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Complete reassembly, the project is finished - August 2022


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 machine.


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.


The 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 ring.

The orrery is unpacked and completed. It sits on another custom display/work stand.

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 modules.


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.

   The 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 mechanism.

The crates are all safely stored and await the next owner/caretaker of this magnificent creation.

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