Simplicity by Keith Lowe

Simplicity by Keith Lowe

Dear Clayton,
I’m proud to attach a view of my first ever clock – made to your Simplicity design.
Making a wooden wheeled clock has been a longstanding dream. My daughter started me off 3 years ago by buying the plans for my birthday. Having never done anything like it before the learning curve has been pretty enormous – not least in getting together and learning how to use my ‘workshop’. And, probably needless to say, a fair bit of the learning has been done the ‘hard’ way.
And the result is a joy – running of 6lbs – which isn’t perfect – but still qualifying for a place in our spare bedroom (beyond the reach of puppy-teeth).
I could never have done this without ready worked designs and plans such as yours – so thank you Clayton for many hours of pleasure so far – and may more to come – my wife bought me plans for ‘Nautilus’ for this birthday, and our daughter is patiently waiting for her turn, so there’ll be no lack of projects for a good while yet.
Greetings from Sheffield, England


Wow, Keith, I'm impressed!  That being your first clockworks ~ your craftsmanship is spectacular.  Great job on a beautiful build!  Your wood choices really make your Simplicity "Pop!"

I also enjoyed your clock story, and it may seem strange, but I also like hearing that the builder has had to learn certain things the "hard way".  I try to make my plans as simple to follow as possible, but there's always a bit of frustration involved with every build (I try to engineer most of it out...but not all!).  

I have found that the sense of accomplishment perceived at the end of a project is directly proportional to the amount of frustration surmounted during the build.  So congratulations on both counts ~ a beautifully crafted build, and that giant sense of accomplishment you must be feeling right now!  You certainly deserve it.

Your second clock will, of course, be an improvement over your first...after all you've learned a lot, but that first clock will always hold a special place in your heart.  And if you'd like to decrease that drive weight a bit, check out my FAQ's - especially the section on "Depthing".  Or, just leave it alone!!!  It's a beauty and running well, and that makes both of us very happy.

I look forward to seeing your Nautilus pix.


Aloha.  Clayton  


New! The Zephyr Spinning Wheel

Zephyr Spinning Wheel by Scott Bechtel
Introducing "Zephyr," a two-treadle portable spinning wheel.  You have time to build one of these for Christmas gift-giving!  See the details here on our website:  Zephyr Spinning Wheel


Steve Huskins Has Been Busy

Steve Huskins emails, "Clayton,

I would like to get a set of plans for "Radiance".  Here are the Boyer designs I have built so far:
Simplicity by Steve Huskins

Toucan by Steve Huskins

Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Steve Huskins

("Planets" coming soon!)

I hope these qualify me as crazy enough!

Steve Huskins

Wow, Steve, very impressive.  Your craftsmanship is not only beautiful, but unique.  Lovely work!
I will be happy to welcome you to the Masochist's Club.  The Secret Path into Masochist's Corner begins (****this part is a secret*****).  That will take you to the Inner Sanctum of the MC where you can peruse and purchase any of the devious delights contained therein.
Welcome and congratulations! 
Thank you for sending the pix.  I loved looking them over and so enjoy seeing the creativity of other woodworkers...especially those that show such unique and artistic creativity.
Enjoy!  Clayton


Gears in Nature

Planthopper Leg Gears
A short, fascinating piece on the NPR website today about the first mechanical gear system ever observed in nature:  http://www.npr.org/2013/09/13/219739500/living-gears-help-this-bug-jump



eMail Troubles!

Update 9/13/13--Yahoo technical service has responded and fixed the issue with Clayton's email. Unfortunately, any email sent to him between the evening of 9/11 and the early morning of 9/13 has been lost and cannot be recovered.  If you emailed him any questions or sent us any pictures of your completed works during that time, please try again.  We would hate to miss you!

Hi everyone, Lisa Boyer here.  I wanted to let you know that Yahoo Mail has blocked Clayton's email address for the time being for reasons unknown.  He can send email, but he can't receive it.  We've emailed Yahoo technical support and we're waiting for their solution.  In the meantime, if you have a burning technical question, please temporarily direct it to Clayton at moalanikai@gmail.com

Oh...and if you emailed Clayton any time after the early evening of September 11th, please try it again at the new temporary address, as he hasn't received anything since then.

Thanks!  Lisa Boyer


Hajo Dezelski's Review of "A Practical Guide to Wooden Wheeled Clock Design"

A Screenshot of Hajo's Review...to see the complete review, please click on link below

Hajo emails: "Hello Clayton,

I just published a short hint to your book and I hope that you don't mind that I linked to your photo of the cover. If you have objections please tell me and I will remove the link.

All the best,

No objections at all, Hajo!  Thanks for the nice review.  Aloha, Clayton


Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Dave Lee

Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Dave Lee

Dave emails:  "Hi Clayton,

How are you, I hope you are well in your part of the world.

I received plans for the Celestial Calendar from you in March and I have finally finished the project. I know it has taken me a while to do but I made it my lunch time project at work so was limited to spending a maximum of one hour per day for 5 days a week. But at least it gave me something to do in my lunch breaks lol.

I've attached some photos for you to show you my interpretation of your master piece. I hope you like it.
Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Dave Lee

When I first saw a picture of the calendar my thoughts went straight to Victorian engineering. Big gears, crank wheels, levers etc. Well coming from England it's part of our heritage. So my calendar hopefully reflects that. You'll also notice I changed it from being a mechanical calendar and orrery to more of an astrological calendar. Planets moving in retrograde motion did not interest me so much (until I saw your calendar I didn't even know about retrograde motion lol). So I omitted the planet gears and added leap year and Chinese zodiac year wheels. I have made some other changes as I'm sure you will notice. I also made some of my own labels and indicators to correspond with the Victorian look. I added a little bit of Steam-punk too.
Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Dave Lee
Well it now sits in my dining room at home in prime position on the wall. My good lady loves it, especially the moon phase ball.
Celestial Mechanical Calendar by Dave Lee
 All creative and constructive criticism is welcome.

Take care and thank you very much for a brilliant set of well designed plans, you are The Man. 



Aloha Dave, it was a real joy looking through the pictures of your unique and beautiful CMCO.  I always enjoy seeing the creativity that other artists add to personalize their projects and make them their own.
I noticed right away the moon ball with a personality, the beautiful lettering, the addition of a leap year wheel, and the Chinese Year calendar wheel.  Kudos to you and all are Very nice, but what I REALLY loved seeing is how you pulled all those together and really Steampunked your mechanism up!  That is a genre of art that I love, and your CMCO perfectly captures the essence of Steampunk.  Congratulation on your artistry.
I absolutely love getting pictures like these that show such excellent craftsmanship and innovative artistry. 
Thank you for doing the Celestial Mechanical Calendar Orrery plans so proud.
Aloha.  Clayton

Update 9/4/13-Dave sent us a video link to his CMCO:

Thanks, Dave!!  So cool to be able to see it in action!


An Original Clock by Andi Using "A Practical Guide to Wooden Wheeled Clock Design"

#8 by Andi, his original design!

Andi writes:  "Hi Clayton, just thought I would share my new clock design as based on the gearing you described in your Practical Guide.
The pictures attached show the clock mounted temporarily at work where I can fiddle with it. I have also put a video of it up on my YouTube site http://youtu.be/YOxQzlSRbdE

As you can see I took the “eight day” theme all the way with the design of the frame hence the name #8.
The amount of weight needed was at first quite disconcerting so rather than use a doubling pulley system I have just used a pulley which can be mounted anywhere on the wall, luckily for me my walls at home are actually just high enough that I can mount it to allow the drop for an eight day run time. I must admit all my previous clocks do tend to stay dormant unless I am in the mood to wind them. The once a week wind is fabulous, this is one clock that will be in permanent motion. Just need some space on a wall to mount it! Will have to talk nicely to the wife to move some pictures lol. 

The length of pendulum is 74in. I had originally thought to use your 3 click wind mechanism but forgot this when I cut the wind gear which has a “four spoke” design, so I had to design a 4 click mechanism and also beefed it up for the weight it was to support. I used a second rewind barrel geared 1:1 with the driven one but with half the diameter so the drop of the counter weight could be straight down. The dial is my first attempt at segmenting and I am very happy with the result, the numbers are 1/8 brass rod inserted end on which though took a while to do but looks very pleasing, worth the effort. As the weight needed to drive was so much the actual length of the weight tube restricted the running of the clock by almost a day! So, cut this into 3 and mounted into wooden end supports. Using the pulley above the clock helps to support the weight of the clock its self, a bonus. The shape of the frame just shouted for a chime to be mounted on the right so I used a short length of copper tube and using just a wooden hammer makes an understated “ding” but works nicely and isn’t too loud.
The original design was to have used a grasshopper escapement of my own but I had to revert back to the graham escapement due to the fact the swing needed of the pendulum was just a bit too much. I think this is due to the fact I tried to design the escapement to the dimensions I had for the frame i.e. the centre of the escapement is close to the escapement gear, with the tooth spacing I used it needed to be further away to reduce the angle of pendulum swing needed. All good learning though and it also got me to understand how the design of the graham escapement works. Perhaps on my new clock I can get the grasshopper to work.
Cheers for the book, a great read and an inspiration for my own workman like design ;)"


Andi, that is SO Very Excellent!!!  I love the creativity you show in this brand new "Andi" design!  I love the wood you used for the frame and reading about how you overcame the little bumps in the path to creating this beautiful clock.

Yes, the grasshopper is not only one that usually has a huge swing to the pendulum, but it also is an energy hog.  The two grasshopper escape clock designs that I offer have about double the required drive weight of the Graham's...so not a good choice for an 8 day with high weight requirements already.  

I have a different kind of grasshopper escapement in my latest research clock.  The two grasshoppers that I now offer are "Push-Pull" mechanisms.  This new one is a Push-Push.  It is designed after the very first grasshopper that Harrison created.  He later graduated to using the push pull exclusively.

I've attached a short vid.  You'll see not only the weird "parallelogram" grasshopper, but also a balanced compound pendulum, Geneva wheel hour indicator that's run off of the revolving minute wheel.  It is also set up for a seconds hand, but that's not on it right now.  I had trouble keeping it running on the weight I thought it should have, and it lost its seconds hand in all the modifications.  When in reality I had to admit that ALL grasshoppers are energy hogs.  I hung more weight on it and it's been performing excellently...which is the long way around saying that you decision NOT to use a grasshopper in your 8-day was most assuredly a good one.

Thanks for the wonderful pix, vid and story of your build.  Well done(!), and congratulations.



Marble Strike, Revisited

Marble Strike Clock by John Hilgenberg
 Clayton has finally released the Marble Strike Clock from the Masochist's Corner group of plans! 
Marble Strike Clock by John Hilgenberg
Formerly, the Marble Strike was relegated to the spot on our website where only those with proven experience were given a key to be able to purchase plans.  Plans in Masochist's Corner had no instructions or materials list--you were on your own--thus the requirement for previous experience.  But by Clayton's admission, the Marble Strike was in Masochist's Corner NOT because of difficulty, but because he was too lazy to write instructions for it!

Marble Strike by John Hilgenberg
This week, Clayton mixed a little more regular cofee into his half-caf, and finally wrote instructions for it.  The Marble Strike can now be safely unleashed onto the public!

You really must see what other clever clockmakers have done with Clayton's plan here: Flickr Marble Strike Pool  Gorgeous.

The Marble Strike is also now available in paper plans by mail or dxf format via email.  See our website for details.


The Two Wheel Walking Escapement Harmonic Oscillator Clock

You can barely hear her because she's so quiet.
 She's beautiful, too.
 Plans are now available!
 I just uploaded her information on our website at www.lisaboyer.com
You can see her in action on YouTube here:  Harmonic Oscillator Clock
Speaking of quiet, I've been a baaaaad blogger (this is Lisa, Clayton's wife...I usually post the blogs).  Summer is a very busy time for my Hawaiian quilt patterns, so I've been neglecting this little space.  I hope to blog more regularly soon.  In the meantime, thank you so much to all of you who send us pictures and videos of your wonderful creations!  I've been doing a little re-organizing on Flickr and YouTube so people can find and view them more easily.
Clayton is working on several projects at once and is close to completing a couple more, so stay tuned...
Aloha, Lisa


Verge and Foliot Escapement Adjustment on Horologium

Horologium by Joe Coser
Joe Coser writes:
Good morning Clayton,
Attached is a picture of the Horologium I just finished. Thank you for the excellent plans and directions.  I am working on the time it runs fast. I have reduced the weight to 5#--I think I will try reducing it more before making the alternate wheel.
Very nice work, Joe. Your Horologium is a beauty. Each part of your clock is so crisp, and clean, and well made. Your excellent craftsmanship shows throughout your build.
You are correct about decreasing the drive weight if your Horologium is running too fast. Many of my clocks have escapements that are not very sensitive to how much drive weight is applied and a little excess drive weight is not a problem. That is not the case with the verge and foliot escapement of the Horologium. V&F escapements are very sensitive to changes in drive weight, and as an aside that is why, instead of using a standard clock mainspring, I went with a constant force spring in the Wee Willie. A verge and foliot escapement requires that the drive force applied to it be constant.
As you probably read in the instructions for the Horologium, there are three ways to change the speed at which this type of escapement runs; 1) vary the drive weight, 2) open or close the "wings" of the foliot, or 3) change the number of pins on the escape wheel. Actually, there is also a fourth method and that is to add more weight further out on the pendulum's shaft. In other words make a wider or heavier foliot. That could be by adding additional weight in the wings themselves or a separate foliot addition down by the sphere you have put on the bottom of your pendulum's shaft (actually, adding weight further out anywhere along the shaft would work.). You can see how John Hilgenberg did just that by checking out the picture of his Horologium in my Flickr' link.
Thanks for sending the picture so we could all see the great work you put into building your Horologium.
Aloha. Clayton


Simplicity by Karl Noren

Simplicity by Karl Noren

 Dear Clayton, 

I'm a newly retired electronic engineer; my main hobbies are Fishing and Woodwork. I purchased your plans for the Simplicity Clock to fulfil an ambition I had to make a wooden clock movement. Once I retired and had the time available for such pursuits.

I found your plans very well worked out and fairly easy to follow, (after converting your inches to metric) the clock is now finished and hanging on the wall and keeping good time.

I made the big cog wheels using plywood but the rest is made from a local hardwood, Jarrah, (see link) it is my favourite wood and I have made several pieces of furniture over the years. If I get around to making another clock it will be all Jarrah but I can't get Jarrah plywood so I probably have to do my own laminations.

I got the clock to run OK on about 4 lb, I settled for a weight of 5 lb 3 oz, (to give it some reserve power) lead enclosed in a cylinder made from jarrah, I had to reduce the length of the pendulum rod by 2.5" to get it whitin range.


Karl Noren
Western Australia

Aloha Karl, you have created an extremely beautiful Simplicity. I can understand why the Jarrah is one of your favorite woods ~ it's color and depth and overall appearance is spectacular!

I think you have created the first Simplicity Dial Ring that is rotated an additional 15 degrees. It looks wonderful with the inlayed dots and spaced separations. Brilliant!

Your final drive weight is perfect, too. Since the Simplicity is a beginner's clock, my drive weight recommendation is way high. I put it up there because I want every builder, no matter their level of craftsmanship, to be able to hear their clock tick. The drive weight you have attained is a testament to your craftsmanship...as if one couldn't see that throughout the rest of your clock. You've done a truly spectacular job on your first clock(!)

For solid wood wheels or on how to lay up your own ply wheels, check out the "Ron Walters" link in the "Favorite Links" section of my site. He has done some superlative work with solid wood and homemade ply wheels.

Thanks for the beautiful pix and for doing the Simplicity plan so proud.


Celestial Mechanical Calendar and Orrery by Dave Beran

Celestial Mechanical Calendar and Orrery by Dave Beran

Here are a few pictures of CMCO proudly residing in our entry way. It has been complete but required final disassembly for final sanding, varnishing and decorating. You will notice that the weight cord has been relocated. After careful hanging on the wall the weight would land on a chair we keep there. So I made a pulley, stolen from Simplicity plans, and a new mount to relocate the weight. Bev loves CMCO and we advance it together each morning.

I finished all wood parts, except gear teeth, with wipe on varnish and the orrery colors are Transtint dyes. These dyes are mixed with alcohol and color the birch very evenly. The paper parts are also dyed with a 'brown' I concocted from the dyes. I think it gave them a nice 'old' look.

I've had CMCO running in the shop since last March and would probably still be there if I known it would take two weeks to properly dress her up!

Oh, by the way. The thermometer next to CMCO read -23 this morning!!!

Dave Beran
Duluth, MN
Dave, I just can't tell you how much joy I get from seeing great craftsmanship ~ and especially when it is applied to one of my two All Time Favorite designs, the CMCO.

When I read that you and Bev advance it together in the morning, I was just totally filled with joy. What a great email!!! That was just so wonderful to read.

There is just nothing like seeing all that fluttering and gyrating going on with the simple unleashing of two levers. And to be able to look on your wall at a bunch of gears and see what is happening in the Cosmos is almost unbelievable (at least it still is to me).

Your CMCO really came out superb. Thank you for doing the CMCO plan so proud! And I really love the displaced drive weight. I think that looks wayyy better than my original design (I'm so glad that chair was there. Ha). Using one of the Simplicity wheels was brilliant.

Congratulations on a spectacular build, and thank you so much for the pix and totally wonderful email. You've made my day!


Aloha. Clayton