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Blog entry by stefang posted 12-02-2015 07:41 PM 2622 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Miscellaneous work - 10th day Part 11 of MAKING A WOODEN GEARED CLOCK series Part 12: Clock completed, test delayed - day 12 »

I tried to test out the clock yesterday in spite of having a bad glue-up on my pendulum bearing ring. It is supposed to be on the same plane as the pendulum rod, but the clamp I used to glue it up pulled it askew. I tried it out anyway and it oscillated back and for and in circles all at the same time. No big deal, as it was easy to fix but another 24hours for glue to dry. Here is the new one glued up. Never mind the blood, it’s generic. see below

Since the pendulum wouldn’t work I decided to just let the weight run the clock without the escapement pallet and pendulum to keep it running slow. I just wanted to see how smooth the gears ran. Everything ran fine until…..............the cord fastening pin broke through the thin wall of the weight and it came tumbling down together with a zillion tiny lead balls. This in turn pulled the drive train wheels out of kilter since the arbor end caps were too loose. The weight hit the floor and split and a few things went flying. Here is the broken weight and broken teeth on the minute wheel and escapement wheel pinions. see below

I only have myself to thank for all these problems. The weight I made clearly wasn’t up to the job and the arbor covers which I made from Linden wood were too soft and they didn’t fit tight enough to keep the wheels aligned. Despite all the problems a lot of stuff did work well. The wheels ran smoothly before the accident and rewinding the clock was easy and smooth.

I ran out to the shop afterward and cut out the new pinions and spacers to replace the broken one.

A new weight was needed. The idea was to drill out a tube from solid wood. A lot of work that didn’t turn out well. A Forstner bit was used for the job and I knew beforehand that there would be a great risk of it going crooked. A spade bit would have been preferable, but I didn’t have one big enough. Also, the piece of timber wasn’t large enough to allow for much variation, and sure enough it came out a side wall about 3/4 of the way in. A quick fix was needed so two pieces were hollowed out on one side and then the two were glued together. I plan to make a better one later, but for now I just want to get the clock running as I can’t stand any more suspense!

There won’t be time to do more before Friday as tomorrow is our shopping day. My plan is to make some better arbor caps and finish the weight and then I should be able to try out the clock again.

When I came in with the repaired pendulum, I gave it a swing to see if it ran smooth and just for fun I timed how long it would oscillate. Believe it or not, it kept swinging for a full 30 minutes, albeit with an ever decreasing arc, but even so I thought it was pretty amazing. So with such great balance and friction free running I’m not expecting any problems with it. see below

Many setbacks, but I really don’t mind because the experience will allow me to avoid some future problems.

Thanks for reading. Sorry to disappoint everyone.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

19 comments so far

View Dutchy's profile


4194 posts in 3413 days

#1 posted 12-02-2015 08:15 PM

I admire you for your perseverance. You must be the one who is/was disappointed. Mike keep on going, I,m sure you will succeed and hopefully on friday it is fixt.
Enjoy shopping with your wife tomorrow Mike and buy a cup of coffee or something else to forget your clock troubles.

BTW I found out today that making intarsia on a chevalet (for me) isn,t a great succes.


View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5127 days

#2 posted 12-02-2015 08:21 PM

Sounds like you’re going through what I go through on lots of my projects. Good for you to just shake it off and make another piece and try again.

It is really looking nice.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26796 posts in 4350 days

#3 posted 12-02-2015 08:22 PM

That’s too bad, Mike. Keep a positive view and it will turn out okay. Finding ways to recover from stuff like that is a big part of woodworking!!

Cheers, Jim

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

View CFrye's profile


11362 posts in 3085 days

#4 posted 12-02-2015 08:31 PM

You have a great attitude, Mike! Glad the pendulum test went well after all the ‘excitement’. You’ll be finding those tiny lead balls forever. Hopefully you’ll be able to smile at the memory they revive.

-- God bless, Candy

View kiefer's profile


5852 posts in 3912 days

#5 posted 12-02-2015 08:44 PM

Some bad luck but some good experience which never hurts and we all go through that .
It’s good news that the pendulum works that well and that in itself should get you thinking positive about the clock when done .
For the weight I would use a ABS pipe and veneer it which would make it a lot easier and simpler to make ,just a thought .

Keep well

-- Kiefer

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4579 days

#6 posted 12-03-2015 12:00 AM

Thanks for consolations everyone. I’m really not upset. It’s pretty par for the course when doing something entirely new. I feel very confident it will work fine next time.

Klaus Yes you are right of course, but I am so weary of driving around trying find stuff for my projects.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile


8751 posts in 4043 days

#7 posted 12-03-2015 12:26 AM

What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger Mike. (or sometimes just cranky)
I’m thinking by the time this beast is operational you are going to be pretty strong. :-)
I liked your weight tube and I hope you don’t give up on it but at the risk of being a broken record I think a birds mouth would be much stronger. On smaller pieces they can be cut on a router table, just need to set up the proper angle.

Any way you decide to go I’m am convinced that it will be a great success.

Thanks for posting all the details both good and bad.

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

View doubleDD's profile


10706 posts in 3288 days

#8 posted 12-03-2015 01:48 AM

Mike I’m just as down as you. The excitement in seeing the clock work with all those parts has got to be nerve racking. Enjoy the shopping day and give yourself a break before you break.

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

View hunter71's profile


3558 posts in 4432 days

#9 posted 12-03-2015 03:11 AM

Just a lesson in clock building. Imaging the clocks built in the 1800’s with the tools they had back then

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View robscastle's profile


8274 posts in 3449 days

#10 posted 12-03-2015 05:12 AM

Beer OClock comes to mind!!

On a more serious note send me your address as I have a tray as a gift for you that you may appreciate!!!
To commemorate all your great work!

-- Regards Rob

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


22420 posts in 4921 days

#11 posted 12-03-2015 07:13 AM

Too bad there were a few minor issues Mike. Glad to see you are about to get it going big time ;-) Pun intended, of course.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4579 days

#12 posted 12-03-2015 08:53 AM

What would life be without some suspense and drama?

Paul it wasn’t the glue joints that failed although one glue joint opened when it hit the floor. The wall where I sanded the inside was too week and the pin holding the string pulled right out at the end. I’m going to make another weight by hollowing two solid pieces using the cove cutting method on my table saw, glue them up and then turn them on the outside to round. I made a temporary one already, but I think I will just do a proper new one Friday and finish up on Saturday. I don’t like half done projects.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Brit's profile


8447 posts in 4088 days

#13 posted 12-03-2015 09:44 AM

What a rollercoaster ride you’re taking us on here Mike. It’s better than an episode of Dallas. One thing we know for sure though, you’ll persevere and triumph in the end.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View ArworksIII's profile


13 posts in 2158 days

#14 posted 12-03-2015 12:56 PM

We could chat about making gears Mike as I do have some experience in making little pieces. I never knew there was schematics for clocks… intriguing

View Sylvain's profile


1400 posts in 3744 days

#15 posted 12-03-2015 02:10 PM

When everything is in place you might have to adjust the two grub screw to compensate any error in the frame verticality.
I have found this to be more easy with the pendulum rod without the bob : when the clock is running spontaneously (without a starting push), place the bob back on the rod.

Very good work and entertaining blog.
I am impatient to see it run.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

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