Category Archives: Projects

Restoring a Rusty Vise – it Begins

WARNING: I don’t know what I’m doing!

On a whim I bought a rusty, Ace brand 3 1/2″ (say 89 mm) vise at a garage sale. I’ve watched a few vise restoration videos, so I think I have a chance at restoring it…

How it started: I’ve been watching a lot of Matthew Read’s excellent clock repair videos (Open Clock Club Archive, How to repair pendulum clocks, and How to Repair Pendulum Clocks – LIVESTREAM). Lately he’s been repairing an early 19th century clock, doing a lot of metalworking in the process. Inspired by that work – and needed a vise for my clockmaker’s bench – I decided to buy a rusty vise and attempt to restore it. This post covers the first step in that restoration.

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Building a Quick Router Table Cabinet

In converting a desk into a clockmaker’s bench, I wound up buying a router and router table to make the drawers. The router table has been taking up space on my workbench ever since.

I decided to make a rolling cabinet to mount the router table to, using scrap plywood and some drawers left over from a bathroom remodel.
The project is a good example of a thrown-together wood project, and a few lessons in “measure twice; cut once”.

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Building a Cuckoo Clock Test Stand

The family cuckoo clock I’m working on is being capricious about when it decides to play the music, so I’ve built a test stand that will let me see what’s going wrong.

After looking through the wide variety of weight-driven clock test stands on NAWCC.org. I decided to build a floor-standing U-frame.

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Problems Adjusting the Cuckoo Minute Hand

Once I had the eBay cuckoo clock cleaned, adjusted, repaired, and running, I put the hands on. To my surprise, the minute hand kept slipping, no matter how I tightened the hand nut that’s supposed to hold it in place. The solution to this mystery lay in a troubleshooting video from a cuckoo clock seller in the Black Forest.

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Cleaning the Cuckoo Clock Case and Figures

An older clock has usually spent years in the company of a smoker or near a smokey fireplace, accumulating layers of tar, ash, and who knows what else. A simple dusting or cleaning with a wood polish won’t necessarily remove these layers of smoke, so when it’s time to clean a vintage clock, it doesn’t hurt to clean the case as well.

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Cleaning and Adjusting a Cuckoo Clock’s Musical Movement

I’m in the process of cleaning and repairing a family musical cuckoo clock. I’ve watched a lot of videos on repairing cuckoo clocks, and have disassembled, cleaned, and repaired one cuckoo movement, so I think I’m as prepared as I can be for working on the clock movement.

The musical movement is another matter. What follows is a detailed How To that captures what I learned, what to do, and what not to do.

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