Wooden Gear Clock Plans!

Discussion in 'Wood Movement Clocks' started by Sooth, Jan 21, 2007.

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  1. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    This month's issue of ScrollSaw magazine has instuctions and patterns to make a really nice wooden gear clock with seconds hand.

    The issue is only 5.99 US, and is definitely worth it.

    I might make it.

    Here's the website:
    http://www.scrollsawer.com/
     
  2. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    . . . . . . . . . . and one could make clock gears with a scrollsaw?
     
  3. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    I'm a little confused Scottie. Please fill-in the blanks.

    I do have a scroll saw, and I do plan to use it to cut steel and brass parts, and even make my own clock hands eventually, but I haven't found proper metal cutting blades yet. I read somewhere that you can use any blade with more than 20 teeth per inch.

    Unfortunately my saw has no speed controls, so I'd have to use it with my lathe foot pedal, to cut slowly.

    As for the wooden clock, if I can get ahold of some birch plywood, in the thicknesses required, (and for not too much cash), I will make that clock.
     
  4. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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  5. W.R. WoodWorking

    W.R. WoodWorking Registered User

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    Go for it Sooth. keep us up to date on the progress. I have several wood clock plans. I just got all of my material for the the one Im going to build when it gets warm enough to stay in the shop . Im not using plywood, going to use maple and cherry and walnut. I will have to thickness plane every piece. for the escape wheel and verge I think I will use Anacondos, a south american very hard and brittle dark wood.....Good Luck....WR
     
  6. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    Ummmmmmm;
    Lemme see if I can re-phrase this:
    "How does one make the wooden gears for it?"
     
  7. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    You very carefully cut them on the scroll saw. It's actually pretty simple, but you need practice in order to make the cuts accurate.
     
  8. dan_46

    dan_46 Guest

    I've been working with Scroll saws for years.
    I have a Dewalt with speed control. I haven't tried any metal work with it yet, (thats something I'll have to try.) You can get birch plywood from Woodcraft.com. You don't have to buy a full sheet, they have it in widths from 5/32nds through 3/4 inch, and in pieces anywhere from 12 x 30 inches through 24 x 30 inches. Enough to cut alot of wooden gears.

    Dan
     
  9. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    So: you what?
    Lay out the wheel on the wood with a scribe or bic pen and try to cut close as possible to the lines? I mean - root - land - pitch angle, etc. - you do all this witha scrollsaw?
     
  10. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    Scottie, most of these wooden clock plans come as several sheets. the individual sheets are glued to the wood you are going to use and then you just cut them out. You then remove/sand the paper off the pieces. Sooth is right, you need practice in order to make the cuts accurate, but as long as you stay outside the lines, you can file/sand the pieces to shape. So the short answer to your question would be No, but you can do most of it with a scroll saw.

    Cheers
    Peter
     
  11. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    #11 Mike Phelan, Jan 21, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    Hi Sooth
    Use piercing saw blades. Here.
    Or use broken bandsaw blades.
    Unless it has an induction motor! Vide thread on speed controls. My Hegner saw has same problem with metal - blades don't last very long. Working on a solution.

    I have a set of plans that I got from Burgess (UK tool manufacturers) for making a clock, about 20 years ago. These were for using a scroll saw (UK=fretsaw)

    I also have a woodworking magazine that someone here mentioned ages ago, with some clock plans written by Wayne Westphail (sp?) using these saws.

    HTH
     
  12. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Curious if you cut the gears out as circles first, then come back and do the teeth.

    How about one of those wire bladed blades that would fit in jigsaw (the kind that holds blade on both side and ocillates)?

    RJ
     
  13. Scottie-TX

    Scottie-TX Registered User
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    NOW I realize my problum Pee-Tah!
    Here, all these yearz I bin taught to stay INSIDE the lines an' NOW I gotta stay OUTSIDE th'. . . . . . .SHEESH!
     
  14. dan_46

    dan_46 Guest

    Like Peter says, the paper patterns are glued to the wood, (I use spray adhesive.) The gear teeth should be pretty simple V cuts. For the inside cuts, like for the wheel spokes, drill a small hole, thread the blade through to make you inside cuts. Its not that hard, the key is not to get in a hurry.

    Dan
     
  15. dan_46

    dan_46 Guest

    View attachment 2085 This not the best photo, or a wooden clock movement. Its a clock case I made on the scroll saw out of Cherry, about 10 years ago, using a paper pattern. Wood like Cherry, Walnut, etc., has become so expensive you can just about buy a original antique clock and restore it for the same money.

    Dan
     
  16. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    I wonder if there's any money in making these.

    I tried my hand at making custom finials. But there was not much of a market for them and it took allot of time to make them.

    I should probably say that I never invested for all the proper tools I needed to do it correctly. But, I could also see that there was not much call for it. Most people carve thier own.

    I suppose if one where to build one type of clock and get efficient at building them, he could crank out quite a few and dump them on ebay at a set price.

    If I did do that, not sure what kind I would like to build, except to say I think I would take advantage of showing off the wood gears by making wall haninging skelleton clocks.

    RJ
     
  17. dan_46

    dan_46 Guest

    I thought about that,but materials ( 1/4 inch Cherry or Walnut, movement, dial etc.) for making the pictured clock was about 80.00. Combine that with the time to make it, at least 20 hours or more. Theres no way that I think you could make any money at it. Just to much time and money involved I doubt you could break even. You can stack cut 2 or 3 pieces at a time on a good scroll saw but even doing that, it would be to slow and expensive.
    The materials needed to make the wooden clock movement would not cost as much, but it would have to take so much more time to make, I just don't see how you could make a profit.

    Dan
     
  18. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Dan,

    For the wooden gear clock, you can't use regular hardwoods. They use Baltic Birch plywood, which would clost no more than 20$ for the entire clock.

    The reason that thin hardwoods are not used is because they would be too fragile, and would likely snap, get broken teeth, or warp overtime. You might be able to get away with it, but you'd almost need to leave most of the load bearing wheels "full" with no cutout openings (crossings).

    The only other materials needed are a 3/8 dowel, and some steel and brass pins/tubes.

    The only way you WOULD make a profit, is if you made 2 at a time, in your spare time, and mostly did it for fun. You could maybe sell one for 200-300$, depending on the interest.
     
  19. dan_46

    dan_46 Guest

    I realize that, unless you laminate two pieces cross grain with each other. I was refering to the clock case. You could stack cut 2 or 3 at time with a good saw and double stick tape. But I still think there would be too much time involved cutting and doing the fitting and finishing to make them for profit. Unless you could get 2 or 3 hundred bucks for them, if so I'm cranking up the saw.

    Dan
     
  20. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    What I was thinking is that if I could make clocks with large large gears (more impressive) that might draw in higher bids.

    Something to hang on outside of house. But out of rain.

    They would be ARJAY originals...!
     
  21. Andy Krietzer

    Andy Krietzer Registered User

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    Hey RJ,
    You could use real cuckoo birds.

    Andy :biggrin:
     
  22. RJSoftware

    RJSoftware Registered User

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    Cool. Tie thier little legs on for power and let em fly baby!

    RJ
     
  23. W.R. WoodWorking

    W.R. WoodWorking Registered User

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    #23 W.R. WoodWorking, Jan 23, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    I would never use plywood on wood gear clock. for one thing its UGLY. you are going to be putting in a lot of hours on this clock, and to expect payment on a plywood clock will be slim to none. here is some of "Brian's Law for clock gear work.
    The properties that make a wood suitable for woodenclock construction are :-

    Medium to Hardwood
    Fine grained
    Retains detail when machined and sanded
    Resists splintering
    Low distortion after machining

    The woods listed here would all be suitable for the construction of a wooden clock.

    Apple
    Boxwood
    Birch
    Cherry
    Holly
    Hornbeam
    Maple
    Pear
    Sycamore
    Tupelo
    Walnut
    You should research a little more before wasting your time on a plywood clock.
    Ive seen someof these clocks go for more than a $1000 if done right.........WR
     
  24. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Well, I do fine cabinetry on a daily basis, so obviously I know what I'm talking about.

    You can certainly make wooden wheels from the hardwoods mentionned, but like I said before, unless you laminate them or glue them up like a pinwheel with the grain groing towards the centre, the teeth (and wheels) won't have much strength. They will have all the same problems as wooden works clocks, which often have several broken teeth.

    Also, some of the gears in the clock above are 1/8 thin. You can't honestly tell me that a 1/8 thick wheel wouldn't just snap in half if it were bent or forced (sideways). Especially something like Walnut.

    The reason they suggest plywood, is because it will stand incredible ammounts of abuse, and you can cut very thin, and narrow parts and they will still be strong.

    If you're that picky, you could easily stain the wheel edges very dark, and veneer the fronts in whatever hardwood you like.

    Or, you could make your own solid hardwood "plywoods".

    Also, as a last note: the birch plywood they reccomend is not "cheap" plywood. It's good throughout, and doesn't have knots or other blemishes in it. When you cut it, you will have nice edges all around.
     
  25. leeinv66

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    #25 leeinv66, Jan 23, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017
    Sooth, I would not call these problems when the movements you are talking about are 150 or more years old. You are likely to find this sort of wear in brass movements of a similar age. Furthermore, while plywood does have superior strength, it is susceptible to delaminating if it is exposed to moisture, so I doubt it would survive the same punishment that many of the old wooden works movements have. Personally, I would place a much higher value on a clock made of all hardwood than one made with plywood wheels. Just my opinion!

    Cheers
    Peter
     
  26. Mike Phelan

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    For his wheels, John Harrison used a wooden disc with a deep groove turned in it, then inserted six or eight pieces of wood into the groove for the teeth, so that the grain was almost radial.

    You could cut eight "pieces of pie" in a similar way and glue them together.
    Beech is fairly cheap, close grained and tough, as is teak.

    HTH
     
  27. Joe Hollen

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    I'm with Sooth... I use Arctic Birch plywood all the time in my clockmaking, woodworking, and repair of clock cases. The stuff is strong, it has NO voids or knots ever, and if you use the right stain, you'll hardly notice that it's "plywood". I use it for the backboards on the clocks that I make. It's great stuff ! I don't think that you need to worry about it ever "delaminating".

    If I were to make one of these "wooden clocks" that I've seen plans for on the Internet, I might make my own "laminated" sheets. I would make sure that the outside of the "exposed gears" (the side facing the onlooker) were made with a wood that had a nice grain structure... like Walnut or Cherry. Heck, you could put a thin veneer of that over the Arctic birch, then either plane or sand it down to the right thickness on the "plywood side"... The gears would need to be sealed real good with some sort of lacquer or urethane, etc.

    On a sidenote... The little town that I live in (Weare, NH) was the home of a wooden-works clockmaker from the 1700's by the name of "Jesse Emory". According to Chris Bailey, (curator of the American Clock and Watch museum, and the author of "200 years of American Clocks and Watches") Mr. Emory made the finest wooden movements by far of anyone in Colonial / Federal America. Who knows, maybe there's some information on his clocks in town ?! Maybe someone has an original that I could get some pics of... I'll check !

    Joe...
     
  28. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    Joe, I have nothing but respect for the early wooden clock makers. They were real craftsmen. Not only did they know how to craft the movements, but they also knew the limitations of the materials they crafted them out of. A wooden movement can be built out of plywood and while I would admire the skills used to build it, I would not hold it in the same regard as one built out of traditional timbers. Just my opinion!

    Cheers
    Peter
     
  29. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Peter:

    The real difference, is that in wooden works clocks, the wheels are full. Unless you laminate your own custom solid hardwood plywood, or do special laminations, or other "special" treatments, it would be IMPOSSIBLE to cut out any kind of lacy patterns in the wheels, or even simple crossings. The remaining wood would simply be too brittle and fragile. It would also be more susceptible to splitting, warping, and complete failure.

    That's why the clock pictured is only suitable to build from plywood.

    If you still think I'm wrong, then I challenge you to try it out. The clock is not very complicated to build, and the scrollsaw magazine is only about 5$.

    A clock made of simple hardwood (not laminated like plywood) built to the same dimensions as the clock shown, would likely not last much more than 5 years before it begins to breakdown and need teeth repairs (or other).
     
  30. Sooth

    Sooth Registered User
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    Mike:

    I believe John Harrison to be one of the most brilliant clockmakers who ever lived. I have books on his timepieces (including the wooden ones), and he uses the method you describe, which is infinitely more complicated to execute, but also, his wheels were "solid" (no crossings).
     
  31. W.R. WoodWorking

    W.R. WoodWorking Registered User

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    Im not going to say anything else. but I assure you that you can cut crosses or any other pattern in your clock wheels. Its all in the wood, the grain direction and the purfling groove . the augurment of strength keep coming to for ground. the wheels teeth or under very little stress. theres only about 2 or 3 lbs of weight. here is one of the clocks that im working on(the gears only)

    View attachment 2086
     
  32. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    #32 leeinv66, Jan 25, 2007
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    Sooth, I do not think you are wrong about the design in your original post. I can see that it was designed for plywood construction. However, with a little modification, even this design could be constructed from solid timber. Again I will say, I would hold a movement made from solid timber in higher regard than one made out of plywood. These are just my thoughts, feel free to disagree.

    Cheers
    Peter
     
  33. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    W.R, which timbers are you using in the construction?

    Cheers
    Peter
     
  34. Mike Phelan

    Mike Phelan Registered User

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    As an aside, the Held company in Germany made clock kits in the 1960s and 70s (and maybe still do).

    Most of the designs were "wooden" movements with verge escapements and foliot balance.

    The solid wheels were actually made from SRBP or SRBF (Paxolin / Tufnol) in a sandwich with veneer on each side for appearance.

    They used lantern pinions.
     
  35. tictock99

    tictock99 Guest

    The Emory clock would be great to make, the gears are 1/2" thick, unlike the other clock makers who used thinner wood.
     
  36. Joe Hollen

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    TickTock99:

    Do you have any pictures of Emory movements? It would be interesting to see one...

    Joe
     
  37. tictock99

    tictock99 Guest

    Pictures of the clock and movement appear in the book New Hampshire clock makers by Adams and Brown publishing.
     
  38. W.R. WoodWorking

    W.R. WoodWorking Registered User

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    #38 W.R. WoodWorking, Jan 26, 2007
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    I want to use walnut, alt./ with maple for the color . light and dark. It will look very nice I think. another thing I dont want to hang this on the wall, Im designing a floor stand for it and the wieght can hang to the floor. but it must match in color to the gears and/or the front/back plate.
     
  39. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    Sounds interesting W.R, please post pictures of your progress, I would love to see them!

    Cheers
    Peter
     
  40. W.R. WoodWorking

    W.R. WoodWorking Registered User

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    ok will do it.but, like I said early in this thread, I havent started on the project yet. Its to cold to work in the shop. I dont have heat in the shop........WR
     
  41. leeinv66

    leeinv66 Moderator
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    W.R, I keep forgeting I live on the other side of the world from you guys. It's mid Summer here. I will keep a look out for a new thread when you get started.

    Cheers
    Peter
     
  42. jredburn

    jredburn New Member

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    Greetings one and all,
    I am new to the forum but have been building with wood for a long time and I owned a cabinet shop for awhile.
    I have a web site that I just put up that has links to a bunch of free plans for wooden gear clocks. You are free to use them for your personal use. No commercial sales.
    http://www.woodenclockparts.com

    When it comes to the material for making parts, the best choice is plywood. The reason is simple, plywood does not react to humidity and temperature changes nearly as much as solid wood does. A small change in humidity can (and does) make wood expand or contract enough to stop a wooden clock.
    Solid gear clocks have been around for many years and some still run very well but the plywood ones will out perform them over a long time span. The first clocks were made with solid wood for one reason, there was no plywood available.

    In most wooden gear clocks the wheel with the weight on it generally is 1/2" wide while the rest of the train can be 1/4' width. In 8 and 30 day clocks the first arbor should be 1/4" steel set in brass bushings and 1/8" steel arbors in brass bushings for the rest of the arbors.

    If Baltic Birch is a little steep for your budget, make your own. Pallets are free from many stores and are made of hardwoods that can be salvaged and resawn and used for the interior laminations. Buy a shelf or a lamp or a table at a garage sale and use that for the two outside laminations. Use Titebond glue.

    If all else fails, I have a CNC machine and I make all kinds of clock parts,
    Regards
    Joe
     

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