How to Build a Grandfather Clock

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Things You'll Need

  • 30 board feet of wood

  • Coping saw

  • Fretsaw

  • Wood glue

  • Grandfather clock mechanism

  • Pendulum

  • Grandfather clock weights

  • Wood Stain

Grandfather clock

A typical grandfather clocks stands more than 6-1/2 feet tall. A long, wooden case contains a pendulum to regulate the time. The slow movement of visible weights operates a series of internal wheels and gears. This internal mechanism controls the hands and dials on the clock face. Clock faces are often richly decorated and sport additional dials that tell the date and phases of the moon.


Step 1

Use the saw to cut out two sections of wood, each 18 inches high by 8 inches wide. Saw two more sections of equal height by a width of 14 inches. These 4 pieces will form the rough shape of the hood, or top section, of the grandfather clock.

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Step 2

Cut the tops of the two wider pieces into the shape of an arch using the coping saw. These two pieces become the front and back of the hood. Trim the two narrow pieces to fit as the sides of the hood.

Step 3

Use the coping saw to cut an arch-shaped window out of one of the wider pieces of the hood. Cut out almost the entire piece, leaving just a narrow frame--about 1/2 inch wide.

Step 4

Cut additional small arches in the center of each of the side pieces using the fretsaw. These arches should measure 4 inches wide by 8 inches high. Glue together the two side pieces and the cutout front into the form of a three-sided box. Cut another piece of wood 8 inches wide by 14 inches long, and glue it on to the top of the hood. This piece is the top of the hood.


Step 5

Use the regular saw to cut two pieces of wood 18 inches wide by 48 inches long. Cut two other pieces 14 inches wide by 48 inches long. Using the coping saw, cut a window out of one of the wider pieces, leaving a frame 1/2 inch wide.

Step 6

Assemble these four larger pieces into the form of a tall box. Glue the pieces in place. This is the waist of the grandfather clock.


Step 7

Cut six pieces of wood, each 24 inches by 24 inches. Glue these pieces into the shape of a cube. This is the base of the grandfather clock.

Step 8

Glue the waist on top of the base and the hood on top of the waist. Use wood screws to secure the clock movement to the inside of the hood of the grandfather clock. Following the directions for the particular movement, install the weights and pendulum inside the waist.


Add fine detail to the hood of the clock using the fretsaw. Additional decoration can be provided by adding a finial. Balance your grandfather clock properly. Tilt your clock to the left or to the right, swing the pendulum, and listen for the most even ticking sound. Use wood stain to help protect the wood on your grandfather clock and to give it color or the look of wood grain.


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