Clocks are cool!

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We never know what to expect, but we're glad for the interesting woodworking projects that come our way...

St. John's German Evangelical Church was built in 1859. It is the most notable historic timber frame structure in Walhalla, South Carolina.

Hiding behind the walls and ceilings is one of the most impressive traditional timber frame structures in our area. To crawl around the crawlspace or climb up into the attic is a timber framer's dream. To see the huge hand hewn beams resting on local hand cut stone, the long full height timbers that make the corners of the bell tower and the elaborate barrel vaulted roof trusses is simply amazing. Even more impressive is that this was all done by hand over 150 years ago.

Several years ago, MoreSun hosted a meeting of the Timber Framer’s Guild. The church allowed us to climb around and explore the frame. There were a few people in the group who had studied European timber frame traditions. From the details in the construction, they agreed the framers were from Germany, but probably somewhere very close to the French border because of certain details and methods. It was a very interesting day.

MoreSun was honored a couple years back when the church needed a rotting timber replaced. It was incredible to pull boards off the walls and see inside. We had to remove and replace a 10'x14' post as well as rehang and trim the curved front entry door. It was very rewarding to work on this historic timber frame.

This year we got to work on this amazing historic timber frame church again.

The 5’ diameter clocks, 50+ feet high, had been up for 60 years and were beginning to show signs of age.

All four clock faces
on the church tower

needed to be replaced.

Replicating the clocks in the MoreSun workshop

We laminated sheets of marine grade
plywood and applied 6 coats of paint

Stephen & Rob almost had anxiety attacks trying to ensure every piece was in the correct location on each clock!

Rob & Jeremy loading
clock faces for delivery

These clock faces will definitely out last the previous set!

Roman numerals and minute tick marks were cut from high grade plastic.

​The hands from the 60+ year old clocks were wooden with a metal piece hidden on the backside that attached to the mechanism inside the clock tower.

New replacement hands were made of powder coated aluminum.

Using site built scaffolding and hand hoisting the clocks up proved too difficult and time consuming,
so after the first day we changed gears and rented a 60’ all terrain man lift.
That worked much better.

Old face coming down

Rob on man lift
and clock expert Gene inside

New face installed

The view from up there was amazing!
We could see Rabun Bald in Georgia to one side; 
Lake Joccasee and the Bad Creek project in South Carolina when looking the other direction.

Gene is a clockmaker who has  
serviced St. John's clocks for decades

Gene prepares to attach 
metal pieces to the new clock hands

Pretty don't get to see this everyday!
We got a behind the scenes view of how a 4-sided clock works.

Hard to photograph,
but these gears and pulleys operate
all four clocks' hands simultaneously

Stephen shows daughter Lorinn the shiny
clock mechanism inside the clock tower

Chime bell in clock tower

Original instructions
detail caring for the clocks

We look forward to the next St. John’s project. Working on this historic timber frame is really a treat.