The Beginners Clock
Bryn has taken a day out of his half term holiday to come and start making his first clock. He is making the Beginner Clock in the same way that it would be manufactured on the course. It starts with cutting out the blank wheel components on the pantograph before moving forward to cutting the teeth. Bryn is currently sitting his A levels and wants to make clock making a career.
Bryn has no formal machining training and is very much a beginner though with guidance and tuition in a one to one environment he has started produce the workings of a mechanical clock, which he will complete over a number of days as formal schooling and examinations allow.
The Beginners Clock has been carefully thought out and designed to allow it to be made by some one with minimal clock making knowledge, though basic machining skills and understanding are required.
Clock Making Course
J A Alcock & Son have been developing a clock making course that will allow those with basic machining knowledge to come to the workshop and on a small student to tutor ratio build a working clock movement within 6 days.
Designed to be run over two long weekends the course is now well into the development stage with the detailed drawings being completed and checked. The next step is to construct the basic tooling that will be required as most of it is not commercially available.
Whilst the design of the clock movement is not open for a student to alter, they will manufacture all the components themselves under the guidance of Ross Alcock MBHI, cutting all the wheels and pinions for the clock as well as making the escapement, in essence a complete hand built movement which once completed is theirs to take home and customise with hands and dials of their own design.
Each individual component has a fully specified technical drawing from which it can be manufactured along with sub assembly drawing to allow for easy assembly of each series of components.
Passing on the skills
J A Alcock & Son are deeply committed to passing on the skills to the next generation to ensure the continued practice of traditional horology in an ever technically dependant world.
Ross is working with Bryn who expressed an interest in becoming a clock maker at a very young age having visited Upton Hall for one of the open weekends, a place that he is still frequenting at every opportunity.
Bryn approached Ross and asked if it would be possible to undertake some training over and above his formal schooling. This was something that Ross has been more than happy to help with and he has attended several Saturdays in the workshop over the last few years. Bryn has even attended a week's work experience at J A Alcock & Son. Over the course of his week Bryn stripped, cleaned and rebuilt a French Comptoire clock putting into practice many of the skills he had learnt in the workshop prior to the start of his work experience.
The Next Generation
Ross Alcock has been chairing a working group with a number of other clock makers constructing a new apprenticeship scheme for the training of clock makers and repairers for the future.
The apprenticeship is well on the way with the standard of work having been approved by the Department of Education, this can be viewed on the Institute for Apprenticeships website.
The apprenticeship is designed to give training to ensure that the fundamental skills are continued into the next generation and allow employers to train new staff in a cost effective manner. covering all areas of clock repair from theoretical to practical, manufacture and design of components and basic conservation and restoration practices and ethics.
The apprenticeship in brief requires a student to undertake commercial clock repairs under the watchful eye of a practicing clock maker building a portfolio of work carried out and to pass the assessments at the end of the two year period.
The apprenticeship is supported by the British Horological Institute and the British Watch & Clock Makers Guild both of whom at this time are considering giving professional membership to those that successfully complete the apprenticeship scheme.
The work is on going but it is hoped that the apprenticeship will be ready to accept students on the 1st September 2019.