Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tick tock, ya don't stop.

This idea for this post and project started months ago, in February of 2013.  I can't remember the name of the store, but that's not important because every store in Sweden was fantastic and I wanted to buy everything everywhere.  


As soon as I saw this book clock, I knew the perfect recipient: Veronica. I also saw a potential for this costing less than 339 kroner, or $52, and posing the threat of valuable luggage space. So I covertly snapped a picture because I wouldn't be able to talk myself out of a legal situation.

Once back in the States, I started scouring thrift stores for favorite hardcover books, or, more realistically, hardcover books with fun titles and fonts. The one book I really wanted to include was Alice in Wonderland, and since I couldn't find it in a month of thrift and library sale shopping, I ordered it online. It took a few months, but that's only because I was particular. You could raid a Goodwill in ten minutes.

I'm getting ahead of myself. I started with a clock. Specifically, a clock that resided in the kitchen for a few years and had a bad rap of 'ticking' too loudly. I found it soothing, but every roommate I've ever had (that would be three in that time frame) hated it.


I tore into it to get to the clock piece, which consisted of the battery box and hands that easily popped into the pin in the center of the box.

Then I played around with book placement. The box needed a certain amount of space behind the book spines, and I wanted to minimize the number of books I would be sawing through, thus the wider books in the center. I'm sorry I'm using my foot as a hand in the picture below. It's creeping me out.

I marked the placement lightly with a pencil before breaking out the exacto knife and cutting in. Pun intended. 


When I lined up the three books, I had a hollowed box. That's where the mechanical clock box will go. 


Is this making more sense? I pushed in the clock box and estimated where the center pin would line up and the hands would snap in. You can faintly see the marking on the white book in the middle of the author's name. I cut an 'x' on that stop with the exacto knife.


I was feeling pretty industrious at this point, and things were going so smoothly for just seeing something and then making it happen. It was too calm. I lined up all the books and realized the balance was off. Worse, I hadn't lined up the book spines. When I made my mock-up with my monkey feet above, I lined up the back of the books. What matters is that the spines, the fronts, are flush so the clock face is flat and the clock hands can tick around the front of the books. Whoops. It was nothing a little rearranging couldn't solve, but it did mean a bit more slicing.


I also had to dig out the spine. Apparently I took no pictures of this, but I had to separate the pages, or the thin, thin slivers of what was left of them, backed with their glue, from the spine. In effect, all that was left was the fabric spine cover. The clock pin could more easily punch through that.


Finally, I was ready to assemble. I fired up plugged in the hot glue gun, and coated the covers where they overlapped between books. The picture above helps to further show that the books immediately surrounding the clock are flush against the spine (front) while the rest are flush against the pages (back). I thought that configuration helped to make it look more like a real stack of books on a shelf. To keep the middle spines from flopping around (the ones with sections of pages cut out), I dragged a thin vertical strip of glue between the spines on the backside. Between the pages, I ran a line of glue across the top so individual books wouldn't pop open. I did that on the back, where it wouldn't be seen.


I didn't know where to keep my masterpiece, but had to hide it before it's reveal on Veronica's birthday. I'm not very good at keeping present secrets, especially when I'm excited about the present, so I hid it in plain sight, half hoping for her to find it. She didn't.

I did find that the clock hands weren't working perfectly, though. They were getting caught in different places because the book spines weren't completely flush. 

I went where I always go for a quick fix (both practically and for shopping withdrawals): Amazon. I found this Walnut Hollow 3 Piece Clock Kit, 3/4-inch kit that listed its dimensions, so I knew the pin would pop far enough through the book and have clearance to move.  


I inadvertently got a clock-hand upgrade, too. It's much better - the color contrast allows for the clock to be readable, the pin is long enough to allow for clock clearance, and the style is old-timely librarian to me. 

I didn't put numbers on the clock, partially because this clock isn't really for the practical, and partially because it's an addition to Veronica's clock collection, and not every clock in a collection needs to be able to tell time, I would venture. The kit did come with them, though, so there's always that possibility later. 

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