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How to make a mid-century modern wall clock

How to make a mid-century modern wall clock

I am a fan of mid-century modern and while browsing some designs the other day I came across this wall clock. I really liked it’s mix of mediums and the shape was kind of an homage to Star Trek. I found you could buy the clock for around $250 on eBay. At that price I decided it would be a could do-it-yourself project.

To get started I took a picture of the clock and loaded it into Adobe Illustrator so I could trace the main boomerang shape. I ran a trace operation and then went through and cleaned it up by removing unneeded extra points. It took me about 10 minutes to get the shape how I wanted it and then I printed it out. This is the pattern I will use to cut the shape out of wood later.

I’ve had a piece of Monkey Pod, which is a tropical hard wood, that I decided to use for the main shape. When Monkey Pod is finished it has a color that works really well for mid-century modern design. The first thing I had to do was to re-saw the rough stock to get a piece about three quarters of an inch thick. Then I moved to the planer to make sure the wood was a consistent thickness and then remove the rough sawn faces. This piece Monkey Pod was about 36 inches long and 4 inches wide. My plan was to cut it in half and then glue the two halves together so I would have an 18 inch by 8 inch panel to cut the boomerang shape out of. In order to glue the halves together I needed to joint one side. I did that on the table-saw with my jointer jig.

After glue-up I was ready to cut the shape out on the bandsaw. One word of caution, if you are ever working with Monkey Pod, be sure to wear some kind of respirator. The sawdust from this wood is very irritating. My wife walked out into the shop while I was working and almost immediately started coughing.

Now that the shape was cut and sanded it was time to add the brass rods. To attach them I marked their location and then used the router to cut out a pocket for them to sit in. I marked the length of each rod and cut them down to size with a cut-off wheel in my angle grinder. A little two part epoxy permanently cemented the rods in place. After that I finished the wood with some lacquer to really bring out the beauty in this wood.

Next, it was time to make the clock face. I used a piece of maple for this. I thought the contrast of the lighter maple against the darker Monkey Pod would work really well together. To mount the clock mechanism I found the center of the wood and used a forstner bit to cut the right size hole. I used a round lid the size I needed to trace a circle and then cut that out on the bandsaw. The wood was a little too thick so I used the router to cut a pocket out of the back that the clock mechanism could sit in. Again I used lacquer to finish the clock face.

For the markings on the clock face I used my vinyl cutter to cut a stencil. I placed the stencil on the face and spray painted on the markings. Once the paint was dry I was ready for final assembly.

Attaching the clock to the brass bars was a challenge. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it and ran through many different options. I needed to be able to adjust the time and change the battery so with that in mind I decided to make the clock face removable. I have a 3d printer so I went to my computer and designed a bracket that would snap onto the brass rods to hold the clock face in place. This worked really well.

I know not everyone has a 3d printer and if you want to make a clock like this you don’t need one. You could easily adjust the spacing of the brass rods so that the clock mechanism fits between them. Then you could connect the rods to the back of the clock face directly with a bracket or epoxy and still access the battery and clock adjustment.

I am extremely happy with how this clock turned out. I originally planned on making it larger than what it turned out to be and if I were to do it again I would scale it up. That said, this thing looks awesome. I love the mix of mediums and woods. The Monkey Pod, maple, and brass all work really well together and I love the shape. I am a bit of a Treky at heart so the homage to Star Trek makes me smile.

If you want to build this yourself there are links below the parts I used. You can also download the template of the main boomerang shape. If you just want to purchase one like this there are links to where you can find them. If you want to purchase one I made send me an email through the website to let me know you are interested.

Installing a Rainfall Shower Head

Installing a Rainfall Shower Head

Our shower head really needed to be replaced. It was old and gross. To replace it I bought a big 9″ rainfall shower head. Now if you are like me, plumbing is not something I have a lot of experience with and have always been a little intimidated by it. Even though replacing a shower head is fairly simple and straightforward I wanted to show how it was done so that it might encourage others to give it a shot on your own.

Steps:

  1. The first thing to do is to remove the old shower head. A crescent wrench or pipe wrench will to the job. You may even be able to remove it by hand. It is just threaded onto the pipe sticking out of the wall.
  2. The next thing to do is to wrap the threads with some teflon tape. You can buy it at any hardware store but the shower head I bought came with it.
  3. Next, screw on the new shower head. In my case there is an extra pipe that extends the rainfall shower head out to the middle of the shower. I screwed that on and then wrapped more teflon tape around the threads where the actual shower head screws on.
  4. The last step is to screw on the rainfall shower head.

This is maybe a 15 minute project and the only thing you need to be careful of is not to over tighten anything. It needs to be tight enough not to leak but not too tight where you damage the threads.

Once I had it together I turned it on and tested it out. I made sure there was not water leaking out anywhere it wasn’t supposed to.

If you want to get one of these shower heads yourself you can get it on Amazon for around $50:

Razor Mega Size 9-inch Chrome Face Rainfall Shower with 15-inch Extension Arm (Square)

Bathroom Remodel – Vanity

Bathroom Remodel – Vanity

Last summer we began a kitchen remodel. Because we did a lot of it ourselves and hired guys who did work on the side we saved a lot of money but it took us nearly 6 months to complete. Part of the remodel was to replace the existing tile floor. This floor extended from the kitchen into a half bathroom right off the kitchen. That meant we had to replace the floor in that bathroom too. And of course to replace the bathroom floor I had to tear everything out of the bathroom. Consequently, the bathroom got remodeled too.

The biggest issue with remodeling this bathroom is the size. It is so small we were really limited with what we could replace the vanity with. My original plan was to custom build a vanity but after 6 months of remodel I didn’t have the energy or want to take the time so I started looking for something prebuilt. But I could find anything I liked that would fit. Then I had the idea of taking a small dresser or an accent cabinet and modifying it to be a vanity. It didn’t take me long to find exactly what I was looking for.

I ordered this cabinet from Wayfair. I assembled it and then brought it into the bathroom to figure out how I would need to modify it so the plumbing would fit in the cabinet.

I also purchased this porcelain vessel sink and this waterfall spout faucet. I had all the pieces and now I just need to fit them all together.

After seeing where the plumbing needed to go I developed a plan. First thing I need to do was to partially disassemble the cabinet. Then I cut the middle shelf so that instead of spanning the entire width of the cabinet it only spanned a little under halfway. I used half inch plywood to make the modification. I took a piece of the cabinet to a local hardware store and search through their paint samples until I found one that matched almost perfectly. I used that to paint the plywood.

Once everything was re-assembled it was time for a dry fit. I brought the vanity back into the bathroom and fit it in place and then fit the sink and faucet. From their I determined where I needed to drill the holes in order to plumb the sink and faucet. I used a forstner bit to drill the holes in the top of the cabinet. Then it was time for final installation.

I will have a separate video on the plumbing. I’m no plumber and don’t have the tools to do it the way a plumber would so I had to find parts specifically for the DIYer like myself. I found the Snappy Trap and have used in successfully in other projects so I purchased one for this one. Unfortunately, the drain size was different and in a little bit of an awkward location so I also had to purchase a flexible drain pipe. I also used this plumber’s putty, that I had left over from another project, to help seal up the drain. If you know what you are doing with PVC you could do this plumbing for a lot less but these tools worked great for me.

The last thing I needed to do was to figure out how to keep the doors closed. Changing the shelf removed the magnet that was originally used to keep them closed. Now there wasn’t any good way to mount that magnet. Not only that, the right hand door didn’t have anything to stop it inside the cabinet. To fix this I took a scrap piece of wood, painted it, and then nailed it in place. I drilled two small holes where I could inset a couple magnets. Then I mounted the metal plates at the top of the doors where they would be caught by the magnets.

One step I didn’t mention is sealing up the sink. I used Lexel caulk to seal around the base of the sink and I also used it to seal around the holes I drilled in the top. And after all that it was done. It was actually pretty simple project and turned out great.

 

How to Fix Power Windows

How to Fix Power Windows

And save $200 or more!

I drive an older 2002 Chevrolet Malibu. A couple of months ago I was heading in to work on a Monday morning. I started the car and then used the power windows to roll down each window to kind of clear off the dew that was covering them. When I rolled down the rear passenger window I heard something snap and the window stuck down. It was a cold morning and was certainly going to rain so there was no way I could leave the window down. I got out of the car, grabbed my tools, and pulled the door panel off. Once I had it off I was able to shimmy the window back up well enough that I could go to work.

For the next couple of months that is how it stayed. The window would wobble down a little as I drove so I would constantly have to push it back up tight so rain wouldn’t leak in. I knew taking the car in to get fixed would cost a few hundred dollars and I really didn’t want to invest that in this old car. But I really hated how ugly it was without the door panel let alone the annoyance of constantly messing with the window. I’m not sure why it took me so long but I finally got the idea of searching for a way to fix it myself. Sure enough, there was a company, 1A Auto that sold the replacement window regulator and had a video on YouTube specific to doing the repair. I ordered a pair of regulators for $80 and in about an hour I had the window fixed. The following video shows the process.

How to make a workbench

How to make a workbench

Like many people, my workshop is a car garage that I’m slowly converting. One thing I’ve desperately needed is a solid workbench or assembly table. Up until now my workbench consisted of two saw horses and a sheet of particle board on top. It worked but was not very stable and was not ready when I needed it. I couldn’t just walk out to my garage and start work. I always had to spend time setting up an area to work. It didn’t take a lot of time but it was one barrier that kept me from getting out there as much as I would like. So with this project I take care of that and get a stop closer to having a real shop.