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Tall Case Clock

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This is a reproduction of a tall case clock built by John Townsend in 1789, the original clock resides in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. This is one of the very few tall case clocks actually signed by John Townsend. Evidently, John Townsend only signed and dated his finest work.

My goal, was to accurately as possible, recreate the original case details. As one studied construction details of the clock, it was pretty apparent that many of the details were quite complex to execute. For instance, the waist door construction is complex. The waist door is composed of fifteen components, the frame of the door contains five of those components. The top rail is jointed to the stiles with a double through tendons, the bottom rail is jointed to the stiles with a single through tendon, the intersection of the top and bottom rails and stiles is mitered at each corner, finally the mid-rail is dovetailed to the stiles.

I used Trimble SketchUp Pro to model the clock, using photo's available from the Met and photo's I personally took of the original clock while visiting the Met. It’s very humbling to see up close, just how fantastically talented 18th century furniture makers like John Townsend were.

The moldings adorning the case are fairly complex, the straight moldings were shaped using hollows and rounds, a newly learned process. The circular moldings were all carved.

The Society of American
Period Furniture Makers
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