Best woods for wood gear clock making

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by FreWJensen, Jan 28, 2007.

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  1. FreWJensen

    FreWJensen Guest

    What are the best woods to use in the construction of a wood gear clock?
     
  2. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Jan 22, 2002
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    The 19th century American makers thought a lot of oak for the plates, cherry for the wheels and Mountain Laurel for the pinions...

    Ralph
     
  3. FreWJensen

    FreWJensen Guest

    Great!
    Did you ever hear of one using Black Walnut?

    BLack Walnut is a great carving hardwood. I wonder if it would be good for small parts?
     
  4. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    I will testify to oak. It's tough as nails. Hard as a rock.

    There is also a wood called black locust. Don't know the availability.

    quote>>
    Black locust on the Janka hardness scale has a 2350 hardness factor, whereas, by comparison, hard maple has 1450 and white oak - 1360.

    But, unlike other similarly hard, heavy wood types, the black locust doesn't split or chip easily; in fact it often nails and screws without pre-boring.
     
  5. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    I think the makers were going for stability as well as wear.

    Ralph
     
  6. Tom McIntyre

    Tom McIntyre Technical Admin
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    You could always emulate Harrison's H1 and use cross grain laminated Lignum Vitae. ;)
     
  7. chimeclockfan

    chimeclockfan Registered User
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    Walnut's more convenient to carve with,but oak is more firm.
     
  8. FreWJensen

    FreWJensen Guest

    Stiffness is good but we also need a material that will not split during the cutting. Is there a hardwood that has a grain similiar to Basswood?
    Basswood is too soft but does not split?
     
  9. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    I don't think oak would be much good for wheels - much too coarse a grain.

    I think that we have another very similar post running on this subject.
     
  10. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Tom, Harrison's clocks were actually NOT made from lignum vitae. Only the bushings are lignum vitae, and POSSIBLY the rolling pinions. All other parts were made of well seasoned oak.

    I would suggest Maple, since it's incredibly hard, and has a closed grain, which won't trap dust.

    There are other lists of woods available if you do a search on the MB.
     
  11. Smudgy

    Smudgy Registered User

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    Black Locust would not be a good wood for the use. It has a tendency to split and check unless sealed (not from nailing but just from environment). It was mainly used for fence posts since it withstands rot. It is a hard and beautiful wood, honey colored with tyloses (sp?). It's difficult to find commercially due to poor growth characteristics.

    Boxwood might be a good choice for the plates. It's dimensionally stable and fine grained, but I'm not sure about the hardness. It's in the maple family (Acer sp.), somewhat difficult to fine lumber sized commercially.
     
  12. fume happy

    fume happy Registered User

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    Sooth, what is the dimensional stability of maple like?
     
  13. Jeremy Woodoff

    Jeremy Woodoff Registered User
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    I'm not an expert on wood, but I believe that 19th century wood movements were made from old-growth timber. Commercial domestic lumber today is almost always second-growth or farmed timber. The characteristics such as hardness and decay resistance can be very different between old and new growth lumber. Therefore, it may be that making a movement today using the species used originally would not be the best approach.

    Jeremy
     
  14. Ansomnia

    Ansomnia Registered User

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    I know lignum vitae is possibly the hardest wood to machine so how much more difficult is it than cutting brass or steel?

    Otherwise, lignum vitae would seem ideal material for pinions, wheels, pulleys and bushings.


    Michael
     
  15. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    #15 leeinv66, Jan 30, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    I think using recycled timber would avoid these problems. I use it in my case repairs because most new timber is junk (here anyway)!

    Cheers
    Peter
     
  16. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    I would think rosewood might also be considered - extremely dense - VERY hard. However I believe how it is cut would also be very important to resist warpage. Is it called "quarter sawn"?
     
  17. Ralph

    Ralph Registered User
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    Rosewood and Lignum Vitae are both hard to glue. They are very machinable.

    The wisdom of the American wooden works makers is to be discounted??

    Ralph
     
  18. Stormy

    Stormy Registered User

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    Hi FreWJensen:

    I do a lot of woodworking, and I am thinking about doing a glueup of Purple Heart and Birdseye Maple. I think I will go with Ebony for the pinions and bushings. Just think of the beautiful contrast that would be. Also ebony is very hard, as is the Birdseye Maple. The Purple Heart is great to work with, and by doing a glueup with the Birdseye Maple will stop all the warping dead in its tracks, if you reverse the grain direction in every other board to the one next to it.
    I have made a lot of beautiful pieces useing this method. The contrast makes the Purple heart light up like a NEON sign.

    Stormy
     
  19. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    I've seen purpleheart. Just never quite warmed up to it. It's - well - "too purple".
    Now maple? I prefer curly maple. Don't know if it's as hard as birdseye.
     
  20. FreWJensen

    FreWJensen Guest

    boxwood and birch seem to be most used.
    I am sure there are countless others as suggested here. I think I will begin with these. Now, the only question is, "where do I get Boxwood?" The birch seems easy to get but boxwood is another question.
     
  21. kirklox

    kirklox Registered User

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    You like hardwood, try Ozark Apple if you can find some.
     
  22. Ansomnia

    Ansomnia Registered User

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    #22 Ansomnia, Jan 31, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    I'm curious, what makes boxwood a popular candidate? Is it because of the creamy grain texture and stability?

    As for birch, is it because it's hard-wearing?


    Michael
     
  23. FreWJensen

    FreWJensen Guest

    Boxwood is supposed to excellent for carving details. I guess it is great for forming/cutting gears and pinions without splitting. I have never worked with it so I must experiment. I just did not want to begin my project with woods that could cause problems.
     

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