gary's clocks


jrbeall jrbeall jrbeall jrbeall

J.R. Beall has been a fine woodworker for many years.
He began building musical instruments in 1969, making more than 800 dulcimers, hammer dulcimers, guitars, harpsichords and more. He continued as a professional woodworker for many years, during which time he built clocks, furniture, giant wooden tools & wooden machinery. In 1982 he founded the Beall Tool Company, & holds several patents for woodworking tools he developed, including a wood threading device. The tool company occupies most of his time now, but he still does woodworking for fun. He loves the challenge involved in constructing complicated wooden mechanisms.

Visit his site at

A note from J.R.:

Just dicta your web site and it is very impressive. You deserve great credit for all the work you have done in spreading the word on clock construction and design.

I have been messing about with clocks for some years and am currently involved in a sustained binge of clock building.

I found it curious that you have not had success with making your own plywood. I have been doing it for a long time and never had a failure. I have used all types of exotics and glued them with West System epoxy using a vacuum press. I have a 15 year old grasshopper with laminated bubinga wheels and pinions that has performed faithfully since it was made.

I have a CNC mill and home made made CNC lathe and have found a book called "Gears for small mechanisms" which does a good job of presenting the formulas and geometry for cycloidal gearing. I like to make very small and delicate wheels and have found that .055 imperial module is about as small as I want to go. That will give me a 10 tooth pinion of about 1/2" diameter.

It seems to me that someone should do something about organizing the wood works clock nuts and having a convention. I would be glad to host it. Many years ago I started The Guild of American Luthiers in this way and it has become a large and popular group. It would be wonderful to share experiences and techniques with others face to face.

I have been doing kaleidoscopes for several years and some of them are gear driven.

Incidentally, although I agree gearing should not be finished it does look and perform a lot better if it is buffed with our buffing system (plug).

Thanks again for all your effort,

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gary's clocks