Clock Design & Manufacturing Projects

The most fulfilling aspect of being a clockmaker is being capable of actually designing and manufacturing a clock!  Not all clocks are accurate timekeepers and many suffer from poor design.  After working on thousands of mass-produced factory and hand-made clocks over the past decades I encountered many that amazed me because of their simplicity and efficient operation, and I have incorporated many of these innovations in the clocks I have designed and manufactured.   Below are the clocks that I found the time to design and manufacture while repairing and restoring your treasures.  Every screw, wheel, and part was turned on a lathe, a milling machine, or was hand-cut with a jeweler’s saw, with the exception of the cables or mainsprings.  Each has been entered for competition with the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors during their annual conventions, and each has walked away as a winner!   Click on the pix for a page that shows them during the various stages of manufacture.  Enjoy!

This is an 8-day, time only “skeleton” clock.  It is powered by a mainspring and has a recoil escapement.  It competed during the 2017 NAWCC National Convention and placed 3rd in the “Metal Single Train” category.

This 8-day long case clock incorporates a sweep-seconds hand as well as a calendar function.  I designed and made the movement, hands, and dial, but the case was made by a Menonite wood worker to my specifications.  The dial was painted by a professional dial restorer in Columbia,SC in accordance with my “SC Lowcountry “ theme.  It competed during the 2010 NAWCC National Convention and placed 3rd in the “Metal Multiple Train” category.

This is an 8-day, triple-fusee, mainspring driven, musical or quarterly chiming clock movement with maintaining power (secondary power is applied to keep the clock running normally during re-winding).  It also incorporates a center hand calendar function.  It can be switched between quarterly chiming a Westminster or Whittington tune or an hourly song playing the Marines Hymn.  Both are sounded by a music drum on nested bells. After chiming or playing the Hymn, the clock strikes the hours on a cathedral coiled gong.  The hands are controlled by a “daisywheel” motion works — an obscure design that doesn’t actually use toothed wheels to operate the hands.    This clock placed First during the 2018 National Convention competition, during which there were numerous international entries.  The Italian clockmaker from Naples travelled a long way just to go home in 2nd place!

This is another example of a skeleton clock that I designed and made incorporating very large wheels.  It is also a mainspring and fusee driven 8-day clock that has maintaining power and a “passing bell “ strike on the hours (the clock will strike the bell one time on each hour).  The great wheel on this clock has 270 teeth — the difficult part of making this is that the distance from center for each tooth must be within thousands of an inch to mate properly with the next wheels teeth.  I always wanted to make a great wheel clock because of the challenge.  Making skeleton clocks is more difficult in itself because every existing flaw is visible to the discerning eye — not to mention they are prettier to look at than a wood-cased clock!  This clock came in First Place  during the 2019 National Convention competition in the Metal Train Experimental Class.  It placed Second in the Metal Single Train category.  In the Experimental category you have to not only make the entire movement, but you have to design it as well.  In the other categories competitors make the entire clock, but they can make them following already published designs (blueprints).

These are my three “Christmas Clocks.”  Two I made for my daughters and the third was for my shop.  They are 8-day spring driven movements that use a “floating balance” mechanism instead of a conventional pendulum.  Each has a differently themed dial and has a different type wood case.  I designed and made the simple movements, but used a commercial balance mechanism instead of a pendulum.  These were not entered in any competition.


I intended to compete once again during the 2022 NAWCC National Convention’s Craft Competition which was held in Dayton, Ohio this summer, but my shop backlog kept me from completing it in time for entry.  Maybe in 2023!  It is another double fusee “skeleton” clock that will strike the hours on a fine bell.   Its design is unique because it will use a “Coup Perdu” (lost beat) escapement to make it tick and which will allow the incorporation of a sweep seconds hand.  Click on the link to see the on-going process . . .


Yet Another New Project !

I  decided to also get started on a project I’ve been wanting too make for quite a while.  It is a Congreve Rolling Ball Clock that operates by using a large ball bearing to roll back and forth on a channeled tray to control the rate of the clock.   This will be the first time I have followed another clockmaker’s plans for a clock!  I’ll follow the plans . . .sort of. . . for just the ball tray, but will use one of my own clock designs for operation.

Click on the link to see the on-going process . . .