“The Jungers Commission” detail
On August 4, 2014, I received an email from a client named Mark Jungers, who was interested in commissioning me to create a large clockwork installation. I had been making mechanical clocks for about a decade, but nothing of the size and complexity that he was requesting. Jungers is a wine aficionado, and this mechanical sculpture was to be the centerpiece for a wine cellar that he was constructing in his Milwaukee home. I’d always wanted to work on a more architectural scale, so when he found me online, and emailed me with his proposal, I jumped at the opportunity. After thorough planning, concept sketches, and a downpayment, I began building “The Jungers Commission”.
Since the client and I were planning for a piece that you could walk around, and view from every angle, some visual doors were opened. We arrived at a four sided design, in which two of the sides would have all of the dials, freeing up the other two sides for an open view of the mechanism. In order to fulfill one of the clients requests, I also learned how to make a moon-phase dial, and a dial indicating the day of the week. Everything on this piece is completely handmade, and fabricated without the aid of CNC equipment. 5,080 separately machined parts were needed to create this free-standing, seven-and-a-half-foot-tall skeleton-clock.
Making the one-foot gears for this piece was a bit labor intensive, but I’ve always really loved this part of the process. The teeth were cut one by one on a lathe, the strange shaped organic spokes fretted out with a handheld piercing saw, and then they were slowly sculpted to their final three-dimensional form with a rotary grinding tool (kind of a larger version of what dentists use). They’re visually asymmetrical, but they still need to be perfectly balanced for the clock to function, so at the finish-line, I put the gear on bearings, and shave away weight until it spins without bias. Another feature is the hand-made chain that holds the 100-pound power source for the clock. It’s eight feet long, spinal in appearance, and each of the one inch links is completely different. The feature that gives the clock a real story, beyond the visual and technical, is the dials. While Mark lives in Milwaukee, his wife lives in LosAngeles, and we wanted to do something that tied the two timezones together. His piece features linked pairs of dials, each showing the time from both timezones.
Mr.Jungers’s piece is the end product of a year-and-a-half of all-encompassing obsessive effort – 2,421 hours to be exact.