The Beall Clock Forum

General => General Discussion => Topic started by: SCAR on January 09, 2007, 10:51:13 AM

Title: Harmonic Oscillators other than Pendulums
Post by: SCAR on January 09, 2007, 10:51:13 AM
Has anyone built a wooden gear clock using an oscillator other than a pendulum?  Any balance wheels, or other?
Title: Harmonic Oscillators other than Pendulums
Post by: Rick from Manchester on January 09, 2007, 02:48:11 PM

I haven't; however, check out Rabbit's website: The Falling Ball Clock, The Wooden Electric, The Station Clock, and his Congreve

Also, see Carlo G. Croce's site Wooden Clock #39, a Verge and Foliot

Title: Harmonic Oscillators other than Pendulums
Post by: rabbit on January 10, 2007, 07:53:58 AM
funny... i'm working right now on a wooden "watch". it has a half-second wooden balance wheel.
Title: Harmonic Oscillators other than Pendulums
Post by: dcunningham2 on January 11, 2007, 02:46:50 PM
Rabbit -- I've been daydreaming about this concept (ala accurate seagoing clocks of yore), and now you've beat us to the punch.  Typical.

What is your spring mechanism?  I had begun considering some type of monofiliment line suspension with weights used to maintain a constant tension.
Title: wooden balance wheel
Post by: rabbit on January 12, 2007, 09:13:49 AM
this half-seconds balance is a 3" diameter, 3/8"thick birch ring. it has small wooden pins around the perimeter. inside of each of these pins is a #8 setscrew - these can be screwed in and out to adjust the poise of the wheel (it has to be perfect).
for a "hairspring", i used a very small clockspring. i'm not sure what it came out of, but it measures 0.125" x 0.007" by 28". the inside end is epoxied to the balance shaft, and the outer end is fixed to the frame. there is a moveable anchor on a small lever - this slightly changes the effective length of the spring to regulate the period. just like a watch!
the escape is a double-roller swiss lever, designed with the help of Mark Headricks wonderful book.
this is my second balance-wheel wooden clock (my Falling Ball clock has a one-second wheel). It takes a lot of tinkering to get the inertia of the wheel correct for the desired period and a given spring, but it's actually quite easy.
Title: Harmonic Oscillators other than Pendulums
Post by: dcunningham2 on January 12, 2007, 06:10:41 PM
This is possibly the coolest thing on planet earth.

How consistent is the time-keeping, compared to your other clocks?  My expectation would be that this is very accurate, but perhaps sensitive to temperature, given the metal spring.  Is this true?

Also, would you mind sharing what kind of pivots or bearings you use to support the flywheel with very little friction?

Again, this is extremely cool -- thanks for being so generous with your knowledge and experience.
Title: wooden watch
Post by: rabbit on January 12, 2007, 09:19:55 PM
the movement has been completed and running for only about a week, as i'm finishing the "gold watch" case (yellowheart wood). so far it keeps time beautifully. i'm sort of picky, and i'm trying to adjust it to within 1-second per day (using a good quartz clock as my "regulator"). i designed the adjustment for about +/- 5 minutes a day, and it's pretty sensitive. i'll experiment with the temperature issue.

this piece has steel pivots on all of the arbors. most are mounted in brass tube bushings. the great wheel (spring) is in steel bushings. the escape wheel has ball bearings. the balance also has steel pivots and is mounted in homemade teflon bushings. (ball bearings don't like back-and-forth motion.) the gears are all lacquered and the teeth polished. it's very efficient and smooth-running - and quiet.

oh, yeah... the coolest thing is that with the balance wheel and swiss lever escape (with safety roller and banking pins), it'll run in any position - just like a watch! you can even shake it or bang it around, and she keeps on ticking.
i'll put it on my website when i finish.
Title: wooden Watch
Post by: rabbit on January 17, 2007, 06:35:29 PM
i finished my wooden Watch.
check it out:
wooden Watch (
Title: Harmonic oscillators other than pendulums
Post by: Bower on January 21, 2007, 07:59:28 AM
The wooden "Pocket" watch is stunning, absolutely stunning.  Once again I am of the opinion that though you call yourself an engineer, You have the eye, soul, and hands of an artist.

I have been toying with a design for a wooden "Eureka" battery clock,  your work serves to further inspire....

Any chance of a shot of the mainspring?

Title: a shot of the mainspring
Post by: rabbit on January 21, 2007, 09:22:56 AM
i've tried a lot of different ways, but this is the easiest way to make a spring-powered wooden gear. the Hermle #54 barrel assembly is clamped in a recess in the back of the great wheel, and then covered with a wooden shell.
someone wanted to see the "hairspring" as well.
Title: WOW
Post by: SCAR on January 25, 2007, 05:54:25 PM

How long have you been in the wood clock game?  Where do you find the time?

That watch has to be the coolest thing I've ever seen out of wood!  Would you adopt me?  HA!!
Title: Harmonic Oscillators other than Pendulums
Post by: jrbeall on January 28, 2007, 04:50:34 AM
Rabbit, you are the grand poobah.  The watch is the best I have ever seen and I am positively  green.  And thanks for the tip on main spring barrels, I have been worrying with that for about a year.  I really think we need to have a get together for all so that we can see your work, and you, in person.  I will be glad to host a wood clock "convention" if anyone wants to have one.  When you do this kind of work, you shouldn't hide out in the boonies but come to town and talk to everyone about how you do it.

Looking forward to hearing from you and everyone else about this idea.

Title: Harmonic Oscillators other than Pendulums
Post by: rabbit on January 28, 2007, 08:53:22 AM
JR -
thanks for the compliments, to you and everyone else!  i'm not that "grand", though. i just like to build stuff...
it's the inspiration of you and all the others in this "hobby" that fuel me.
and, to answer an earlier post - i built my first wooden clock in 1981.

i think a "convention" would be great. it would be terrific to meet some of these people, and see their work in person.  i love to share what i know, and i always learn something communicating and observing other's. it may be difficult to fix a time and place, but i'd go for it.
Title: This is the exactly what this community needs to thrive
Post by: dcunningham2 on January 28, 2007, 10:47:32 AM
Getting together for some kind of a convention or a less formal get-together would go a long way towards nurturing a wooden clock-maker's community.

I would think that for those participants that have a commercial interest in seeing such a community thrive, promoting a meeting could be a legitimate marketing activity.

Also, it might be worth scheduling this meeting so that participants could attend some other related event (such as a woodworking convention) at the same time.  This would increase attendance and provide the opportunity to reach out to others who are not currently involved in this hobby.
Title: wood watch-Hey rabbit check it out
Post by: rus on March 12, 2007, 07:12:23 AM

This was forwarded to me and thought I'd pass it along
Title: Harmonic Oscillators other than Pendulums
Post by: Gary Gresham on April 25, 2007, 03:41:17 PM
     Your pocket watch is absolutely amazing!  I am currently working on a clock that is housed in a space almost as confined as your watch.  I am having a rough time coming up with a cannon pinion clutch system that will fit in a small space.  I have previously used a set screw in the pinion with a friction plug allowing the pinion to slip around the arbor when setting the hands.  Unfortunately I haven't found a set screw small enough for a .125" thick pinion.  Would you mind sharing what you used to allow the cannon pinion to slip around the arbor when setting the hands?

Also, did you build some kind of bracket or tool to mount the balance wheel for poise adjustment?

Title: Harmonic Oscillators other than Pendulums
Post by: rabbit on April 26, 2007, 07:25:54 AM
Gary, thanks for the compliments!

for the cannon pinion, i used a small piece of rubber tubing as a "bushing". it fits on the arbor tight enough to hold, but can turn to set. the pinion was bored to accept the tube tightly. this technique can be used on pinions as thin as 1/16". the only drawback is it isn't adjustable like the setscrew/friction plug method.

and yes, i made a crude fixture to adjust the balance wheel poise. i used this same fixture to do the preliminary period adjustment as well.
Title: Harmonic Oscillators other than Pendulums
Post by: Gary Gresham on May 02, 2007, 10:08:59 AM
Thanks Rabbit,
    It's amazing how simple solutions sometimes escape us.  Any chance you could post a picture of your poise and period fixture or if not, maybe a description of how poise is determined?  Since I haven't worked with balance wheels until now, I am not sure of how the wheel would need to be oriented to make the assessment.  Thanks again