cuckoo clock finishing

Some internal detail shown in these before pics.

cuckoo19sm  cuckoo18sm

The clock was missing the pendulum and most of the minute hand that I had to fabricate replacements. So I remade both hands to match in like style.   I used ~1/16″ craft wood pieces to make the hands and drew some shapes and cut them out with a coping saw and mini finger drill.  I also fabricated a clock face of cherry wood stained dark to replace the cardboard face.  I spun the face on a drill press and carved the contours.


The pendulum was made of a light wood 7 inches long arm and with the decorative slide weighs about 10g. Adjusted the slide sits at 6 inches from the top, so it could be a little heavier and be ok.   I cut a slit in the top to match the wire hook on the clock and keep the pendulum arm from rocking on the wire hook.  Then I put a small brad nail in the middle of the slot for the wire hook to hold on.  It slips on and off without wobbling while ticking.


The pine cone weight that came with the clock weighs 225g.  I ended up adding small brass screws and 1/4″ washers on top of the bellows as additional weights to overcome the resistance of the tyvek bellows material that I used (.006 inch thick from post office letter size envelope).  White glue (Elmers) worked well to glue the bellows material on.  I had to pry and break the bottom of the bellows off the top of the clock box before putting on the bellows material.  I used a clay knife to pry them off.  I used the white glue to put the completed bellows back on.


The bellows had some resistance to fall down quickly due to the new bellows material.  The problem is with the additional bellows weight, the clock needed more energy to raise them without stopping so more weight on the chain.  I added an additional weight of 150g to overcome the bellows weights.  The extra weight makes the clock tick louder, but it works well and keeps time.  Maybe next time I would try a different bellows material.


Notice that I also changed how the decorative clock front was attached.  They originally used brads from the front behind the cardboard clock face to attach the decorative front, and the clock face was attached with brads on top of that.  I screwed the new wood clock face on from the back of the decorative front with small brass countersunk screws.  I glued in two blocks of wood into the clock box with a hole for a small screw from the back on each to hold the decorative front on.  Now it can come apart and go back together without getting loose.

I need to glue the numbers onto the face still, so no picture until I get those cut out, but it is hanging and cuckoo-ing.





Sliding Door Thermal Barrier

With the backdrop of the global research scientists getting their research ship stuck in unexpectedly thick ice and the rescue icebreaker also getting likewise stuck in ice and having to be rescued by helicopter ( ); Our really cold winter and an old air-leaky single pane glass sliding door prompted me to make a PVC frame with plastic to keep the cold out.

sliding-door-frame01 sliding-door-frame03 sliding-door-frame02

The 3/4″ inside diameter schedule 40 PVC pipes and fittings provided a moisture resistant frame to tape the 3 mil plastic to with packing tape.  I used four elbows and two tees.  The perimeter has window/door single sided sticky weather stripping and some triangular packing foam in the corners.  The long verticals are too flexible and needed some compression to keep it sealed, so I added two shower curtain compression rods (one spring, and one twist) I had sitting around to keep the sides pressed tight.  Next year, I could splice in more PVC to replace the compression rods?  That is if we don’t replace the door with a double pane more efficient one before then.  But the cold breeze coming through is stopped, the temperature is not as cold behind the curtains and the condensation is really reduced.  No more frost and ice on the inside of the door and in the tracks.  I know it looks a little un-decorative, but we needed a warmer solution than just the window film on the aluminum frame.

DIY window blind string reels

We were looking for the old fashioned window blind string holders in the stores and online and could not find them so I improvised with a film canister and a popcicle stick.


They are child and cat resistant blind strings.  They keep the cords from hanging down low where little hands or paws can get to them.  I don’t know why we could not find any, but the point is moot now anyway.  Problem solved.

cuckoo clock bellows

I put on new bellows.


The one bellows (left from clock back) is pushed up by the cam, the second bellows (right) is lifted up by a wire from the left bellows, the right bellows locks a kick-stand wire in place to hold it up and the left bellows knocks off the right bellows kick-stand at the bottom of the left bellows travel.  Thus: cuck- coo- as two separate consecutive sounds.  The bird’s tail is moved up and down with square loop from the right bellows.


and now the hard part, tweaking the mechanism to work dependably again.

Here is an annotated picture to help you understand the action.cuckoo04-annotated-sm

single weight Cuckoo clock restoration

I happened by this broken single weight Cuckoo clock that had most of its pieces in a bag at a resale store.  The clock was made in Western Germany with a Helmut Kammerer movement probably by the Hekas Company.  The cuckoo chirps its two-tone sound once every 15 minutes.  No gong or door opening action on this bottom of the line model, but it does have a bird that moves.  cuckoo01sm

The original bellows had deteriorated and fallen off and the clock was missing a minute hand and the pendulum.


The movement has a 4-lobed cam that rotates once an hour and keeps resetting the bellows.


The action is all specially bent wires after that.


Hopefully it will work again…

Quick Dummy (Mannequin) Hands

If you are in need of making a quick mannequin hands, here are a pair of teenage-sized hands that work pretty well.  We put gloves on the hands in the end, so they look realistic from a distance.  They are made of wire hangars, wrapped with anything available like plastic grocery bags to fill out the shape and then covered with some kind of glove.  Larger hands can be bent from two hangars bent together.  These go together cheaply, quickly and are pose-able.  We used these on on a life-sized Christmas display.

dummy-hand01 dummy-hand02 dummy-hand03 dummy-hand04 dummy-hand05 dummy-hand06 dummy-hand07 dummy-hand08 dummy-hand09 dummy-hand10 dummy-hand11