How Pendulum Clocks Operate
In 1656, Christiaan Huygens, a Dutch scientist and mathematician, improved upon the work of Galileo by constructing a new type of clock. This clock design was more accurate than any of the clocks available at the time. The secret behind the new clock’s accuracy was the use of a constant and controlled swing of a pendulum.
The mechanism for controlling the swing of the pendulum is the ‘escapement.’ The escapement restricts the pendulum’s movements to a predetermined swing radius while at the same time encourages the pendulum to continue to swing.
Besides the escapement, there are only a few additional parts necessary to build a pendulum clock. These parts are a power source, a wheel train, a pendulum and a dial with hands. The simplicity of a pendulum clock makes it a great woodworking project for people of all ages and skill levels.
Today’s replacement pendulum movements are battery-operated, using Quartz to control the movement of the hands, and simple gravity for the motion of the pendulum.
Tips For Choosing the Right Pendulum Clock Parts
Before you select which parts are right for your project, you need to decide on the type of clock case you want to build to house the clockworks. There are many kinds of pendulum clocks cases you can choose. Choose a clock case which you like, but make sure that the design is appropriate for your woodworking skill. Remember, a well-made, simple clock works better and is more beautiful than a poorly constructed complex one.
After choosing the clock case plans for your project, it is time to purchase the other clock parts.
There are a few options that are readily available. 1) Standard Step Style Pendulum Clock Movements – these come in a C-Cell option for longer battery life, or in a compact case that is powered by a single AA battery. 2) High Torque Pendulum movements which can drive your large clock hands and a pendulum rod up to 25 inches long. 3) Combine the Pendulum with the classy Westminster Chime.
Larger clock cases require a higher torque pendulum movement, longer pendulums and hands and larger clock faces. Of course, that means smaller clock cases will require shorter pendulums and hands and smaller clock faces. If you want to avoid purchasing the wrong size clockworks, choose a clock case plan which includes measurements for the clockworks.
Another step is to measure the thickness of your clock dial material – the clock shaft has to go through the material and then be secured using a nut to the clock face – the distance through the material will determine the clock shaft length you want to purchase. At Bear Woods, we try to make it simple – every clock movement product name tells you what material thickness they are suitable for. Sometimes you will have to router out a bit of material at the back in order to inset your movement, or you may have to add a shim to the back to make the hands rest just above your clock face.
You will also select a Pendulum Bob – we carry 3 sizes and include them free with purchase of a pendulum movement.
Our customers are the core of our business. See what they have to say about our clock parts:
“Great Service – Clock arrived minus free hands (my mistake, did not realize I had to order them separately). Your customer service was great and very friendly. Helped me to get the hands and my clock is now repaired and working well. Best service around. Thanks!” – Edward M. on 4/10/17.
“Clock Replacement – Good product. Works very well. Chime is not too loud and sounds quite authentic.” – Robert H. on 4/7/17
Do you still have questions about building your pendulum clock? At Bear Woods Supply Company, we have been providing quality materials and advice to woodworkers since 1987. We stock a range of clock-building and repairing supplies and can help you choose the appropriate clockworks for any project with no minimum order amount! Find the clockworks you need for your next project online or call 800-565-5066 to speak with one of our woodworking experts.