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How do I router inlays in a whisky stave to make a clock?

1268 Views 5 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  DesertRatTom
Hi Guys I have just signed up to this forum as could do with some advice on using a router for a specific job.

I am trying to make some clocks from Whisky barrel staves and cut out an insert to put in some Harris Tweed. I have included a couple of photos so you can see what I mean. This is one I had previously made but it took me ages to do as had the router sitting on 2 pieces of wood with the stave clamped in between. However this was not very sturdy and had to have a very sturdy hand!

I had bought myself a Trend surfacing jig as I thought that I could use that as it would be easier to see and keep things nice and straight due to being on rails. Yesterday I set up the Surfacing Jig and put the stave onto the wood, I then got some offcuts of wood screwed down to hold the stave in place. I then got my router set up and low and behold there was not enough plunge to reach, not even close to reaching the stave! I have a Bosch POF 1200AE which is a 1/4 collet.

I do think that perhaps I need to get a 1/2 router as the Bosch is perhaps not up to the job?

If so does anyone have advice on a good upgrade? I was looking at the Dewalt DW625KT or Trend T7. Or possibly Trend T10. Any advice on this front would be great. I do believe it would have to put a router with a good plunge so I think the T7 would be ruled out as thats only 50mm plunge? Or do you get a long router bit?

Also if anyone has any good advice on how to cut out the back for where the clock mechanism goes that would be great and save me pulling out all my hair! Is there a jig that can be made, bearing in mind the staves are slight curved so would be difficult to clamp something to it?

The worst thing with the whisky staves are that they are all slightly different in sizes so can be a pain to work with!
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Thanks in advance if you are able to provide some advice to help.
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might I suggest that the easiest would be to use a stave to make a template? It will have a similar curvature to the staves you will work on. You will actually need two templates, one for the tweed and one for the clock body.
The outer template should be long enough so that the router is supported is supported at either end, ie. the template will extend at least half the router base diameter beyond the end of the tweed recess, in both directions. You would use a straight plunging bit, say 1/2”, with a bearing of the same diameter and a locking collar.
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Since the router will follow the curvature of the template stave, the recess for the tweed will also be curved.
It will be a bit tricky to keep the router from tipping at the sides of the recess, since there will only be minimal support from the template - perhaps you can arrange other staves on either side to give you a broader base. The template can
be attached with double-sided tape, or brads into a part of the stave that will be trimmed off later. The workpiece stave will have to be securely clamped in some way, to prevent movement or tilting while routing.

The same technique would apply to the clock recess. Here the Bosch might be a bit oversized, given that you will be working in a concave curvature. Whether the recess is curved or not is immaterial, as the clock case is flat. The only issue is whether you remove enough wood to allow the mechanism to protrude sufficiently on the fronT, to allow the hands to move freely.
If you size the front template for the narrowest stave, different width staves will not matter - you will merely have a different width of wood at the sides of the tweed insert.
Hope this helps.
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PS welcome to the forum.

I do not think you need a 1/2” router for that job, but you might want to consider a trim router - your Bosch is quite bulky and easy to tip.
G'fday @lmack33 , welcome to the forum.

I think Biagio, has it covered.
Welcome to the forum @lmack33
Welcome. Nice clock. The look is very interesting.
I think I'd want to make a jig for the router to ride on, with the curved piece clamped down underneath.

I would want the "donut" larger piece to have an opening straight through, and then a smaller piece with the tweed wrapped around it tightly and glued in place. This smaller piece would be thicker, and cut slightly smaller than the opening it fits into to allow for the thickness of the tweed. The thickness would hold the the clock works and leave a spot for a keyhole to hang it.

If I wanted to replicate the curve of the stave, I'd cut it out of a second stave with the identical curveature. I'd cut the opening for the clock mechanism through the smaller piece using a router, but I'd drill out most of the opening to reduce the amount of work the bit had to do.

The jig would be a little like an exact fit jig for cutting dados, but as wide as the cut you want to make. For the second piece, I'd lay the top opening on the smal piece stock and pencil in the size as a cutting guide. I'd also drill out most of the top piece and use a jig saw to cut pretty close to the line for the top piece. Then put it in the jig and use a long trim bit to smooth out the cut. You could use a chisel to square up the corners, or leave them rounded because you'll mark the small piece through the larger one's opening,

I'd probably use a band saw to cut the smaller piece to size, and use sandpaper to size it just right. I personally would use a flat, thick piece of wood for the insert part so I could put a keyhole in the back to hang the clock.

This is how I'd approach it, anyhow.
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