Line & Berry Shelf Clock (PDF Download)


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From Issue #11, “Line & Berry Shelf Clock” by Glen D. Huey. Includes a 50 minute video.
Below is an excerpt.

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For years I built furniture for customers. Along with those pieces, I occasionally built something from my bucket list – we call that speculative because you hope you can sell it somewhere in the future. But in business, even when you’re choosing what pieces to build on speculation, you need to be mindful of your customer base and select furniture you think you can sell. There’s no sense building a piece that your customers won’t appreciate, or would deem the cost too high. As a result, I passed on building a shelf clock.

(Fig. 1) Shelf clocks, such as this one built by David Wood in Massachusetts, are a bit too fancy. I needed something more “blue collar.” (Photo courtesy of the Chipstone Collection)

There’s been more than a few non-tall-case clocks that garnered my attention, especially those built by David Wood in Massachusetts at the beginning of the 19th century (Fig. 1). Something about those shelf clocks that left me wanting more. I couldn’t put my finger on it until one day when I imagined a shelf clock built by Pennsylvania Quakers with line-and-berry designs – a piece that never existed, to the best of my knowledge, or has yet to be discovered. That’s when the shelf-clock bug bit me – and it bit hard.

It was with that image in mind that I sat down and drew up plans for my shelf clock. I began with the overall dimensions of a known clock, dropped the arched top but kept the tombstone door and eliminated some of the physical gingerbread only to pump-up the decoration with scratched-in designs of tiger maple stringing and red and white berries. The construction techniques, and the methods employed to add in the decoration are not difficult, but the time spent adorning the exterior surfaces is lengthy.

Also, most of the period clocks were built using a mechanical movement. Today, it’s my opinion that most of these clocks would never include such a movement. Therefore, I’m building this without a few important parts that would need to be added if one chose to use a more costly movement. Those parts primarily focus around the now-absent seat board and its support structure. Additionally, if you are sure you will never install anything but a quartz movement, you could eliminate the base face frame and door in favor of a solid panel because you would not need access to weights used to drive the movement. My project, however, may at a future date have a mechanical movement in place.


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