200 years ago in the early 1800s, many American clock makers were making shelf and mantel clocks with the movements made completely from hardwoods. Gear wheels were shaped carefully from cherry or other hardwoods and then assembled with very good care in order to make sure smooth running.
Many wooden gear clock pieces have survived for about two centuries and are now expensive antiques. They command prices in thousands of dollars as they are available. Some collectors who want to own such a clock cannot afford high price tags naturally. Still modern reproductions of those fine old clocks are offered usually as plans or kits.
Even earlier in the 1700s, a tall case grandfather clock with wooden works was being made by some clockmaker. The tall case left space for the weights that drive this wooden gear clock to fall further in order that the clock will run longer before having to get the weights increased to the top again.
Building such clock takes time and also care in the workmanship yet it is not really hard to make a fine working clock. The usual home crafter with wood working skills can make it with simple hand tools simply as the early clock makers made.
The Museum of Industry and Science in US has on show a rare and striking wooden gear clock that was produced in the early 1800s. After 2 centuries this clock is still in running order and it has been measured carefully and also detailed drawings made.
Those plans with full building instructions are offered for purchase. They show full details of all the parts and how they match together. The case of this clock is also offered in detailed drawings showing all parts as it is in the original clock.
To summarize, making a wooden gear clock is completely within the capability of almost any person. It is difficult to enlighten a well made copy of a traditional clock from a real antique at a rapid look. Close inspection by a specialist will, of course, illustrate the new wood and materials that are used to build it creating its origin without doubt.
But for the craftsmen who produced it and for all who admire it, the clock is simply a thing of class and beauty that will tick tock proudly in the house for a lifetime and possibly many years after that as keeping good time.