Cuckoo Clocks | Handcrafted America


[CHUCKLES]IT’S TIME TO MEET ONE OF THE
BEST CUCKOO CLOCK MAKERS IN THE UNITED STATES. AND I THINK I KNOW WHERE
TO FIND HIM.♪ ♪HERE IN PEWAUKEE, WISCONSINCUCKOO CALLS ARE THE SOUNDTRACK
TO BILL GALINSKY’S LIFE.
BILL:
WHEN I WAS A VERY YOUNG CHILD, I GOT MY FIRST CUCKOO CLOCK AT A
RUMMAGE SALE… BROUGHT IT HOME, AND THEN THAT
NIGHT IT WAS ON THE WALL AND IT WAS RUNNING. THAT WAS MY LOVE OF CLOCKS.JILL, V/O: HE HAS 20 CUCKOO
CLOCKS IN HIS HOME,
AND HUNDREDS HE’S WORKING ON
IN HIS WORKSHOP.
HE BUILT A 14-FOOT CUCKOO CLOCK
IN HIS FRONT YARD.
HE ALSO BUILT HIS CLOCK
SHOWROOM THAT RESEMBLES
A SWISS CHALET WHEN HE WAS
JUST 12 YEARS OLD!
[CUCKOO CLOCK]AT SIX-YEARS-OLD I GOT MY
FIRST CUCKOO CLOCK. I UNDERSTOOD THEM IMMEDIATELY. OTHER CLOCKS JUST TOLD TIME;
THESE ACTUALLYDIDSOMETHING. SOME OF THEM PLAYED MUSIC;
ALL OF THEM HAD A BIRD. JILL: HOW LONG HAVE YOU
WORKED ON THESE CLOCKS? BILL: I’VE BEEN SELLING
MY OWN LINES OF CLOCKS FOR ABOUT 49 YEARS. JILL: SO I SEE, SOMETIMES THEY
HAVE TWO WEIGHTS, AND SOMETIMES THEY
HAVE THREE. WHY IS IT DIFFERENT BETWEEN
TWO WEIGHTS AND THREE? WHAT’S THE
SIGNIFICANCE THERE? BILL: A TWO-WEIGHT CLOCK JUST
HAS A CUCKOO, IT TELLS TIME. A THREE-WEIGHT CLOCK
HAS CUCKOO, TIME, ANDMUSIC.MY CLOCKS HAVE UP
TO FIVE WEIGHTS. JILL: WHAT ALL
DOES THAT MEAN? FOR DRIVING DIFFERENT ANIMATION, MUSIC ON THE QUARTER HOUR
CHIMES. ANYTHING I WANT TO HAPPEN, I
HAVE POWER AS A SOURCE TO DO IT.♪ ♪WE’RE GONNA BE MAKING ONE
OF MY BEST-SELLING CLOCKS. OKAY. THIS IS THE LATE SEASON,
TIME OF YOUR LIFE, DUCK HUNTING CLOCK. JILL: WHAT
HAPPENS HERE? BILL: THIS IS A VARIATION OF
CUCKOO CLOCK THATIMAKE. INSTEAD OF A BIRD COMING OUT,
A BIRD FLIES. A DUCK COMES UP, THE HUNTER
TURNS, HIS GUN COMES UP, HE SHOOTS THE DUCK. THE DUCK DROPS AND
THE BELL GOES OFF.♪ ♪JILL, V/O: BILL SAWS THE WOOD
PIECES HE’LL
USE FOR THE CLOCK.THEN HE USES A HOLE SAW,
LOADED IN A DRILL PRESS,
TO CREATE THE HOLE FOR THE OLD
FASHIONED CLOCK FACE.
JILL: WHAT KIND OF WOOD IS THIS? BILL: THIS IS JUST A ROUGH SAWN
PLYWOOD TO LOOK LIKE WHAT MOST GUYS WOULD USE IN A HUNTING
BLIND, OR ON A DUCK STAND. AND WHAT KIND OF
WOOD DO YOU
PREFER TO USE IN YOUR CUCKOO
CLOCKS? BILL: IN MY CUCKOO CLOCKS,
I USE ALL WISCONSIN HARD WOODS THAT I CUT, DRY, SAW. AND THAT’S THE BODY
OF THE CLOCK.JILL, V/O: BILL PAINTS THE BOX
WITH A BASE COAT OF A
LIGHTER COLOR TO
BLEND THE EDGES.
BILL: A TOPCOAT FOR COLOR. AND THERE’S OUR WEATHERED
DUCK BLIND.JILL, V/O: NEXT, HE MOUNTS THE
OLD FASHIONED
CUCKOO CLOCK DIAL TO THE FRONT
OF THE BOX.
NOW, WHAT WE’RE GOING TO DO IS
WE’RE GONNA PUT THE MOVEMENT IN. JILL: WHICH, I’M ASSUMING IS
THIS DEVICE RIGHT HERE. THAT’S OUR MOVEMENT,
THAT’S THE MOTOR OF OUR CLOCK. JILL: WHERE DID YOU
GET THIS FROM? BILL: I IMPORT THOSE
FROM GERMANY. JILL: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN A REGULAR CLOCK AND A CUCKOO
CLOCK MOVEMENT? BILL: A CUCKOO CLOCK HAS A
PINWHEEL TO THE BACK SO THAT IT LIFTS THREE
LEVERS LIKE THIS. ONE STRIKING A BELL, AND TWO OF
THEM OPENING AND CLOSING BELLOWS THAT MAKE THE
NOISE FOR A CUCKOO CLOCK.JILL, V/O: BILL MAY ORDER THE
MECHANISM ALREADY MADE,
BUT BEFORE IT FINDS
A HOME IN ONE OF THESE CLOCKS,
HE MAKES IT HIS OWN.BILL: IT DOES FOUR DIFFERENT
FUNCTIONS THAT A NORMAL CUCKOO CLOCK WOULD NOT DO. WE TAKE SOME OF THE LIFT
ANIMATION, WE TURN IT INTO SIDEWAYS
ANIMATION. WE TAKE THE PHYSICS AND ACTUALLY
CHANGE THEM AROUND A BIT TO ACHIEVE THE HUNTER TURNING THE
OPPOSITE WAY AND LIFTING THE DUCK AND STRIKING THE BELL.♪ ♪WE’RE GONNA START MAKING
THE FUN PARTS. WE’RE GONNA START MAKING
WHAT WILL EVENTUALLY BE OUR CAT TAILS. IS THAT STRAW? THIS IS ACTUALLY BAMBOO, THAT’LL
COME IN ABOUT A 12-INCH LENGTH. AND WHAT WE DO IS WE TAKE THOSE
AND CUT THOSE INTO HALF. THEN WE SOAK THEM IN WATER
FOR ABOUT TWO OR THREE HOURS. AND USING THE POINT AT THIS
TIME, FLATTEN IT. JILL: SO YOU SOAK THEM SO
THEY’LL COME APART LIKE THAT? CORRECT AND SO THAT YOU CAN
ACTUALLY TEAR SOME OF THE FIBERS AFTER BREAKING THEM. OKAY, I GOTTA
TRY THAT. WOULD YOU LIKE TO
TRY ONE? YEAH, I GOTTA
TRY THAT.[HAMMERING]VERY GOOD. JILL: ALL RIGHT. THERE YOU GO. AND WE PUT THIS
IN HERE. AND AROUND THE OTHER END. AND THEY SLIDE IN. AND THAT’S OUR CAT TAIL. THERE IT IS. ALL WE NEED TO
DO IS PAINT IT.♪ ♪BILL CREATES WOOD PATTERNS FOR
ALL THE FIGURES HE USES
IN HIS CLOCKS.BILL: THESE ARE DRAWN BY MYSELF;
REFINED TO WHAT I NEED BEFORE THE FINISHING PROCESS SO THAT IT
GIVES YOU A CONSISTENT WAY TO MAKE PIECE AFTER PIECE
EVERY TIME.[DRILLING]NOW WE’RE GONNA MAKE IT LOOK
LIKE AN OLD TREE. TREES ARE USUALLY HOLLOWED OUT
BY SOMETHING OR ROTTED OUT, AND BROKEN OFF, USUALLY
AT THE TOP. SO WE’RE GONNA MAKE
IT LOOK LIKE AN OLD ONE.JILL, V/O: WHEN THE TREE
IS DONE,
WE NEED TO PAINT
THE PIECES.
♪ ♪THERE’S MY CAT TAIL. WE’RE PAINTING THE
HUNTER RIGHT NOW, RIGHT? CORRECT, HE’S JUST
A FLAT BLACK. AND WHAT WE NEED TO
DO IS MAKE SURE THAT HE’S SEALED UP
BEFORE WE ASSEMBLE HIM BECAUSE THERE’S A HOLE
THAT GOES THROUGH. AND WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT
THAT’S SWELLED UP ENOUGH. AND THEN THE REST IS
JUST MAKING A GHOST OF HIM HIDING IN THE SHADOWS.♪ ♪WHERE DO THESE GO
ON THE CLOCK? THOSE ARE THE
PENDULUMS. THOSE ARE THE PENDULUM BOBS. THEY HANG ON A STICK ON
THE BOTTOM OF THE CLOCK, AND ACTUALLY MAKE
THE CLOCK RUN. WHAT’S THE MOST GRATIFYING
PART OF MAKING A CUCKOO CLOCK FOR YOU? BILL: THE PERSON THAT GETS THAT
CLOCK, SEEING IT THE FIRST TIME.JILL, V/O:
BILL’S COMMITMENT TO QUALITY
MATERIALS AND CRAFTSMANSHIPENSURES HIS CLIENTS WILL
EXPERIENCE THE JOY
OF HIS CLOCKS
FOR A VERY LONG TIME.
BILL: THERE ARE SOME OF MY
CLOCKS THAT WON’T NEED THEIR FIRST
REBUILD FOR 300 YEARS!JILL, V/O:
THE FIGURES ARE COMPLETE,
AND NOW WE WORK ON
THE MOTIF.
THE SUN IS RISING…THE HUNTER IS ADDED TO HIS
SHADOWY HUNTING AREA…
AND BILL ADDS A WIRE FOR
THE DUCK LIFT.
BILL: THOSE ARE MOUNTED IN FROM
THE INSIDE WITH OUR HINGES. AND NOW THAT ALLOWS US TO ATTACH
OUR TREE THROUGH THE BOTTOM. WE SCREW A HOLE AND WE LINE UP
WHERE IT’S NOT IN THE WAY FOR THE HUNTER. AND THAT’S THE TOP
OF THE CLOCK.JILL, V/O: THAT HUNTER
LOOKS PRETTY EXPOSED.
HE COULD PROBABLY USE SOME
CAMOUFLAGE.
BILL: ON THE FACE PLATE,
THERE’S A BEAVER DAM THAT THE GUY SITS ON TOP OF. SO WHAT WE’RE
GOING TO DO NOW IS MAKE OUR BEAVER-CHEWED
STICKS. THEY USUALLY BITE DOWN TO A
TAPER, AND AT THE END IT’S LITTLE TINY BITE MARKS. SO THE TREE SNAPS OFF AND
BREAKS.♪ ♪WHAT WE’RE DOING HERE IS PUTTING
IN OUR FIRST CLUSTERS. SOME INTERESTING GEOMETRY
TO THE FRONT FACE. TAKE OUR PACKETS THAT WE
GLUED TOGETHER AND WE START TO PLANT THEM
IN THE HOLES.JILL, V/O: NEXT,
WE PLANT SOME BAMBOO GRASS.
♪ ♪ALTHOUGH THE FACE PLATE IS
NOW COMPLETE,
WE CAN’T ATTACH IT YET.WE STILL HAVE WORK TO DO
ON THE INSIDE OF THE CLOCK.
THOUGH MOST CUCKOO CLOCKS
HAVE A BELLOWS THAT MAKE
THE CUCKOO SOUND…[CUCKOO SOUND]THE CLOCK WE’RE MAKING
STRIKES A BELL INSTEAD.
[BELL DINGS]
WE’LL NEED TO ATTACH WIRES
FROM THE MECHANISM
TO THE BELL TO MAKE
IT RING.
AND TO THE WOOD FIGURES FOR
THE ANIMATION.
BILL: THE ARMS THAT NOW PROPEL
ARE THE BOTTOM ONE HERE… IT PROPELS THE DUCK. THEY ARE A SPECIAL TYPE
OF WIRE CALLED MUSIC WIRE. VERY HARD TO BEND,
AND WILL ALWAYS STAY RESILIENT.♪ ♪WE NEED TO PUT THE CHAINS ON. OKAY. SO BILL, WHAT DETERMINES
THE LENGTH HERE ON THE CHAIN? DETERMINATION COMES IN HOW MUCH
FALL YOU NEED TO RUN THE CLOCK FOR A PROPER AMOUNT OF TIME. OUR DISTANCE HERE IS
ABOUT SEVEN FEET. THAT WILL GIVE US
EIGHT DAYS OF RUNNING.JILL, V/O: THAT MEANS
THE CLOCK WILL NEED TO BE
WOUND EVERY EIGHT DAYS.NOW THAT WE’RE DONE WITH
THAT, WE CAN PUT THIS BACK INTO OUR BOX. YOU GO AHEAD AND DROP IT IN. ALL RIGHT.
IT JUST DROPS RIGHT… BILL: RIGHT IN THERE. AND WE’VE ALREADY
PLACED THE HOLES. NOW ALL WE NEED IS
TO SCREW IT IN, RIGHT? CORRECT. I FEEL LIKE ANXIETY ALMOST,
LIKE I GOTTA DO THIS FAST WITH ALL THE
CLOCKS TICKING. HERE WE GO! LOOK AT THAT. IT’S IN THERE!BILL CREATES
THE HOOKS ON THE CHAINS
WHICH WILL HOLD THE HANDMADE
THREE AND A HALF POUND PAINTED
STEEL WEIGHTS DESIGNED TO LOOK
LIKE SHOTGUN SHELLS.
AFTER ALL OF OUR HARD WORK
CRAFTING THE FACE PLATE,
IT’S FINALLY ATTACHED TO THE
CLOCK BOX.
BILL’S UNIQUE CLOCKS START
IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF $1,000.
OKAY, JILL, IT’S TIME TO
FINISH UP THE CLOCK. WE’RE GOING TO HANG
THE PENDULUM ON. THAT WOULD GO ON THE LITTLE
HOOK UP IN HERE. IN THE SLOT. RIGHT. JUST HANG IT
RIGHT ON THERE. PUT ‘EM ON THE HOOKS. AND LET GO? AND LET GO.♪ ♪AND THAT’S IT,
IT’S READY TO TICK. TICKING AWAY. IT’S NOW
A LIVE ENTITY.JILL, V/O: THERE’S NO
DOUBT THAT THIS WOULD QUICKLY
BECOME ANY HUNTER’S
FAVORITE CLOCK!

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