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Wood Clock Thread

I'm currently in progress in making my second wood clock. The clock in the picture is my cherry popping first.

I'll do a few progress post in this thread while I make my second. If anyone is interested I'll keep posting.

Also, I'll answer any questions anyone might have about the process.
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I'm currently cutting 36 tooth intermediate wheel. Sorry for the shit potato quality.
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Here are the first wheels that I have cut.

Bottom Left: Escape wheel out of 1/4 inch ply. I was a bit scared while I was cutting this wheel since the arc towards the bottom of the teeth are hard to cut smoothly. Getting better every day though.

Top Left 3rd and 4th wheel from 1/4 inch ply as well. Straight and simple gears are east to cut compared to the escape wheel. I just have 2.5 wheels to go.

Bottom/Top Right: Here's the ratchet and storage assembly. It'll hold the energy for the escapement and pendulum. I haven't bought the spring yet and I plan to do so in about a week. I think it's a 60 inch constant force spring at around 5lbs.
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These are the front and back plates.

I don't know why the other pictures are loading sideways...

I could be wrong, but it looks like you are using a battery powered motor in the back because I don't see a pendulum.

What is the point of making a wooden clock if you are still going to drive it with electricity instead of winding? wouldn't it just be a gearbox, gearing down for the constant speed motor, instead of actually being a clock with an escapement?
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You're close. It's a magnetic solenoid that give a very slight push to the pendulum. Since the time is still controlled by the pendulum is still considered a pendulum clock. When I bought the plans for the clock I didn't fully realize that it a would be battery operated.

You can barely see the pendulum in this pic.

The pendulum drives a toucan type escapement at the top fyi.

The clock that I'm currently building will have no electronics.
This looks very nice op. Clean and well organized. Looking forward the the end result.
A project I always wanted to do was set up a desk that had a glass panel for the top then underneath was just layer after layer of clockwork.
how do I into clock design (how many teeth does each gear need, how long/heavy does the pendulum need to be etc.)? every guide I see just makes you mindlessly follow instructions.

Wikipedia. Look at history of clocks. They have a lot of information about the history of the various types of escapements and they detail pendulum design.

If you really don't want to mindlessly follow instructions you should be able to start from that and work out the gearing on your own. It would be a great project that might become a lifetime hobby.

Read about the first pocket watches, and marvel at the period in which they were made, as well as the different mechanisms involved. My grandfather had one of the types that had a long tiny chain wrapped around a drum, but it stopped a bullet in the civil war so it no longer worked.

Hey, thank you very much. It took me a little while to get setup after my first clock. I learned that I needed a lot more space to work more easily. I finally made a second work bench and things are going a lot nicer now. I'm glad I did it.


My recommendation is to start watching youtube and read a lot about gears and clocks in general. I highly recommend watching Art Fenerty and his tutorials about his software called Gearotic. Its completely geared towards clock design. No pun intended. The software that he mad is extreamly useful when it comes to gear ratios and the design overall.

You can also look into Kahn Academy about the pendulum physics. They also might have something for gear mehanics too. Otherwise, search around wiki. Learn the physics, not just the mathematics with gear ratios. Learning the physics is almost a requirement if you want to make good quality running clocks.


I also agree. Reading and researching is key.
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I finished up the gears tonight along with some of the other little pieces of hardware. I had tearout on some of the teeth but nothing major. Most of the tearout happened on the escape wheel which I'm not happy about. The tips are pretty thin so it's not unexpected.
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Here's how I make the gears concentric with the Arbor hole of the wheel. I use the butt end of the drill bit that I used to make the hole as a pivot. I clamp down a sacrificial piece of wood with the same hole size and turn the gear as the tips are up against the sanding wheel. Since the jig is clamped down I can nudge the gear tips closer as needed.

One thing that has been better since my first clock is I bought some Brad point drill bits. Their a lot more accurate when drilling at a very precise point. When I was sanding the tips down, I noticed that the edges were very consistent all the way around. I'm hoping that this will mean a very easy assembly and little troubleshooting!
noted, thanks
Are you doing anything to reduce friction on the joints?

Yes I will be doing some friction reduction throughout the entire clock.

Wheels: I'm going to try out using a dremel felt tip to burnish all wheel teeth. I've heard of really good results of this hardening the teeth faces for better wood on wood friction reduction. I ran all over town todat and I couldn't find just the felt tips and when I found only one tip it was $6-7. Way to expensive. I'm planning on putting an online order through sometime soon with this and lubrication powders.

Arbors: Any kind of brass on brass contact I'll be trying out graphite powder. Any kind of brass on wood I heard that there's come kind of powder people use for pianos just for this purpose. Hopefully I can get my hand on some of that soon.

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