Clock with wooden movement

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Project by Stefflus posted 06-02-2014 01:44 PM 2140 views 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is the finishing exam for 2014.

I haven’t made anything shareworthy this year, we’ve concentrated on product development and the business side of crafts, but I did make an experimental series of stains with trees as the raw material. This clock is stained with such stain, the light brown is Birch bark stain and the dark red is Rowanberry stain.

The clockwork frame is birch, the wheels are a plywood sandwich with Oak or Ash teeth (the escapement wheel which is visible has Oak teeth, but I found this particular Oak to be too brittle, so I made the rest of the wheels with Ash). The clock case is Aspen. I would have prefered Birch, but it was not available the instant I needed it.

Every internal part is wood, except the bearings which are Moose antler. Also there is some Moose in the escapement pivot bearing. The mechanism is called a “Grasshopper escapement”, invented by John Harrison, and this clock is partly meant to pay homage to him and the 300 year anniversary for the “Longitude Act” laid down in the British Parliament in 1714.

My mockup model had a fully functional grasshopper mechanism, but the final product has given me some trouble. One of the pallets isn’t grabbing properly, so I reconfigured it to work by the “Verge” principle for now. I will replace it when I get the clock back from evaluation. Even with this minor hickup the clock runs and quick tests suggest it keeps reasonable time.

-- -Steffen, from Norway

16 comments so far

View JFred's profile


222 posts in 2322 days

#1 posted 06-02-2014 01:45 PM

Very well done

View Stefflus's profile


32 posts in 2596 days

#2 posted 06-02-2014 01:46 PM

Oh yeah, the chain is the only storebought metal part. The weight is cast from wheelweights.
Then there’s the glass, I didn’t make that, I just cut it.
And the dial numbers are carved, then filled with bark/oil-paste which once dry was scraped level.

-- -Steffen, from Norway

View sras's profile


5491 posts in 3906 days

#3 posted 06-02-2014 01:51 PM

A beautiful clock, but the wooden mechanism is awesome!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3069 days

#4 posted 06-02-2014 03:43 PM

Beautiful clock—any chance of more picture of the inner works?

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View RogerBean's profile


1605 posts in 3730 days

#5 posted 06-02-2014 03:48 PM

Lovely clock. Nice work

-- "Everybody makes mistakes. A craftsman always fixes them." (Monty Kennedy, "The Checkering and Carving of Gunstocks", 1952)

View Stefflus's profile


32 posts in 2596 days

#6 posted 06-02-2014 04:50 PM

HillbillyShooter: I’ll take some pictures on the inside when it’s returned to me from evaluation in a couple of weeks time.

-- -Steffen, from Norway

View cbehnke's profile


89 posts in 3393 days

#7 posted 06-02-2014 05:40 PM

very nice work….the grasshopper escapement is tougher to build and get working compared to the tradition escapements (graham, recoil). very well done.

View Woodbridge's profile


3718 posts in 3195 days

#8 posted 06-02-2014 05:52 PM

great looking clock. I can only imagine the time and effort required to make the mechanism and all the other parts out of only wood.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4354 days

#9 posted 06-02-2014 06:37 PM

Great design and outstanding build,a beautiful clock.


View stefang's profile


17039 posts in 4111 days

#10 posted 06-02-2014 09:22 PM

Wonderful looking clock and having a wooden movement makes it even more special. A wooden clock has been on my ‘to do’ list for many years, but I never seem to get around to actually making one. Maybe it’s the fear factor stopping me.

I found your homemade stains to be very interesting too, especially the red one made from Rognebaer. We have a Rognebaer tree in our yard with a lots of flowers on it this year, so there should be a lot of berries. It might be fun to make a stain from them.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Stefflus's profile


32 posts in 2596 days

#11 posted 06-02-2014 10:31 PM

stefang: My recipe is 100g of dried material, either bark or berries or what have you, simmered in 1l of water with 3g of sodium hydroxide (a small teaspoon) for 20 minutes. Strain, filter and reduce to about 3dl. If you want, you can neutralize with 10g of 35% vinegar, but with most raw materials this is detrimental to the stain. Rowan berries are so acidic you might want to double or triple the amount of lye, but still it should be mild enough when finished that it doesn’t feel slippery. It does not seem to damage the wood or interfere with further finishing, but a bit of caution is still adviced, you might not want to use it on something precious unless you feel very confident.

-- -Steffen, from Norway

View Mean_Dean's profile


7043 posts in 3924 days

#12 posted 06-03-2014 12:17 AM

Great looking wooden clock! I’ve always been fascinated by these things!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View bobasaurus's profile


3633 posts in 3961 days

#13 posted 06-03-2014 03:31 AM

That’s really clever and unique. Well done.

-- Allen, Colorado (Instagram @bobasaurus_woodworking)

View Richard's profile


11309 posts in 3810 days

#14 posted 06-03-2014 06:41 AM

Very Nice Work Indeed Steffen. Thanks For Sharing.


-- Richard (Ontario, CANADA)

View Stefflus's profile


32 posts in 2596 days

#15 posted 06-03-2014 10:54 AM

Mike: I forgot to mention that the stains I’ve used for the clock have been sitting on the shelf for six months. They were vastly more potent when they were fresh, the Birch bark stain could replicate walnut, and the Rowan was dark purple red, it could almost stain black. But for this I wanted a thinner stain that could be adjusted easily.

-- -Steffen, from Norway

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