Learn how to make a DIY wooden Clock with a gorgeous metal inlay detail with this easy beginner-friendly step by step tutorial and video.
Can you ever have too many clocks in your home?
Making a clock is so easy, I can never get myself to buy one. Plus, it is super simple to add your personal touch and style to them.
For this clock, I decided to add a little special character using metal inlay.
I have wanted to try metal inlay but have been a bit wary about using hot molten metal (obviously!)
After making a few brazing projects using my Bernzomatic torches, I decided to try a simple technique for adding metal inlay.
It worked well, looks great, and was not intimidating at all!
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Material needed –
- 1×8 board – cut to a square. I used walnut.
- Bernzomatic ST2200 Detail Torch
- Bernzomatic butane
- Plumbing solder
- Heat resistant gloves
- Plam router | Buy at Home Depot
- ⅛″ trim bit
- Belt sander
- Clock movement
How to make the wooden clock
Take a look at the full video of how I made the DIY wooden clock. The written step-by-step instructions follow –
For this project, I decided to use walnut because I wanted the gorgeous color along with the shiny metal!
Step 1 – Prepare board
- Cut the board to make a square piece.
- Find the center of the board by drawing two diagonal lines.
- Determine and mark the location of the lines to be routed.
I used a 1×8 piece of walnut. I cut out a square of 7½” x 7½”.
I wanted to have the spacing between the lines to decrease from the center to the edge and marked them accordingly.
Important – make sure the final line is NOT at the center so you don’t have to drill through it to add the clock movement.
Step 2 – Route stripes
- Setup the ¼” trim bit in the trim router and set it to a height of ¼”
- Use a combination square to guide the router. Use an extra scrap board to support the combination square as you route.
It is important to make sure that the combination square doesn’t move as you route the lines. Unfortunately, I had a little bit of movement on a few of the lines.
Step 3 – Add the metal inlay
This process takes a little bit of patience and practice. As I got to the last few lines, I got better.
There are a few things you want to be careful about in this process –
- Melt solder continuously into the groove so you don’t create gaps and bubbles.
- Keep the flame parallel to the board so you don’t burn the board. I found that as the solder got shorter, it got harder to keep the flame parallel. It is best to use a longer piece of solder anyway so your hand stays as far from the flame as possible.
Step 4 – Finish
- Using a belt sander and 180 grit sandpaper, smooth and remove the excess metal.
Only the metal will be left in the grooves. Once its done, move on to finish the clock.
- Find the center of the board on the back and make a hole for the clock movement.
- Apply a finish to the face.
I used this one on my walnut clock. I love the rich color of the clock!
Step 5 – Add clock movement
- Add the clock movement following directions on the package.
I was fortunate to find a clock movement with ¾” shaft. If needed, you can route out space for the clock movement on the back.
I debated between black or white clock hands and finally decided to go with the black so the white doesn’t visually interfere with the silver on the clock.
I love the look of the shiny metal against the rich walnut. I wish you could see in real-life. It is so hard to capture the shine of metal in a photograph!
You can see that as I got to the later stripes, I got better with dropping the solder into the channels to have no gaps or burning the wood.
It is a matter of practice and I have a couple of other ideas for projects where I want to use this process.