Fashionable Watches

212 – How to Make a Wood-Geared Clock

212 – How to Make a Wood-Geared Clock


Voiceover:The Wood
Whisperer is sponsored by Powermatic, the gold standard since 1921 and by Clear Vue Cyclones, clear the air and breathe easy. Marc:Have you ever thought about building your own wooden clock? Yeah, me neither but
apparently people do it. A couple of years ago
my buddy Rick Urschel sent me a whole bunch of footage of him building a wooden clock
where he cut all the gears and did everything by hand. Absolutely awesome process, very tedious and it took me this long to
get around editing the footage but it’s finally done and I got a little video here to show you exactly what this process looks like. Let’s head over to Rick’s
shop and see how it’s done. (lively music) Rick:Hi, my name’s Rick
Urschel aka Patty Chuck and welcome to my woodshop. This clock that I’m building
is a gift for my daughter Eli and although she’s only eight months old, I hope this is something
I can pass on to her when she eventually moves
on and starts her own life. The clock I’m going to build was designed by a gentleman
named Clayton Boyer. The design of this clock is very forgiving and has a great introduction to the art of building wooden clocks. (mellow music) Marc:Each wheel begins as a drawing that gets glued to a piece of
plywood using spray adhesive. All critical components should be made from high quality plywood for the sake of stability. Rick is using a Mahogany ply from aircraftspruce.com. To cut the gears, the
scroll saw is outfitted with a 12 and a half
tooth per inch, 5R blade. For the inside cuts, a simple drilled hole provides a starting point. After cutting, the teeth can be cleaned up using a sanding strip in the scroll saw. After the wheel has been cut out, the paper is removed using some naphtha. The paper usually peels
right off of the wood. This is the escape wheel, the part of the clock that
gives it the ticking sound. It’s critical that the tips
are crisp and concentric by mounting the wheel on a shaft, the tips can be sanded
to perfect concentricity. The cannon pinion receives a through hole and a countersink. To maintain concentricity, the blank is taped to the table surface. The larger countersink is drilled first and the smaller through
hole is drilled second. (mellow music) Some parts will receive
a hole between two teeth that holds then tap to create
threads for a set screw. (mellow music) All the frame pieces are made out of three quarter inch solid maple. The parts are cut out
the same way as the gears using the provided templates. A chisel is used to make a
notch for the drive gear. The one shaft support fits into a dado on the front of the main frame. A dado stack at the table saw removes the material on
either side of the shaft and a dial caliper
verifies that the support is only a few thousands wider
than a notch in the frame. A few passes with some sandpaper should produce a nice snug fit. The drive gear assembly
consists of the drive gear, the pulley for the weight
chord and the click gear. The parts are glued
together using a drill bit to hold the parts in position
while the glue dries. The intermediate wheel assembly consists of the
intermediate wheel, a spacer and the intermediate pinion. The third wheel assembly
consists of the third wheel, a spacer and a third pinion. The escape wheel assembly
consists of the escape wheel, a spacer and the escape pinion. Small breast tubes are then inserted into the assemblies using an arbor press. The frame consists of eight parts. Everything gets glued and clamped together and screws are added through the back side of the rear frame for extra support. (mellow music) That may seem like a lot of clamps but you need to do whatever is necessary to get good glue contact. The rear vertical frame is then glued to the main frame. The brush shafts needs to be polished before they’re pressed into
the rear vertical frame. Using the drill press and
some polishing compound, the shafts take on a nice shine. The shafts are then pressed into the frame with an arbor press and a
dead blow hammer where needed. With the gears in place,
it’s time for fine tuning. By spinning the gears manually, the floss becomes obvious
as the gears simply bind up. A rotary tool is used to
relieve some of the material from the pinion teeth and
then we can test again. There’s only a few teeth
that bind up this time so we’ll use the rotary tool to relieve the offending material. When the gears turn freely,
the fine tuning is done. You can even blow on the gears and they should turn freely. The Pendulum Bob is made
from three pieces of walnut. The inner piece is cut to rough shape and then glued to a backer. This creates two pockets where led shot can be added for extra weight. A precut piece of walnut seals the deal. Once the glue is dry, the Bob
is cut to its final shape. A two pound cut of shellac is applied to the face of the gears, taking care to get no
finish on the gear teeth. A total of three coats is applied. With the clock dry assembled, a four pound weight is added
to test the clock’s movement. The clock will likely stop
now and then as it breaks in but the weight can be adjusted
for optimal performance. The clock hands are made from
Purpleheart and Canarywood. After rough cutting, the
parts are glued together and then shaped at the disk sander. The center is then cut
out of the scroll saw for a decorative effect and a rotary tool is used
to further shape each hand. The clock face is then cut from a sandwich of maple and walnut. The clock weight will be
made from a steel tube capped off with walnut. The tube will be filled with led shot, bring you this close to
four pounds as possible. The remaining clock parts we finished with General Finishes Enduro-Var, a high quality water based finish. (mellow music) Now it’s time to hang the clock. (mellow music) Rick:The clock’s been
running pretty steady now for about three weeks. I had to make just a few minor
adjustments to the pendulum but its finally found its home and this is now the second
wind that we’ve been on that the time has been just perfect. It will ran about 26, 27
hours or so on a wind. Every morning we get up,
we wind the clock, yeah. That’s it. Thanks a lot for coming
on this journey with me and I hope it’s inspired you
to try and make your own clock. It is a very easy thing to do. You really don’t need a lot of tools. All you need is a lot of patience. Best of luck. Want to say goodbye? Say goodbye. (mellow music)


Reader Comments

  1. He says "You don't need a lot of tools" LIAR. You need a scroll saw, a dremel, a disc sander, a HVLP spray gun, tons of different chemicals and coating materials, probably a bad saw, lead shot, and then patience. 

  2. that looks really fragile, id be worried it would break every time someone walked past it. still a beautiful job though.

  3. Awesome project. Definitely not for beginners, but the feelings you get just by watching someone build something so beautiful are priceless.

  4. This is so awesome! Great look and job making this to look easy. I have 2 kids already and with twins on the way, seriously thinking about spending the time to make this. Maybe after their grown a bit. Gonna have a lot on my hands.

  5. Does lisaboyer.com include anything besides plans? Does it tell you what size brass shafts etc to get and thickness of lumber? Just trying to get an idea if this is something I could do? I don't want to spend $40 to find out I can't…

  6. Every time I see something repetitive, I see a jig that could possibly optimize the precision of the cuts, not to mention speed things up.  Are there router bits that could do this, with a homemade vertical jig?

  7. This is quite nice.  Did he use Matthias' woodgears generator to print out the gear templates? Check it out…http://woodgears.ca/gear/index.html

  8. mark, i'd love to join the guild, i can see you are one of the most clean and precise "wood professionals" out there and i love your shows, i just don't make enough money where i live, the situation with drug dealers, protection "fees" and all Al Capone stuff that's going on in Cd. Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico is horrible and my workplace had to close because of that so i can't pay a membership, still, i'm not asking you to give one for free, just wanted know of a way to get a coupon or a discount to keep learning "carpinteria" from your website, your videos are excellent but i can see the projects in your site are great, hope there's a way.

  9. Are you familiar with ASMR? This might be crazy talk, but I think an ASMR video using hand tools and fine woodworking to generate soundscapes would be interesting if not fantastic to listen to.

  10. Marc… Is it me or did his daughter, after gazing at the clock, smile and give a "thumbs-up" at 7:52? Great build… great edit.

  11. Interesting project! Could probably be laser cut, with adjustment of parts' size for the laser kerf. Would also be interesting to try making them out of metal, using photochemical machining or CO2 laser. Cool project, like it a lot. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Beautiful child! 
    This is one heck of a project to condense into an 8-1/2 minute video.  How long in man hours did it actually take, please?

  13. Wonderful job and beautiful girl.. Great stuff! Does adjusting the pendulum weight sort time inaccuracies? Well done again.

  14. Finding this video has made my day!  Both of you did a beautiful job in both creating the Simplicity wooden clock, and in presenting your construction methods.  This video is absolutely wonderful.  I enjoy seeing builders putting such thought and creativity into their build.  You've created a truly unique Simplicity that would make any builder proud to have hanging on their wall.   Congratulations, and thank you for doing the Simplicity plan so proud.  Aloha.  Clayton

  15. That is absolutely beautiful! I love mechanics and woodworking and seeing them come together damn near brought a tear to my eye.

  16. Can you tell me, how can you make the clock that it is working exactly on the second?
    1. is it how many gears you use?
    2. is it how big the gears are?
    3. is it, the distance between the teeth from the escape wheel? ( ticking sound ).
    where should i pay attention on to make the clock exact on the second? plz comment mehh!

  17. Thanks for the video. Even though I could care less about the time I've always been fascinated by time keeping pieces. I feel naked without a watch even though I'm disabled and no longer have to go to work.
    I'm still looking at a similar wooden clock with a different design.

  18. I've had the pleasure of building five clocks and a mechanical calendar using Clayton Boyer's plans, with another one of his clocks in the works. The oldest (Called Swoopy.) has been running for about ten years, now. The guy's plans are a joy to work with!

  19. That's the clock ill have someday…its perfect. Your daughter will love that gift when shes older.

  20. wow. awesome.

    i think… its pendulum weight is the most fundamental for being the right clock time or not. isn't it?
    because.. i think, although its gear ratio is right, if its pendulum weight is wrong. it can be a wrong clock.

    so how is the calculation?
    thankyou

  21. I have always wanted to build a large wooden or steel, outdoor clock, maybe 6 or 8 feet tall, possibly using a worm gear or pulleys and belts or chains, maybe bycicle parts, long run time, accuracy not that important, just want to see a pendulum swinging in the garden.

  22. Thank you for posting this. Really helped me to grasp how some of the more complex shapes are achieved.

  23. Making a wooden gear clock was the reason I began woodworking to begin with. I quickly realized that I didn't have the right tools for the job, but now I do and still haven't started. It's time! (pun intended)

  24. and it cost 40 odd US dollars to just get the plans. IMAGINE THE TIMBER COST ON TOP OF THAT. AHHHHHH!

  25. Love the video. What a fantastic and rewarding project – useful and a thing of real beauty. Easy for you to make due to your excellent woodworking skills – not so easy for myself I fear.

  26. Beautiful work and great editing. Rick's little girl is so beautiful – reminds me how quickly they grow up – my babies are now 6 and 8. Have to make the most of the time we have with them and what better way than to make things together. Many thanks from Sydney, Aust – Dave

  27. One can find a design for a genuine working perpetual motion wheel here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5q_hbikVYA

  28. Where’s the template for the one shown? I’ve found the simplicity clock on the provided website but it’s not the same as Rich Urschels from the video.

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