Building an American antique clock

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Building an American antique clock replica

Between 1900 and 1945 the Americans made many clock movements with the same theme in common. The most common USA clock movements made during this era were the time and strike 8 day units.

Movements for this popular style are no longer made in the USA. India was able to come up with a replica movement. Once on the market they were a match for the antique American units in measurement and function.

So now it is possible to build a clock that is similar to the American antique clock.

Avoid building a mantle clock

The mantle clocks are not easy because of the dial / bezel / glass requirements that are unobtainable in the modern market. The more complex the dial requirements the less chance of obtaining such a thing in the modern market.

Mantle clocks such as Tambour style and Adamatine have dial / bezel / glass combinations that all fit together like a glove.

This increase in complexity makes it less obtainable from the start never mind getting into drilling the holes to wind it. Clocks with this style dial requirement is the least likely to come out successfully.

Nice clocks to build

Other clocks are good to build such as the kitchen units and the long and short drop clock kits.

Be aware these kits do not include the wood case or instructions on creating a case. We are only offering the internal components of these kits for the craftsman. Plans need to be bought elsewhere or replicate an existing clock.

clock case measurements to Building an American antique clock

Consider the depth and height requirements when planning to build the clock case for the new movement. Determine the depth with the hand shaft length in mind.

The height would be dependent on the pendulum length of the new movement and how much height overall it would take. Because these antique clocks were in a mass production it is not hard to find plans for a case.

The idea is to examine an existing case and add a personal twist.

Pendulum length

The drop is the pendulum length on the American movements, and therefore also the replicas. The drop is the pendulum length from the shaft that the clock hands go on, down to the very bottom of the pendulum rating nut threads.

This measurement is approximate and will vary with a lighter or heavier pendulum bob. Building an American antique clock replica case is best done by duplicating the basic measurements of an existing clock.

Hand shaft measurement

This is the length of the shaft that the hands go onto. Measure it from the front plate of the clock movement all the way out to the end of the minute hand nut threads.

This is important when creating a clock case and figuring out the depth to make it. Sometimes it is difficult to measure because there are gears in the way, however this is what needs to be done.

When planning the clock case, the best way to ensure everything will fit is to get the movement first. With the movement in hand, measurements can be taken to create the best wooden enclosure.

The dial to Build an American antique clock

Clock dials are not the same as what was in the antique world. The dial / bezel / glass combinations are pretty much obsolete. What is still on the market is modern looking instead of antique. It is advisable to stay away from clocks with this dial requirement.

Examples of this include mantle units and banjo clocks. Kitchen and steeple clocks are easier to build because we can supply a 6 1/2 inch dial that will work with the movement.

Clockworks can drill the holes in the dial to wind the clock to fit the arbor configuration. Dial grommets are put in the winding holes after drilling so the holes look pretty.

The dial that comes with the clock kit is optional to use. Of course the customer can use whatever dial alternative they choose.

The content of this website is copyright by Clockworks and written by James Stoudenmire in year 2022

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