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Brian Law’s        Woodenclocks
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Copyright © All rights reserved. Brian Law Design All Clocks Group-iss3.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. To view this click on the picture opposite to download a PDF file  with all the clocks shown

Or you can get a quick description of each by reading the information set out below.

Clock6 Clock 1 Clock 2 Clock 3 Clock4 Clock5

Clock 1 was not the first clock that I had designed, that was the one done for Burgess Power Tools, many years ago. This clock was designed much later, and was done more as a challenge originally to produce a design with in-line gearing that reflected the style of much earlier Verge and Foliot designs. This had the added benefit of reducing the timber content in the front and back panels by reducing them to the narrow strips used here. To do this required all the gears to be mounted in line, and that of course meant calculating a new gear train that would do this. A computer helped there as it worked through all the possible combinations to finish up with the one used here. It then only remained to layout the full design and create the aesthetic originally visualised. This clock is still the one most requested by clock builders, presumably because of its simple lines and the aesthetic that reaches back to the very much earlier styles of wooden clock.

Clock 2 was designed to provide an alternative to the wall mounting configuration used in Clock 1. It has many of the same constructional elements as the previous clock, but used in a shelf or bracket mounted configuration. The introduction of the clear dial opens many more opportunities for creating a personalise build that reflects your own take on how the clock should look within your home or office. Not only can you add unique numerals but you can also introduce new shapes for the dial itself, such as a Teddy Bear shape for a child's room, or apply a transparent photograph to the dial to add some textural depth.

Clock 3 was designed to be a replica of a typical 15 th century Verge and Foliot clock, but it never got finished and was replaced with the more ornate design for Clock 4. I have resurrected it here with some small refinements as in some ways it is a much simpler design than the others on the site. This clock using the verge and Foliot was never very accurate, hence the use of only the hour hand, it wasn’t until the introduction of the pendulum that accuracy was improved, in fact many original clocks were modified with a pendulum to improve the accuracy, so very few examples remain.

This Clock has been designed in inch's so all the shaft’s work out correctly for all those working in imperial measures. Gears never work out in round numbers though, no matter what unit of measure you use.  

Clock 4 was designed with a Verge and Foliot escapement that was used before the pendulum was introduced to clockmakers. The time keeping with this mechanism is not as good as that of a pendulum because of the numerous variables within the mechanism, but adjustment by positioning the two weights on the Foliot arm can bring it within a reasonable accuracy. This is a visually interesting clock with its single hour  bar and weights, and the compound verge component made completely from wood is unusual. More details of the Verge and Foliot mechanism can be seen here.

Clock 5 This design was based on Clock 2 but used the same aesthetic as Clock 1. The decoration is more elaborate than on previous clocks to get more texture in the detail. This design can be used along with Clock 1 if two clocks are required for the same house. When I think back on the design of this clock it is probably what Clock two should have been, it's a bit of a favourite of mine. Like all the clocks this design can be scaled in size to produce a more imposing centrepiece for a room or hallway, but if you do this then remember the pendulum cannot be  scaled, it must remain at its original length to maintain accurate time.

Clock 6 The gear train for this design was taken from Clock 5 and made more robust and decorative, but this was just the start, as the mechanism itself was then mounted in front and rear plates that can be loaded into a free standing frame that can be placed anywhere in a room. As an alternate a simple wall bracket can be made to mount the clock to the wall.

The mechanism has a chime unit fitted that can chime either on the hour or the quarter hour, and a pulley system doubles the running time for the clock

Click on the clocks below to go to the Clock page for more information

Clock 22 I have completed the revised version of the Woodenclocks Gravity escapement and incorporated the prototype of it into Clock 22. The gravity escapement again proving that it will run more accurately than the older Graham design used used in the earlier clocks. This is a more compact design with all the working parts visible at eye level and fitted with a pulley system to allow the clock to run in excess of 24 hours from a single wind.

I have experimented with engraving for the dial on the prototype, not tried that before with the CNC router but it worked out quite well.

The files are available for download on the clock page with sample files of the drawings and the DXF layout sheet, for you to look at before buying.

Clock9 Clock10 Clock11 Clock12

Clock 9 is the most compact clock I have designed with a short pendulum having a period of oscillation of 1 second, that is a ½ second swing in each direction. This required an extra set of gears in the train, to achieve the correct ratio for the escapement. The unit is hung on the wall by a special hanging bracket that allows the clock to be easily mounted. This clock requires that the case be turned on a lathe or machined in 3D, so could be more difficult to build for those who don’t have the equipment. To help with this I have included the 3D data in with the drawings and the DXF files.

The clock was designed in metric units but is dimensioned in both metric and imperial.

Clock 10 Steampunk is a sub genre of science fiction and  fantasy, it features a world based on the late 19 th century were the greatest works of invention and construction all used steam driven machinery as an alternative to the electronic world we live in today. The technology was based on Newtonian principles and could be readily understood any young engineer, so in a sense it allows us mechanical engineers to return to a world we understand as opposed to the mysteries of electronics.

This clock is my nod to that style featuring a simple gear layout with a short pendulum used in clock 9, but all mounted in a more straight forward framework. The addition of a chime mechanism that uses steel balls, carried around by a large additional gear to strike a coil gong an the quarter hours.

Clock 11 has been designed to be both compact and relatively simple. It is compact as the largest dimension is the height of the back frame which is 277 mm tall, it can be printed onto a sheet of A4 paper at 1:1 scale, and can be cut on a small router table only 300 mm square, a comparison with Clocks 1 and 7 is shown in the illustrations opposite.

The design is simpler as it only uses 6 gears, by comparison Clock 1 has 12 gears and Clock 7 has 14.It achieves this in 2 ways , firstly by creating the 60:1 reduction ratio on two sets of gears instead of 3 as on Clock 1, and by using pegs instead of gears in the drive train, the pegs substituting for the small pinions required for the 60:1 reduction ratio.

Clock 12 is a departure from the normal design concept used in the previous clocks as it introduces a mainspring clock drive instead of the normal weight driven design. It was introduced here along with the shorter pendulum to allow the clock to sit directly onto a table or shelf. A further departure is the use of a 60 tooth escapement wheel which allows me to use the simple gear train first used in Clock 11.The mainspring is housed in a special gear mounted in the 7 o’clock position, it drives the main shaft through an intermediate gear at the front of the main shaft. The winder is mounted to this mainspring gear  and a Ratchet and Pawl arrangement fitted to maintain the tension in the spring.


Clock 13 - I have been asked several time if the clocks could be built using 3D printing techniques, and up until now the answer has always been, yes, but the parts are really too big and expensive to build that way.This clock is designed to be built using Stereo lithography.The SLA parts have a total calculated volume of 87cc, and a calculated weight of 104 grams. There is a minimum of metal parts that are needed for strength and function. These are basically the shafts, bearings  and the brass weights.The suspension used to hold the pendulum at its top end can be obtained from any clock parts supplier. It is shown here with a multi coloured finish but of course you can apply any finish you think is appropriate. The clock is small as shown here on the background of an A4 sheet .

Clock 15 is the first clock design to use the Grasshopper type escapement . Developed originally by John Harrison as a means of reducing friction in the escapement, it is a more complex and intricate design that require more accuracy in the making, but rewards by being quieter and more interesting to watch. I have tried to reduce the original complexity by removing much of the adjustment used in the original, so if the plans are followed carefully it should work pretty well ‘out the box’.The clock is styled after the Art Nouveau period and as such has flowing natural lines and curves reflecting that of nature.


Clock 16 design is based on the traditional Verge and Foliot escapement with a spring drive mounted in the bottom gear. The original design was the first mechanical clock design to be developed in the middle of the
14 th Century.The escapement consists of two flaps mounted on the vertical Verge shaft that alternatively engage and disengage with the series of pegs around the periphery of the escape wheel, the speed at which this happens is controlled by two weights mounted on the horizontal Folio beam. The larger the weight and the further out it is positioned the slower the Clock will run.This type of clock design was never very a curate, but it persisted right up to the 18 th century. the design was eventually superseded by the much more accurate Pendulum designs.

This is the 3 rd clock to be driven by a spring so like those others it can easily be positioned anywhere in the home

Clock 17 The flying pendulum clock is a clock that uses a flying pendulum escapement mechanism. A small metal ball, connected by string wraps around one post, then unwinds before repeating on the other post.The flying pendulum clock was invented and patented in 1883 by Adler Christian Clausen and J. C. Slafter in Minneapolis.

The clock was never really a good time keeper and original sales of the clock where apparently to Jewellery stores, who used it to attract customers into the store by displaying it in the shop window. It is a novelty really, but to watch it in operation is still fascinating.

The Clock is relatively simple to build having only 5 actual gears, the pinions being replaced by pins set into the the gear sleeves.

There are a lot of pins in this design , I used dowel pins readily available from engineering supply stores, but there are also headless pins and Brads that can be used.

Clock17 Clock16

Clock 18 features a drive train composed of non-circular gears, a novel design that poses some difficulties on the path to finding a working arrangement that will function as a clock, and give accurate time keeping. The design is the result of a fairly lengthy trial and error process to firstly devise gear pairings that will mesh together in the non circular forms, and then to find a series of workable ratios that would give the correct timing to the clock.  The ratios 3:1, 4:1 and 5:1 when combined together give a total of 60 :1 which is exactly what is required. I also changed the geometry of the escapement that I usually use, to one that more closely follows the design of the Graham Dead beat escapement, with pallets that span 8 teeth. The end result has been a clock that works really well using a 1 kg weight, and can be adjusted to be accurate to within approximately 2 mins in 24 hours. It will run for 24 hours if set on the wall with the dial centre 1.6 meters above the floor.

Clock18 Clock19

Clock 19 This new clock is a little different from the rest of the clocks here, as it is designed to be made in plastic from the beginning. I have over the years had many questions regarding the use of Acrylic to build clocks with, so I thought it about time to do just that. It is not only possible but relatively easy to work in Acrylic as it has none of the odd behaviours of timber like twisting or splitting.

I have also tried to extend this theme of ‘easy to build’ by designing out some of the more difficult components that would normally require the use of a lathe, and to use standard sheet sizes.


Clock 20 has the classic appearance of Clock 1 but with a brand new escapement developed especially for use in a wooden clock. The escapement design is based on the one devised by Jim Arnfield , its called a gravity escapement as its method of giving an impulse to the pendulum is detached from the main weight and is delivered by a gravity arm instead. This clock therefore has the potential to be the most accurate clock that I have introduced on to the web site.

That, combined with a relatively straight forward build makes it ideal for wooden clock builders.


All clocks grouped at the same scale

Clock 21 really is intended to be snapped together, it has been design be to be cut out from a single sheet of MDF 4 mm thick and 600 mm x 400 mm in size with a CNC laser.

The design has been a collaboration with Loughborough University  and Woodenclocks to produce a clock design suitable for use in STEM projects within schools to encourage an interest in Engineering.

The starting requirement was for a clock that could be built simply and within a very short time frame so that it could fit into a schools timetable. It also required that it could be made with limited resources and at a minimum cost. The University had already done some work with an escapement mechanism which used Laser cut 4 mm MDF for the parts and a novel shaft design  that could be snapped together.

Woodenclocks contribution was to redesign Clock 19 to incorporate the laser cut MDF for the parts, and simplify the frame construction so that the whole clock could be snapped together. The result has been this design of Clock 21, it has taken several months to develop the prototype, but that is now complete and the plans and the files are available for anyone who has access to a laser CNC machine to build one for themselves.

Its intended use for schools should not deflect from the fact that any one with a CNC laser can use this design to build the clock. The current design can be modified endlessly by yourself to build something quite unique , you can change the form of the parts and the materials and the finishes used to create something quite different.

You only need to keep the gear teeth, diameters and the gear spacing the same as this one, the rest is up to you.

If you are looking for a simple design for a first time project that can be completed in a couple of days, then this is it.


Clock 23 -  I have  wanted for a while now to do something more with the design of Clock 18, its non-circular gears were a challenge to design in the first place but when constructed for the prototype they worked really quite well. I decided what it needed was a bit more oddness, so the idea of using the melted dial shape inspired by the Salvador Dahli painting ‘The persistence of memory’ was the first step to achieving this .

More odd features followed. Firstly the frame with its Shepherds Crook head, and the organic tree like spokes for the gears and finally the the offset Escapement hanging over to one side. The oddness in no way hampers the function of the clock, it is an excellent timekeeper and apart from the care need to align the gears on assembly it is relatively easy to build.

Clock23 Clock24

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.


Clock 7 was designed in inches and is the largest clock so far. To see a comparison of the clock alongside clocks 1 and 6 go here

I have been asked many times if it is possible to double the size of the clocks without compromising their function and the answer is always yes as long as you do not change the length of the pendulum, as this controls the accuracy of the clock. This new clock is my attempt to produce a larger clock, nearly twice as big, and large enough to work in a large room.

Like Clock 1 it is an in-line gear train that makes it easy to hang on a wall rather than have it shelf mounted.It also has an extra set of gears to get the second hand to run in the right direction, something I never fixed in Clock 1, but works well in this design as it fills out the interior of this larger format design.


Clock 27 FDM This the second 3D printed plastic clock to feature on the site, it makes use of the latest 3D printing technology to offer a technically exiting challenge to the many users of this equipment. It has been kept quite small to fit within the limited size envelop of many of these machines and is designed specifically to avoid the use of supports during the printing process.

The clock features a standard gearing arrangement to give 1:120 reduction required between the driving shaft and the escapement. It has the latest Woodenclocks gravity escapement which features reduced friction within the escapement to give you a more accurate timekeeper. It also uses a gravity ratchet arrangement to make winding easier, just pulling down on the counter weight will rewind the clock to run for another 12 hours.

The clock can be adjusted to keep it running to an accuracy of 1 min in 24 hours, and may be even better, but I gave up trying to improve on it at this point. Adjustment is by moving the pendulum Bob up or down to either speed up or slow down the clock.

Many of the parts have been split into 2 or more components to reduce the need to add supports during the printing of the part. Liquid solvent bonding is used to glue all the necessary parts together.

Clock13-FDM 3D Printer

Clock 13 FDM - 3D Printed -  was originally designed to be built by the SLA process, this version has be completely re-designed so that it can be be built using the more common 3D printers using the FDM process.

The design is simple and straight forward requiring only some additional nuts, bolts, shafts and bearings. Page: Clock13-FDM

The clock will run for about 10 hours and is accurate to less than a minute over that time.

Unlike all the wooden clocks on the site this clock requires only the STL files to allow you to build the complete clock. These files have been generated with the more complex parts split into simple ones, that can be quickly solvent bonded together, instead of having to use to many supports. The clock was designed in mm but additional files are provided so that you can use inch components , such as the shafts and bearings.

The clock needs a couple of weights to drive it so I have supplied STL files for the two weight containers so that they can be filled either with lead shot or steel balls (shotgun ammo) The pendulum bob also requires some weight so it is made hollow so you can add some weight to it.


Clock 14- I was so pleased with the spring driven design of Clock 12 that I decided to to do another one that would be visually more compact and complex. To do this I used the gear train designed for Clock 9 and fitted it into a completely open framework and then added a spring drive with a larger ratio to allow the clock to run for longer, this needed a slightly larger spring to be fitted but it fits well with the Clock 9 gear train.

It is again quite small standing 316 mm or 12.5 inches tall, and dimensioned in both metric and English.

The clock runs for about 20 hours on a single wind but as with all the spring  drives the power of the spring reduces over time and the clock will eventually start to slow down but if its wound every 12 hours it will keep time to within a couple of minutes over the 12 hour run.


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.


Clock 28 FDM for 3D printing -Was originally designed as a rig to optimise the triggering action of the Remontoire, and to test a version with a standard Graham Deadbeat escapement. It proved useful in the former but using the short pendulum with its swing going at double the speed of the original meant that the interaction of the Trigger and the Release finger needed to be much more precise, but having gotten it to work on this rig it was easier to incorporate onto Clock 26.

When Clock 26 was completed I went back to this rig to finish it off, and create the design for Clock 28.

This is a more compact design with smaller gears, shorter movements and running on half the weight of the original. The Remontoire is working with a standard Graham Deadbeat escapement which being slightly less accurate than the Woodenclocks gravity escapement, will still run to an accuracy of 1 minute in 24 hours. I made it entirely from ABS, not using ball bearings this time but simple drilled holes in the frames to support the shafts. The shafts and pins used are are all Ø2 mm silver steel or Drill Rods with the headed pin used to retain the Trigger made from a Ø2 mm round nail.

●    Runs for nearly 12 hours on single cord drop when the centre of the dial is 1530 mm from the floor.

●    Main weight 1 kg.

●    Escapement weight 11 gramme's.

●    Overall Height 200 mm

●    Minute hand moves every 30 seconds

●    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.


Clock 25 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. This new version is bigger, designed in inches and intended for making, with a CNC router. The design itself has evolved since the original to make the construction both simpler and stronger. It still maintains its ability to be constructed with the minimum equipment, basically a CNC router, a Drill and with some hand tools.

The majority on the Clock 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.

The clock will run for about 8 hours and you should be able to get it to run within 2 minutes over that time, may be even better. The main feature of this design is that it is relatively simple to make as it really only needs a CNC Router and no other machinery apart from a Drill and some hand tools.

Clock 29 -FDM Has been designed to explore the use of a Balance wheel and Spring instead of a Pendulum as a means of regulating the clock movement. The Balance wheel and spring were originally developed for use in Pocket watches and they were used in conjunction with a Lever escapement. The Lever escapement unfortunately has 4 surfaces that generate friction so the use of the Gravity escapement, that is not possible in a pocket watch, is an opportunity to explore something quite new  .

The clock design is similar to Clock 27 with the pendulum replaced directly by the Balance Wheel and Spring. The escapement is actuated by the finger extension from the base of the Balance Wheel.