3 Tips For Designing Your Own Grandfather Clock Case.

hood mouldingsCase design is not such a formidable task as you may think; it can be done with a little research and the basic skills in technical drawing. If you covered this at school you’re already halfway there. Although there are advanced drawing programs you can use on computers today, we still use the old method we were taught in college i.e. using a drawing board, clips, and T-square. You may laugh but it the cheapest and fastest way, and works very well for us, working on the principle of keep it simple.



Take some time out to look at styles and construction of cases for the period that matches your movement and dial. If you are not lucky enough to be able to get access to any and to have hands on and get a close look, you will have to scan as many books as possible. It goes with out saying a good source of pictures can be found at your local library.

Keep Your Eyes Open

Museums and stately homes give a great opportunity to get close up and have a good scan. A friend of mine once asked a stately home permission to photograph and take the dimensions from a table they had so he could make a copy, and believe it or not they said yes. I’ve never tried it but it might work for a clock case.

Auction Houses

Let’s not forget the old auction houses these can be a great source for research. Get the catalogue for any photographs, and then get yourself down to the auction on viewing day and you can then get a close look at the style with its veneering, stringing and all its decorative features, and also look inside to see how the case was constructed.

Once you have drawn up the case you are going to make, with as much detail as you can put on it, you can then compile your cutting list. Listing all the parts you will have to make to finished size, you can then calculate the exact amount of timber you will need to buy from the timber merchant and order the veneers and stringing or inlay if necessary. It’s also a good time to source and purchase the fittings you will use on the case i.e. hinges, finials, patera and column caps. A great book that covers clock case drawing and construction that I can recommend is “Making and Repairing Wooden clock cases” By V.J. Taylor & H.A.Babb.

Barry Share is the proprietor of Riversdale Clocks.
He and his son Matthew have been making bespoke cases for longcase clocks since 1986 and are both holders of advanced furniture qualifications. 


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