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Brian Law’s        Woodenclocks

Clock 33 - Epicyclic gear clock

Welcome to Brian Law’s wooden clocks

Free plans to help you build a wooden clock. The plans on this site are those of clocks designed by myself over the last few years. At present there are Twenty one sets of plans available, and it is intended to add to them as new designs become available.

Each clock design is illustrated with a series of rendered images, and a set of drawings, drawn to scale and presented as PDF files. The earlier clocks were originally drawn to scale so that the prints could be attached directly to the timber and a band saw or scroll saw used to cut around the profiles. Now  it is more common to use some form of CNC machining to produce the gear profiles, so the DXF files for the clocks are available and in some cases the 3D model files as well.

The original clocks are still available for free but as the new clocks appear I will make a charge for the files.

I hope you find your visit to the site rewarding and if you have any comments or suggestions please contact me.

What do I need to build a clock

This question is looked at in detail in the latest article in the Woodenclocks Blog

The article focus’s on the tools and equipment needed from the minimum, on to the requirements of a well equipped workshop.

DXF files available

If you require the DXF files for any of the clocks on the site then go to the page for the clock that you require, where you will find the DXF files listed along with model files for the newer clocks. The files can be used to produce Gcode so that you can machine the profiles on CNC machine

All Clocks Group.pdf

It is difficult to get a sense of the actual size of the clocks just looking at the pictures of them on the clocks own page. To try to overcome this and give you a proper sense of their relative sizes I produced a graphic that shows them all lined up at the same scale over 4 separate pages. Click above to download the PDF file.

All Clocks together

eXTReMe Tracker

For these and more follow this link to download

Scrollsaw Woodworking Magazine

3 of the Woodenclocks designs have been reproduced in the Scroll Saw Woodworking magazine. Clock 11 was the first to appear and then Clock 2 in spring of 2014 and finally Clock 17 later the same year.

The patterns and instructions provided by the magazine are excellent and will be sufficient to enable you to cut out all of the components to build the clock.


Special offers

Bundle 1 - Clocks 6,9 and 10 are probably the most challenging to build.

Bundle 2 - Clocks 3and 7  are all built from the bottom up in inches.

Bundle 3 - Clocks 12,14,16 and 17 are all of the wind up clocks driven by a spring .

Bundle 4 - Clocks 1,2,4 and 5 all of the original clocks.

Bundle 5 - Clock 15 + Gears for Projects + Mechanisms DXF and PDF Drawing files

The Beginners Clocks -  Files for Clocks 30 and 31

The inch ones - Files for Clocks 24 and 25

Each bundle contains the Drawings as a PDF file and the DXF files for machining and they cost $32

Clock 30 - Beginners Clock No 2

Clock 30, the second of 3 Beginners clocks, is again based on the same principles that links them all, and that is they are designed such that all the complicated cutting work is carried on the CNC router, you won't need a lathe or Milling machine, just simple hand tools. This clock, whilst similar to Beginners clock 1 has some refinements that endeavour to make it little more elegant. The gears  have more delicate webs and the gear shafts have a 4-rod construction that provides strength and rigidity. This approach looks more slender than the previous clock, whilst being slightly more difficult to construct. This simple construction for each shaft ensures that the gears are held rigidly perpendicular to the shaft axis, and requiring only the CNC machined parts and the shafts to be cut to length.

Another feature of the Beginners clocks is the simple winding arrangement, with a single cord wrapped one and a half times around the drum, with a bottle of water as a weight and a couple of large nuts as a counterweight.

I have used a Coke bottle for the weight as it is a convenient way of adding weight to the clock and provides an easy way of adjusting the weight by either adding or removing liquid.

The clock will run for about 8-9 hours and you should be able to get it to run within 1.5 minutes over that time, may be even better.


Clock 31 - Beginners Clock No 3 with non round gears


Clock 31, the third of 3 Beginners clocks, is again based on the same principles that links them all, and that is they are designed such that all the complicated cutting work is carried on the CNC router, you won't need a lathe or Milling machine, just simple hand tools.

I wanted to make this one a little harder to build as it was the third in the series so it was designed with  non-round gears, that is a feature of a couple of the more complicated clocks available on the Woodenclocks website. This clock whilst made simpler to build using the unique snap together shafts, needs more care when it comes to the assembly of those shafts into the Back Frame as they need to be carefully lined up so the mating gears mesh together at the right point. The gears are marked with small dots to achieve this, but if you miss them out you will be in trouble.

The majority on the Clock is made from wood in both 6 mm and 12 mm thickness, along with 2 mm ground rod or drill Rod, with the clock hands and Pallets being cut from Plastic sheet.

I have used a 500 ml Coke bottle for the weight as it is a convenient way of adding weight to the clock and provides an easy way of adjusting the weight by either adding or removing liquid. I had to actually add some extra weight to the bottle to make it up to 800 grams  consistently. This has always been a problem with the Non-round gears as it creates a constantly changing torque.

The clock will run for about 8 hours and you should be able to get it to run within 1.0 minutes over that time, may be even better.


Clock 32 - with Compound pendulum

Clock 32, is a simple design incorporating a Graham Dead beat escapement with a Compound Pendulum, it is a design that has Pendulum Bobs, mounted one above the pivot and one mounted below. The advantage of this is the overall length of the pendulum can be made much shorter, the disadvantage is that it can be more difficult to adjust the running rate of the clock, because the adjustments have to be much smaller. I have used a construction with a centre wooden Pivot  with Carbon Fibre rods extending above and below, the Pendulum Bobs are supported on Friction Rings that can be moved up and down to adjust the rate. This arrangement using light weight parts enables the Brass Pendulum Bobs to be fitted at the calculated positions leaving only small adjustment to be made to have the clock running accurately. An alternate solution would replace the Carbon Fibre Rods with Threaded Rod and have the Brass Pendulum Bobs threaded so more precise adjustments can be made.

The clock has a large Chapter ring type dial to maintain an open view through the frames to the working gears behind. These are driven by a weight hanging from a Drum that has a gravity ratchet to give a silent low effort to wind.

The winder itself is one that can be easily purchased on line and is a size 13.

The Frames has been designed to be machined on a 600X400mm bed size, without the need to split them into parts.

The prototype is mounted on the wall with the dial centre at 1500 mm from the floor and runs for just under 15 hours. I needed a weight of 600 grams to keep it going.If fitted with the Pulley arrangement shown on the drawing then you can double that running time to 30 hours but you will need to double the weight.

If you want to cut out parts on a scroll saw you can use the the PDF file included with the purchased downloads to do this. This PDF is one big sheet of all the parts so you will need to follow the PDF printing instructions below


Clock 33 -Has been designed to be made using almost all, Laser or CNC cut components. It is based on an old clock designed by William Strutt, in about 1830, and it has several interesting features. The foremost of these is the large Epicyclic gear drive featuring gear teeth on inner and outer parts of the ring, resulting in a rather unique design.The clock was very difficult to make at the time and few were ever actually produced, so, I have adapted the original design so that it can be hung on the wall and be weight driven instead of the original spring drive. This and the adoption of conventional gearing to achieve the 12:1 ratio for the hour hand, instead of the Ferguson Paradox gearing used on the original has made it much more practicable proposition for a wooden clock design.The large Epicyclic gear causes a few problems for the builder as it needs to be held accurately in position on the shaft so that it engages with its Planetary gear and the stationary Sun gear in the centre. To ensure this will happen all the gears on the main shaft have machined bushes to mount the gears on squarely and securely so a lathe is going to be needed to make these parts.

Although this is not really a clock for the beginner it is actually a great project if you are an experienced engineer and want a quick build and a satisfying result.


Clock 34

Is the first design to incorporate the Woodenclocks Gravity escapement along with a Compound pendulum. The Gravity escapement originally developed for Clock 20 has been a consistently reliable mechanism and has been running most days since built. The design is based on a design by James Arnfield with refinements to the unlocking mechanism and the moving of the Pendulum and the Gravity arm to a common pivot. The inclusion of the Compound pendulum offset to one side makes the clock more compact and more visually interesting.

It has been a while since I designed a clock using imperial units, not since Clock 25, so this one uses inches for all primary materials, although like most other clocks it is Dual dimensioned.

I have also included a separate listing of all the proprietary items with McMaster-Carr numbers to make sourcing of these parts easier.

If you would like to purchase the DXF or DWG files for CNC machining and the full unrestricted Drawings in PDF format for use with a scroll saw then go to the BUY NOW button.


Clock 34 - Compact Clock with Woodenclocks Gravity Escapement