Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Big Clock

Big Clocks are the in-thing right now.

I made a 20" diameter one completely out of boards taken from old pallets. The boards were glued together and then cut in a circle using a router. This gives the best clean cut circle you could have.

I painted the circle white and then painted on the roman numerals as well as a "clock name" and date.

There are no hands or working mechanisms, although that could be added.  I think it would look nice as an end table, so I might make some legs for it, or make another clock to be turned into a table.

I am adding this section because of questions (below) in the comments section:
I prefer to make my own jigs like this one that attaches to the router and makes a circle.  There are fancier and more precise router circle jigs that you can buy or make but this one works well and is quick and easy to make. I used a scrap piece of 1/4" thick hardboard.  You want something solid that will not break or bend and will be the width of your router base and longer than the length of the diameter of the circle you want to make.

***(Please do all the following with your router unplugged)***

Your router will have four screws on the bottom holding on a baseplate which is probably black hard plastic in a circular shape.  Take the screws out and remove the baseplate.  Put the baseplate on your piece of hardboard and draw around it and the center hole as well as carefully draw the screw holes in the exact positions.  Add a long rectangle to the circle shape as shown below (this is all one piece because it needs to be strong). Cut out using a jigsaw. (Mine does not cover the whole base of the router...  that is only because it was a scrap piece and wasn't big enough.) 

Countersink the holes for your screws because they must sit recessed into the new jig base.  Draw a line on the top and bottom sides down the middle of the rectangle part.  This will be where you attach a screw that will be at the center of your circle.Attach the jig making sure the screws do not stick out from the board.  I use a 1/2" straight router bit for cutting.  Put the bit in the router and protrude it past the jig.  Measure from the INSIDE edge of the bit, along the center line to what you want your circle's diameter to be.  Using a nail, punch a hole through the jig.

Rough cut your wood circle you are making to within 1/8" or 1/4" with a jigsaw or bandsaw.   This helps the router not to have to clear away so much wood.

Attach a screw from the top side of the jig where you have made the hole into the center of the circle you are making.  If you do not want to have a hole in the middle of your circle, do this on the underneath side. Clamp your wood to the edge of a worktable so that the circle you cut will be off the edge of the table OR clamp it to scrap wood on top of the table. The wood must be firm so that it cannot move while you are routering the circle.  Obviously you don't want to cut through a tabletop. This photo shows the router after the circle was cut, I did not cut it there on the table, I cut it at the overhang and rotated it to make the next part of the cut. Lower your bit to cut through the wood or do in two stages.  While routing very carefully rotate the router around in a circle, moving your clamp where necessary and making sure the screw has stayed firmly in position. 

That was harder to explain than I thought, I hope it's understandable!

(More about my signs in a future post)

Linking to  Funky Junk Interiors
The Twice Remembered Cottage
Blue Cricket Design 
Making the World Cuter 
Sumo's Sweet Stuff
The Shabby Chic Cottage
Faded Charm White Wednesday
and Cottage Instincts

Everything I make is for sale, so if you see something you like, please contact me.



  1. Hey Julie, I like the pictures you show, of how the big clock is made. I hope you do future photo stories on other projects you are working on!

    wishing you continued success,
    from your "childhood home town"

  2. great job julie! so envious of your shop!

  3. Cool but I definitely need more details. You painted those RN on by hand? Just freehand? And does that piece of board that you're using as a guide to cut your circle have a rounded end so the router sits into it? It must slide around as you cut but how do you keep the router from slipping off the guide and gouging the wood?

  4. Hi Sandra
    I'll answer your questions and take some more photos showing the circle guide and post them tomorrow.

  5. I'm with Sandra. I have the same router, and am curious how you attached the router to the guide ;-).

    Thanks for sharing.


  6. This is so cool. I've been wanting do to somthing like this for my living room. But even more i LOVE your idea of making it a table! You rock.


  7. Wow, this is just so clever! I see those old pallets all the time and think - what could be done with those? I love how your clock turned out!

  8. I've edited the post to explain the circle cutting jig.

    I design my signs on the computer using different fonts and then print them out to the size I want. I use carbon paper and a pencil to transfer the designs to wood. Then I hand paint between the lines.

  9. I would like to make one of these. Thank you so much for your detailed instructions. (I don't understand any of it-ha!, but that's 'ok').

  10. Ah-haa! Thanks so much for adding the instructions for the circle jig. I've tried many ways to cut circles or arches and the've not all been successful. :-) Always learning. Thanks for teaching!

  11. This is a great idea-I have a round piece of wood I'll have to try that with!


I appreciate all your comments, they keep me blogging! I like to personally reply to each comment I receive but many of you are "no-reply commenters" which means your email address is not connected to your comment. If that is the case I cannot directly reply, sorry.