Jim McCann is Shopsmith's Quality & Facilities Manager . . . as well as the designer and builder of this regal, cherry Grandfather's Clock. We think it's a stunning example of what the Shopsmith Woodworking System can do in the hands of a patient, diligent woodworker.
Building this clock gave Jim an excellent opportunity to express one of his favorite beliefs: “It's really not all that hard to build one of these,” he said in response to our congratulations. “Sure, when you think of trying to build it all at once, it seems pretty intimidating. But, if you build it as if it were a bunch of smaller, less complicated projects, then put it all together like a big jigsaw puzzle, it's not intimidating at all.”
Jim's been working with wood for about 30 years. He took instruction in advanced woodworking and drafting at Eastern Kentucky University, worked in a production shop for a while (building Gerstner Tool Boxes), then served as a woodworking craftsman, where he built hundreds of projects from simple to complex in support of our original “Hands-On!” Magazine and virtually all of the more than 50 books authored by Nick Engler, America's Best-Selling Woodworking Author.
But Jim will be quick to remind you that when he built this clock (in 1982), he was not a man with 30 years' experience... but rather, a woodworker who understood that even the most complex projects can be tackled without fear... by breaking them down into smaller components and completing each one in turn.
Construction of this clock took place at intervals over the course of several months. When he started, he decided to take some time at the end of each week's work to reflect on the challenges (and joys) of tackling a major project such as this.
Since building a tall case clock is a long-term project made up of
many smaller projects, we can't devote all the space needed to tell
the story in a single issue. Instead, we'll spread the information
out over three installments. This is the first of those installments. Once the remaining articles and plans appear, you'll have all the information you need to make an exact duplicate of this clock.
But, even if you're not interested in building a duplicate of our clock, you'll soon discover that just reading about the methods Jim used to design, organize, machine and join the components of the clock will prove invaluable to you on any future projects you may build.