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How To Make A Clock In The Home Machine Shop – Part 23 – Making The Key, Polishing And Assembly

How To Make A Clock In The Home Machine Shop – Part 23 – Making The Key, Polishing And Assembly

G’day Chris here, and welcome back to Clickspring. In this final video of the series, I complete
the skeleton clock project, by making a custom winding key, and giving
the mechanism a final polish and assembly. These classic old keys have definitely seen
better days, but they show all of the main elements required
for a simple winding key design. A nice curved profile for the grip, a decent
flat area to provide comfortable leverage for the user, and a shaft with a square recess to accept
the winding square of the arbor. That recess is usually a blind hole, which
adds an extra challenge to the job that I’ll talk about in a moment. And although its not uncommon to see rivets
used in the construction, I’ve decided to make this key from brass sheet
and rod stock, and then soft solder the components together. To form the blind recess, I’ve divided
the shaft into 2 parts. One part will have a slot formed to receive
the flat grip, and a spigot turned on its other end. The other part which I’m calling the endpiece, will have a square hole formed in one end,
and a recess drilled in the other to accept the spigot. Once the 2 parts are assembled, it’ll look
like a single uniform piece. So starting with the endpiece, I cleaned up
the stock and then formed the required holes. Now that square hole can certainly be formed
using some careful filing. But in this case I formed it using a small
arbor press and a custom square broach, made specifically to match the size of the
winding square on the arbor. The pilot diameter is a snug fit in the smaller
hole in the workpiece, and generous amount of oil helps the cut. Its a fair amount of work to make a custom
broach, and I wouldn’t ordinarily go to the trouble
for a single hole. But when a reasonable deep and precisely sized
hole like this is required, I think its definitely the better option,
and worth the extra effort. OK, so with the end piece under way, I moved
on to the rest of the shaft, first by forming the spigot section. With the fit confirmed, I used some flux to
prepare the join, and then soft soldered the end piece in place. A skim cut is enough to clean up that surface, and a series of decorative grooves adds to
the presentation. The key will benefit from having a chamfered
edge inside that open end, to make it easier to locate it on the winding
square, so I formed that next, before parting off to profile the other end. A quick trip to the mill, to drop in the slot
for the grip, and the shaft section of the winding key is
complete for now. Next up is the grip section of the key, which
started out in this small piece of sheet stock. The scroll saw and belt sander take care of
most of the metal removal, and then its on to some hand filing to bring
the workpiece to the line. A light rub on some fine abrasive paper tidied
up the surfaces, although the soldering process will require
a bit of cleanup once complete, so I didn’t put too much time, just enough
to make the job a bit easier later on. And speaking of soldering, I’m aiming to use
the bare minimum here, just enough to wick into the gap, to reduce
the cleanup afterwards. On first inspection, it looks like a good
join. There’s a small run of the solder at the previous
join I made with the end piece, but that’ll be easy enough to scrape off in
a moment. The main thing is that there’s a nice uniform
fillet of solder around the entire seam, leaving just a bit of cleanup work with files
and abrasive paper. A light hand polish, and that’s the winding
key complete. Now before I move on to the final polish and
assembly, there’s a few loose ends to tie up. The commercial pins that I’ve used during
construction process, can now be replaced with custom taper pins,
with a better surface finish. And I don’t need to put the barrel arbor between
centers again, so that can be trimmed to final length, and
given a domed end. And finally, the register pins and the matching holes that were installed way back in episode 1 can be removed from the frames. I removed the pins by simply filing them flush
with the surface, but the tapered holes require a bit more work. Each tapered hole was drilled out to permit
a slightly more substantial pin, to be hammered in with a tight interference
fit. The pin was then lightly riveted, filed flush
with the surface of the frame, and then blended into the surrounding metal
with abrasive paper. Which brings me to the home stretch of this
build, and in fact the entire series: The final polish. Each brass component must be given the full
finishing treatment, starting with a medium grade abrasive paper,
and then working through the grits until all trace of the previous grit has been
removed. The paper can be used wet or dry, but I find
I get a much crisper result, and use a lot less paper, if I use it wet. It also helps to keep the cross contamination
between grits to a minimum. After each grit the tray can be emptied and
cleaned to start fresh on the next grit. And the polish is applied in a similar way
using small sections of soft cotton cloth. So after 23 episodes, and the fabrication of more than 100 separate components, this is it. The clock is finally ready for assembly. This has been an incredible project, and I want to thank you for being a part of it with me. Your comments, encouragement have been incredibly
motivating, and you’ve pushed me to go even further in
imagining what this channel can be. So be sure to keep an eye out for the next
project to follow this one, I guarantee you’re going to love it. Thanks for watching, I’ll see you later. And if you’ve just made your way into this
clockmaking series, thanks for checking it out. This is just one episode of a longer series, where I show all of the steps to make a mechanical
clock from raw metal stock, so be sure to check out those other videos. If you enjoyed this video and would like to
help me bring you more project videos like this one, then consider becoming a Clickspring Patron. As a patron of the channel you get access
to exclusive Patron only video content, free plans for the patron projects, and the chance to win the actual project at
the end of each build. Find out more by visiting And finally, if you’re looking for some new
projects for your lathe or mill, then take a moment to visit where you’ll find a range of plans available
for download, including plans for some of the tools I’ve
made to help me construct this clock. Thanks again for watching, I’ll catch you on the next video

Reader Comments

  1. this is 100% building a clock, from design, metallurgy, to the fabrication of tools & parts, prep work, assembly, narration, editing & the science of how it works. This is the best i have ever seen & most complete on a subject. Thanks for the journey & to many more.

  2. The components of this machine seemed far larger when he was assembling them, and that is a testament to the amount of detail he committed to this project. This is so tidy and glimmers. I'm glad I watched this entire series.

    What time is it?

  3. Chris , i have watched all your video's and your attention to detail is amazing , i really do envy you your patience , Amazing videos ,amazing skills .

  4. Honestly never been interested how clocks were made. But now after watching your videos I am. Started watching your videos at 7 am and it’s going past 9 pm haven’t been able to stop watching. Beautiful work and beautiful videos. Very inspirational. You’re a true craftsman.

  5. hi chris. I have been watching a lot of your videos for quite some time and really liked your work and patience. I needed some advice from you . I design and build small 3d printed clocks as a hobby . . In one of my clocks i used a balance spring to create a electomechanical motor. this one. . I later on changed it to oscilate 270 degrees rather than 10 degrees : but now i face a issue of the spring snaping in just one day of use and no kind of plastic withstands that abuse. So i started experimenting with metal wire springs. I used 0.4 mm after a lot of trials and got it to work .but the thing is that i cant find any material on how to properly wind a small spiral spring. Mostly now a days it is done on a cnc. BUt how do you do it manually ? It would be nice if you can guide me to some online guide as to how it is done properly using hand tools. thanks again .

  6. When I prepare some piece of engineering (Which i didn't modeled) to render in some 3d software, I add subtle irregularities, speckles, condensation, fingerprints and dust, to make it "look real", or not that sharp-flat-shiny-edgy. When you show your work, you file, true flat, clean and polish every single little corner. You are a source of inspiration.

  7. Just wanna say man you really living on my dream, I never had enough space to even get a pack of wood carving tool but I'm on it for next years and you with your videos was very good motivation for me to set my goal for years in future.

  8. I know I'm very late to this but the standard of your work is out of this world. You should get a job polishing mirrors for the latest telescopes!! Its funny but when I made the congreve clock I went the other way to make it look antique.

  9. Thank you for taking the time to 'film' all your work, but also for giving your insight and motivations for your methods. This series is truly inspirational and motivating for me and my hobbies and obsessions for creating and making anything mechanical and of high precision… On both the Macro and Micro Scale.

  10. Just incredible. Over two days, watched this series and now about to go back and look at the incidental extras like blueing and such. What you have done with this build is a true definition of art. Thank you so much for sharing it with the world. Amazing skill and presentation. And as mentioned in the comments, would love to see a few minutes of the clock in full view just ticking away. Then I realise I'm late to the party, and this was shot 3 years ago……

  11. I am an old architect, and have a special interest in longevity of materials, so please take what I say with a grain of salt. My projects are subjected to summer sun, winter cold, rain, sometimes ocean fog (salt), as well as bugs, mold, and long term structural deflection (sagging). So, over many decades of watching construction materials age, some badly, I have come to love glass, stainless steel, copper and brass (alloys). These do not rust and expand, mold, rot, or splinter, although some like copper and brass, turn brownish colors and other colors over the years. Especially if there is moisture around, or air pollution (acid rain, alkaline dust, ammonia fumes, salt air).

    I hope you put a clear epoxy coating over that brasswork after finishing. Although even that will eventually start to crack and peel. Otherwise the brass is going to tarnish and oxidize fairly quickly, and attract dust, unless it is inside some kind of glass dome. Although it looks like gold right now. I appreciate your enthusiasm and perfectionism for your hobby and don't mean to diminish it. But, high carbon steel shafts and pins will rust if you are not living in a completely dry environment year around. Sometimes leaving a room vacant for a few weeks can create moisture damage. Anyway, lets create heirlooms that last and do not require a lot of dusting to keep them beautiful and shiny. And while they don't have to survive being shipwrecked in salt water, surviving that would be an excellent test too!

  12. Absolutely gorgeous. It must feel amazing to assemble all those perfectly made and machined parts into the final product. Hats off!

  13. Just a spot of soap in your water will further extend the life of the paper as well as give a better finish due to the gradual degredation of the grit.

    Blessings in abundance:)

  14. This is an AMAZING level of craftsmanship and patience… Outstanding piece of art but If I was you I would have done a really intricate winding key then displayed it right in the front of the clock so people had something to touch and interact w/ instead of touching the clock¡! LoL 😁

  15. I just sat through this entire four-and-a-half hours of playlist for this clock. Best crafting videos I've seen in ages. You, sir, have yourself a subscriber.

  16. I see this video is almost 3yrs old. But I can only assume, that after this…

    You became a glass blowing expert, just to make a glass shell, to keep the dust off the clock. Obviously

  17. This.. this is so perfect looking at the end I thought for a second we were looking at your CAD model… SUBSCRIBED! And excited to watch the previous videos and next ones!

  18. Wow. You bring a fellow craftsman to the brink of tears. How was all this afforded? Surely it's not just spare time and days off work. Who payed the $30k+ to get this thing commissioned? I'd love to hear you kept this clock to cherish into old age. But with the hundred grand in shop equipment, several grand in materials and supplies, six months + in labor, and acute attention to fine detail at every step, is that even possible? How did you manage to afford all of this, including your time?! I didn't think this was even possible anymore, after the industrial revolution. You are a true craftsman. I aspire to be an apprentice to someone of your level of skill, one day, if such a person even still exists. Bravo.

  19. That was the best build i have ever seen and i really enjoyed watching every video of the series. You are doing an amazing job in multiple fields as the beautiful work of recording all the videos , editing them and of course crafting each peace precisely which obviously requires a lot of skill . Keep up the good work .

  20. Out of 27,066 ..only 66 disliked at this time…bro they only hatin because they cant do what you have done. Im sure i dont have to say that to you through.bravo my freind !looking forward to more videos

  21. Whenever I see a finished piece on this channel I never feel certain that it's real and not a superimposed CAD model

  22. These clicksping videos are just amazing. I'm watching this for the 3rd time and just can't get over how impressive this build is. I have so much respect for you and your craft

  23. Muy buen video ..como siempre nota 10….aporovecho de preguntar por una herramienta que Hace agujeros cuadrados cual es el nombre de ella? Saludos desde Latinoamérica

  24. Just finished binge-watching the clock project from start to end in a few days. You do phenomenal work! Watching you makes me want to get a small machine shop started in my house. By the way I found you from the video of the card press from Chris Ramsey. Cheers from the United States!

  25. Absolutely awe-inspiring, I've watched the whole series, the skills and methods involved are those of an artisan.
    How long did the project actually take?

  26. Очень понравилось! Спасибо. Отличная работа, супер точность и качество.

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