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Clockwork Inspiration

posted Feb 3, 2012, 5:33 AM by Michael Dekker   [ updated Mar 16, 2012, 6:20 AM ]
Designing Wooden Clockworks
Every once in a while, I'll see some piece of woodwork that really gets my creative juices flowing. A piece that inspires me to dream about making something similar.

This time, I happened across an article by Wayne Westphale that appeared in Fine Woodworking (Jan/Feb 1986 and Mar/Apr 1986). In it, he details first a bit about the theory behind mechanical clocks, a bit on the math, a bit on how to translate these ideas into the world of wood, and finally, in the second article, how the actual clock is made. Though the article is well written, I did not get the impression that the process was repeatable enough for the average Joe Woodworker to be truly satisfied with his product.

I have seen various other designs on the Internet, and all are quite interesting and present their own challenges. I, as usual, was not satisfied by what I saw and wanted to get more information. So that is when I started looking into what it is that really makes a clock tick: escapements. And of course from there I worked my way into dreaming of ways of turning some of my lumber stock into arbors and wheels...

But then reality has to intrude, as it most often does. My workspace is currently occupied by bathroom cabinets awaiting installation (the accent tiles have not arrived yet, of all things!), and I don't think I can justify spending a few months' worth of weekends out in the garage with so many "required" projects hanging over my head.

But it was nice to get that little inspirational boost to get my creative juices flowing. Who knows, I may someday build a wooden geared clock myself someday!