Real Wood Veneers...

All of my wooden clocks are made from engineered panels which consist of real wood veneers bonded to a medium density fibre (mdf) core.  This material has been carefully selected based on its ability to meet the following key criteria and provide the best possible quality for the finished wooden clock.

Material Selection Criteria:

The Material MUST Have The Quality & Feel Of Real Wood

The Material MUST Not Crack Or Distort Over Time

The Material MUST Give A Clean & Consistent Edge Quality When Laser Cut

The Material MUST Be Suitable For Cutting Into Fine Detailed Precision Parts


Why Not Solid Wood?

In an ideal world solid wood would be the obvious choice for my wooden clocks, unfortunately it only meets the first of my four key points.

Solid wood does crack and distort with changing temperature and humidity, particularly in the thin sections from which the clock parts are made.

Solid wood will produce poor and inconsistent edge quality when laser cut, due to the random nature of the grain and knots.  Softer parts of the grain cut easier than harder knotted areas resulting in a non uniform edge finish.

Solid wood is not suitable for fine detailed parts again due to the random nature of the grain and knots.  For example the fine tooth detail of the escapement wheel simply break away when the tooth coincides with a knot or weak piece of grain.

Below is an video showing how distorted a 6mm thick solid wood gear can be (on the left). The gear on the right is made from the real wood veneers on an mdf core, which sits perfectly flat.

Solid wood is a beautiful material but for this application it’s just not suitable.

Real Wood Veneer On An MDF Core

So with solid wood ruled out an alternative needed to be found, enter real wood veneer on an mdf core.  Real wood veneers are exactly what they suggest, a thin sheet of real wood, say oak or walnut, sliced from a tree using specialist machinery. The thin veneers themselves are very flexible and therefore need bonding to each side of a core material (mdf) to create a rigid engineered panel.

This material is perfect for my wooden clock application, the veneers offer that feel and warmth that is only achievable with hand finished real wood.

Due to the absence of grain and knotting in the material core it will not crack or distort.

It's perfect for laser cutting and provides again due to its consistent makeup a very clean finish, perfect for running mechanical parts.

Again because of its consistent makeup is perfect for cutting finely detailed precision parts.

So that concludes this page on the use of real wood veneers on an mdf core, the reasoning behind selecting it and why it is the perfect material for my wooden clocks.

Thank you for taking the time to read this "Real Wood Veneers page".  I hope you found it interesting and informative, however if you have any questions or comments about the page or any aspect of the site or clocks, please do not hesitate to contact me.

One more thing... it might worth taking a look at my FAQs page, a growing page of common questions that people ask when viewing my mechanical wall clocks.  Keep those questions coming... Thanks Darren

Section of Burrell Showmans engine wooden mechanical pendulum clock