School Clock: Finished

The school clock is done... For now.

This week is the deadline for both the school watch and clock, since the board of trustees is meeting and will tour the school to see our progress. With the watch finished, it's been a rush to the finish line with the clock, in more way than one. 



Blueing the hands was one of the final challenges I faced with the clock. Since I used a steel dial insert, I couldn't rightly use steel hands against it—they would blend right in and disappear. After trying innumerable times to blue the hands, I blackened them... But was encouraged to give blueing one more shot by my teacher. 


Blueing hands this big was a real challenge. The minute hand is at least 50 mm long, and 2 mm thick. That's a lot of steel. Proper blueing requires the entire piece to have the same color, without variation—and the bigger the piece, the harder it is to achieve. After much trial and error, I was able to get an acceptable result with a solid brass heating table, an alcohol lamp and a 400 grit sandpaper finish on the metal.  

Besides the hands, the whole clock had to be refinished and lacquered to reduce tarnishing. It was quite a process, and required me to make several modifications (to allow the dial to attach without interfering with the geartrain). 

Luckily, it all went together, and it's ticking! I still want to engrave the dial, but that's a project for further down the road. For now, the whole thing is just an exercise in geometric forms, and I'm satisfied with that. 

Watchmaking student at the Lititz Watch Technicum, formerly a radio and TV newswriter in Chicago.