gary's clocks

Brendan Reilly

Brendan has been making wooden works clocks since 1979, and got started after reading the first Fine Woodworking wooden clockworks article that year. He is working on his 14th design. He build's them in batches, which he calls "Limited Editions", and sells them. It's never been his main source of income, but then, he's never had trouble selling his clocks. Brendan Admits that he doesn't charge a whole lot for them.

The attached photos are of a clock that he donated to the University of Waterloo. The pendulum beats 2 seconds, which makes it 4 metres long. It winds itself with an electric motor every 14 hours.

Brendan has just been approached by someone to do a commissioned work, and is excited about that. He'd like to get more work of that kind.

Here are some more details about the UW clock. The pinion is a lantern pinion of six leaves, each one being a 1/4" dia stainless rod supported by ball bearings, so they roll on the teeth. Brendan did this because the one-armed grasshopper escapement recoils, and he wanted to reduce the friction associated with that. It also practically eliminates any wear. The motion work is of the daisy wheel type, invented by Aaron Dodd Crane in the 1800's. See if you can figure out how it works. Hint: it's driven by an eccentric on the minute hand shaft. The weight drive and electric winding system is of the Huygens "endless chain" type. The pendulum bob contains 35 lb. of lead, but the driving weight is only 9 lb.

The clock uses lantern pinions of six leaves in all the clocks, except one design where he used one of just 5 leaves in the drive train. It worked fine, but he's been scared to repeat it. Use 1/8" x 1" stainless hardened dowels for the leaves.

Brendan attached photos of "Design 12", an edition of 24 pieces he finished in 1998, and "Design 11", 12 pieces, 1996. Design 12 uses wheels of 54, 40, and 30 with a standard 1 second pendulum and seconds hand. Design 11 uses a torsional pendulum with a 6 sec beat and wheels of 60 and 30.

You can see more of his work at





A new Picture from Brendan........

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gary's clocks