I have just finished reading Bill Smith’s latest book, “How to Make a Skeleton Wall Clock.” As a life long clockmaker and machinist I am tempted to sometimes think I have seen it all, even if I know better. This book reminded me there are still things to learn, and I learned several from reading it. I can say without reservation that this is a “must read” book for every clockmaker. Bill writes with the same objective used by Donald DeCarle when he wrote “Practical Clock Repairing” 45 years ago. Each author showed step by step procedure for making a clock movement and in the process has shown the reader the steps required to accomplish competent fabrication of replacement parts needed in the repair shop. This means that by making either of these clocks the serious practitioner will have the satisfaction of making a clock from “scratch.” Equally important, he will have expanded and improved his repair skills. Bill Smith’s style of presentation accomplishes two valuable things. He gives his reader an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of tools, and a real understanding of why a procedure is necessary. Sources are recommended for both the materials and cutters needed to make the train wheels. There is a section on making fly cutters for both the winding ratchet and the escape wheel. Cutters are expensive, and to minimize costs, this clock is designed to use lantern pinions. Added to the economy of this design is the advantage to the reader of learning a technique for making lantern pinions, a subject inadequately treated in most clock books. Like many of Bill’s other books, this one is a complete manual covering every aspect of the subject project. “How to Make a Skeleton Wall Clock” is comprised of twelve chapters which originally appeared in serial form in the “Home Shop Machinist” from Nov.1993 through Oct. 1995. There are 85 pages of text, and 280 photos and drawings. The format is 8-1/2 by 11″ pages in a comb binder making the book convenient to use in the workshop. In order that there is no confusion, I offer the standard disclaimer. I have no financial involvement with Bill Smith, and this review is unsolicited by him. I just want to call attention to a project for the “hands on” clock crowd about which I am very enthusiastic. Jcl John C. Losch
This is a 85 page, 280 figure workshop manual for building the clock.