|How original Black Forest
Cuckoo Clocks are made?
Original Black Forest German cuckoo clocks are manufactured not
as mass-production clocks, but as hand-assembled masterpieces. The
manufacturer´s philosophy is to achieve highest quality with
his clocks. Wood-carvings and clock cases are produced only in the
Black Forest and thus are known around the world for their quality
Most clocks are handmade according to century-old tradition. Until
the finished clock can be displayed in a store or at your home it
have to surpass a lot of different production steps. We will try
to explain to you in the next chapters some of the production steps.
The pictures you will see – are like many of the pictures
seen in the internet – are taken out of the actual catalogues
of the manufacturers Herr, Schwab, Schneider and Hönes. Individual
pictures are very rare to find or to get because visits and tours
through the production places are not allowed and thus not displayed
to the public due to security reasons.
||First step – where everything starts
– is the wood which is used for the clocks. Most of the
cuckoo clocks are made of Limetree (or Linden Tree, Latin name:
Tilia). Those trees with their heart-shaped leaves are quite
common in Europe and their wood can be used very well for carvings.
After the trees are cut down the wood is pilled up and needs
years to rest. Than the chances that the wood will move are
|The wood will be cut into appropriate
pieces corresponding to the size of the clock. The basic pieces
which are coming out of the sharper are checked carefully to
avoid cracks or irregularities within the wood. Before the clock
is assembled all pieces are finished in different working steps.
| For example the roof-shingles covering the roof
on many so many clocks are cut then clued-on by hand. If you
look closely to your clock you will see, that you all the wooden
parts on your clocks have little traces that they are cut by
hand and not by machine.
|One major part of the cuckoo clock manufacturing process is
the carving of the front plate and some of the basic parts like
the cuckoo. The front plate gives the individual touch to each
clock because the case of the clock is not more than a square
box. In connection with the roof the cuckoo clock gets its special
appearance. The carving of the plate is done by experienced
wood carver – which do their job still with special knifes.
|Nowadays – like in most industries –
to save costs some manufacturers tend to use beside wood plastic
parts. So sometimes the clock dial, the cuckoo or the dancers
are made out of plastic.
|In the meantime the inner life of the cuckoo clocks will be
assembled. The different movements and the fine mechanics which
will give live to the cuckoo and the dancing figurines on the
front side of the clock will be put together. This requires
a lot of subtle intuition due to the small and fragile parts
||The metal parts used within the clock are also done mostly
by hand – for sure there is some support by machines but
the work needs really a lot of experience.
|The heart of each clock is the movement. A lot of manufacturer
work very close with Swiss clock manufacturer, which provide
certain parts of the movement or produce the whole part. This
allows the clock manufacturer to give also on the movement a
full two year warranty. In direct connection to the movement,
which powers the clock dial, comes the cuckoo and the dancers.
But to assemble these extra parts lies in the responsibility
of the clock maker.
||When all the different parts are put together – some
of the clocks will be painted – but most of them stay
as they are. The different wood colours – like light or
dark brown – makes the cuckoo clock so special. Thus most
of them stay in their natural colour. Each clock will be carefully
inspected over and over to prevent that the clock colour is
changing within the clock. If this is the case special colours
will be mixed together to colour the clock.
|Before the clock will be boxed and ready for shipment a quality
inspector will check every detail of the clock especially the
tune of the cuckoo and the melodies.
||When the clock fits the requirements and quality
expectations of the manufacturer that it gets boxed and shipped
to the dealers, where they are waiting for their new homes.
Nowadays each year over 60.000 clocks are produced world wide
and sold to new customers.
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