MAKING A WOODEN GEARED CLOCK #5: Escapement Gear, Minute Gear and Idler Gear - Day 5

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Blog entry by stefang posted 11-20-2015 07:08 PM 3213 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Day Finishing Up The Clock Dial - 4 Part 5 of MAKING A WOODEN GEARED CLOCK series Part 6: Recut One Gear and Made a Sanding Jig »

A Wonderful day
I was going to begin the task of converting my 6mm thick ply to 6.5mm. My plan was to sand down the 6mm enough so that I could add a veneer to bring it up to 6.5mm. The first thing I did though was to use my digital calipers to measure the actual thickness, and lo and behold it was exactly 6.5mm. What a relief! It made me very happy.

Today’s Work
I made the 6.5mm work pieces for the escapement gear,, the minute gear and the idler gear and some other pieces. The pattern for the fork like thing is the piece that runs on the escapement gear and it is attached at the upper end of the pendulum. It alternately locks and releases the escapement gear at each swing of the pendulum. see below

The escapement gear (the smallest one) is the gear which is alternatively locked and released with each swing of the pendulum to control the speed of the clock.

The minute gear regulates the movement of the clock dial as far as I know, but I won’t be sure of that until I have the clock assembled and running. Remember, the hour hand is stationary while the whole dial moves on this clock.

The idler gear
Another gear I’m not sure about regarding it’s purpose or name, but as far as I know it has nothing to do with the time, but is placed there to transfer power between other time keeping gears. So it is a kind of assistant to the essential gears and helps to keep the placement of the gears compact.

Just my take on it so far. I will get back to you on these gears as soon as I can after I have actually learned enough about them, meanwhile if any of you have a more accurate description please don’t hesitate to comment on it. see below

I changed a couple of things today. Instead of cutting and leaving a thin line to file off on each gear tooth, I just cut right to finished size. I was feeling more confident with my cutting after getting some practice with the first cuttings. It worked out well except for the escapement gear. I will have to recut that one because I got some chipping on the gear tooth tips and the back on a few teeth too. For that reason I put a zero clearance auxiliary table onto my scroll saw. It’s not 100% zero clearance, but close enough to solve the problem. The others gears came out perfect (my perfect).

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to cut the other items in the first photo. Believe it or not I have used only one blade for every thing I have cut for this project so far. A #5 Nicqua reverse tooth blade. This one must have super strength or something and it’s still cutting very smooth to boot!

Thanks for joining in the fun.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

19 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


8747 posts in 4008 days

#1 posted 11-20-2015 07:17 PM

You sure aren’t using much of your stock. The scrap must outweigh the parts ten to one. :-)
I know these are not extreme close ups but please allow me to be in awe of your scrollsaw skills anyway. The photo is plenty close enough to tell me you are far better than I am.
This is going to be a sweet machine Mike. Thanks or the ride.
Have you thought of paper backing before cutting the intricate bits?

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View Mosquito's profile


11250 posts in 3502 days

#2 posted 11-20-2015 07:22 PM

I agree with Paul. A wooden gear clock is something on my “want to try” list as well. Thanks for sharing the process with us!

-- Mos - Twin Cities, MN - -

View robscastle's profile


8218 posts in 3414 days

#3 posted 11-20-2015 07:42 PM

Hello Mike,

I have been watching your posts, and from what I see all is progressing very well, its a very interesting concept clock, and enhanced by the way you go about producing it, both physically and the reporting aspects as well.

You are correct regarding idler gear, they are there simply there to transfer motion you can have as many as you want and they have no effect on the gear ratio from the driving gear and the driven gear, they simply power transfer and reverse the direction dependent an how many you use in the transmission.

I am also pleased to see a good result on the ply thickness, ply is in particular a product here that has definately had a severe loss of quality in regards to manufacturing processes used and final gradings available for use.

Finally I also have to fully agree with Paul and the other LJs in regard to your skills in scroll saw work and in particular gear cutting precision. A tilt of the hat is applied there.

-- Regards Rob

View Texcaster's profile


1293 posts in 2883 days

#4 posted 11-20-2015 08:39 PM

Nice work Mike, I’ve been following as well. A geared clock is great fun to watch taking shape.

Thanks for keeping to a photo only format, my youtube time is reserved for music. lol

-- Mama calls me Texcaster but my real name is Mr. Earl.

View doubleDD's profile


10628 posts in 3253 days

#5 posted 11-20-2015 08:57 PM

That intricate work keeps adding up. Those gears remind me of bicycle sprockets. Keep at it Mike. You know you might have just jinxed that blade.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4544 days

#6 posted 11-20-2015 09:04 PM

Paul I just love it when you tell me how good I am at scroll sawing, but believe me when I say that there is an abundance of folks out there who are far better at it than I am. My accuracy is completely dependent on my magnifier lamp. I would love to use it on my chevalet too, but it doesn’t work so well there with the saw frame moving back and forth.

The backing is a great idea and one that I should have thought of myself. By the way, I used a glue stick today to glue on my patterns and it worked perfectly. The leftover pattern pulls right off afterward.

You are right about the waste factor as the gears are only about 10% of the workpiece after cutting. However, I am saving the larger cutouts between the spokes on the gears for example and any other larger pieces. I’m sure I can use them for other projects.

Mosquito Thanks. I hope you take the plunge. BTW I lived on a farm about 4 miles outside of Onamia Minn. back in 1944/45. It’s kind of a flat Norway. Lots of lakes and birch trees.

Robert Thanks for the praise and also the confirmation of what the idler gear does. The ply I’m using is what everyone calls Baltic birch ply. The different layers are all the same quality and there are no voids whatsoever. It is very expensive though. especially for clock gears as about 90% is wasted, except I can use a lot of that waste for other stuff.

Dave Talking about bicycles, I would like the make a wooden scale model of one for my oldest son so maybe this gear cutting experience will come in handy. He has built some really cool and very lightweight bikes. He buys the frames and parts and puts them all together himself.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View stevo_wis's profile


128 posts in 4237 days

#7 posted 11-20-2015 10:42 PM

Wow Mike. Tremendous.

-- Stevo

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26629 posts in 4315 days

#8 posted 11-20-2015 10:48 PM

WOW…..........I agree with Paul. you have about 10% of the stock left when you cut out the gears! That is one fine scroll saw job….........I would have had a few missing teeth in the gears!!

I can’t wait to see it running!..............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View doubleDD's profile


10628 posts in 3253 days

#9 posted 11-20-2015 11:01 PM

Mike, are you talking a full scale functional bike or just a novelty model? That could be a nice on off project for me to work on through the next year or two. ha ha. It would be cool to ride.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile


1373 posts in 2923 days

#10 posted 11-20-2015 11:03 PM

You sure moved fast on this project. Exiting to follow along!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View CFrye's profile


11352 posts in 3049 days

#11 posted 11-20-2015 11:43 PM

Awesome progress, Mike! I’m taking notes on all these great tips.

-- God bless, Candy

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4544 days

#12 posted 11-21-2015 12:14 AM

Thanks for the encouraging comments everyone.

Dave I am just thinking a model, maybe 18” long, but one that functions. I doubt I can do the multiple gears on the back wheel, but I might be able to mock that part up. I’m not really sure I’m going to do this as the parts might be too small make, especially a functioning chain. The rest not so difficulty. I know how to make the chain, but pretty challenging at so small a scale.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Philip's profile


1277 posts in 3748 days

#13 posted 11-21-2015 01:12 AM

Coming along nicely Mike! About a year ago I wanted to make a wooden gear clock with stained glass in the negative spaces, however baby came along and that is on the back burner. After looking though, there wouldn’t be much excitement to that because only the escapement piece has a lot of movement- all the other gears turn pretty slowly!
Can’t wait to see it.

-- I never finish anyth

View hunter71's profile


3558 posts in 4396 days

#14 posted 11-21-2015 04:35 AM

Buying good blades is worth the investment.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View NormG's profile


6508 posts in 4213 days

#15 posted 11-21-2015 05:22 AM

Great progress, looking very good, congrats on the still sharp blade

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

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