Antique grandfather clock materials

Antique grandfather clock materials

When it comes to materials, antique clocks boasted quite a range of them, some worked well, while others didn’t hold up quite so well.  It’s not surprising that antique clocks went through so many changes over the years, and that different designs and materials have been used with differing degrees of success.  Whenever there is innovation, there is change.  If that weren’t true, then we’d all still be driving a Ford Model T today, wouldn’t we? Just because a design works doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement, and that’s why you see a lot of different designs and materials in antique clocks.

Clocks With Metal Bodies

While not as common as wooden clocks, there are a lot of metal antique clocks available.  Brass, silver, chrome, and even gold have been used to make clocks, and as expected, clocks made from precious metals can be very pricey.  If you are willing to invest in a metal antique clock you also need to keep in mind that metal clocks tend to stand out more than wooden ones.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you need to be prepared to adjust the décor based upon a more visually striking clock becoming a dominant feature in the room.

Wood Is the Most Common Material That Antique Clock Bodies Are Constructed From

When you think of antique clocks the first material that probably comes to mind is wood.  That’s because wood is the most common material that clocks were made from.  The reasons for this are many, and simple.  Wood is abundant, inexpensive compared to metal, easy to work with, and is durable enough to create a long lasting time piece from.  When it comes to wooden antique clocks some are considered more desirable than others, but it all ultimately comes down to personal preferences.


When it comes to hardness and durability, few woods can compare with oak, which is why it is a prized material for all types of construction projects, and why clockmakers prefer to use it as well.  It is non-porous, so it won’t shrink, and moisture does not damage it either.  It’s also resistant to insects and fungus, further cementing its status as a top tier wood for clock making.  While there are many varieties of oak, the two most known and used are white and red oak.

White oak is not actually white, rather it is more of a beige color with a straight grained pattern.  Red oak is also, not as its name implies in terms of color, but it is a rosier colored wood.  Both white oak and red oak will turn darker over time, which creates a richer, deeper color ideal for antique clocks.




Many woodworkers prize maple wood for its light, creamy colour. Just like other types of hardwood, maple wood turns darker over time or when exposed to oxygen and UV light. Maple wood possesses a fine, straight pattern, but some varieties have wavy, rippled, or bird’s eye grain.

Hard maple is typically used in woodworking for its resistance to warping and cracking. It also holds up well against changes in temperature and humidity.





Cherry is commonly used for woodworks and furniture making because of its attractive colour and smooth texture. Because it is a medium density hardwood, cherry wood is durable but flexible and has low stiffness. It is easy to cut, carve, or mould.

The colours of cherry wood can appear yellowish to light reddish-brown. It will darken as it age, but exposure to light and oxygen can speed up the aging process.





Black walnut wood is a tough type of hardwood that is resistant to decay. However, it is vulnerable to insect infestation.

The colours of walnut wood vary based on the part of the tree the timber is sourced from. The heartwood ranges from light to dark chocolate brown, while the sapwood comes in lighter shades, typically yellow to almost white. Some walnut wood can have a red, grey, or even purple appearance. Unlike other types of timber, black walnut wood gets lighter as it ages.

The grain is usually straight, but some black walnut wood patterns curl, look wavy, or form knots. In terms of texture, black walnut wood has a smooth finish.