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How to Build a Mantel Clock with a Broken Arch Pediment

Build this Beautiful Mantel Clock

A Broken Arch Mantel Clock


Build this Mantel Clock, place it on the mantel over your fireplace, and it will add the charm and beauty of a Grandfather Clock to your home.

The majestic lines of this beautiful clock will warm up a family room with or without a fireplace. Its simple lines combine the elegance and beauty of a broken arch grandfather clock with the simplicity and clean lines of contempory styles.

The brass dial, the brass finial, and gold colored decals on the lower door glass add a rich look to the warmth and beauty of the cherry wood.

The simple lines of this broken arch style are less ornate than the scroll or swan's neck designs found on many mantel clocks of the Colonial period. But even in its simplest form, the Broken Arch design provides the look of elegance that has withstood the test of time in American furniture design.

Woodworkers with basic woodworking skills and access to a table saw and drill press, should find this to be an easy project to make. The broken arch pediment and the base trim are the only parts that require scroll cuts.The clock pictured is made of solid cherry with a medium walnut stain.

The clock parts you'll need, including pendulum movements with chimes and brass dials, are available from a variety of suppliers. Just do a search for "clock parts" and you'll find several suppiers to chose from.

To see a general idea of what's involved in building this Broken Arch Mantel Clock project, please look over the assembly drawings below. The free MantelClock.pdf download file contains approximately 25 pages of detailed parts dimensions drawings, materials lists, and instructions.

Attach the Base Trim to the Clock Base

Attach the Trim to the Mantel Clock Base

Attach the Bottom Trim to the Bottom with 1/4" dowel pins and glue, then clamp with bar clamps. After the glue has completely dried, sand all surfaces so the corners look good and the top surface is smooth.

Create the Beaded Edge Around the Base Trim With Your Router

Route the Beaded Edge Around the Clock Base Trim

Next, use your router with a 5/16" radius beading bit to create a bead around all four edges as shown.

Attach the Two Caps to the Broken Arch Pediment

Assemble the Broken Arch Pediment

Apply glue to the mating surfaces and dowel pins and assemble the Caps to the Crown Face as shown. An easy way to clamp the Caps to the Crown Face is with rubber bands. Use as many rubber bands as necessary to securely hold the Caps in place until the glue dries.

Next apply glue to the mating surfaces and attach the Finial Seat as shown above. Temporarily secure the Finial Seat with a flathead screw until the glue dries. Be sure the Finial Seat is positioned squarely.

Attach the Broken Arch Pediment to the Top Piece of the Mantel Clock

Attaching the Broken Arch Pediment to the Clock Top

Now that the Broken Arch Pediment is assembled, apply glue to dowel pins and mating surfaces of the Clock Top piece and back side of the pediment face as shown above. Clamp securely until the glue is dry

Attach the Finial to the Pediment

Attach the Finial to the Broken ArchPediment

Attach the finial to the finial seat as shown above.

Assemble the Mantel Clock Case

Assemble the Top, Sides, and Base of the Mantel Clock

Note: Do not glue the Sides to the Bottom. You will need to remove the Bottom when installing the Dial Assembly.

Apply glue to dowel pins and mating surfaces of the Top and Sides. Press the Top firmly over the dowel pins.

Next, secure the Sides to the Bottom with four 1 1/2" # 8 flathead screws. Insert the screws through the bottom. (Screw holes should already be drilled). After the Bottom is secured with the screws, clamp the Top to the Sides until the glue sets up.

Be sure the Case assembly is square while the glue is setting up. It must be square for the door to fit properly! Remember: Do not glue the Sides to the Bottom!

Attach the Clock Dial and Assemble the Dial Frame

Attach the Clock Dial to the Dial Backboard and Assemble the Dial Frame

Glue the metal dial to the Dial Mounting Board using contact cement. The dial should be centered on the mounting board side to side and top to bottom as shown in the left image above. Make sure the dial is aligned squarely and make sure the number 12 and number 6 are straight up and down as you place it on the mounting board. You will not be able to move it after it is pressed into place!

Next, apply glue to the mating surfaces and assemble the Dial Frame as shown in the right image above. Clamp the corners with corner clamps.

Attach the Dial Plate to the Dial Frame

Attach the Dial Frame to the Dial Plate with screws on the back side of the frame.

Position the Dial Frame over the dial and mounting board so it is centered side to side and flush top to bottom as shown in the image on the left above. Secure it with six 1/2" #6 flathead screws from the back side of the mounting board.

Assemble the Clock Door Frame

Assemble the Clock Door Frame_800

Assemble the Door as shown. Use wood glue and corner clamps to clamp the corners. Glue and clamp the Divider in place so upper opening is square.

Put the Brass Knob 7" from the top and 1/2" from the edge of the door. This location is slightly higher than center. If you place it exactly centered top to bottom, it may actually look too low because of optical illusion.

The Clock Door as Shown From the Rear

Rear View of the Clock Door Frame

The above image shows a rear view of the assembled clock door.

How to Place the Glass Panels in the Clock Door Frame

Placement of the Glass Panels in the Clock Door

Place the glass panels in the back side of the door frame as shown above.

Secure the Glass Panels to the Clock Door with Retainer Strips

Attach the Glass Retaining Strips to the Clock Door

Install the glass retainers as shown above. Since there is always a possibilty that the glass may need to be replaced, I recommend attaching the retainers with household cement. Choose a cement that is intended to be used with plastic and wood. Apply three small spots of cement on the edge of each retainer where the retainers contact the inner edges of the door frame. Clamp the retainers in position with spring clamps until the glue sets up.

If at some time in the future, the glass needs to be replaced, you should be able to pry the retainers loose with minimal damage to the wood parts.

Attaching the Door to the Clock Cabinet with Brass Hinges

Attaching the Door to the Clock Cabinet

Attach the Door to the Case as shown above. First, attact the hinges to the holes already drilled in the right side of the Case. Then, carefully mark the location of the hinge screws in the door. Be sure the door is centered top to bottom. Drill the holes about 3/8" deep

Positioning the Dial Plate in the Mantel Clock Sides

Attach the Dial Plate to the Mantel Clock

Remove the Base and install the Dial Assembly by sliding it up trough the slots in the sides. Apply a little household cement to the to the inside of the slots where the Dial Supports will touch and press the Dial Supports into the slots. If there is not a snug fit, you'll need to clamp them in place until the glue sets up. Now, you can re-attach the Base to the Sides.

Attach the Back Cover to the Mantel Clock

Attach the Cover to the Back of the Mantel Clock

Install the movement and pendulum as per the movement instructions. Then, attach the Back Cover to the Case with #6 flathead screws as shown above.

Completed Mantel Clock

Completed Mantel Clock

You'll need the following woodworking tools to build this project:

Since our plans are free, there is no risk to you. You can download and look over the plans and then decide if you want to build the project.

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MantelClockPlans.htm (03-30-2021)