one clock with red oak but there was a lovely bit of walnut that I couldn’t resist buying at the same time and I also ended up with apiece of oak twice as long as I needed. So three clocks with only 2.5 times the effort.

Cutting the 30-degree triangle sections using a miter gauge.
No matter how carefully you adjust the miter gauge, errors accumulate. So the best I could do was get as close to 90-degrees for 3 sections but be slightly over so I could trim to square later.
The basic idea of wrapping the grain around 360 degrees.
Here’s the sections as they came out of the piece of 5.5″ wide stock.
Here’s the Walnut sections before glue up.
Gluing a quarter section together, finicky.
Four quarter sections stacked up ready to square up on the table saw cross-cut sled.
Gluing 4 quarter sections together. This wasn’t the best way and it left me with some gaps to fill.
The three clock faces sanded with first coat of finish. I started with the water based Varathane satin polyurethane, but I really didn’t like the results after a couple of coats. So I sanded it off and started again with Arm-R-Seal wipe on polyurethane which worked much better.
I found these very neat brass key-slot plugs for hanging onto a screw head and I fabricated wooden holders to attach them to the backside of the clock face.
Gluing the key-slot to the back of the clock.
Three finished clocks.

Modern Style Computer Desk

I spend way too much of my life sitting in front of a computer. Of course at work, but also a lot of the time at home. Our new home has a spectacular view of Silicon Valley and we put in a large window to take advantage of it as a place for me to work. I wanted a very specific desk, simple, unadorned with a modern style to match the house and most importantly clutter free.  The design I came up with is essentially a box with three drawers on hairpin legs. The wood-grain on the top folds over the miter joints on the sides. With the red-oak plywood I used the effect isn’t that pronounced which was the point. There is a compartment behind the middle drawer to house a socket strip and all the various power supplier. Cables for phones/tablets etc. go directly into the middle drawer so they’re out of the way when on charge.

The mitered joint at the end of the table allow the wood-grain to ‘flow’ over the edge and down the side.

I used Sketch-Up to create the design and it’s available for download in their 3D Warehouse.

Floating TV Console Build and Installation

We needed a TV console in our new house. I designed this with Sketchup, so I’ve made the model available in their 3D warehouse. It’s called “Floating 8′ long TV Console“, if you have Sketchup you can just download it. The model includes cut-sheet layouts for the 8×4′ hardwood plywood sheet and the sheet and a bit of 5×5′ Baltic birch plywood. You can get everything out of one sheet of hardwood plywood – except the false back, I had an extra piece of scrap from another project that I used for that piece. Also the edging I used was left over from another project, but a good trick is ripping a 1×1 down the center to get two pieces of 5/16” edging, a single 8′ 1×1 is enough for the project or you could use heat bonded veneer tape which was my original plan (which is why the edging isn’t in the Sketchup model). There is also a spreadsheet on Google docs with just the cut-list.

Build Gallery

First step, gluing oak strips to the plywood edges with painters tape, the cheapest clamp available!
The scariest cut of the whole project, 14″ beveled crosscut on both end of an 8′ plywood board. As you can see, I don’t have a lot of room, or working surface in my basement.
End miter joints are just glued as I don’t have any fancy domino or biscuit cutters. They will be well supported when the rest of the piece comes together.
Center section assembled, I’m using pocket screws for most of the joints.
Bottom is on, and the piece is flipped over to be right side up. Finally the end of those miter joints aren’t hanging out in fresh air.
Two 8′ 1×8 oak boards crosscut into the five drawer fronts, and one piece ripped into three strips for the support cleats.
Support cleats installed with plenty of pocket screws and some holes cut for routing wires through the back of the piece.
Some detail on the cleats that hold the false-back of the center section. It’s just pushed into place, pushing on the top locks it, pushing on the bottom will release it.
More detail on the false back. The top edge is rounded over (towards the back-side) so that it can rotate into place.
Sitting on paint cans more or less in position. But there’s a problem.
The wall is waaay off straight! There’s about a 0.5″ gap at on end.
The gap to the wall doesn’t look quite so bad once the piece is bolted to the with 3.5″ 5/16″ steel lag bolts. I’m going to hide it with a plant until I can get the energy up to patch it.
Wires all cleaned up with all the electronics installed. As you can see the finish matches my dog.
Sheet and a quarter of 1/2″ Baltic birch plywood all cut up and ready to make into drawers. I hate making drawers.
Much work later, drawers are made and installed.
Hardwood drawer fronts installed.
Finished article in natural light.