Building a John Wilding clock - discussion of his books

Discussion in 'Clock Construction' started by bytes2doc, Jul 21, 2012.

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  1. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Aug 31, 2009
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    I've heard the name John Wilding come up a couple of times and did a search and found that he has some very nice designs, each with its own book.

    I would like to try the Scroll Type Skeleton Clock, but I wonder just how easy it would be to follow his work and if there are a lot of prerequisites, both in thems of knowledge and tools. I do have a watchmakers lathe, but should I get a more modern lathe like the Sherline or other similar lathe? Do I need a milling machine or an attachment for my lathe that cuts wheels - is this even a requirement for the Wilder designs, or do you just buy parts for the plates you cut as in the Demsey (sp?) skeleton clock, of which I'm in the midst of building. Although this project has been fun to date I feel there is just too much detail left out for a beginner and I have spent much time trying to figuring out the detail of one slide in the slide set. Are the Wilding books along this line or is there more detail?


    It would be helpful if there was a "level" category that lets one know just how difficult each book/broject is: something like beginner, intermediate, and advanced, along with tools that were absolutely necessary and those that are nice to have.

    Has anyone any experience with the Wilding books and his projects to make comments?
     
  2. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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    Mar 17, 2005
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    Barry,
    I have Wilding's book on building an Eight Day Wall Clock. I believe that all of his books provide information on building each clock from scratch; you cut the wheels and plates from sheets of brass, make the arbors from drill rod or music wire, etc. That means that you will need wheel cutters, either home made or purchased and a way to index the wheel as it is being cut. The scroll clock you are interested in has a fusee, which can be a challenge to make the first time. If this is your first scratch built clock, you will likely spend as much time making tools as clock parts. Luckily (for me anyway) making tools is just as much fun!
    I see that you are an NAWCC member. For the cost of shipping, you can borrow many of Wilding's books from the NAWCC library. This will be the best way to judge if the books are right for you, or which clock you would like to build. Each book usually includes plans for making a few common clock tools like a depthing tool or wheel crossing template.

    You might also check out some of the books by W.R. Smith. His books are similar in style to Wilding's, and he also lives in Tennessee like you.
    Good luck,
    Allan
     
  3. ccwk

    ccwk Registered User
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    Jan 27, 2011
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    Also Consider Allan’s own contribution to the world of horological construction manuals – Building a Pinwheel Skelton Clock (do a site search and you should find it easily), if you like the Wilding design then this is just as good. Clear easy instructions with plenty of photos and drawings. I would concur with Allan and suggest you consider a weight driven movements as a start (avoids fusee and springs etc.). I have recently been involved in a club project that involved 30+ members building an English Style Regulator to the Wilding design (with some modifications along the way) and would highly recommend it.
     
  4. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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    Mar 17, 2005
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    Wow, thanks for the build up.
    CCWK is referring to the construction thread found here: https://mb.nawcc.org/showthread.php?67822-Building-a-Pinwheel-Skeleton-Clock
    The narrative and photos have been compiled along with dimensioned drawings into a PDF book that is very similar in content and format to the John Wilding and W.R. Smith publications. The file is too big to email; a little over 10MB. However, if anyone would like to receive a copy, send me a PM with your email address and I will send instructions on how to download it from the file share area of my Internet service provider.
    Thanks,
    Allan
     
  5. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Aug 31, 2009
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    Thanks all for your help, advise, and plans. Very nice, thanks Allan.

    I just got back from a trip up north to do some hiking and made a visit with Bill Smith. What a great guy. We had a nice talk, then he grilled me on the inner workings on his gearless clock. Wow, talk about pressure. I got it all right except one part i could not figure out, which he says nobody can. Next he showed me some tips on turning, and got myself an autographed book. What a great stop that was! I really could have stayed with him for weeks and just listen and watch. I do think I'm hooked on clocks now.

    Also got a chance to stop at the NAWCC head-quarters. Funny I used to live 20m away during my medical training. The library was having a book sale (which may still be going on) and picked up many clock repair books, and did check out one from John wilding. Now I have at three projects to choose from, but all I have is a watchmakers lathe. Time for a new toy, which I suppose is another entire topic unto itself. Just browsing the cost of the Sherline products and the gear cutters and this is giving me pause. Ouch.
     
  6. Raynerd

    Raynerd Registered User

    Apr 11, 2004
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    Hi, can you tell me which Gearless Clock you refer to? I can`t see anything on Bill Smith and gearless clock on a quick google!
    Chris
     
  7. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Not sure if he has a book or not on this particular clock, but it was one that he made which he grilled me on as it hung on his wall. perhaps contacting him may result in the information you're seeking.
     
  8. Allan Wolff

    Allan Wolff Moderator
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  9. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Ya, that's the one,
    HOW TO MAKE A GEARLESS
    GRAVITY ARM CLOCK

    55.jpg
     
  10. Nick Ryan

    Nick Ryan Registered User

    Jan 2, 2010
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    I have quantity 2, 99% complete John Wilding Foliot Clocks built to his exact specification to move on. Please email me for more info. regards, Nick



    Wilding Foliot.jpg
     
  11. jameslea

    jameslea Registered User
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    May 24, 2013
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    Barry. I agree that a fusee is a lot for a newbw to take on. I just finished JW's skeliton clock and I didn't like the method he uses for cutting the fusee. With his method I think you will find that as the cutter moves down the arc of the fusee the angle of the cutter changes which lends itself to chatter. I built my own design which cuts from the side and would be happy to share it with anyone considering making a fusee. Also to do it correctly you need to calculate the parabolic curve of the fusee. JW uses and arc which will not keep perfect time. You can see a you tube video under "cutting a fusee for an English clock".
     
  12. bytes2doc

    bytes2doc Registered User
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    Hey James, thanks for the link to you tube. That looks like it would almost be impossible to do by hand and a CNC would be a must, but I thought I saw a hand fly by on a wheel. Although there appeared to be steps on the fusee, it looked like there was a continuous cut. Am I missing something?
     
  13. chrisbud

    chrisbud New Member

    Feb 21, 2012
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    Hi ther James,

    I was about to construct JW's fusee cutting tool for my next clock, when I saw your youtube clip... I think I understand how you designed it, but would love to see more detail on the tool if you are able to post some pics... do you have a method for tracking the paraboloa, or is it all by touch on the cylinder part?

    Kind regards,
    Chris.
     
  14. jameslea

    jameslea Registered User
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    Chris. Sorry for the delay in answering your note but I have recently developed optic nuritis and have been off line for a while. The fusee was cut on a Clausing 4900 thread cutting lathe with a nine in swing. I don't see how you could do it on a small modelers lathe. Cutting a fusee is really the same as cutting a thread. The fusee is twelve threads to the inch. The tool presents to the work from the side level with the center line and is pushed into the work by hand. It took twenty cuts to finish each cut a little at a time but it came out well. if you still want some more pictures I will do them next week. Cheers, JL

    PS. John's book a good but he has a habit of referring back to a previous book for details. If you want to build the skeleton clock you will also need his first book on the eight day clock.
     

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