Without writing a full-on tutorial, I thought I’d give you some information on how to make your very own bike chainring clock. I’ll admit that my original inspiration came from the talented Etsy seller 1 by Liz but being that I’ve got way more time than money at this juncture in light-employment, I decided to try my hand at making one. If you’ve got the cash, 1 By Liz clock’s are pretty fantastic so support a maker of great things.
How I Made a Bike Chainring Clock
1The first challange was to find a free or inexpensive bicycle chainring. (Ok so the REAL first step was researching and figuring out exactly what the spiky circle that the chain goes around was called. NOW YOU KNOW TOO.) Since we’ve got a handful of bike shops in the mission, I first tried Valencia Cyclery. While the guy was extremely helpful when I asked if they had “any junk box busted bike chainrings”, they didn’t have the any laying around. I tried again at Pedal Revolution and BINGO! There was a stubborn metal peg stuck in a hole but it ended up being a great clock 12 o’clock marker. If your chainring is greasy, give it a good wash to start.
Next, you’ll want to find a craft store with a clock kit. I found a gold version of this at Joann’s Fabrics. For about $10 you can make a clock out of ANYTHING! Just imagine the possibilities.
Now you’ll want to figure out some sort of clock backing and what color cloth you’d like to use to cover it. I found some thin cardboard and cut out a circle small enough to not stick out behind the chainring spikes but large enough to cover the various holes in the rim. Using a pen and ruler, find the center of the circle and cut a hole big enough that will snugly fit the clock backing through it.
As for the fabric choice, there was a nice dark gray fabric of dubious origin in my craft cart. It was heavier and seemed plastic backed which meant when I glued it over the cardboard, there was minimal wrinkling in the finished back. Sorry I can’t tell you exactly what fabric I used. Get something heavyish.
So now you’ll actually want to use some craft glue, a ruler and a piece of your cloth big enough to cover one side of the cardboard. Your fabric should also be big enough to fold over and cover the other half of the backing. I spread glue on the cardboard, laid down the fabric, used the ruler like a squeegee to ensure even glue coverage and eliminate air bubbles. Flip the cardboard over, spread glue again, fold the cloth over and flatten again. To make sure the cardboard doesn’t curve while drying, I set a few heavy books on it and allowed a 24 hours dry time.
If you take more time to find the clock components than I did, you likely won’t need this step. Since my clock hands were gold but the chainring had silver features, I had silver enamel to get them to match. If you need to do this, take your clock hands outside and sprayed two coats of silver paint and let the dry according the the enamel dirctions. No need to spray any of the nuts or other clock parts since they’ll be mostly hidden. When your fabric disk is dry, cut the fabric off around the circle! You should also check that there are no loose un-glued fabric around the edges and use a glue stick to fix any flaps.Using an exacto knife, make an x in the fabric where the cardboard hole is.
Time to assemble! Because I was in a hurry, I used a little bit of hot glue to adhere the chainring to the fabric covered cardboard backing. I’m sure you could use another type of glue to make it prettier.
Attach your clock as instructed on the clock kit packages. Stick the clock backing through your hole and tightly (but not too tightly or it’ll warp the fabric) screw on the washer and nut with pliers.
Now comes the hour hand. Then the minute hand with a little nut and finally the second ticker. They hands and clock mechanism on the back all need to point to 12 o’clock.
Presto. You’re the proud owner of a classy chainring clock for any of your favorite bike enthusiasts. Pat yourself on the back. And go wash your hands.