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First clock suggestions

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Jim C26/03/2016 15:50:45
64 forum posts
4 photos

Hi all. I am looking for some suggestions for building my first clock. Recently in EIM there has been a build feature on a regulator clock which I have be following but I am thinking that I might be biting off a bit more than I can chew so to speak. So any suggestions for a reasonably straightforward clock would be welcomed. I do not have a mill in the workshop at present but the requirements of a suitable clock design may encourage me to take the plunge and sort one out. Many thanks in anticipation... J

Stephen Benson26/03/2016 16:41:31
201 forum posts
68 photos

Loads possibilities quite few here


Steve G Conover has a couple both for beginner but if you want to work in metric then that narrows the field considerably Colin Thorne has some great designs for the beginner in metric most only require a lathe and pillar drill however a mill would speed things up and make wheel cutting easy

NJH26/03/2016 16:46:33
2314 forum posts
139 photos

How to Make a Weight Driven 8 day Wall Clock by John Wilding FBHI

There is a very comprehensive book available from RiteTime Publishing which gives all necessary details for construction.

I started one of these some time ago and have made all the parts - quite straightforward and something a bit different. ( Working in brass is very rewarding and looks great when polished!) I intended to make a wooden long case for this clock when finished........ then we moved house. This is a modern place and the ceilings are not high enough for the clock! All the bits are in a drawer in case we move again.

I should say that we don't NEED a clock and a more accurate timepiece may be available from the pound shop - but a ticking clock is companiable and it was rewarding to make the bits.

Have a look at Rite Time Publishing's site **LINK** and see if you can find a design to suite.

Good luck!


Philip Rowe26/03/2016 17:02:13
181 forum posts
14 photos

Back in the early to mid eighties there was a series of articles in EIM called a Beginner's Clock, I can't remember the author but it was a simple clock requiring one cutter .6mod I think and the escape wheel (a Brocot escapement) was cut using a slitting saw in the lathe. To be honest it wasn't a very attractive looking clock, just plain plates and a circular face and it was left to the individual to finish to taste. I modified the design of the plates to make it more apealing and turned it into a skeleton clock with a glass dome to cover it. It still has a pride of place in my lounge although to be fair I don't run it that often because it is rather noisy.

I will try and dig out the dates of the articles tomorrow and take a photo.


Mike Crossfield26/03/2016 19:53:36
212 forum posts
19 photos


5 years ago I was looking for a first clock, and chose Colin Thorne's Skeleton timepiece. It was enjoyable and pretty straightforward to make..It looks very good under it's glass dome, and keeps time to about 2 minutes a week. You can buy the basic plans quite cheaply, but it helps a lot to also buy Coiin's book on clockmaking for model engineers.


John Haine26/03/2016 20:48:07
3076 forum posts
162 photos

First clock I'm building is Woodward's Gearless Clock. Book and materials available from John Wilding I think, though I'm building it from a series of articles in Horological Journal adapted to materials I have in stock.

Harold Hall 126/03/2016 21:10:09
418 forum posts
4 photos

My one and only clock was to a design by John Parslow being publishe in the ME magazine starting in issue 4322 and was in around six alternate issues. If you are interested then it can be seen here .


roy entwistle26/03/2016 22:26:50
1172 forum posts

Re the regulator clock being serialised in EIM I fail to see how a clock having a 60 tooth escape wheel and a one second pendulum can work The escape wheel will take two minutes to rotate once I had intended to bring this to the authors attention but as yet have not done so I can recommend Arthur Timmins Long Case Clock The beginners clock referred to was by Elliot Issacs and is quite an easy clock to build

julian atkins26/03/2016 22:36:51
1235 forum posts
353 photos


Did you mean Alan Timmins?

Alan's 8 day dial clock was described fully very early in EIM, plus there was an excellent book on it that I believe TEE still publish. Alan also did a Regulator clock. He also described a very clever set up and table for doing gear cutting.

For a beginner, a weight driven clock will be much simpler than a spring driven clock. I have messed about with various clocks for years and repaired quite a few. I have an 1826 Longcase clock in a rather nice original mahoghany case of 'south west' design, made just a few miles from where I live. The mechanism is standard of the period and not what I would say as 'precision' but it keeps time to within 5 seconds a week.



Edited By julian atkins on 26/03/2016 22:42:15

duncan webster26/03/2016 23:01:58
2585 forum posts
33 photos

as I've not seen the EIM article I might be talking complete rubbish (no change there I hear you say), but as long as it doesn't have a seconds hand I see no reason why 60t escapement and 1 second pendulum won't work. If you want a seconds hand you'll just have to accept it takes 2 minutes to do a full rev..

My pendulum clock has an electrically maintained 3/4 second free pendulum, with some elecronics (PIC but would be Arduino if I did it again) to monitor the swing and miss out impulses if it gets too big. The electronics counts to 45 then outputs a pulse to a Gents slave clock. I've also made a slave clock, only 6 gears and a stepper motor. As an introduction to clock making it's worth a thought. It doesn't keep brilliant time as it has a steel pendulum. The original idea was to have a small heater in the case and keep the temperature constant, but my wood butchering skills were not up to having a draughtproof case. If I did another I'll use a wooden pendulum. The basic design of the ME Jubilee clock couod be altered to work on this principle.

In the unlikely event that anyone wants further details I'll post some pictures

Edited By duncan webster on 26/03/2016 23:02:22

John Haine26/03/2016 23:31:41
3076 forum posts
162 photos

Roy, horological term of art, a one second pendulum swings one way in each second and has a period of 2 seconds, so frequency is .5 Hz. Each swing the escapement releases a tooth of the scape wheel so it rotates once per minute.

Ajohnw27/03/2016 00:23:07
3631 forum posts
160 photos

There are a number of designs on this site


I think there is also a book around with a few designs in it.

Simple seems to mean either simple for a model engineer and even simpler for people with little experience.

if you go down the plans rather than book route this site may be of interest but it is based around building a clock using pieces from a movement.




duncan webster27/03/2016 02:06:50
2585 forum posts
33 photos

Told you I was talking rubbish. I'm so used to thinking electric clocks that I forgot an escapement clock releases the wheel once every swing, twice every cycle.

If you want an escapement type you can have an electric rewind so that you don't need as many gears between the driving weight/spring and the escape wheel. I've been toying with the idea of having a remontoire on the escape wheel shaft driven by a stepper on the same axis, or geared to it to account for most small steppers being 48 steps/rev

Sam Stones27/03/2016 03:42:02
739 forum posts
296 photos

Hi Jim,

To add to the wealth of comments above, I was in a similar boat to you back in ’72, and only had a Myford ML7 lathe and a few tools. Without wanting to push my own barrow too much, I submitted an article commencing with #4526 of M.E.

The article describes building John Stevens skeleton clock with (English) lever escapement. His drawings appeared in February ’72 commencing with Vol 138, issues 3434, 3435, 3437, 3438, & 3439, so maybe too far out of date for your purposes.

I have to say too, that there are many who regularly visit this site who have a wealth of experience in this subject, and have been a tremendous help to me. That could be your safety net if you needed one.

Clearly, you will have a few reasons for building a clock, so my questions include -

  1. Where are your greatest skills, in metalwork or woodwork or electronics or even all three?
  2. Do you want to show off your skills?
  3. Will the clock be something to leave for future generations?
  4. Will it be largely ornamental?
  5. Which parts of your work will be visible?
  6. Will you want it to be accurate?
  7. Will you be inventing your own version?
  8. What materials are readily ackessible?

The animation of a clock and its mechanism can be quite captivating.

I can see from your forum posts that you have the necessary skills, so maybe some of those questions are irrelevant.

I’ll leave it there.


Sam (aka Dennis)

Sam Stones27/03/2016 03:46:10
739 forum posts
296 photos

I was kicked off before completing my edit


Jim C27/03/2016 09:23:56
64 forum posts
4 photos

Gents. Thanks to you all, too numerous to name. You have provided me with a wealth of information with many great suggestion.

I need to do a bit of research now into those ideas. Many many thanks to you all. Cheers, Jim.

roy entwistle27/03/2016 09:29:57
1172 forum posts

John Haine All the long case clocks that I have come across in the last 60 odd years including the four I have built myself have had a 30 tooth escape wheel and a one second pendulum    Each tooth of the scape wheel is locked by the inlet pallet and the exit pallet so that a 30 tooth wheel revolves once in 60 seconds

Edited By roy entwistle on 27/03/2016 09:40:38

Russell Eberhardt27/03/2016 12:03:57
2577 forum posts
85 photos

There may be some confusion because in horological terms a one second pendulum has a two second period. That confused me at first.


roy entwistle27/03/2016 12:52:59
1172 forum posts

Russell Think of it as releasing 1/2 tooth every swing

James Alford27/03/2016 21:40:37
377 forum posts
73 photos


I also wish to build a clock and bought a set of plans for this clock.




They are clear, detailed and at £20.00, affordable.


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