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Article by Gary Sellick

I started as a carpenter and cabinet maker with a hobby of collecting finer antique optical and time keeping instruments. As someone who works with his hands I had an appreciation for things made with skill and with out compromise. Eventually I found a chronometer. It had been made by the Hamilton Watch Company during the second world war. When I got it home I became aware that the Mahogany mounting box that housed the chronometer had at one time been made and finished like a fine piece of furniture. However, it had been in the Navy for 50 years and looked it. As I took out the heavy brass tub that housed the chronometer works and opened it I saw the contrast. It was beautiful inside, perfect. Every gear, plate, and screw had been polished to a mirror finish. But now the scratched and worn box didn't match the jeweled works it housed. The scratches were too deep to be sanded out so I set about making another box. Most of the work in making the box was setting up the tools and jigs for the exacting in letting and joinery. Once the fences and stops were set in place it was fairly easy to run a few extra pieces of wood or brass at each step. This resulted in three extra boxes. I took these to a watch and clock collector’s show where I thought I might find collectors with a chronometer in the same situation as I. The three boxes were quick to sell, and I had requests for additional boxes if I ever made more. With this match up of my craft and my hobby, I started Ships Clock Cabinetry in 1991.