I made a clock from pallets, would you expect any less? The clock is made from reclaimed pallet wood with a 3/4″ plywood backer panel. In the center is a walnut veneer inlay in the shape of the state of Rhode Island because this was a featured piece in the Rhode Island Home Show. The letters were custom cut from a recycled PVC sheet. It’s a big clock too, 24″ in diameter. This one yields really cool results with very few tools.
> 3/4″ Plywood
> Pallet Wood Slats
> Walnut Veneer
> Contact Cement
> Wood Glue
> High Torque Clock Mechanism
> Lacquer Finish
> Quick Set Epoxy
> Tapering Jig
> Miter Set Jig
> Router Table
> Random Orbital Sander
> Miscellaneous Router Bits
The base of the clock is made from 3/4″ plywood. I had a 24″ square piece so this became a 24″ round clock. I start by drilling a hole in the center because the clock mechanism will pass-through the center anyway and then use a screw and scrap piece of pine as a compass to trace out the circle.
I cut the circle down to size on the bandsaw and then sand the edges down smooth to the line on the belt sander.
Skip past disassembly and pull out the pallet wood slats from under the counter like a cooking show! I run the slats through the planer to bring them to a consistent thickness and also to flatten out one side of each piece.
Then with the flat side down, I use my tapering jig a a jointer sled to get a straight cut one one side of the piece and then cut it down to final width with the regular fence on the table saw. 3″ wide so I get even lines on the 24″ face of the clock.
I divide the clock face into quadrants by drawing a line across the middle and then drawing a square line out from the center.
To cut the slats down to size to fit the pattern I want I need to cut them at a miter. I pull out my miter gauge and set it to 45 degress with my Miterset jig.
Then I clamp an auxiliary fence to the table saw to act as a length stop for repeated cuts and then miter all the pieces down to size. I do this by installing from the inside out and measuring each piece as I go.
To add to the visual I do one small thing which makes a huge impact, I chamfer each of the top edges of all of the pallet slats.
This changes the clock from looking very one dimensional and gives it way more visual interest.
I give the plywood base a massage with some wood glue and lather it around, then push the pallet slat pieces into place.
My peanut butter hardware weights everything down to hold it all in place while the glue dries.
The next day once it is all dry I can cut the excess slats off close to the edge of the clock and then bring it down flush with a flush trim bit in the router table. While I’m at it I swap out the bits and also cut a chamfer on this corner of the pallet wood.
I decided to custom cut out the numbers (letters?) for the clock face because I had this black PVC materials and could make them whatever size I want. I use the CNC to cut these out.
Then, because I can, I also mount the clock face in the CNC so I can cut a put an inlay into the face.
This piece is going to be a display at the Rhode Island home show, so I figured it was only appropriate to carve out the silhouette of the state. I cut out a thin cavity in the face of the clock and then cut out a walnut veneer to fit in it’s place.
Contact cement is applied to the veneer and the cavity in the clock and then once it dries to the point of being tacky, I squeeze the pieces into place.
I wanted some contrast and also to match the numbers on the clock so I flip it over and paint the edge of the clock, then sand down any excess on the front and back.
I mix up some 5 minute epoxy to hold the numbers in place. This is mixed up and then applied to the back of all the numbers with a small scrap piece of wood. I mark out the 12 sections of the clock beforehand so I know where to put them.
Then to finish the clock and bring out the real color in the pallet wood I use a coat of lacquer.
With the clock all done it’s just a matter of installing the clock mechanism. Normally I just use a straight cut bit in my router and cut it by hand, but since I have it I mount the clock into the CNC upside down and have it cut out the cavity on the back. Measuring here to make sure it’ll fit!
Then I actually do this by hand, cut the key hole slot in the back of the clock to use to hang it on the wall.