Complete reassembly, the project is finished -
I used a small brush to clean off any dust. In the background is a small fan
to blow the dust away from the assembly. A high intensity flash light makes
the dust easy to spot even when there are only a few particles. Even though
the clock was shipped in a dustproof container, one has to remember that it
was built over a period of fifteen years. Most everything was taken apart
and polished beginning in 2019, but still many assemblies have been exposed
to the open air for three years. Buchanan had provided a wood stand to mount
the tellurion on. The second photo shows the right hand sector of the
The fan is most useful when cleaning off parts deep within the machine.
Instead of the dust falling downward and deeper into the complex
architecture the dust is blown through and out. This works better than
compressed ir since the pressure can be dangerous for parts that are
movable. Also the spread of the air flow is very narrow, while the fan has a
much broader area.
orrery module is unpacked. In this instance the packing was rather
complicated so I used one of the vignettes Buchanan had provided on my
laptop. Looks like we have matching gloves! Below was the twelve inch dial
The orrery is unpacked and completed. It sits on another custom
The orrery dial is now secured.
Hold your breath! Installation of the orrery.
The area of the clock before and after the installation of the clock's
crown, the orrery.
The last module, the planisphere is unpacked. Notice in the second photo how
carefully the inner box is shaped to the contours of the module with felt
covering the interior of the box in all areas which would come in contact
with the module. This tightly fitting design was needed because the
planisphere has a large, heavy, thick brass base, so it had to be kept from
moving within its enclosure. There also was no area where a clamp could be
secured to the module to hold it in place as was done with the other
The Latin inscription
was part of an epic
poem, Metamorphosis, written by Publius
Ovidius Naso, commonly referred to as Ovid in AD 8 and is translated as:“To
man God gave an upwards gaze, bidding him to behold the sky, and raise his
erect countenance towards the stars.”When
taken in the context of the poem it is when God separates Man from the
animals by giving him the ability to stand erect and gaze toward the
heavens, presumably to unite him with God; in contrast with the downward
earthly gaze of animals. Obviously Ovid was not familiar with primates! But
given when he lived and that he was from Greece that’s understandable.
This video shows the rear view of the planisphere using the nearly
frictionless bearings used throughout the Astro-skeleton project. Since the
machine has over 500 wheels, friction is our constant enemy. Only though the
use of ceramic, oil free bearings can we accomplish the drive of this
machine with a reasonably sized motor spring.
first photo shows the tellurion installed, the next photo shows the orrery.
After the planisphere was installed, the installation of the complication
modules was finished and reassembly was complete. There would still be
several bugs to deal with and Buchanan was generous with his time with
emails as well as several WhatsApp video calls, some lasting an hour or more
to help me diagnose and solve these issues.
The clock is finished, in its case, on the table and with the drawer opened
revealing the operator's tools. On the lower shelf below are articles
published in various horological magazines, not the complete set, just those
where the clock made the front and/or rear covers.
The Astronomical skeleton clock with its smaller sibling. These are amongst
the most complex skeleton clocks made.
At long last the project is finished and so I celebrate with a well deserved
cocktail. Buchanan had his party last June when the crates left his shop,
now it is my turn!
This is one of the few videos that you can actually hear some of the
The crates are all safely stored and await the next owner/caretaker of this