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My neighbor and I were planning on building 2 Grandfather clocks about 40 yrs ago. I'd provide most of the labor and lumber and he'd provide the mechanical parts. I started gathering lumber, cherry for his and black walnut for mine, and began processing some of the lumber into panels for the casework. He became seriously ill and could possibly have died. As a result of the situation, his wife decided to buy him an "Emperor" clock kit that were advertised frequently in magazines in that era. He regained his health (he'll be 91 this year) and built the grandfather clock from that kit (it's also still running).
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So recently I decided to resume working on this project. After finally finding the plans for the clock (as always, they were in the last place I looked), I recovered lumber from the barn that had been set aside and then stored for the clock case. I hadn't really done that much at that point to the walnut parts.

I was about 30 yrs old at that time and felt that the project could be done in my shop at that time without too many problems. My shop consisted of a Delta Unisaw, a Parks 12 inch planer, a wood lathe, a belt sander, router, 1/4 inch electric drill and a small amount of hand tools. I did also have access to other machinery and tools at work and at my Dad's, but not anywhere near the woodworking potential I have now. I guess I was still close enough to being a teenager that I still thought I knew everything!!

I've spent over 30 hrs. just reviewing the plans, rewriting the bill of materials, re-designing and drawing molding profiles to take advantage of the tooling I have access to, drawing full size patterns of parts that have curves (the plans did not have any full sized details; they are not plans for the inexperienced furniture builder).
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I've also spent time making full sized patterns out of 1/4 inch plywood to aid in making jigs to shape the curved moldings for the gallery hood of the clock. Problems encountered during this phase were the need to purchase some shaper and router tooling to make some of the moldings and then finding out that my three hp shaper doesn't have a long enough spindle to handle the shaper cutter set-ups needed to make the hood gallery molding. I'll have to use the nephew's 5 hp shaper with a 5+ inch high spindle.

I turned the finial today and made the rosettes last week. These are the only parts that I have completely made so far.

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Stock for the hood columns has been sized and are ready to turn. The material for the hood gallery moldings have also been processed in preparation for shaping.

I've also found a company that specializes in providing replacement movements for this exact clock case. Many of the replacement movements for existing grandfather clocks have not changed in over 40 years and are better built and comparatively less expensive that when the clock was built because of improved technology and manufacturing processes.

My tentative completion date in December of this year (like everyone else, I have other things to do with my tractor).
 

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I always wanted to build one from scratch. I bought the clock works and was going to come up with my own design. I started building a practice cabinet just to set up the clock works and to figure out dimensions. I worked so hard on the practice cabinet I never built the final version. lol It's painted plywood and poplar.

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jimmylh,

Your clock looks great!! I especially like the crown molding and the pierced work grill in the observation port on the side of the hood. The removable hood is a feature my clock project will have. It really makes installation of the movement and working on it much easier.

Mark
 

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Your turnings look nice. Keep us posted. I was going to make mine out of walnut, and the design I had in mind looks nothing like what I wound up with. I just couldn't bring my self to throw out the cabinet I made, so I painted and called it a day. :lol: The glass I bought pre-determined the shape of the doors.
 

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Nice work so far. Keep us updated.

That is a great story & brings back a lot of memories for me. I have not thought about Mason and Sullivan & Emperor companies for many years. I first read about Mason and Sullivan & Emperor in Grit magazine when I was in junior high school. That inspired me to design & build a grandfather clock in shop class when I was a sophomore in high school. I believe it was the 1971/1972 school year. I designed the clock off of a picture from the Mason and Sullivan & Emperor ads in Grit magazine. I built the clock out of walnut lumber that I had cut from the farm we lived on.

In 1975 I got married & moved away from home. I took the clock with me when I moved out. My dad missed the clock being in the house. So he purchased one of the walnut Emperor kits. I built the kit for him. He told me that he bought the kit because he did not believe he would live to see me build another one from scratch. He was right. He passed about 1 1/2 years later.

Here is a picture of the clock I built in high school. It is in our basement family room. The Emperor clock is upstairs in our living room. Both clocks are still running.
 

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