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Trillium Flourish – Skeleton Clock Build

To be entered into the 2023 NAWCC Crafts Competition Lancaster, PA (July 13–16)

Trillium Flourish is my first clock that I have built completely from scratch. It is a three themed clock in all aspects, comparing and contrasting traditional design, materials, construction and finishes with modern versions of same and tastes.


Design: Consists of three elements; 1. Traditional elements such as single train and passing bell strike, 2. Less traditional elements such as offset train and dial, 3. Combined elements of both such as the dial with traditional numeral plaques using the new design elements.


Stylism: Consists of three elements; 1. Three petaled trillium flower repeats in all components that are round or circular in nature, such as wheels, 2. The "slash" element is carried throughout in components that are flat by nature such as plates, levers, etc. 3. A minor design element is the flared end cylindrical components with a central bulge, such as some arbors and certain pillar posts.


Materials: Consists of three elements; 1. Traditional materials such as brass and steel, used in their typically found locations, 2. New materials not normally found in previous examples such as carbon fiber plates and Corian base, 3. Stainless steel used in the fasteners but not normally seen in historic examples.


Finishes: Consists of three elements; 1. Polished or gloss surfaces such as the plates, 2. Brushed surfaces such as wheels and the "slash" pillars, 3. Naturally acquired patina particularly on the bronze components.

The four pillars reflect the general theme of the plates.


I built a holding fixture for the pillar blanks. They mount using the threaded fastenings which will hold the plates together. Two separate pilot holes pickup the center point on the rotary table. The point is used to align the table's Y axis, then crank the X axis over to the radius to be cut. Here the outer radius is being cut.


Changing to the other center point and resetting the mill, then cutting the inner radius. Both radii are the same, just different center points.


Two done, two to go. The pillars will be brush finished then lacquered.


After squaring up the brass stock, drilling the fastening holes.


Using the lathe to insure straight tapping. The ends were faced to length while turning a pilot collar to align the pillar with the plate, and both plates with each other (forgot to take a picture of that).


4X layout of the escapement.


Using the bench mill as a precision drill press.


Marked out for cutting.


Removing the bulk of the waste by band saw.


Ready to file finish and grain.

Notice the two end faces are to be parallel, and the top face is parallel to the two lower extremities of the verge. This is so it can be spread or drawn closer easily in a the bench vise for fine tuning escapement depth.


Using a small dapping punch to close both sides the holes for the pallet jewels slightly to make a snug fit. This is so the jewels will be held tight enough to not fall out during escapement tuning.

It also provides a small sink for the jewel cement once tuned.


Here is one of the spherical recesses.


Using traditional shellac to cement the ruby pallet jewels.


I had this main part already 80% finished back in 2009. It mounts the winding clicks and springs, and the maintaining power springs. The rachet on the OD is for the maintaining power clock so the clock continues to run while winding.

Here I'm tapping the winding click spring mounting hole.


Need three clicks as exactly the same as hand work can make them. Once one is close to shape, the second one is added and positioned relative to the first by the long pin.


Here all three clicks are being filed to matching shape.


For the click and maintaining power springs, I made a simple jig to hold four together tightly for milling away excess material.

Needing three GOOD ones, I made four do I could have a practice piece to destroy learning each next step.


From the left, the milling jig, then the resulting spring blanks with a flag at each end to be shaped after forming, the bending jig to control the radius, one partially completed spring, then the finished spring.


One click and spring in place. There will be three to match the trillium theme of the clock.


Main winding rachet getting it's three mounting holes.


Completed rachet has 13 teeth so the clicks fall one at a time in succession. That way if any one fails, there are two backups, no runaway mainspring here!

(Watch on Facebook if video does not appear)

Action of the main winding clicks. Note how the three fall in succession. Most of the working parts will be unseen inside the assembly, just the click tails and springs will be seen. Still, what you will see in action will be fascinating and satisfying.​

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