Tinkering 2024-03-31 »

Tinkering: 2024-04-06: Alarm Clock Repair

Part 1: prototype clock, beech wood.
Part 2: updated version, padouk wood.
Part 3: third clock, amaranth wood.
Part 4: this article: alarm clock repair.

alarm clock side view, opened Inevitably, everything breaks. The alarm clock fell and a piece broke off.

While this is certainly unfortunate, it is also an opportunity to look inside from a new angle. It looks really interesting (and wrong). So crammed and complicated, while it is so clean and simple outside.

Fortunately, the glass is not broken. But the wood took a good hit, and one side wall broke off. It is a clean split, and it also shows that normal PVA wood glue is strong, as the wood fibers separated, but the glue did not fail. This is good also because the piece that broke off is like a puzzle piece and cannot shift when put back together: it just fits neatly into the right place. Except for that corner where the wood is deformed.

alarm clock side view 2 Another view of the sandwich. There is so little free space, and no gaps around the inner sandwich. This cannot be glued back together without the danger of getting glue on the inner parts, which would make disassembly difficult. Not even a separating layer of paper fits in there ‐ not enough space. So the clock needs to be disassembled first.

The clock fell on the left lower corner (in this picture). You can see that it is dented a bit, maybe half a millimeter or a bit more, but nothing split or splintered. The wood is deformed and compressed, so something needs to be done before the side wall fits back in.

alarm clock, teile So I took the clock apart, which is easy enough. Then, with the help of some water and a soldering iron, the dented wood could be massaged back into its original shape. I dipped the corner into some water and vaporised it at 200°C a few times, and it was then possible to move the wood. It took just two minutes or so. After that, the side wall fitted back in perfectly.

alarm clock clamped So I glued it back together (again with normal PVA wood glue) with the help of my dummy block and some rubber bands. A tiny splinter was missing on the bottom, and I repaired that with a drop of glue and some wooden dust. I had some dust left from building the clock, which I kept because I liked the padouk colour so much.

alarm clock whole again It is almost as good as new. Not even sanding was necessary.



April 7th, 2024
Comments? Suggestions? Corrections? You can drop me a line.