Canadian Woodworking

Desk clock

Author: Ted Duquette
Illustration: Mike Del Rizzo
Published: October November 2005

Scroll Saw Pattern

Clocks make wonderful gifts anytime. I make them to sell, give as gifts, and take commissions to customize them. This is a clock I made for Paul and Linda at Canadian Woodworking. The following instructions show you how to make a clock with either the name of a friend or business on it. You can adjust the size of text to accommodate more or fewer letters. If you prefer a scene or picture you can replace the text with a scrolled graphic. Add holiday images to customize it for a special time of year or personalize your clock for events such as weddings, graduations, birthdays, or retirements.

It’s a good idea to purchase your clock insert before you begin your project. I used a 2 ¾” clock insert that fits in a 2 ¼” hole. You can choose a different clock, but make sure you have the appropriate sized bit to cut the clock hole.

Cut the base from a piece of ¾” MDF. You can also use plywood, particle board, or solid wood. Tilt your scroll saw table 25° to the left, then cut out the edge of the base in a clock-wise direction.

Prepare two upright pieces from the same stock you used for the base, cutting the edges at a 90° angle.

Round over the edges on the top and sides with a router. If you don’t have a router, hand sand the edges.

On the smaller upright piece, drill a 2 ¼” hole for your clock insert. A saw tooth bit cuts a cleaner hole than a hole saw.

On the bottom of both upright pieces drill ¼” holes that you will use to join the uprights to the base. Drill corresponding holes in the base, making sure you don’t drill all the way through the base. You can line up the hole locations by eye, or you can use a set of dowel centers, which greatly simplify the task.

Cut out the letters from a piece of ⅛” Baltic birch plywood (available from most building supply centres).

Sand the Baltic birch smooth and apply two coats of clear spray finish.

Glue the lettering in place on the larger upright piece.

Spray the lettering with a clear-coat finish.

Paint and clear-coat the upright pieces and the base before gluing them together. I painted the front and edges of the clock with Krylon Stone Paint, and the back of the uprights and bottom of the base with a flat grey paint. I then applied two coats of clear-coat finish.

Glue the stand-up parts to the base and secure with 1 ½” #8 screws.

Place four small cork stick-on feet to the bottom corners of the base so it won’t scratch the surface it is set on.

Now this is one project that is sure to make a timely statement to celebrate any occasion.

Clock inserts available at:



Krylon Paint available at homehardware.ca

Most building supply centers across Canada

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