Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some
form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle
my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which
all began in Mayo, MD
All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images
and text used on the Airplanes and Rockets website are hereby acknowledged.
Kirt's Lorraine Grandmother Clock Project
Melanie modeling my version scratch-built from plans (not a
My Lorraine grandmother (grandfather) clock built from plans and mechanics purchased from Klockit is complete after
nearly four years. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to build a floor model clock, and this one will fit
well in our 1,500 sq.ft. split foyer house. The wood chosen is hickory both because it has beautiful grain and color
variation, and because then I can say that I have built a "Hickory Dickory Clock!"
The hickory was bought from Summit Hardwoods, just
a few miles south of Erie, PA. Thus far I have cut out most of the rectangular blanks. Finally, the process of squaring
everything and exacting the dimensions, then the detailed shaping, drilling, routing, sanding, etc., has paid off
in the form of a beautiful, classic grandmother clock.
Although I enjoy the building and finishing process, I can't wait to hear the tick-tock of the weight-driven clockworks,
and the hourly chimes. My obsession with the passage of time is pacified for the time being with a refinished antique
wall regulator, but this is my piece pièce de résistance.
The instructions and drawings provided on the plans are excellent, but as the old adage goes, a picture is worth a
thousand words (not sure how many drawings a picture is worth, though). There have been a couple instances so far
where the order of operations would be better with a couple steps changed. One example is where milling the 1/4" cove
in the Hood's arched piece (H-8) over the door is necessary prior to hinging the door because otherwise the door cannot
swing shut. Another is that I decided to glue the crown pieces directly to the hood rather than build the crown assembly
separately and then screw it to the hood. There is also the case in Step 28 where the wrong edge of Hood bottom is
indicated on the plans.
update August 10, 2013
The Lorraine Grandmother Clock project is officially complete! All four 1/8" thick glass panels were cut by Schaal
Glass Company here in Erie, PA. They did a great job with the arched piece that goes in the door for the dial. If
I had though it out before-hand, I would have modified the plans to use just a simple arch to make glass cutting simpler
(and less expensive). There would still be a shoulder region per plans when viewed from the front, but the inset for
the glass in the back of the door would have just an arch from one side to the other. A complete set of photos of
the finished clock will be posted soon. Here is a short video tour of the completed
Lorraine Grandmother Clock!
July 27, 2013 Update
The Lorraine Grandmother Clock is complete and has been fully operational of of July 27, 2013! The only thing left
to do is install the glass panels, but I'm waiting to have them cut. Doing a complete mock-up of the mounting and
fitting prior to finishing made for very quick work installing all the clockworks components and panels. A very slight
adjustment of the chime hammers was needed, but that's it. I pulled the pendulum to the side and let go, and it's
been ticking away ever since. Thus far it appears to be keeping perfect time. The moon dial has been set for today's
moon phase, so it will be interesting to watch it progress over the next month. planning for the clock began in November
of 2009 when I purchased the plans from Klockit - about 3 years and 9 months.
Melanie did a great job filming a short video on me explaining my method for applying polyurethane without suffering
the heartbreak of runs, sags, and air bubble in the finish. That is a hot topic in online forums and as you might
expect, there are many opinions, often contradictory, on the best way to do it. My way has been honed over many decades
and works well for me, but it might not be the best way for everyone. Melanie made a video of me talking through my
process of applying the polyurethane in a manner
that eliminates bubbles, sags, and runs.
Installing finial mounting stud. Put nut on finial end and use a socket to screw into wood, then screw finial
onto stud. Doing so prevents potential stripping of finial threads. Use way on wood thread end to ease installation.
Using a dab of wax on screws during installation makes them much easier to install, especially in hardwood, and
minimizes the potential of wringing the head off. I pre-drilled and pre-threaded every screw hole prior to finishing,
but still used wax for final assembly.
Using a square screwdriver bit to adjust the friction-fit center hub of the minute hand simplifies the job
Base with polyurethane applied. A full four coats were applied to inside surfaces as well as to outside surfaces.
Chime Block mounted on Hood Hood rear cover
Lorraine Grandmother Clock built from Klockit plans. Finish applied and ready for clockworks (rear view).
Hermle Grandmother Clock Movement Model #451-050 (left side)
Hermle Grandmother Clock Movement Model #451-050 (right side)
Hermle Grandmother Clock Movement Model #451-050 (back)
Hermle Grandmother Clock Movement Model #451-050 (front)
Hermle Grandmother Clock Movement Model #451-050 (top)
Hermle Grandmother Clock Movement Model #451-050 (bottom)
Hood and crown after finishing (top view)
Clockworks and supporting frame, and side panel fabric frames
Even the bottom received stain and polyurethane
Hood and Crown with stain and four coats of polyurethane (front view)
Hood and Crown with stain and four coats of polyurethane (rear view)
Inside of base
Minwax Early American #230 stain applied (front & rear views)
Minwax Early American stain applied (Hood rear)
Minwax Early American stain applied (Base rear)
Gluing/clamping crown molding on Waist Top Cap
Gluing/clamping crown molding on Base
Base rear plywood cover screw countersinking
Dial mounting - front
Dial mounting - rear
Dial and chime block mounting
Clamping Base side panels
Base assembly plywood
Waist assembly clamping & gluing
Waist and Base side components with rabbets and dados cut.
Base bottom assembly - top view.
Base Steps 12 - 15: Base bottom with corner and triangle gussets installed.
Waist Steps 1m & 1n: Cutting the cove molding on the table saw.
Waist Steps 31 - 34: Top waist cap being glued.
Base Step 2 & Waist Step 5: Cutting dado slots in side members.
Waist Step 1j: Ripping jig for cutting cove molding triangles from square blank.
Waist Step 1k: Cove molding shaped and ready for cutting interior curve.
Push tool made for cutting concave in cove molding. Notch engages corner.
Crown Step 50: Crown trim glued to front.
Gluing Crown components to Hood The plans say to build the Crown separately and then screw it to the Hood,
but I decided to glue everything as I went along in order to make it easier to fit pieces together properly.
Hood Step 60: Crown molding parts C4 & C5 mitered.
Hood Step 33: Hood corner columns.
Crown Step 49: Scrap wood attached to Crown part C4 while routing.
Fitting Crown molding parts C1 & C4.
Hood Step 32: Cutting arch in Hood side piece H-2L. I performed this operation right after Step 4.
Hood side and door pieces.
Hood Steps 34-36: Hood grill cloth frame and door glass retainer.
Using drum sander to smooth Hood side piece arch.
Hood Step 25: Close-up of Hood left side with door hinge.
Hood door arch sanding template.
1/4" round edge milled in Hood door arch.
Hinge slots for Hood door.
Hood Step 31: Rabbet for Hood door glass milled on back side of door.
Milling rabbet in Hood piece H-10.
Major Hood components screwed together for test fitting.
Hood Step 26: Milling hinge slot in piece H-1R for Hood door.
Hood frame components clamped for screwing. Note 2" square grid etched into workbench surface to help make alignments
Scrap wood extensions butted against Hood arch piece H-8 so that router bit does not walk around corner at
bottom of arch.
Plywood pieces H-14 and H-17 screwed onto Hood frame. Hole for clock movement has not been cut out of H-14
At long last, most of the major house projects are done so I'm finally able to get back to work on the clock! Oh,
part of the delay has been due to moving to a new house in December 2010. The workshop is set up in the garage of
the new house rather than in the basement as the previous one was. It's nice having an 8-foot high ceiling again.
Before beginning assembly of the clock's hood (top enclosure for the works and dial), I took the time to scratch a
2" square grid pattern on the workbench surface. Dark stain was brushed into the grooves and then a couple coats of
clear were sprayed over everything. This will make getting all of the clock components straight and square much easier.
The clock's hood assembly is being clamped and screwed at this point. The plans don't call for glue on any of the
frame joints, but I will put some on prior to final assembly of each section. Trim pieces in future steps will hide
all of the screws in the frame so it will not be necessary to plug the screw heads. It has been a long time since
I undertook a project like this where precision cutting and sanding is required for everything to fit properly. Buying
a much better belt/disc sander has made keeping edges square and straight much easier (the old 3" model was a real
piece of junk that would stall if I pushed down on the wood with too much force).
November 12, 2010
Well, I thought all the blanks had been cut, but after reading through all the plans pages, I found about 20 more
pieces that were not shown on the main cut-out drawings. Most were pieces that had at least one dimension less than
the stock 3/4", so it required running the wood across the jointer to trim it down to 1/2" or 1/4" as specified. I
just bought a Craftsman 4-1/4" jointer, and man do I ever appreciate that machine! The last time I used one was in
high school woodshop back in the mid 1970s.
Now that all the blank slabs have been cut and sanded to precise size, the next step is to begin doing all the
mitering, jointing, routing, and assembling. I also bought a Craftsman router and router table to make the job easier.
The table saw or radial arm saw could be used, but the router table setup will be much more precise when handling
the relatively small pieces in the clock. Building a cabinet or bed frame would be a more appropriate size for using
Well, Melanie and I just signed a contract on a different house here in Erie, and we're due to close on it at the
end of November, so unfortunately that means packing up everything and moving before getting back underway.
The house has 1,500 sq.ft. as opposed to our current 910 finished sq.ft. (plus full unfinished basement -
see photos here). The new house is a split foyer
type, so the workshop will be downstairs on the garage level It is about 25 years old, but in very good condition.
One of the best features is that it is one of the very few panoramic views of Lake Erie, from a vantage point high
on a ridge line. The only thing better would be to live right on the shore, which, of course, I cannot afford. I will
post pictures later.
Whereas the workshop here is just kind of thrown together, in the new place I will build wooden work benches and
tool stands permanently into the lower level, and there will be ample overhead lighting along with a distributed dust
collection system - nothing too elaborate; just enough to keep from having to move the shop vac around all the time.
So please check back around the end of December 2010 for an update. Have a HappyThanksgiving and a