My wife and I dropped by the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft during our recent Thanksgiving visit. I’m lucky she brought her camera – otherwise I would have not been able to share these exquisitely crafted wooden clocks by Lexington, KY woodworker Keith Chambers of Woodwerks.

What really stands out about his clocks is the level of custom work and sheer detail that goes into each one. Here are some jaw dropping facts from the card on the wall:

each clock has a custom-made 24 volt AC motor
each tooth requires three different custom-made router bits to accomplish the final shape
the gears are made by laminating three or four one-eighth thick solid wood blanks using a two-part structural epoxy.
the dials are made using exotic woods and have 36 parts
No dyes or stains are used to enhance the woods; all colors are natural

Here are some close ups – make sure your mouth’s closed or you may drool on your keyboard ;)

(yup, they’re laminated)

(I don’t think I’ve ever seen “beautiful” gears before…)

(there it is, up on a pedestal. I somehow didn’t get the price…)

It’s not hard to tell that Chambers is an engineer by trade. The Southsider magazine interviewed Chambers early this year. Here’s how he describes making the gears:

“When I start making gears, that’s all I’m doing. I make three different outlines of the gears, I draw the gears, then I take the profile and make another drawing. Then I send off the info to Montana and they actually make the fitted bits for me,” explained Chambers. “It’s fine tuning using the different-sized bits to first cut away excess wood, then angle it with another bit, then go back for fine tuning, down every single groove––to give it the profile of real metal gears. A 64-tooth gear has over 190 cuts in it. It brings tears to your eye when you’re done and you realize one of the teeth is chipped.”

Read the full interview: Tinkering with Time >>
Visit Keith Chambers’ KY Crafts Guild profile page >>

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