Best place to find a plan for
building a wooden 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 should emphasise here that I do not send printed copies of the files, I only supply the files so that you can either print them out yourself or use DXF files to machine your own parts.

I hope you find your visit to the site rewarding and if you have any comments or suggestions please contact me. If you would like to receive occasional newsletters about new clock releases then use the Subscribe button above.

When I set out to design this clock I wanted it to be suitable for a Children’s room, a playful and colourful design that was to run quietly for 24 hours. Unlike the original children’s clock that ran on a mainspring this one was to be more traditional and run using a driving weight. It also uses the more efficient gear train used in Clock 43.

This does have a downside though as it increases the difficulty in building the clock as the teeth on the Escape wheel now need to be cut very accurately in order to ensure the the pallets will be able to interact properly with them. As a consequence of this I would recommend that this clock is not cut out using hand sawn methods, as the accuracy requirements are too high.

The clock will run for 26 hrs using a 0.6 Kg. main weight. The clock can be built either from wood using a CNC router or by 3D printing the parts, most everything can be printed on a 200mm x 200 mm bed except for the Front and back frames which will need to be split at the neck with the Top section then solvent bonded or super glued with a stiffening plate behind.

When I set out to design this clock I wanted it to be able to run more efficiently then any that had gone before. To achieve this I need to simplify the gear train so as to reduce the friction in the system and to reduce the possibilities for errors in the build. I did this by increasing the number of teeth on the Escape wheel from the normal 30 teeth to 60 teeth, this immediately reduced the reduction ratio required from 60: to 1 down to 30:1

The result is the rotation speed of the Escape wheel is halved and so the gear train is simplified enabling the clock to be run with less drive weight, and be more compact. The clock will run for 26 hrs using a 0.75 Kg. main weight.

The clock can be built either from wood using a CNC router or by 3D printing the parts, most everything can be printed on a 200mm x 200 mm bed except for the back frame whi will needto be split at the neck with the Neck section then being solvent bonded with a stiffening plate behind.

It seemed somewhat unfair not to have a version of the Starter clock in inches as a good portion of the people wanting to build a clock for the first time come from the US. This then is a new version of the Starter clock using a woodenclocks Gravit Escapement and that uses 1/4″ Birch plywood for the majority of its parts. It is actually a slightly more complex build with the Gravity escapement bur it is potentially a more accurate clock. The woodenclocks Gravity escapement is a variant of the escapement used in the Big Ben clock but modified for use in a woodenclock design. I have tried to make as many pads as possible in1/4″ Birch plywood, but of course, there are some things that just can not be made in the wood so there are Steel shafts and Brass weights along with Lead shot and steel balls. I hope this will not put you off trying this project as when it is complete and working it is such a great Buzz.

This Starter clock is something a little different as it comes with an E-book as a PDF file not only gives the plans and files for you to build the clock yourself but also gives you guidance on how to design your own clock. It is called the Starter clock because it has been designed to be built by a first time builder who has a limited amount of equipment to start the project with. It is still not an easy project because the working parts need a certain level of accuracy to work properly. You will need a Scroll saw or a CNC router to stand a chance of getting the project finished but you won’t need a Lathe or a Milling machine… > read more

I have been experimenting with various types of escapement used in earlier clocks and have by now incorporated quite a few of them in my wooden clock designs. There is however been one design that I have never gotten around to, and that is the escapement designed by Galileo, used in a clock design he developed from his pioneering work on the pendulum. He described the design to his son who produced a drawing of it, unfortunately, they had both died before they could see the clock completed. This is my tribute to that design, I have tried to stay close to the original by retaining the teeth, Pin and finger arrangement shown in the original, but included more teeth to keep the gear ratios manageable. It is quite a compact design and can be made either by hand on a scroll saw or using a CNC router or even 3D printing.

Some years ago now I designed Clock 15 with a Grasshopper escapement and incorporated it into an Art Nouveau themed clock. The problem with this design was that the Art Nouveau was not really to everyone’s taste not least because there wasn’t a straight line to be found anywhere, but more importantly, it had a problem keeping accurate time. The fingers which acted like Flippers flicking in and out to control the movement of the escapement stay engaged with the Escape wheel for the full length of time of the wheel movement which means that it receives too much of an impulse extending the natural swing time of the pendulum and slowing down the clock. This leads to it being very sensitive to the amount of weight being applied by the Driving weight which in turn leads to a long pendulum rod. To overcome this in the new design a compound pendulum has been fitted which is easier to adjust, so controlling the clock and setting it up accurately become easier.

The real reason for this new design then is to bring back a clock with a Grasshopper escapement that is more controllable because it really is one of the nicest escapements to observe in its slow elegant motion. It is still not the most accurate of clocks but it does make up for that by being one of the most elegant.

I have designed this clock for my young great grandson, with a Knights and Castle theme. I have revisited the Spring powered clocks once again to allow the clock to be placed on a cabinet or shelf with none of the hanging parts that young fingers can grab and pull on.

I have put together a chart that tries to list all the relevant information about each clock so as to make your choice a little easier. The chart is actually a PDF file…

This question is looked at in detail 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.

How to Design and Build a Wooden Clock

If you are looking for a challenging woodwork project that is going to test your skills and imagination then building a fully working wooden clock is just what you need. This Kindle book will help you to design your own clock with the included sections on the design and calculation of gear trains along with guidance on gear tooth design. It will also introduce you to some of the many escapement designs used in clocks through the centuries to control and maintain the accurate movement of the clocks mechanism. There is guidance for cutting out parts by hand or by CNC machine or even by 3D printing. To get your copy follow the link below to get your copy.

How to design and build a wooden clock

Metric Version

The files for the clocks are not included, these are paid for separately.

Woodenclocks Journal

Over the last 20 years I have designed and built prototypes of more than 40 different wooden clocks. In the main I have enjoyed the process and think it is now time to look at this body of work as a whole, so this E-book takes the form of a journal and is available as electronic file in PDF format. The book contains nearly 200 pages of illustrations of the 42 clocks so is an excellent fund knowledge on wooden clocks.

Each clock has its own set of pages with a short precis of its attributes and a description of its unique features and at the end of the book there are 6 pages showing the clocks hanging in line so that you can get a sense of their relative sizes.

Links to the clock’s website page are accessed through the blue outlined boxes on the first page of each clock so you can obtain further information and detail drawings for the clock concerned.


Woodenclocks Journal

It is a large file and will take some time to load so patience is required when downloading.

Brian Laws Woodenclocks Blog

A design journal for Wooden clocks, with occasional thoughts on side issues related to clock design, materials, mechanisms and automata in general. There are articles on choosing the right materials along with those concerned with the equipment you will need to build your own clock.

To browse the Blog click here >

If you are not sure about making the wooden gears for the clock you can download the samples shown here to give it a try. Whether you will be cutting it out by hand or by CNC machine these free files will help you to decide.

File for sample gears >

BUNDLE 1 – Clocks 6, 9 and 10 are probably the most challenging to build.
BUNDLE 2 – Clocks 3 and 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
Easy and Hard – Files for Clocks 21 and 33

Each bundle contains the Drawings as a PDF file and the DXF files for machining and they cost $36.

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.