Turn a Wood Cable Reel Into a Farmhouse Clock

7 Materials
6 Hours

I was asked to make a silent auction item for a fundraiser for our school, and my husband Tony suggested I make a large farmhouse clock from an electrical cable spool. Tony was able to get me a cable spool from his work for free, and it was the perfect size to make a large farmhouse clock. I used vinyl decals for the numbers, and created a whitewash look over a dark stain.
The first thing I did was remove all the hardware from the spool. The two ends were held together by some long bolts, but they were fairly easy to take apart. Then I lightly sanded the entire piece.
Next I used a very dark stain on the clock face as the base layer. I did two coats of  Minwax ebony, which is pretty much the darkest stain you can find. Next I applied some vinyl numbers equally spaced around the edge of the clock.
I wanted the clock to be pretty much white, with a bit of the dark stain peeking through in certain areas. I didn’t want the stain to bleed through all over, so I primed the reel with a stain blocking primer, painting right over the vinyl stickers. Next I did two coats of paint using general finishes  snow white milk paint.

Once the paint was dry I peeled off the vinyl numbers and was left with a white clock and dark numbers. I installed the clock parts with the over sized hands, and finished it off by putting the cable reel hardware back on.
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Jessica VanderVeen

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Kim Sobaszek
    on Jan 2, 2019

    Love it, can I ask what you used to cover the additional holes in the spool?

    • Danno
      on Feb 1, 2020

      They appear to be washers that were removed from the ends of the through bolts as the spool was disassembled.

  • TheSeamstress
    on Jan 30, 2020

    I have the top of an oak barrel in my late husband's wood collection. This would work perfectly for that piece.

  • John Huntsman
    on Jul 18, 2020

    I love this! I almost did mine this way but we decided to stain it instead. My question is what is the diameter of the center hole before you added the hardware? I am struggling to find something that fits my clock. Mine measures 3" and the ones on the site you used is 3 3/4". Thank you!!

Join the conversation

2 of 24 comments
  • Veronica Jones
    on Jan 30, 2020

    That looks so good!

  • Jkgordon1234
    on Jun 30, 2020

    It is about “TIME” that those tables was use for something than just eating off of great idea!!!! 🤗🕓🤗. Janna Gordon

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