Technique

gearcutting1

The Gear-Cutting Operation

My experience as a woodworker certainly helped me when I initially decided to make clocks, but it turned out that I had to learn how to be a machinist as well. I found out that to build a good running clock, the movements' components (like the gears) had to be cut very accurately to within a couple thousanths of an inch.

 

 

This level of accuracy was much greater than anything I had worked with previously or that I could hope to achieve with the tools I had at my disposal.
for this reason it became necessary for me to invest in metal working machinery and to learn metalworking as well. The only difference being that I use the machinery to cut wood rather than metal.

 

 

I strive to build my clocks with as few non-wood parts as possible. When I initially began to design them, however, I realized that it would be impossible to create them, or insure any kind of accuracy without the inclusion of some metal bearings and a few nylon sleeves for the moving parts. I prefer to have the clocks I make consist of as much wood as possible and so, whenever or where-ever possible I try to find wooden alternatives to those non-wood parts.

 

 

Most of the clock's parts are made in batches. For instance, I will set up the mill to make 20 of one kind of gear at a time. This work can get a little boring but it's much more efficient. I have also built jigs to increase the consistency of my accuracy and to increase the speed of production.

 

 

I then make each clock individually, this is the fun part! I also enjoy figuring out new ways to improve components and the methods used to make them. Recently I designed wooden pulleys, which are now on all of my clocks rather than the common hardware store metal type.

 

 

Probably the most important (and the most fun) part of making clocks is the process of finding the unique pieces of wood that provide me with the inspiration I need to make the individual clock designs. This is the reason that all of these clocks are so different. And it's also the reason that I can never exactly duplicate anything that I make. As I am making these clocks I realize that I will never find another piece of wood like the one on which I am currently working.

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