MAKING A WOODEN GEARED CLOCK #8: The Main Weight and Finishing Up Details - Day 8

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Blog entry by stefang posted 11-27-2015 05:45 PM 3105 reads 0 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Bits and Pieces - Day 7 Part 8 of MAKING A WOODEN GEARED CLOCK series Part 9: Gluing - day 9 »

I finally got back into the shop today after doing a lot of shopping.

Today’s Work
This morning was used to cut the parts for my main weight and to finish up some small parts, I also had to make a couple of grub screws that I haven’t been able to find at any store here.

The main weight in the plan is a plastic tube almost 20” long and filled with about 2.4kg of divers lead (small lead round pellets). I didn’t like the look of the plastic in the plan so I did a little coopering work and cut 12 staves from some 6mm (1/4”) ply on my table saw to make the weight container. It isn’t glued up yet, only held together with tape. I will probably cut it as short as I can later. photo below

I promised to take a shot of all the parts, which I did today. The only missing part is the ‘handle/counter weight’ to the main weight which is pulled down to raise the main weight to the start position. You might have to zoom in on the photo to read the labels. They are at the bottom of each part

The1st photo below shows the winding wheel that the weight runs on in 5 pieces that will be glued together and the 3 part frame which will also be glued together.

The 2nd photo below shows the winding wheel, the frame and the pendulum bob as they will look when their different parts are glued together. This gives a better idea of the finished parts. The pendulum is sitting in the order it will be when assembled with the pallet at the top end. I didn’t have room in the photo frame for the bob at the bottom.

The labels are in the correct terminology this time. Gears are called wheels. One wheel and the pinion it will turn are called a ‘wheel set’ with the pinion part of the set glued on to the next wheel in the train.

The 2nd wheel is a helper wheel, it is only used to keep the 3rd wheel rotating in the correct direction so it can turn the escape wheel in the right direction. This is because the next wheel in the chain runs in the opposite direction from the wheel driving it.

The pinions (the smallest gears) are driven by the prior large wheel in the train and they are glued to the next wheel in the train.This is done so that the clock movement can be compact and a large wheel doesn’t have to sit tooth to tooth with another large wheel. It also helps to reduce the diameter and number of teeth on the wheels. (I hope I got that right. Please correct me if I didn’t).

As you can see from the last photo, this shows how few parts there can be in a clock and none of it is really difficult to cut or assemble. Accuracy is important though and it remains to be seen how good a job I’ve done on that. So if you have been thinking of making one I hope you are getting a pretty good idea of what’s involved. I will blog the clock assembly after the glue-ups are dry and I’ve done a little light sanding and dye work.

I hope you are enjoying this blog and thank you for following with.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

17 comments so far

View stevo_wis's profile


128 posts in 4276 days

#1 posted 11-27-2015 05:49 PM

This is very cool. I admire you for diving in.

-- Stevo

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4583 days

#2 posted 11-27-2015 06:35 PM

Thanks Stevo. It’s been fun so far. If it actually runs I will be even happier.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4413 days

#3 posted 11-27-2015 06:42 PM

If nothing else, this will give you insights into how clocks run. But the number of precision parts sure looks a little daunting…...........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View sras's profile


6359 posts in 4378 days

#4 posted 11-27-2015 07:55 PM

Excellent progress Mike! I am very interested in this story.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26816 posts in 4354 days

#5 posted 11-27-2015 09:08 PM

Very nice array with all the labels. Mike, you could teach a class on that!!

cheers, my friend…...............Jim

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

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4552 days

#6 posted 11-27-2015 09:33 PM

very impressive mike, i had not followed this until now, but i had to see what you were doing….pretty amazing work, but you always seem to be very capable….

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4583 days

#7 posted 11-27-2015 11:04 PM

Jim Bertelsen There is still one thing that I’m quite unsure about and that is the ratchet type gear with the pawls. I can see how it would run while the main weight is sinking down. What I can’t understand is how it will work when the cord on the other end is pulled to raise the main weight at the beginning of a new cycle (24 hrs. for this clock).

Steve I hope you will make one of these. As an engineer this would probably be a no brainer for you.

Jim Jakosh Thanks. With patterns, a scroll saw, a drill press, and some other common wood shop tools it is pretty easy to do without taking a class. I did buy a good ebook PDF ‘A Practical Guide to Wooden Wheeled Clock Design’ by Clayton Boyer which I have only skim read, but still learned quite a bit of theory from it already. I will probably be reading it to death to absorb it all. I am hoping I will learn enough from it to design my own clock one day. In the short term I hope to get a handle on the basics of how these clocks work.

Bob Thank you and it’s good to hear from you, I hope your health is holding up. I’m not particularly capable, just willing to try new stuff, although this is mainly scroll sawing, so maybe not so new anyway.

The main problem I always encounter with many of my oddball projects is the difficulty of finding all the stuff I need, like grub screws, brass rods, divers weights and even the right diameter woven fishing line that it needed.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile


8753 posts in 4046 days

#8 posted 11-28-2015 12:40 AM

Looking great Mike.
Did you consider a bird’s mouth cylinder instead of the coopered one at all? The joints are very easy to cut on a table saw and the glueup is both stronger and self aligning. ..... just a thought….
The assembly will be exciting ….. can’t wait.

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

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3915 days

#9 posted 11-28-2015 02:27 AM

That is an amazing looking display of the parts needed for the clock and more to come.
I am watching this with interest as it is something very new to me and can’t wait to see the clock finished and running especially the dial which is totally different from a normal dial ,does it read in minutes also ?


-- Kiefer

View hunter71's profile


3558 posts in 4435 days

#10 posted 11-28-2015 02:37 AM

Coming along just great Mike. Doug

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View doubleDD's profile


10717 posts in 3292 days

#11 posted 11-28-2015 03:30 AM

Mike, from my chair that is almost intimidating. Very impressive picture of all the hard work. I like your thinking with the wood tube instead of the plastic. Anxiously waiting for the beginning of time. (little pun there)

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

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4583 days

#12 posted 11-28-2015 10:06 AM

Thanks Doug, Dave and everyone for your interest in this project.

Paul Thanks for the tip. The birds mouth joints are good. I just watched the birds mouth table saw cutting on youtube. I think it would be hard to cut it at this scale though because the stave strips are only 1.2mm wide. I do think the conventional miter will be more than strong enough for my purpose here. It only has to support about 2.4kg of lead pellets.

Klaus The 3 smaller drilled holes between each hour number denotes a 15 minute interval. Not too critical for this clock as it is more of a curiosity than anything else. It is supposed to be accurate to within about 2 minutes for each 24 hr. period.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


17536 posts in 3867 days

#13 posted 11-28-2015 01:58 PM

Mike, this build (and blog) is incredible! You said ‘oddball project,’ and that made me smile. :-) I would never think to build a working clock out of wood, and you’ve jumped in. It’ll run, and I’ll guess it’ll be more accurate than you think. Great attention to detail, amazing craftsmanship. The pics of the parts alone, taken just for us, tells me loads about your commitment here. Again, wow! Can’t wait to see it all come together!

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4583 days

#14 posted 11-28-2015 02:31 PM

Thanks for the kudos Smitty. I keep telling everyone that this is actually not a complicated project, just a lot of parts that look impressive when put together. It does require some scroll saw cutting which some might not be familiar with, but is easily and quickly learned. I do have a great scroll saw, but even that isn’t necessary with the 90deg. type of cutting and the thicknesses of wood used.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Schwieb's profile


1921 posts in 4710 days

#15 posted 11-29-2015 11:15 PM

Looks really great Mike. Now I an feeling bad I never acted on my desire to build one of these. I am totally intrigued and will be looking for a set of plans under my Weihnachtsfest Baume.

Can’t wait to see it go together.


-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

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