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My first adventure into building a wooden wheeled clock was this Thomas Grandfather clock with Laser cut gears.  Even though I didn’t cut the gears I was totally amazed that I could actually build this clock and have it run.  The weight for this unit is 12 pounds and is on a four pulley system, which means the clock is driven by 3 pounds.  It was certainly fun to make and encouraged me to try another and so on and so on.


The finished Thomas Grandfather Clock focused on keeping everything as visible as possible.  The housing is built of oak the corners were biscuit jointed and kept as simple as possible.  I am very pleased with the final product.

All the arbors are wooden and cut from hardware store doweling.  I found it somewhat difficult to get doweling that is round.  Most doweling is “pushed” through a die and doesn’t come out round.

The plates are black walnut with the pivots simply being drilled into the plate with no bushings.  There are only two wheels before the escape wheel which is club footed.  I like the club footed escape because it removes the worry about the delicate tips that are the usual concern for the escape wheel

I wanted to put a lyre on the pendulum for appearance sake only and I like the effect.  The face of the clock has no numbers and has been kept as unobtrusive as possible.

The clock is wound with a crank and runs about 30 hours on a winding.   Since the cord layers itself on the drum the actual power supplied to the gear train is not constant.  I have the weight adjusted so that it stalls on the last layer on the drum.  I do this to keep the weight to a absolute minimum.

I found that the click mechanism on the original was really very loud and so I replaced those click with these gravity ones that fall almost noisely into place when winding.  This was done ofter 10 years of the clock running.

The other major change was to replace the 1/8” chord on the weight system with 30 pound test backing line normally used for fishing reels.  The chord now very rarely binds and the clock is much more reliable (2017).  

Now stationed in the living room beside the fireplace the Thomas is as faithful and reliable as this type of clock should be.

I love it!