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Building Your Own Grandfather Clock from a Kit

Jan 29, 2008
The popularity of grandfather clocks has never been greater. Interchangeably referred to as tall case, long case or floor clocks, the venerable grandfather clock has been widely produced since the seventeenth century. Building your grandfather clock from a kit is now easier than ever.

Variations of the classic grandfather clock include the grandmother clock and the granddaughter clock. Grandmother and granddaughter clocks are generally shorter than the average grandfather clock and feature smaller dial faces. Woodworkers, hobbyists and clock enthusiasts have often looked to grandfather clock kits in order to build their own clocks,

Through the years, craftspeople have turned these timepieces into works of aesthetic and musical art. Vintage and antique grandfather clocks have become family heirlooms, passed down for generation to generation. Antique and vintage floor clocks from such famous makers as the Willards, Levi Hutchins and Samuel Mulliken have piqued the interest of collectors from all over the world.

For a number of years, skilled woodworkers have been able replicate popular designs from scratch. The market for grandfather clock kits was, for many years, geared towards hobbyists and collectors who had a good bit of skill at fine woodworking. Thankfully, the market for clock kits has advanced once again.

Designed for hobbyists and clock enthusiasts with average woodworking skill, grandfather clock kits are now available that make the process of creating a master work much easier. Manufacturers of clock kits have designed their products in a way that has taken some of the guesswork out of the process. Without the need for specialized woodworking tools, most kits include most everything you need to build a complete working clock.

Selecting a floor clock kit starts with the case. There is endless variety of styles from which to choose, from the traditional, to designs that are more contemporary. Cases are available in a selection of fine hardwoods such as cherry, oak, walnut and ash. Many of these case kits have been cut and milled to fit together properly. To make assembling the case even easier, some of the more complex components such as a door come preassembled. Holes for hardware such as locks and latches are often predrilled.

Not all wood kits come complete with items such as cabinet glass. Many manufacturers may offer a selection of glass panels, from flat to beveled, as options. Other case options include differing styles of hardware such as locks, latches and hinges. The all important dial face may come in various styles including moon phase dial plates, shaker styles and the smaller diameter dials that are characteristic of grandmother and granddaughter clocks. Moon phase dials are integrated with the clocks movement to calculate automatically the phases of the moon.

The heart of any clock is the movement. The movements are usually sold separately from the case kit and are available in various configurations. As a rule, the more simple the movement, the less expensive it is. The movement can easily cost as much or more than the case kit. Some movements may feature more than one chime tone. Others may have a mechanism that automatically mutes the chimes during nighttime hours. There are many other types of options available when purchasing a clock kit including different styles of pendulums and counter weights.

It is important to understand that building your own grandfather clock is not an easy business. A great deal of time and patience is needed to do the job correctly. Building something as large as a grandfather clock is not a kitchen table project. The process of finishing the wood case may involve using volatile adhesives, stains and varnishes. The importance of having a dedicated work area that is clean and well organized cannot be understated.

If you enjoy a challenge, consider building your own grandfather clock from a kit. The work will tedious but the feeling of accomplishment can last a lifetime.
About the Author
Mitch Endick is a staff writer for the quality online store FineWebStores.com.
Shop forGrandfather Clocks at unique wall clocks for your home or office. Please visit FineWebStores.com today.
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