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Jonzjob

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Wooden clock 2012.

Edited version as I hit the wrong button part way through posting :eek::eek: Silly boy!

A year or so back I decided that I would like to make a wooden clock. Not one with brass rods, bearings or the like, but apart from the main weight and pendulum weight, completely out of wood.

From what I have read on various forums a lot of people make clocks and a lot of them use CNC computer controlled kit to make the gearing, etc. This is something that 1) I don't have computer controlled kit and 2) even if I did what is the point of doing so? For me it has been a project to see if I can make it and not of some programmer miles from me and use his program to make it for me. So, although I use a lot of machines, they are controlled by me and the cutting and shaping is down to my accuracy. Much more difficult, but so much more satisfying.

I started looking around and finally found the style that I liked. An oversized pocket watch. 13” diameter. Some pocket! I bought and downloaded the plans. The drawings had to be printed off to the correct sizes for the gear wheels. This done I started looking at what wood I had. I didn't really want to start looking around and buying it if it were already here.

I have some nice beech and decided that as the gears are all just 6mm thick it would be much better if I made them in 2 ply.

Wooden clock 1.jpg

So each gear blank was made from 2 pieces of beech, about 4mm thick glued together with the grain 90º opposed.

Wooden clock 2.jpg

The blanks were turned between centres using my Steb drive and a live cone tailstock. Not so difficult as it sounds.

Wooden clock 1-04.JPG


When the gears were turned I made a small depth gauge to go onto my bandsaw. Just a piece of wood with a small slot cut into it and clamped behind the saw blade to regulate the cut. Very simple, but very effective. The paper guide made sure the teeth are where they should be. The paper plan was very slightly smaller so I very carefully measured the depth on the gear teeth and cut to that.

Wooden clock 1-06.JPG


The spokes were then cut on the scroll saw and I now had a slack handful of nearly finished gears.

Wooden clock 1-07.JPG


Next is to file the actual shape of the teeth, because if they are left as a straight cut they bind together and the gears stick. The escapement wheel was fun and was marked very carefully and the periphery drilled to make the funny shaped teeth. First they were drilled using a Forstner bit to give a nice clean hole. Then cut and filed to shape

Wooden clock 1-03.JPG


The ratchet for the winding spool was good fun too with it being so fine!

b ratchet gear 1.jpg


I seemed to finish up with a lot of gears?

b gears 2.jpg


All of the shafts were turned from scraps of elm and hopefully they will stay straight. I also cut the front and rear gear frames from 6mm ply, sanded to 400 grit and cellulose sanding sealer. They were cut with my scroll saw. I knew that French ply is not very good so I opted for 'marine ply'.

I wondered how I was going to do the hands and eventually I had the idea of turning them too. That way I would have the correct boss to mount them. I did this by mounting them between centres with a piece of wood behind them so that when I turned them the thin 'hand' would be supported. If you imagine the photo of the disk mounted between centres above, but with the 'hand' mounted on the face. It worked very well. The hand shape was then cut on my scroll saw.

b minute hand.jpg


I had a long think about the case as I didn't have anything nearly big enough to turn it in one piece. I was quite nervous about segmenting it as I have never done it before, but I had some nice ash so what the hell! I did a small practice piece in pine to get the angle right for cutting the ash and I made up a sanding jig to fit on the lathe. This was used to fine tune the angles. I finished up with a rough looking hexagon, bit the bullet and glued it together. The good old ratchet strap came into service to clamp it up.

IMG_7036.JPG


How to mount it? I cut some MDF slightly bigger than the hex and carefully centred it and bolted to a faceplate, I thought nuts and bolts were stronger than screws. The hex of ash was also centred onto the chipboard .6 sp

Wooden clock 1-26.JPG


Lots of hot glue to stick it to the board and the whole thing turned to round, inside and out. A recess was turned to fit the rear gear bearing frame and then sanded to 400 grit. The 'round' was very carefully levered clear of the chip board and a recess was turned on the edge of the chip board to make a good interference fit for the recess on the clock case. This was now hot glued back onto the chip board so that I could finish off the other face of the case. It lined up perfectly and the trick worked.

The same procedure was carried out on the clock face of cutting, gluing, mounting on the same chip board with hot glue and turned the inside and out to round. I made the facing side of the wood the inside and turned it to form a ridge that had a clearance fit over the front gear bearing frame. Then VERY carefully levered it free of the chip board. Then I turned another recess in the chip to except the ridge and hot glue mounted it with the front face outwards and turned the outside of the face.

No photos of this.. Sanded to 400 grit. A couple of coats of cellulose sanding sealer were put on both the case and face and the face was buffed on my Beale system.

c clock case & face.jpg


The numbers were pyrographed onto the face. That was quite amusing. I took a figure set off of the internet and printed it out the correct size and bluetacked it to the wood ready to copy it and pyrograph. It didn't look right? I sat there and pondered for ages until it finally dawned on me that instead of XII there was XXI !!!! I'm glad that I spotted that before I started the pyrography!

c clock face 2.jpg


Pieces like the top button and handle were turned, or cut and sanded at odd times while I was waiting for other things, like glue drying. The top button is spalted platan (plane)

c clock case with top.jpg


The plan shows a shaft right through the button, but I turned 2 round topped pins instead

Turning the spindle for the pendulum was fun. About a foot long by 6mm diameter. The plan shows that the bottom couple of inches are threaded brass, to adjust the pendulum swing. It just says glue the brass rod onto the wood? I had a long think about it and had an idea that if the brass rod was turned down to 5mm along with about 1/2” of the wooden spindle they could be joined with a piece of 6mm brass tubing. I made a small pinch chuck to hold the 2 1/2” long threaded rod, mounted it in the centre of the smallest O'Donnel jaws and centred it by gently whacking it with a soft face hammer! Then turned it down with a TCT bit in my multi head scraper. It worked a treat and the wood/tube/threaded rod all line up perfectly.. A thread was cut onto the brass rod so that the pendulum can be adjusted to, hopefully, to make the clock accurate?

The ratchet mechanism for winding the weight back up was carefully cut, filed and sanded from a piece of ash and, to my surprise, operated correctly at the first try

IMG_7711.JPG


Bite the bullet time came and I had to start to put things together starting with the rear frame, glued into the rear recess.

IMG_1107.JPG


Making the wall bracket was fun and required some very careful routing so as not to give myself a manicure! I made the part of the bracket that the 2 spigots fit into slightly wider than the plan because I thought it would be stronger.

It came as a bit of a shock! I have just realised that I started this project almost 4 ½ years ago. I think that I got to the stage of putting it all together and chickened out! Not to worry. It has all been sitting patiently waiting for me each time I have gone into my workshop and the wait now seems to be over.

One of the difficulties I'm having is getting hold of some lead. I want to cast some for the pendulum and then encase it in a wooden outer. The same with the main weight. I have to admit that I haven't been looking very hard. I e-mailed Brian Law of Woodenclocks.co.uk and asked him what the weight of the main weight would be? He said that he uses a 2lt bottle of water and adjusts it to suit!! Simple but very cleaver.

I have been fine tuning the clock to get it to rum smoothly and realised that the shafts I had made left too much slop on the gear wheels. I had the idea that if they were slightly loose on the shafts instead of tight as Brian says then they would adjust themselves as the clock ran, but not so so I have now turned a new set of them. They had to be turned and fitted very carefully as although the gears have to be tight on the central shaft the large gear connected to the winding ratchet has to be tight enough to stay put in position on the shaft but loose enough to let the shaft rotate in it to be able to change the time using the minute hand?? As Brucie-baby would say “good game, good game” I have put a small collar on the shaft to stop it moving along, but it has to be quite thin because of the escapement wheel being so close to the shaft and gear.

So far, on the escapement mechanism I'm on the 4th ratchet arm! Luckily enough they are easy to make, it's getting it right that's the difficulty. The measurements have to be very accurate, so do the angles and I'm glad that I have a set of small diamond files. I have also found that although the clock will run OK, even quite well, if I put some turning pressure on the 3rd gear it will not run when the weight of a1.5 ltr bottle of water is on the pulley cord. I don't really want to increase the weight too much because that puts a great deal of strain on the centre shaft. So I am making a 'collar' to fit over the pulley and increased the diameter of it and when the glue has dried (it's necessary to turn the collar to fit then break it in ½ to fit it over the original) I will try again?

The hinge for the face was good fun? And I had played with the idea using one about twice the size to see how it worked? Then bit the bullet again and tried one the correct size. I quite like the result. The pin doesn't quite reach the bottom and it allowed me to put a very short pin in the bottom with an end cap on it.

Wooden clock hinge 1.jpg


Wooden clock hinge 2.jpg


At the moment I can't get the clock to run properly on the weight alone and it will only run with some light pressure on the 3rd gear. I decided that a heavier weight wasn't an option because of the extra weight on the shaft and causing more friction there. So I have made a collar with a 2” diameter to go over the original spool. This was turned, split and glued in place. If necessary it van be removed. It still needs a slight pressure on that 3rd gear though. I will strip it yet again and put a tiny bit of candle wax on the spindles of all of the gears.

31st May 2017.

We are in the throws of trying to sell our house here in France and so the clock has been put on the back for a little while, but one of the things I have been thinking of is to go away from the weight driven idea and go to a spring to drive the clock. I tried the larger diameter weight pulley and it was still lacking, plus if I wanted it to run for more than a few hours it would have to be mounted high in the air to have enough drop for the weight. So if I want my clock to run and not wear the central shaft very quickly with an enormous weight a spring looks to be the answer. I will see if I can find one suitable? If I can find one then the mounting may well be fairly simple and not need very much modification?

I needed a box of some kind to transport the clock in for our move, so I made one from a pine frame and some white faced thin MDF. Not a pretty thing but with a mount in the box the same as the wall mount it holds the clock solidly. So that is one worry out of the way?

Thinking back on the project? If I were to make another one then I would make the outer case about 1/4” deeper than it is on the plan. This would allow a little more room for the mounting of the gear train. As it is it's very tight in there!

Wooden clock assembled 1.jpg


Wooden clock assembled 2.jpg


I now have plenty of lead from our garage roof, when it was knocked down, 'onest and I have also got a spring and turned the box for it. Before I 'release' the spring into the box I want to find out if it's the correct size box because once it's in there it will be next to impossible to get the dammed thing out again me-thinks!

I hope that you can understand my rantings. It's been a long treck and a very interesting one with lots of challenges, but all in all I have really enjoyed it. But believe you me it's a one off!
 
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AES

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Looks really great to me Jon. Well done Sir! (I'm STILL fiddling with that MG Midget kiddies pedal car - if you remember that - so I very WELL understand that your clock is a one off)!

But great patient, very good-looking work. 👍 👍

A P.S. If I may? What "steps" have you taken re reducing the effect of expansion/contraction of the gears and axles please (humidity, house heat, sunlight, etc)?
 

J-G

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That’s an interesting write-up John, though the first thing that I should point out is that not all people who use CNC facilities to create clocks (or anything else for that matter) rely upon “...programmer miles from me and use his program to make it ...”.

In my case, all the design work, drawings, creation of G-Code - some even hand coded rather than created by CamBam - manufacture of all jigs and fixtures etc. are being done by me personally, I agree that hand cutting gears is more difficult than allowing a machine to do the work but I question the statement that it is more satisfying than taking an idea from a thought to creation :)

Using CNC via personally created original drawings - down to the precise tooth form - allows me to control the amount of clearance between the gear-teeth to make sure that there is no ‘binding’ even if there are size changes due to humidity and suchlike.
 

Jonzjob

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Thank you folks and AES, I bought in the well know knowledge of the adiabatic expansion of wood differentials and the plus/minus variables of the humidity and guessed ?

i.e. if it's damp the gear wheels do tend to warp very slightly, though not enough to cause problems unless we have a flood? But the expansion doesn't really come into it as the gears are only about 4' diameter.

Mark, as ex R.A.F. you should have boat loads of patience with things, I have. It's the people type things that get up my nose at times :eek::eek: I have to admit that I do have a lot of patience with wood. That's why I am building this and i have no idea why it will not show the photo?? It should have shown a part finished DFS Habicht 1936 German glider, 1/4 scale.



J-G when I mentioned CNC it was just a personal thought about myself and not a dig at you or anyone. I apologise of that is how it sounded. and as I said I don't posses one and even if I did I wouldn't have the first idea of how to use it. The last and only time I have ever done any programming was about 1976 when I was on my basic course after joining IBM as a mainframe hardware service engineer and had to compile a JCL for a small test job.
 

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AES

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If I may, I'd like to join in a bit about "to CNC/not CNC" points raised above.

As a self-professed computer klutz of the first order (maybe "last order"?) I can't see me ever having the knowledge and skills to do CNC work myself. But that's a purely personal decision, and as a bloke possessing at least a modicum of intelligence (???) I know that IF I could be bothered, if someone else has taken the trouble to learn the necessary coding, etc, etc, skills, then surely, so could I? But I CHOOSE not to - it just doesn't "turn me on"!

So IF I ever make such a clock (in wood or metal) it will be "by hand". BUT that's my personal choice, nothing more.

In the past I've seen quite active discussions on a model engineering Forum discussing the same points as the above - some saying it destroys whatever level of craftsmanship one can bring to such a project while others say - as an example of just one side of the other argument - "If I don't use CNC I'll never finish project X in my lifetime!" "AND it needs just as much skill anyway".

While all these points are "valid", IMO it depends entirely on the individual. I can quite see that to do all the programming yourself to make a CNC item definitely needs that person to possess a skill set - maybe an entirely different skill set to filing a piece of metal or planing a piece of wood flat and square certainly - but a definite skill set just the same.

SO IMO, to use CNC (in a HOBBY setting) is entirely a matter of personal choice, plus a capability to invest a sum of money. Some will happily do that, others (like me) will shudder at the thought!

But hats off to ANYONE who produces a project like "Jonsclock", however they've done it using whatever "tools" (in the broadest sense). Personally I see it as no different to someone who - purely for example - invests in, say, a planer/thicknesser versus someone else who says "I ONLY plane my wood by hand".

In short, "each to his own" and all that, and as above, hats off to Jonzjob for his (handmade) clock, AND hands off to JG for his (CNC) clock (see another thread elsewhere).
 

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Very valid points AES - and thanks for your kind comments -- I agree that it's a matter of using whatever 'Skill Set' turns you on.

As it happens, I was very fortunate as a school-leaver to secure one of the finest apprenticeships available at Coventry Gauge and Tool (Matrix) -- I'm sure many will recognize the name -- so learned how to manipulate metal and always had an interest in wooden items due to my father's influence.

This means that I treat wood just as I would metal or industrial plastic - it's just a 'material' - so using a Milling Machine, Lathe, Router Table, Thicknesser just make the 'sizing' more predictable -- for ME -- Yes, there are occasions when I use wood chisels, hand saws etc. but there are also times when I use a Jeweller's file or saw by hand. It just depends on what the job demands.

The CNC opportunity came up when I saw a S/H Denford MicroCompact Router available in June this year and the Clock became a project to learn how to use that after I'd done the initial drilling a few holes in a grid :)
 
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J-G

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J-G when I mentioned CNC it was just a personal thought about myself and not a dig at you or anyone. I apologise of that is how it sounded. and as I said I don't posses one and even if I did I wouldn't have the first idea of how to use it. The last and only time I have ever done any programming was about 1976 when I was on my basic course after joining IBM as a mainframe hardware service engineer and had to compile a JCL for a small test job.
I did vacillate over responding since I didn't really think that you were 'having a dig' but eventually thought that my thoughts would be relevant - so no apology needed. You stopped programming before I even started! but I still do some in Pascal and I must say that G-Code is a damn site easier! It really is 'Go to XYZ, start, move to X1,Y1,Z1' repeat using new XYZ. :)
 

Jonzjob

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Pascal was after I did mine. Mine was done in Assembler and after the basic course, 3 months solid an a graduation course, I could also add, subtract, multiply and divide in hexidecimal! I have trouble doing all that now in decimal :oops: :rolleyes:
 

Yojevol

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This has been transferred from its previous location in @J-G thread. Thanks to @MikeK for facilitating this.

Wow, is that your first clock? If so you've certainly jumped in at the deep end.
I just managed to read Brian Law's name on the drawing and have had a look round his site. Very impressive.
Re. your gear cutting pic, it appears that you have only cut halfway down the tooth depth. Is that right?
Brian
 

AES

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@Jonzjob: Sorry mate, I forgot to say in a previous post, that's a VERY nice Habich you've built, well done again. 👍 Seeing where you've moved to and knowing where you moved from, I guess slope soaring (I can't can't believe you'd go for power tugging) over the White Horse is not quite the same as slope soaring over those big sand dunes (YOU know, the ones with a nudist beach just beside). ;) Rather different weather too.
 

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Thank you Rorton. Like all of us, I love to show what I do, when it goes right :oops:

I have to admit that I like things to do with clocks. This is a watch I decided to have a crack at. I didn't 'do' this movement. I couldn't fathom out how to turn the battery? :cautious::cautious:

It stands on a surface

Big watch 3.jpg


Or hangs on a wall

Big watch 4 2.jpg


And there's a fair number of bits in this one too

Big watch 1.jpg


Oh yes, and it fits on my wrist too. A real one up on yer neighbours?

One of my favourites is this little 'moon clock'

Moon clock 2.jpg


The same size clock insert as the 'wrist watch', 2 3/4". The frame used to be a TV stand in oak. Waste not, etc.

Unfortunately AES, there was very little in the way of slope sites where we were near Carcassonne. The nearest being about 40 miles away near Basin St Ferriol and the club didn't tend to be very friendly. But now I am back in my old club SCSA South Cotswold Soaring Association and flying on the slopes around stroud, SCSA

In fact that's me in the photo with 4 blokes looking outwards. I am on the left having just launched my Mini Bird, 5' traditional glider. Click on it to enlarge it.
 

AES

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Thank you Rorton. Like all of us, I love to show what I do, when it goes right :oops:

I have to admit that I like things to do with clocks. This is a watch I decided to have a crack at. I didn't 'do' this movement. I couldn't fathom out how to turn the battery? :cautious::cautious:

It stands on a surface

View attachment 93920

Or hangs on a wall

View attachment 93921

And there's a fair number of bits in this one too

View attachment 93922

Oh yes, and it fits on my wrist too. A real one up on yer neighbours?

One of my favourites is this little 'moon clock'

View attachment 93923

The same size clock insert as the 'wrist watch', 2 3/4". The frame used to be a TV stand in oak. Waste not, etc.

Unfortunately AES, there was very little in the way of slope sites where we were near Carcassonne. The nearest being about 40 miles away near Basin St Ferriol and the club didn't tend to be very friendly. But now I am back in my old club SCSA South Cotswold Soaring Association and flying on the slopes around stroud, SCSA

In fact that's me in the photo with 4 blokes looking outwards. I am on the left having just launched my Mini Bird, 5' traditional glider. Click on it to enlarge it.
 

AES

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Nice pic (the glider) JJ. I do like the moon clock too. BUT you're NOT going to tell us that the watch has wooden gears too are you!? :)
 

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It seems that we may have been separated at birth John :unsure:

but when I made my [Watch] I used a whole Goat Skin for the strap rather than making it from wood.

This wasn't done using CNC of course!
 

Jonzjob

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You may well be right J-G? That watch of yours is fantastic mate!

OK, there's now a naked goiat wandering around but what is the rest made from?

Belay that last request. I broke one of my life long regimens and read the instructions below.

It's a bit bigger than mine init, Big time!
 
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