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Beginners first simple clock kit / plans

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Chris machin23/01/2012 08:13:02
59 forum posts
Hi All ,
New to model engineering but am looking for a simple clock plan to build as a first project. Anyone got any advice / links e.t..c to suitable builds or websites ?
Any help appreciated,
Russell Eberhardt23/01/2012 10:19:37
2751 forum posts
86 photos
Hi Chris,
It depends on your skill level. Some of the clocks intended for beginners by John Wilding are good and have pretty detailed instructions in his ME articles (reprinted as books).  Have a look at Ian Cobb's website here for the books and materials and, if you need them, pre-cut wheels.
I have just started John Parslow's 15-day Skeleton Clock which was described in ME as a simple beginner's clock and serialised in ME in 2008. Have a look at it on Digital Editions if you are a subscriber. However, although it is described as a beginner's clock, the building instructions assume quite a bit of knowledge and there are qute a few errors.

Edited By russell eberhardt on 23/01/2012 10:23:03

Edited By russell eberhardt on 23/01/2012 10:23:28

Tony Jeffree24/01/2012 09:59:20
500 forum posts
13 photos
Posted by Chris Machin 1 on 23/01/2012 08:13:02:
Hi All ,
New to model engineering but am looking for a simple clock plan to build as a first project. Anyone got any advice / links e.t..c to suitable builds or websites ?
Any help appreciated,
Hi Chris -
The only clock that I have made so far is the John Wilding 3/4 second pendulum clock. This is pretty simple to make, and requires only one Thorntons gear cutter to make the wheels/pinions. Being electrically driven the parts count is also low, so is an easy clock to tackle for a beginner. There are a few traps for the unwary - I documented the ones I found in ME & the article is on my wbsite here:
I also wrote up my case design for that clock, and how I engraved the chapter ring - see:

I have found that the clock keeps pretty good time and is reiable; however, it is worth paying particular attention to the construction of the "trigger" parts and the ratchet/gathering pawl to make sure that these can move freely under all conditions - not surprsingly you can get some curious behaviours if the count wheel isn't reliably being advanced every beat.

Good luck -

Ian S C24/01/2012 10:36:25
7468 forum posts
230 photos
I,v never built a clock, but at one time I thought I might make the one with wooden frame, and gears thats in Popular Mechanics from back in the 1960s, I think it could be made without even a lathe. Is it worth trying? Ian S C
Bazyle24/01/2012 14:00:47
6382 forum posts
222 photos
John Wilding Egg Timer and its development the Beginner's Clock. Google takes you to the bookshop Russel mentioned and CES do a materials kit.
Not built it yet but I got the materials kit yonks ago when it was serialised. I think as it is very open plan the clock can get to something working then add minute hand and strike later.
Stub Mandrel24/01/2012 18:49:31
4315 forum posts
291 photos
1 articles
I always fancied making a long case (grandfather) clock. Never seen a series on one though.
Peter Bell24/01/2012 20:04:04
376 forum posts
164 photos

If you want to make a longcase clock there is an excellent book "Making an Eight day Longcase Clock" by Alan Timmis which describes just that. It dates from the 1980's but is readily available.
Chris---the original John Wilding book, "How to make a eight day wall clock" has a lot going for it with excellent descriptions and impressive when running---but perhaps I am a bit biased---I made two with great success!
Barney Ward02/06/2012 21:11:59
2 forum posts

I would agree that the Alan Timmins longcase clock is a fantastic first clock to build. I did exactly that and every day I am pleased that I did! Recently I have started on John Wilding's English Dial Clock, and although I can follow the instructions, I have found them disappointing compared to the detail in Timmins book. Measurements are missed off diagrams, proper views are often not given, and the whole book lacks the detail which I came to expect having made my longcase clock. Also in Wildings book, there is little info on making your own cutters etc, which saves a small fortune if you are working to a budget!

In short, I am extremely glad that I started with Alan Timmins book (which taught me many useful skills) and then moved on to John Wilding.

Gep Engler21/11/2012 23:18:10
19 forum posts
3 photos

Hi Chris,

Probably the simplest clock for a beginner is a "Foliot-clock".

See also this topic: **LINK**

Up to now, it was the first and only clock I made.
See also: **LINK**

Best regards from The Netherlands,
Terryd22/11/2012 07:07:36
1936 forum posts
179 photos

Hi Chris,

If you just want to investigate the principles involved there is always the Meccano clocks which many build such as thiis foliot and verge.

And there are other examples here of some very interesting clocks made with Meccano.
Best regards
DerryUK22/11/2012 10:25:24
125 forum posts

As a clock isn't a model and most are not steam driven perhaps we could have a set of plans and a write-up in MEW?

Be a useful bit of workshop kit!

jason udall22/11/2012 10:30:38
2031 forum posts
41 photos
Posted by DerryUK on 22/11/2012 10:25:24:

As a clock isn't a model and most are not steam driven perhaps we could have a set of plans and a write-up in MEW?

Be a useful bit of workshop kit!

thumbs up Espically if in meccano...cheeky

Edited By jason udall on 22/11/2012 10:31:26

Terryd22/11/2012 10:37:22
1936 forum posts
179 photos

Hi Jason

John Wilding (horological writer, designer, clockmaker) himself built Meccano clocks, including a Congreve ball clock.



Joseph Ramon22/11/2012 10:55:31
107 forum posts

Why do all clock articles assume so much prior knowledge. I'd love to see a short series that actually went through 'clock theory' explaining things like how the gears work. It seems to me that you use and almost 'random' choice of cutter and rely on depthing to make poorly matched gears work with each other. Can any clock buff put their head above the parapet and explain for a bear of very little brain?


jason udall22/11/2012 11:02:51
2031 forum posts
41 photos

Terry .. not knocking it lived the L bracket (verge?) teeth on the above video..maybe will serve to allay my fears that I could never "make anything that good " if a clock can be build from "bought in" transmission gears....

Never ashamed to modifiy existing stuff I once remade some quartz clocks

1) loose 10 minutes on first 1/2 hr regain in second .. correct to the hour but minutes can drag or fly ..( ment to do that it was ment as a Visual Joke)

2) tide clock .. yes I know simple but hijaking the bought in clock for all dividing chain makes it quick

3) another joke clock accurate to the day but sometimes runs backwards ( don't the afternoons drag?)..

But realy these were just electronics projects for an artist friend .

Ah well, I will build one one day..

NJH22/11/2012 12:55:52
2314 forum posts
139 photos


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