The Sculp­tor who will turn your house into a clock

Muscat Daily - - FEATURES -

Rick Hale makes art out of largescale wooden daisy wheels, worm gears, grasshop­per es­cape­ments, and more. When you think about clock mak­ing does Michi­gan come to mind? It should. Rick Hale is a self-taught clock­maker based in Kala­ma­zoo, Michi­gan, build­ing phe­nom­e­nal large-scale clocks com­pletely by hand. Large-scale per­haps doesn’t do these clocks jus­tice. Some of his wheels are eight feet in di­am­e­ter! This gi­ant size makes it easy to ap­pre­ci­ate some of the finer move­ment de­tails that are of­ten over­looked in watches or even nor­mal size clocks. In ad­di­tion, Hale’s clocks are not cased and do not in­clude di­als. The en­tire move­ment is on display and the re­sults are ab­so­lutely beau­ti­ful.

There are plenty of wood­work­ing plans for clocks avail­able to­day us­ing some­what stan­dard es­cape­ments, gear trains and mo­tion works. Hale’s clocks are any­thing but stan­dard, as they fea­ture grasshop­per es- cape­ments, daisy wheel mo­tion work and worm gears. The daisy wheel mo­tion work is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­est­ing. It is an ob­scure 18th cen­tury plan­e­tary gear mech­a­nism which sim­pli­fies the tra­di­tional mo­tion work that we see in both clocks and watches to­day.

Hale cites John Har­ri­son as in­spi­ra­tion for his work. Har­ri­son is the fa­mous in­ven­tor of the marine chronome­ter which en­abled ac­cu­rate nav­i­ga­tion at sea. What you may not know about Har­ri­son is that he started out as a car­pen­ter, and many of his early clocks are wooden. Like Har­ri­son, Hale uses lignum vi­tae wood in many of his clocks.

The pur­pose of any clock is of course to tell the time, but Hale points out a dif­fer­ent aim for his work. “My time­pieces have a dif­fer­ent aim. Rather than sim­ply tell the cur­rent time, they also do some­thing a lit­tle less tan­gi­ble and a lot more im­por­tant: They cen­ter you in the present mo­ment.”

Rick Hale

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