Bob made this End Table/Foot Stool from a pallet of yellow poplar and hardwood flooring scraps.
In this month’s presentation Bruce Bogust talked about building a 1750’s period Newport Grandfather Clock. This is the same clock design, with some modifications, that is offered in the November/December 1985 edition of Fine Woodworking Magazine. The plans are available online at Fine Woodworking Magazine.
Before discussing the clock build, Bruce brought in a Tea Table that has some of the same period production characteristics as the clock to demonstrate some of the skills that are useful to know in building the clock and period pieces.
The Tea Table shown here is from the same period and is unique in that it has a space under the talons on the legs. This is often referred to as an open claw. Also, there is no webbing over the claw. Similar to the Newport style, there is also a Philadelphia style from the same period. In making a claw, it’s generally a good idea to practice on some inexpensive woods before using up your good stock. Once you’ve figured out the pattern, you should be able to readily duplicate it.
The Tea Table pictured here is made from African Mahogany. It’s unique in that it has carvings on the knees of the legs. There is also the same pattern on each side of the leg. There are several ways you can do this. One way is to use carbon paper, but it doesn’t show up well. Another way is to use a ponce pad, i.e. a cheese cloth with chalk in it. You begin by cutting out your pattern and tap the pattern over the wood. The chalk comes through the pattern and sticks to the wood and provides the lines needed to do the carving. You may also use shim brass (2 thousandths thick) to transfer the pattern onto the legs.
The table top shown here is made from one single piece of wood including the trim on the edges. It is not a glue up. To do this, you start with a roughly 1” think piece of wood, make a pattern and screw it to the top of the wood. Then use a router to cut it out using this special jig . You can screw the jig to the bottom of the router. There are multiple stages of this process so when you get to the end, you just route the bottom and level it out in the center.
The clock design was developed by the same people who developed the designs for this table.
Once you figure out what clock you want to make, the first thing you should do is buy the mechanism, or at least have a detailed set of dimensions including clearances, etc. As Bruce did, you will probably have to change the dimensions of your clock to fit the mechanism. The length of the pendulum swing, size of the mechanism, clock face, weights and chimes can change the entire plan.
Bruce didn’t like the face that was included in his plan so he went to Colonial Williamsburg and took some pictures of the faces on some of the clocks and had a custom face painted with the image that he wanted.
One crucial step in the build is to create a mockup of the clock to get the swing length and size the movements.
In this clock design, there are four columns on the top of the clock. They are turned first into round stock. You will need an index wheel on the lathe so you know where to place the columns. The flutes are hand cut with a gouge. Keeping them straight is very difficult and even small fluctuations are readily noticeable in the final product so this part of the build will require an extra steady hand and careful precision if you want to produce something that’s aesthetically pleasing.
Similar to the table, the moulding on the top of clock is cut upside down if you’re using a router. This is not something where you can just draw the pattern.
After routing, there are some places you simply can’t get into. Bruce used an old hand saw blade and file scribed and snapped the metal to form the shape. Then dremel/hand filed to get the exact pattern, essentially making a scraping tool with the perfect profile to make these mouldings.
As seen in the picture below, this clock design has several quarter columns. These can be difficult to make. These columns are ¼ of the actual column inserted into a recess. These were turned by using some paper to glue four pieces together. This larger piece was then turned as a single unit on the lathe. It’s important not to over pressure the lathe at this point because it will split the wood. Turn it round. Then flute it.
The jig above was used to index the column and act as a guide to route the flutes. Once the column was mounted and indexed, simply side it on the router, turn and repeat.
Then use chisels to separate the 4 pieces where they were glued to the paper. This method was taken from Fine Furniture for the Cabinet Maker – by Marlow. You could also create a box and use a scratch stock to do the same thing.
The shells are made by design using the steps outlined in the same book.
This particular clock has a pine backing and old “aged” cherry was used everywhere else except the top moulding which was newer cherry. This explains some of the coloring differences in the pictures above.
Bruce’s clock mechanism is about 14 inches deep and came with a plan for mounting points. Once that’s built, you’ll have to identify the mounting points for the assembly.
The basic body of the clock, base, center, and top is show above. There are some half blind dovetails used to assemble the base. The legs/feet are cut on the bandsaw. The top box of the clock have hand cut dovetails on all sides.
The rosettes on this clock are not the original ones from the plan. Those were a simple daisy style. Instead, Bruce used a Philadelphia style which was more to his liking. The finials were built by turning the shape and then hand gouged to get the curved flutes.
This clock was started in early 2015 and finished in early 2017 working on different parts off and on in the workshop. Bruce’s next planned project is the Amateur’s Masterpiece desk.
The CWA board believes that the major reasons the CWA has experienced significant growth in our membership during the past few years are that we have been able to offer an adequate place to meet and space for woodworking equipment.
The shop and equipment have allowed opportunities for:
- Our members to use the equipment
- Hands-on training
- One-on-one mentoring
- Sessions with Boy Scouts
- Our members to be involved in service projects for other organizations
The CWA is currently meeting, as guests, in space that is leased by the Charlotte Airport to JPM. The airport is expected to redevelop the property that we occupy, but no one knows the time-table for that to occur. So the location for the CWA in the future is in jeopardy, and we are currently searching for options for a shop and meeting place.
Additionally, there is a lot of interest in increasing what is made available to our membership by providing a more complete shop and more times the shop is open.
For the above reasons and because we feel there is interest in persons making tax-exempt donations which are beyond membership fees, the CWA board is recommending that we create a special fund.
The purposes of the fund will include financial assistance to assist in providing:
- A location for us to have our meetings and space for woodworking equipment
- Possible rent, and utilities
- Purchase and maintenance of woodworking equipment
- Other needs identified by the CWA Board and/or its membership
Donations can be:
- Cash donations
- Stocks and bonds, etc.
- Donations can be recognized in honor or memory of someone
- Donations can be made through wills, etc.
Specific efforts will be made second and fourth quarter of each year to make members aware of the fund and opportunities for giving.
CWA Annual Fund
There were a number of great items put on display, many donated to the One Special Christmas Auction.
November’s presentation was delivered by Eddie Hamrick. Eddie, currently a Hickory resident has crafted gifts for seven presidents, four North Carolina governors, and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Phillip DeBerry introduced Eddie to the club members and we learned about many of Eddie accomplishments as a woodworker. In his own words, Eddie described his God-given passion for woodworking almost as an obsession. He has shared his work with the world and in doing so has received 3 gold medals from the National Endowment for the Arts. His work is displayed in history museums all over the state and nationally. He is an accomplished woodworker and this article from the Hickory Museum of Art details many of them. He’s been designated a “National Treasure”.
Eddie was a very early presenter at the Charlotte Woodworkers nearly 30 years ago and today our infamous Bob Fields who was around during his early years has a nutcracker that was donated by Eddie as a gift for the One Special Christmas Auction and purchased by Bob. Bob holds onto it as a special treasure. (Bob and Eddie are shown together in the feature image.)
Among Eddie’s accomplishments, he boast musical instruments, many pieces in Williamsburg, 19 churches of many denominations, governor’s desks, puppets, the Catawba County seal, awards trophies, and bats for All-Star Baseball games.
Although Eddie has many works to be proud of, he says, “I’m just faking it”, implying that although by some standards he produces some wonderful pieces of art, he has a long way to go. He says that “Someday I’ll wake up and be a real woodworker”. But that’s not what he thinks about when he’s woodworking. He focuses on the art and what he is trying to produce. People seldom consider woodworking an art, but Eddie is quick to point out that it deserves it’s merit along with other forms of art.
Eddie has a special gift for taking an idea from concept to a piece of artwork. He researches and spends time studying the nature of the item and how to make it durable then picking items around a theme. He uses no measuring tools in his work, but prefers to work the craft using his eyes and carefully honed skills as a woodworker. He looks at the detail of the concept he is going after and pulls it out of the piece of wood using a repeatable process for identifying the details and achieving the look he is after.
His craft has gained him an audience with the Queen of England in London when he was invited to the Phantom of the Opera where he provided the masks and several props used in the performance (the mask is show below).
Eddie is trying to teach others what he has learned and has taught at the John Campbell Folk School across from Newton Courthouse. He enjoys telling stories about life and woodworking and he shared some of his life with the club members. In his words, life wasn’t always rosy, but he’s been given a gift and loves using in a variety of ways.
There was a point in his life when he spent 9 months in a coma. Eddie, a man with faith in God, shared that during this time the plans for a new chapel were revealed to him.
Eddie uses no paint on his projects. He prefers to use the natural characteristics of the wood to bring out the colors he needs. The last thing he remembers actually painting was Bob’s nutcracker so many years ago.
In his work, Eddie will often develop a concept piece before making the actual piece. Sometimes it takes many repetitions before he lands on a final product.
In closing, Eddie shared many of his pieces and encouraged us to “never stop learning and trying to grow”.