[COMPLETED (for now?)] Disneyland Haunted Mansion Clock

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Soon we get into the really tough (because non-undoable) decisions like stain and cuts to the actual box and the like. That's going to be nerve wracking. But until then, we have fun!

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It’s been a while since I’d last posted, but I think I’ve made some small but very satisfying progress.

First thing — I created a front cover for the top box. 13” wide by 22.5” tall. The only problem I’m having with this is that apparently it’s really hard to find red oak solids larger than 12” wide… So I used some of the left over plywood from the structural build. MOST of this piece’s edges will be covered, the only problem is you can kinda see the layering in the circle around the dial… I plan on staining this though, probably relatively dark, and I figure the shadowed parts I’ll stain even darker, so I think that may fix that particular issue.

In the back of this piece I routed a 1/8” deep square before cutting my circle, so the clock dial will set into that, held in by a half dozen mirror clips… (once I cut those down to fit, they’ve got a 1/8” gap to accommodate a mirror.)

Routed a 12” square into the back of this piece…

Acrylic fits perfectly within, added a little notch on the side to help take the clock dials out if I ever want to (actually I messed up with the router, but it worked out great.)





In order to hold the cover on, and this is the basic structure that’s going to hold this whole thing together, I built a bit of a frame to go around the sides/top of the top box and pin nailed those in. On the sides it got a little trickier because the sides are supposed to stick out 3/4” for the border. There’s an inner border that goes around the top and sides of the dial and sticks out 3/4”. On the sides, I’d incorporated the side borders into my side structure. The border goes down to 3” from the bottom of the front piece, and about the same from the top. So I cut a little notch out of the bottom and the top, with a 45 degree top cut, which I continued into the top section of the border which will form the upper ‘lip’ that the teeth will go beneath.

Here’s the edges that will be sticking out past the front piece…



I hung it up like this for a week before drawing the path for the upper/inner “lip” across the top. The next weekend I added those pieces and made a huge difference:





And this is how it’s sitting, decorating my dining room right now!


I’m loving the way this is looking. This weekend I’m going to try and get the bottom border piece, and the outer borders cut and nailed in. It’s going to be a little bit trickier since I couldn’t get 1.5” thick red oak solids, so I’ll have to clap a couple together… but that should be OK. The bottom border I’m really looking forward to because like a puzzle, there’s a few different things that build out from this piece.

More updates (hopefully!) soon!


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I know I haven’t posted in a while, but I have been working a bit and I think the last couple updates were huge milestones.

Since I last posted I’ve added TEETH! And the bottom ‘shelf’ across the bottom of the mouth.

Once again I run into an issue with the red oak solids not being available above 12” widths. Not a problem though, I just got a 2x8” plank of wood, thinned it to .5”, and cut each side to JUST over 6.5”. This way it’s a REAL tight fit for these pieces to snap in. Since these all came from the same piece, and it had an open grain on one side and a tight grain on the other, as long as I connect these uppers and lowers where the grain is nice and tight, it totally hides the seam. Also the open grain looks kinda flame/tooth like, so I think it looks really cool on the bigger teeth on the outside. (unfortunately I screwed up on the upper right and cut it backwards… It’s not very noticeable, but, you’ll always notice your own mistakes, so I MAY redo this later.)

So now I’ve got 4 5x6.5 squares and I snap them into the frame where they belong nice and tight, flip the front over, and trace the opening onto it. Now it’s nice and easy to cut a circle to match the opening, which makes it nice and easy to draw the teeth to the length they need to be, to butt right up against the circle.


I think I nailed it on the top left, the bottoms look really good as well, the top right… I cut a tooth a little too short. Part of me thinks it adds to the character, part of me thinks “well if I’m redoing it anyway, I may as well cut that one a little longer next time.” So we’ll see about that. For now this is where we are.


After cutting them out I took the router to them to give them a nice rounded edge and a little bit of depth. I love the effect this gave me.



And this is how it sits in the dining room right now:

I forgot to mention, I’d also built the door for the mid-section. I don’t have a dowel jig and I figure rather than paying for one I’ll use my dad’s when I’m in town this week, so that’s just held together with duct tape for the time being. But I think just that tiny bit, a couple bucks worth of wood and a few small cuts on the table saw gave a very finished look to the mid-section.



My buddy has a cosplay bar out here in Vegas (Millenium Fandom, great spot) and they have a different theme every weekend. Last weekend the theme was Haunted Mansion soooooo I got to share this (unfinished) creation with everyone!


This also gave me an idea that I may need to move on once I’m finished. I wish I had a couple of those Bat Stanchions and a velvet rope to put in front of this thing at the time, I may have to make that my first ‘after-project’ add-on.

Hopefully next week I can get some pics with the eyes and sides of the shelf and moulding added!


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A loooot happened the other weekend. I was visiting my parents and decided to bring some stuff to work on with my dad. At this point I’ve gotten the head glued together… Probably one of the most expensive pieces for this whole thing. I needed 19” wide for this thing and 10” tall, since I couldn’t get oak wider than 12”, and my local selection didn’t have anything thicker than 3/4 for me, I needed almost 4’x12” of this stuff at about 10 bucks a foot. Oof. Got it home, cut it into 3 10” pieces and glued and clamped them for a while, cut them to size after the glue to make the edges nice and smooth and had a nice little couple of planks here. I waited to glue them into one piece until I got to my parents’ where we decided to dowel it as well, since we had the jig out for the door.

First thing’s first, when I got there I took my cardboard ‘practice’ piece that I’d used way back in order to get the measurements and dimensions right. Took that and some wax cooking paper and a sharpie and made a stencil/transfer for getting the shape onto the wood. I wish I’d taken a liiiiiittle more time on this because I think a couple dimensions came up a little bit short… But that’s OK, they’re not that noticeable, and the size of the details within those cuts can make them even less noticeable without inspecting it with a ruler.




Dad wanted to clean up a couple of the more noticeable gaps in the trim, turns out it was a great idea, and the trim looks a lot better now.


Another idea of his was to perfect the hole that the dial shows through with a stencil that he created. When we put the stencil in it looked like it couldn’t have been right because removing that much wood just couldn’t have been right. Turns out it was perfect, and the dial hole looks absolutely amazing now.


Once I got home I put together the pieces I’d cut for the ‘shelf’ across the bottom of the top box. Thinking pretty 3D about this one since it sticks out PAST the front of the top box in order to line up with the facade of the shelf across the front. In hindsight… maaaaaaybe I’d have cut a 45 into the front, so I could 45 the sides and have them line up with no ‘side’ grain showing… That’s going to stick out a bit. Maybe I could fix that later, but… I can’t take that facade off again, it ripped the hell out of the plywood last time. If I cut a 45 out of that one it’d have to be in-place… And I’d have to redo the wood for the sides. So, mark that as a future wish-list ‘if i get bored enough’ upgrade once the entire clock is finished.


We cut the outline out of the eyes, it looks fantastic. I just swish the stencil were done a tiny bit better… The eyes are cut a little bit low so you can see the 90 degree angle across the top of the box. It’s only about 1/4” of the corner that’s visible, I’ll probably just fix that with sanding. You can’t tell at all from the front, it’s just obvious to me for being taller than the clock… Once I add feet maybe it’ll bug me less. Also once I’m done sanding it so that it lines up it’ll bug me less. Also I can't wait to find some good moulding to put across the bottom of the 'shelf' facade. I think that'll really finish the top off nicely.



I don’t have any closeups or in-progress shots of the door being put together. We drilled some dowel holes in with a jig, glued it, hammered ‘em in and sanded it down. While I was out my dad took the liberty of cutting an 1/8” recess into the door and some matching shims so I can put some glass into it when all is done. Also he donated some beautiful hinges that they were going to use at one point that they had extras of and fit the style of the clock perfectly. Originally I was struggling with what to do about the door, I was considering holding it on with magnets (recess and glue into the door and the box) but … that could be dangerous. Hidden hinges? Expensive, but, that hasn’t stopped me in this project yet, so those were definitely an option, but these just look perfect, I’m gonna use ‘em.

Here’s what the full thing looks like put together so far…


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You n' me both! I dream for the day I can enjoy it instead of just obsessing over it. But I'm enjoying the ride for now!

Then I get big dumb ideas like... "hrm... I guess I COULD mount a grandfather clock movement in there..."

This may never end. :)

Thanks guys!


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So it’s been a VERY long time since my last post, but I have not stopped working on this thing little by little and I’ve made some real progress I think.

Notable but less visible of changes, the door now has hinges. I know the toy uses magnets, and it was an idea, but I think for practicality and safety (this will have glass in it) a more permanent real-world solution would be a little bit better.

Next, I’ve worked with someone who’s stuff I’ve seen on IG (I’m not sure if the RPF lead me to them or not, I THINK so?) but their mansion 3D prints are spectacular, Doug and Jessica Hogan (@prototypes_and_pixie_dust) • Instagram photos and videos
I’d commissioned the pendulum from them as I don’t think carving that from wood would be at all practical, and since it’ll be covered in brass(?) paint, I think a print is probably the best solution. I couldn’t be happier with this thing, it looks amazing. A couple pics back and forth and this is what we came up with:

working from the original on Flickr at:

zoomed in:

after a week or so of passing ideas back and forth I was hit with the following image:

and I couldn’t be happier.

I used a roll of copper pipe and just from unwinding it I had a pretty perfect serpentine that was close enough to the real thing that all I ended up doing was drilling a hole to mount it at the top of the box (later on I’ll be building a motor for articulation) and squeezing the pendulum on.

and this is where we’re at after that!

I've spent a lot of time over the holidays working on the base, and that's coming along great. I'll put up a post for that shortly!

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I’ve added a ton of detail to the base of the clock over the past couple weeks…

Based off of this image of the original clock off of flickr, a comparison of what I've got so far on the base:


I’m really happy with the way this adds to the clock… It's a little less rounded than the original, but I think it wears it well.


And a full length version...


I took the base box and added a sheet of plywood leaving a 3/4” ledge at the top of the box. I inset the first piece of 3/4” moulding that I routed into that and it fit perfectly. Beneath that I had a piece of moulding that I originally intended for the top box, but didn’t use… It wasn’t quite right, but after I flipped it over and routed the other side I was able to give it a jutting-out type lip which matches the original clock enough that I’m totally satisfied with it. The next piece was 2x3/4” pieces on top of one another, I rounded the edge and ran it through the table saw on 1-1/4” intervals (giving me 13 marks!). Beneath that I had to set the saw to a 45º angle and ran it through every 5/8ths facing the outside from the middle, so the left side cuts to the right, right side cuts to the left, 12 on each side and a 13th in the middle shared by both, totally unintentional, there’s one more mark on the top piece, and I think one on each side on the bottom piece, but it made the spacing work out a lot cleaner..

Next up I’m going to have to make a skirt for the bottom with the beast’s legs, that one is going to be tough, but I think I’ve got an idea to make it work. I think while I work on that I’ll order some glass and paint the pendulum. I think we’re going to go with an old aged/weathered brass for the pendulum and the serpent head. It’ll be a first and I really hope I don’t mess that part up. After that is the even more intimidating staining of the clock, looks like we’re getting into no-mistakes-allowed land.

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I've got a question of opinions at this point...

This clock is made of Red Oak... So I'm planning on staining the entire clock with Red Oak stain. However, the inside of the box and the inside of the mouth on the toy clock are both black. Before passing a serious point of no return I wanted to get some opinions on a couple stain samples I got.

Bottom sample is Red Oak, that I am pretty sure will be covering the entire clock. Top sample is Black on the left, Espresso on the right. I've got a preference, and I've sampled a few friends to see their opinions. I figure the people who are following this may be able to give some opinions as well. Black? Or Espresso?


PS: I'm *REALLY* happy with how the brass paint came out on the demon pendulum. There are a couple spots I wish I had painted a little bit cleaner, I may sand and touch them up, but for now I love it more every time I see it. I just realized I hadn't posted the painted pendulum yet, sorry! I'll backtrack a little after getting a couple stain opinions. :)


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I spent the weekend staining, nervous even after the samples, and I think it came out absolutely beautifully. I'll need to do a little bit of touchup on the teeth (they broke, were glued back together, and the stain wouldn't take there. Need to sand that a little more I guess.)

Here's the whole thing, and pictures just don't do it justice. I'll have to take some better shots soon, and some black-lit shots to showcase the dial with the new stain job once it gets darker:

Red Oak stain for the entire outer body.
Espresso stain for the inside of the box and the inner mouth. The votes were really close on that, and I figured the brown is more 'clock like', to me this is a clock first and foremost, I still got the darkness I need, while keeping it 'wood color'...

Closeup of the face:

And the body REALLY benefitted from this. The pendulum looks amazing now and the shadows cast within the box make it look a whole lot darker and more foreboding.

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