MAKING A WOODEN GEARED CLOCK #3: The Main Dial/Gear -Day 3

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Blog entry by stefang posted 11-17-2015 07:36 PM 1679 reads 0 times favorited 46 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The Frame- Day 2 Part 3 of MAKING A WOODEN GEARED CLOCK series Part 4: Day Finishing Up The Clock Dial - 4 »

How The Time Is Read On This Clock
This clock is a little different from most. It only has one hand which is the hour hand. This hand is stationary and stays at the 12 o’clock position while the clock dial turns. The clock dial is actually a gear with the hour numbers on it. Holes between the hour numbers denote the minutes with one hole for each 5 min.

Having To Prioritize Due To Material Problems
Some of the other wheels call for 6.5mm thickness which was not available. I bought 6mm instead and it will be necessary to compensate for the difference with washers in the final clock assembly. I hope it works.

Todays Work
Today was much like yesterday. I started by cutting my 9mm platter. I got everything set up and then to my amazement my saber saw wouldn’t work! I solved that problem by plugging it in. Next I cut the workpiece I needed on my miter saw and then got my pattern ready.

It is a large wheel and I had to glue two A4s together to get the complete pattern. There were some smaller parts patterns included on it which were set aside for later use. see below

Boring, Boring, And More Boring
I wanted to get all the holes drilled before I started with the scroll sawing. It took awhile since there were 70 holes to drill, including entry holes for inside cuts. see below

Scroll Sawing And More Scroll Sawing
The first I did was to cut out the center pieces between the spokes. This was so I could hold and move the workpiece around easier while cutting the hour numbers and the gear teeth. see below

Gear teeth Cutting Technique
The area between each wheel teeth was removed first with a straight cut in from the top of each tooth making the same cut all the way around the wheel, then a 2nd cut in from the other side, again from the top of each tooth and all round the wheel. This avoided the need to move the big wheel around a lot to perform a ‘U’ shaped and made everything easier. just a hair of the pattern lines along the tooth edges were left to be filed away later to to perfect the shape of the teeth. see below

The Almost Completed Gear
I was pretty tired after all the drilling and scroll sawing so I decided to do the filing work on the teeth tomorrow. see below

I’m pretty satisfied with the work. One of the advantages of working with the magnifying light is that any small errors seen through the magnifier are totally insignificant when viewed with the naked eye. I did put a little hack in the 2 in the twelfth hour cutout. I’m confident that this can be fixed so well that it will not be noticeable. I have a LOT of experience fixing woodworking mistakes!

Thanks for reading.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

46 comments so far

View Dutchy's profile


1976 posts in 1590 days

#1 posted 11-17-2015 08:14 PM

Fortunately this clock does not have a plug. Thanks Mike for sharing.

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View helluvawreck's profile


22687 posts in 2288 days

#2 posted 11-17-2015 08:16 PM

Mike, I’m loving this. It’s so interesting and I’m wanting to do this myself. Thanks for the blog. What is the thickness of the gears?

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#3 posted 11-17-2015 09:21 PM

Jan Yes, I agree. Thanks for the laugh.

Charles Thanks, I’m glad you are interested. This clock has 5 Baltic birch thicknesses; 3mm, 6.5mm, 9mm, 12mm, and 18mm. I do suggest that if you order a clock plan to ask to see the materials list before you buy so you can see if the thicknesses are readily available. I wouldn’t have bought this one had I known about the oddball size 6.5mm.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View johnstoneb's profile


2105 posts in 1594 days

#4 posted 11-17-2015 10:13 PM

That is a very good job on those teeth. An abrasive on the scroll saw would probably work very well. I used a 1” belt sander but you have to be really careful and watch things closely or you take too much off.

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#5 posted 11-17-2015 10:19 PM

Thanks Bruce. If I can’t figure out how do it with my scroll saw I intend to just hand file it, some sandpaper stuck to a tongue depressor with carpet tape should do the trick.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16808 posts in 2527 days

#6 posted 11-17-2015 10:42 PM

Nice progress, Mike, you sure did a fine job sawing out that gear!!


-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#7 posted 11-17-2015 10:58 PM

Thanks Jim. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View CFrye's profile


8581 posts in 1261 days

#8 posted 11-17-2015 10:58 PM

Great job, Mike! I can only imagine how tedious those gear teeth are to cut out. How many sheets of paper does it take to make up 0.5 mm? Could you do that between 2 pieces of the 3 mm stuff? Hope you get an answer that you’re able to do up easily.

-- God bless, Candy

View Ken90712's profile


16864 posts in 2610 days

#9 posted 11-18-2015 12:33 AM

Great post and info. Thx for sharing. I want to do this project but will need to research the thicknesses needed. I don’t normally work with mm as well … should make it fun.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Philip's profile


1275 posts in 1961 days

#10 posted 11-18-2015 02:08 AM

Nice work Mike! I’m sure you’ve heard about this by now, but Clayton Boyer has some great examples of wooden clocks. Gotta love that kinetic movement! Best of luck,

-- I never finish anyth

View hunter71's profile


2696 posts in 2608 days

#11 posted 11-18-2015 02:09 AM

Are you keeping track of hours? It looks great.

-- A childs smile is payment enough.

View sras's profile


4363 posts in 2551 days

#12 posted 11-18-2015 02:42 AM

I’m really enjoying the story Mike!

For your 6.5mm plywood, how about adding 2mm to each side of your 3mm plywood and then sand down to 6.5mm?

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View shipwright's profile


7094 posts in 2220 days

#13 posted 11-18-2015 04:34 AM

.... or sand the six mm stock first and then veneer it both sides. You could get some nice looking gears!
My compliments on your scrollsaw prowess. I am hard pressed to do that well on my chevalet.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View NormG's profile


5424 posts in 2426 days

#14 posted 11-18-2015 05:28 AM

Looking great, progress is coming along

-- Norman

View stefang's profile


15512 posts in 2756 days

#15 posted 11-18-2015 10:25 AM

My thanks to all who commented here.

Candy That sounds like a very smart and creative solution. I’m not sure if paper would work, but I can’t see why not. That said, I really don’t want to experiment as too much time goes into making the gears and I wouldn’t want to have to do them over if it didn’t work.

Ken My plans are in mm because that is the European standard, but if you buy plans from Clayton Boyer in Hawaii they probably come in inches.

Doug I’m not keeping track of the time, partly because I don’t want to be confronted with how slow I work these days and also because there would be no value for me in doing so. The gear I did today took about 5-1/2 hrs. including all the work shown in the blog. It is a pretty big gear though with a lot of teeth and other details, not to mention all the drilling. The other gears are much simpler. I’ll let you know how long they take after I’ve cut them.

Steve If I did that I would have less than 5mm, ha ha. That was like me when I answered the question about the different thickness of ply needed for this plan. I said 3 and then gave 5 different dimensions (now corrected).

Paul That is exactly the solution I came to. I just have to see if I have enough sheets of veneer big enough and. I do have enough of my beech veneer, but it is pretty boring to look at. I just wish the designer would get back to me and hopefully give me an easier way out. The problem is that there aren’t too many other parts left to do.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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