This Nixie Tube Clock Is a Well-Lacquered Example of Great Craftsmanship

We love Nixie tube clocks, you love Nixe tube clocks—everyone loves Nixie tube clocks! Maybe you’ve even considered building one for yourself, because they’re just that cool. But, if you do, you’re going to have to really step up your game if you want to compete with Hellboy’s beautiful White Rabbit Nixie Clock.

All you have to do is glance at a photo of the clock to see why it’s so special. While many of us engineering types shy away from silly organic materials like wood, Hellboy has embraced it to great effect. While metal and plastic are nice and dimensionally stable, this is a great example of how the unique properties of wood can be used to your advantage.

Hellboy cut all of the wood parts with a laser cutter, and took advantage of laser-cut kerfs to introduce flexibility in the wood. Those kerfs are basically slits that let the wood bend in a predictable way, without putting too much strain on it. Hellboy used various kinds of wood, ranging from 1/8" to 1/4" thick, and repeatedly steamed the parts to form them into the necessary curves.

Using those wood parts, along with a handful of brass components, Hellboy constructed the enclosure to open with a spring-loaded mechanism. When it’s closed, the Nixie tubes are de-energized to extend their life. When the lid is open, power is once again supplied to the tubes and the time is displayed.