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This DIY Wood and Metal Industrial Wall Clock was a project that got me a little out of my comfort zone. Not only was I working with metal on this project (which I don’t typically do), but it was also my first time using a torch. (AKA literally playing with fire #smoresanyone )
Don’t worry…all went well and nothing caught on fire haha. But Danny was there as the fire watch because he was paranoid (watch the video below to see his safety warning haha). I can’t blame him…I’m kind of a hot mess anyway, so hand me a torch and things could go south quick.
And as a result of playing with fire…and a few other things…I was able to make the coolest clock, like, EVER. Who says playing with fire never results in something good? HA.
So, if you’re ready to see how I made it (and how you can make one, too!), let’s get to it. I’ve got a video for your below as well as a step by step tutorial 🙂
For this project, you’ll need:
A cool chunk of wood for the middle of the clock
3/16” Thick x 2” wide steel flat bar (slightly longer than circumference you want your circle)
Eye bolt and 2 nuts
Scrap 2x lumber to make the jig to bend the steel (For this, I raided my scrap wood cart for a few boards)
2 1/2″ wood screws
You’ll also need:
Band or Jig Saw
Step 1: Glue Up Circle Jig
First, I made a circle jig to bend my metal bar around to make a circle. For this, I took some 2x wood scraps and after cutting them down to size, I laid them out on my workbench. I used an old clock I made last year to draw out my circle because I wanted to make this clock the same size. You can use any round object to draw out the size you’d like for your clock.
Then I glued these boards up and let them dry.
Once the glue was dry, I used my band saw, I cut this circle out. You could also use a jig saw to cut this as well. It doesn’t have to be PERFECTLY round or perfectly full. Basically, we are just going to be bending the flat stock around the circle.
Step 2: Bend the Metal Circle
Now that the circle was cut out, I moved on to bending the flat stock. At this point in the project, it was really helpful to have a drill and a driver handy as I started to bend this metal. I used the DeWalt Atmoic 20V MAX Compact Drill/Driver set for this particular project. The set comes with two batteries, the drill, and the driver…oh and a cute carrying case.
100% Honest Opinion Time: If you’ve followed me very long, you know that in the past, I’ve always used a DeWalt drill and driver. It was the old style…heavy and chunky, but always got the job done. It’s worked great for me for years, but since getting this Atomic Compact set, I haven’t touched my old drill or driver. These weigh SO much less and can can easily get into smaller spaces. They’re my new go to set.
Anyway, back to the project…So, I used my new DeWalt Atomic 20V MAX Compact Drill to drill a starter hole so that I can screw the steel to the jig. I made sure to drill the hole large enough that the screw would fit through, but it would stop at the head.
Once I made sure my screw would fit through the hole, I used the DeWalt Atomic 20V MAX Compact Driver to drive the screw into the wood circle.
And now, before moving on, a quick safety warning. Torches are hot. Torches produce fire. Be careful when using a torch and be sure to read all instructions and safety warnings that come with the torch. For extra precaution, keep a fire extinguisher handy when using a torch. Got it? Basically, don’t set anything on fire, okay?
I used a Bernzomatic TS 8000 torch kit to help in bending this steel. You can use this torch for soldering, brazing, and even welding. But did you know that it GREATLY assists in bending hard steel nice and smooth, too? By the way, it’s really helpful to have an extra set of hands for this step—one to roll the circle and one to heat the metal.
Basically, I used the torch to heat a small section of metal at a time, then while it was hot, Danny rolled the metal around the wood circle. To keep the metal tight to the jig, I drilled holes in the bar and drove screws through like shown as we rolled it.
It’s super handy that this torch has a trigger so that I could quickly pull the trigger to heat a small section of metal at a time, then easily just release the trigger to stop the flame and move over to drilling and driving screws to keep the flat stock close to the circle jig as it was bent. We worked our way around the circle heating, bending, and attaching the metal to the jig as we went.
The heat from the torch really helped to keep the bends on this steel nice and smooth. I attempted to bend it around the jig without the heat first and if you look really close at the finished clock, you can see where that caused a sharp (not smooth) bend towards the top. I didn’t want a lumpy looking circle, so the torch really came in handy for this project to make smoother bends.
Step 3: Trim and Connect Ends of Metal Ring
Once we got to the end of the circle, I clamped the metal in place and used a hacksaw to cut off the extra making sure to leave a slight overlap to attach the ends together with an eye bolt.
Then I used my DeWalt Atomic 20V Compact Drill to drill two holes into the ends to insert the eye bolt. I loosely placed the eye bolt through these holes with one nut at the top and one at the bottom. I used clamps to help hold the metal ends close enough together to get the nuts on the eye bolt started.
Then I removed the screws around the ring and took out the wood circle jig. My camera battery died around this point, but once I removed the circle, I used a couple of wrenches to tighten the nuts on the eye bolt to bring the ends together nice and tight.
Then, I gave it a few coats of black spray paint.
Step 4: Cut Out Wood Center
I placed the ring on top of my chunk of wood for the middle of the clock and traced where to cut it to fit inside.
Side note: I know I will get questions about this, so I will go ahead and answer. To find my center chunk of wood, I went to my local hardwood mill and asked if they had any off cuts or “barky” looking pieces in their scrap bin that I could buy. They had this chunk of poplar that looked pretty cool and was large enough for the clock, so I lucked out.
If you’re wanting a piece, check out your local lumber mills and ask to see their scrap bin. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.
I used my band saw again to cut along these lines (you could also use a jig saw), then gave it a good sanding and test fit it inside the ring.
At this point, I noticed that the holes I had drilled during the bending process didn’t line up with where the wood was going (Hint: prior planning prevents poor performance so don’t be like me and maybe think that through beforehand haha), so I marked new holes and drilled them out so that I could attach the wood to the ring with screws.
Before attaching it all together, I gave the poplar a beeswax finish. Then I placed it in the ring and attached along the sides with 2 ½” woods screws using my DeWalt Atomic Compact Driver.
Step 5: Cut Out for Clock Mechanism on Back Side
Now, all that’s left is the clock mechanism. I found the center of the clock and drilled a hole large enough for the shaft of the clock control to fit through, then marked where I needed to cut out for it to fit inside.
The clock shaft was only about 7/8” long, but the wood was about 2 ½” thick. So I needed to cut out quite a bit of material for it to fit down into so that the shaft reached the front of the clock face.
To make quick work of this task, I used this Ridgid Octane 18V JobMax Multitool with the wood cutting attachment. It worked almost like a power chisel. SO. MUCH. FUN.
I just cut out large chunks at a time and kept test fitting the clock mechanism until it was deep enough to attach the nut and the hands on the front side.
I’ve cut this out before with a router on other clocks I’ve made, but using this Ridgid MultiTool was WAY faster, WAY cleaner, WAY easier, and way more fun especially for something this thick. And with it’s tool free MultiTool head, it will come in handy for many other tasks around the shop and the house as well. It’s got a ton of attachment options and they’re super quick to change out.
Once I had cut deep enough to get the clock mechanism to the face of the clock, I attached the rest of the kit with the hands on the front side and made sure everything worked well and the hands didn’t touch when they rotated around the clock.
Step 6: Hang the Clock
Then, I moved inside to get ready to hang it. Remember me telling you about my paranoid safety fanatic, Danny, earlier? Well, Danny HATES when I hang things on the wall. Why? He’s always paranoid I will hit a live wire—which is highly possible because until now, I usually use the “knock on the wall” method of finding a stud. And there’s always several “test holes” that missed in the wall before I get it right haha.
But, I finally got a stud finder and there are A LOT less “test holes” in the wall now. And it gives Danny extra piece of mind, too, because not only does this DeWalt 1 ½” Stud Finder find studs, but it can also detect live wires inside the wall to help prevent the risk of careless wall hangers like me nicking a wire when hanging their cool new clock.
If you are interested in not getting electrocuted or causing a house fire from nicking a wire in your wall…or simply not putting a thousand holes in the drywall before finding a stud, check out this Dewalt stud finder here.
I used it to find a stud in the wall to screw a metal hook into to hang my new clock on. It’s pretty heavy so I wanted to make SURE I was hanging it on a stud.
And at this point, I was able to hang my cool industrial looking wall clock and take pride in the fact that I finally used a torch in the shop and didn’t catch anything on fire. I feel like being the hot mess that I am, that’s a pretty good accomplishment.
I was really nervous about this project because I don’t do a lot with metal or heat, but now that I’ve jumped that hurdle, I feel like maybe this is just the beginning of incorporating metal into my projects.
Stay tuned to find out 😉 But for now, be sure to check out the awesome tools used to make this clock and if you are interested in other cool clock ideas, here’s a couple I’m pretty fond of 🙂
If you liked this project, I’d love if you’d pin for later AND if you aren’t already, I’d love if you’d head over and subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Until next time, happy building 😊