Cassity has wanted a Swedish Mora clock since she saw one online years ago. She had this crazy idea that we could build one using a wall clock as the face. And I guess I just don’t know how to stop her once she gets one of her crazy ideas. We found the perfect opportunity recently to design and make one. Last week with National Painting Week we gave you a little sneak peak of how the clock turned out.
Now I’ll show you how to make your own Swedish Mora clock for under $75, some affiliate links included in this post.
First we looked online and found some inspirational images of Swedish Mora clocks that we liked. We ended up liking the simple shape of the blue clock, on the left and loved the color of the yellow one, in the middle.
Once we found the shape of the clock body that we like, I imported the first image into Adobe Illustrator CS6 and traced out the outline to use as a pattern (you could use any program that allows you to trace a shape). For the face of the clock we used an old wall clock we had laying around the house, so that part was easy.
To get the proper scale of the clock, I measured the wall clock and used it as a ruler of sorts to scale the drawing up to the size of the clock that we found. However, when we finished scaling we found that we did want the clock to be a little taller, so I stretched out the shape slightly and made it a foot taller. Finally, we simplified the decorative top of the clock for ease of construction.
Here is the pattern that we ended up with. I also designed this clock to be 3 3/4” thick. We really wanted to have some depth to the clock and not just a flat clock (which you could do to simplify the building). You will see how I created the thickness later on in the post.
Here is the Swedish Mora clock pattern that I created.
Skill Level: Moderate to Advanced
- Safety Glasses
- Ear Protection
- 24” Long Camps (or bigger if you have them)
- Band Saw (optional)
- Jig Saw
- Circular Saw (to Square off the base of the clock)
- Reciprocating Saw & Blades
- Router and Router Bits
- Putty Knife
- Old Brush (for spreading out the glue)
- Carbon Paper (transfer paper to transfer the pattern on the wood)
- Tape Measure
- Orbital Sander
- Handheld Belt Sander (with narrow belt for shaping)
- Drill Bit Sander
- Circular Jig (or large compass)
- KregJig Pocket Hole Jig & Screws
- Sponge Paint Roller
- Paint Brush
- Paint Tray
- Drop Cloths
- (1) Printed Pattern Of Clock (click here to open the image; see the instructions below for details about printing to scale)
- (3) 1×8 Select Pine boards (straight and smooth boards)
- (4) 2×6 boards (straight and smooth)
- (1) 1×4 Select Pine board (for the base of the clock)
- (1) Bottle of Wood Glue
- Paint (we used Sherwin Williams, Pro Classic, Satin paint in #6910 Daisy)
The first thing that you need to do is take this drawing, which is the scale of 1” = 12”, on a 8 1/2” x 11” piece of paper, and print it twelve times the size (1200%), for full size. Print it as a poster so that it tiles the image on 36 pieces of paper. *printing will depend on your computer settings, I probably won’t be able to talk you through it…. sorry!
Layout the pattern and tape it all together. I used my laptop as a light table to match up the pages. I thought that was a genius idea.
Now start getting the all the wood together. Begin building by gluing two pieces of 1×8 select pine together at their edges. It’s best to use black pipe clamps for this- I got the clamp at Harbor freight, and the black pipe and Home Depot, just FYI. Use as many as you have access to. I used 7 in this image.
*TIP* Make sure that the end grains of the boards curve the opposite direction when gluing. If the first boards end grains curve up the next boards grains will curve down. This will reduce the amount of warping of the wood after it’s all glued. Also keep the board edges flush along the glued edge.
Once the first two boards are glued together for a couple of hours or more, remove the clamps and glue the third board to the other two. (remembering the wood grain tip from above for the third piece!)
After all the boards are glued, remove the clamps and scrape off all the access dried glue. Then sand it smooth to get ready to trace on the pattern. I ended up making my own carbon paper with some charcoal, to transfer the pattern to the panel, but you could just use carbon paper.
Once the pattern is drawn on, cut out the clock profile with a jig saw. Cut about a 1/4” from the finished pattern edge. You will have to cut it out one more time once the 2×6’s are glued together. Which is why you are leaving a bit of room, leave about a 1/4”.
After the pattern is cut out, start gluing the 2×6’s together. Brush on the glue over the entire wide surface of the board and clamp them together for a couple of hours.
I used a circle jig to get the circles drawn just right before I cut the hole out for the clock face. I cut this hole out before I glued the 2×6’s to the back, because it was going to be easier than cutting it with the 2×6’s in place.
*TIP* If you don’t have a circle jig, just use a paint stick. Drill a hole in the center and then measure out the radius of the circle and drill a second hole. Nail the center hole to the center of your wood. Then hold the pencil into the outer drilled hole and swing around in a circle while drawing the line.
Next glue on the 2×6’s to the back of the clock pattern. Make sure that the 2×6’s are glued on at an angle along the clock profile with enough overlap to cut off when cutting out the final clock profile edge.
*TIP* To keep the clamps from denting up the face of the clock use some scrap wood on top of the face just under the clamp. Then clamp that down tightly. Remove the scraps when you are done gluing.
Because this post is getting so long I will be picking up the rest of the construction tomorrow. I will show you how I had to cut it up in three different parts in order to cut it out. I will also show you how to do the finished sanding of the curves and how to cut out the molding details. Lastly, I will show you the technique Cassity used to do the finished painting. Be sure to come back tomorrow to see the rest!