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
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
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.
Clock 24 - was designed to incorporate the 3rd version of the Woodenclocks Escapement which now has 30 teeth and revolves once per minute, this simplifies the gearing but requires a bigger version of the Escape Wheel to enable it to work as a wooden gear clock. Taking advantage of this increase in size the clock has been designed in inches from the ground up so all the shafts, bearings and materials use imperial dimensions. The clock is still dual dimensioned, so those wishing to build the clock can do so.The escapement is a modified version of the original using the intermediate spider to ensure positive locking.
A seconds dial has been incorporated into the Escape wheel with a hand formed as an integral part of the lifting arm.
The front frame has an inserted Barometer fitted, this is really only a suggestion as it in no way contributes to the clocks function, but it does offer ways of customising the clock. I have also used a proprietary winder normally used for winding Grandfather clocks, the reason was to enable the winding shaft to be incorporated below the drive train, which necessitated that the winder shaft pierced the dial.
Run time for this clock with a 4.5lbs (2.2Kg) weight and the centre of the dial 63”(1600 mm) above the floor, is 12.5 hours. This can be doubled by adding a simple pulley arrangement, see clock 23 for an example.
With the introduction of this new clock to the site, its has made me realise that
I have never really indicated before which clocks use metric and which use
imperial units, so to correct this ,I have introduced a set of icons that indicate what units are used in the design. Inches are in Blue and Metric units are in orange. If drawings are dual dimensioned as most of them are then they will appear with the major units at the bottom in bold with the secondary units at the top in brackets, much as they appear on the drawings themselves.
Most of the clocks on the site are dual dimensioned but some of the earlier clocks were not and these are indicated with an icon using a single unit.
Clock 26 -Has been designed to incorporate a Remontoire, that, combined with the Woodenclocks Gravity Escapement should, in theory, offer the best chance of achieving the most accurate clock in the range. Remontoire is from the French word 'remonter' which means "to wind". It is a constant force device used in a clock whereby the main source of power periodically lifts a weight by equal amounts and at equal intervals to drive the clock’s escapement. This avoids any irregularities that can be built into the gears forming the clocks drive. There are several designs that could be used for the Remontoire, I have chosen to use an early design called the ‘Robin Remontoire’ with a modification to the triggering action to improve its consistency. It is a continuous chain drive that uses a small weight suspended on the chain between the last gear in the drive chain and an identical gear on the escapement shaft. This weight is the constant driving force for the escapement and will drive it for 30 seconds. At this point, a trigger is lifted to allow the drive train to pull the weight back up again to its start position, at which point the drive train is once again locked. This triggering action is where the design differs from the original Robin design.
The main features of the clock are:
● Runs for nearly 13 hours on single cord drop when the centre of the dial is 1530 mm from the floor.
● Main weight 2.5 kg.
● Escapement weight 31 gramme's.
● Overall Height 590 mm
● Minute hand moves every 30 seconds (I thought this was going to be odd but, in the end, it seems quite natural).
● Uses a gravity assisted ratchet to reduce both the noise and the effort needed to wind.
● You can add a simple pulley to get it to run 24 hours but I would advise anchoring the cord to the wall, not the clock frame as you have to double the weight to get it to work with the pulley and 5 kg hanging from the clock is not advised.
This clock is intended for those who are looking for a simple clock to build as a first project.
It has been designed to simplify the steps needed to build the clock by first reducing the equipment requirements to a CNC router and some hand tools, and secondly by designing out all the more complex features of a clock. There are no bearings, no ratchets and it has a Gear/Shaft construction that makes accurate mounting and positioning of the gears straight forward to achieve.
It has been designed to be a larger version of Clock 21 which was originally intended for use in schools and colleges as a project for the STEM program, using Laser cutting techniques.
The design itself has evolved since the original to make the construction both simpler and stronger.
It is made from wood, in both 1/4” and 1/2” thickness, along with Ø1/16” wire or Rod, with the clock hands and Pallets being cut from Plastic sheet.
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 that weight by either adding or removing liquid.
Bundle 5 - Clock 15 + Gears for Projects + Mechanisms DXF and PDF Drawing files
Each bundle contains the Drawings as a PDF file and the DXF files for machining and they cost $25
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, 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
Christmas Specials Bundles
I am running a couple of Special Bundles again this year over the Christmas and New Year holidays, The first of these I have called ‘Beginners Clocks’ as it is a bundle containing Clock 30 and Clock 31 as these are both intended for first time builders
These bundles contain all the same files as the individual units, including the 3D model files and will cost $32 per bundle.
Use the PayPal button on the Downloads page to make your purchase.