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Tim Hunkin’s clock installation

Tim Hunkin’s clock installation

As Ryan hinted at yesterday in his two excellent blog posts about construction in the South Gallery, recurring Tinkerer in Residence Tim Hunkin spent about a month with us, with the main mission of installing, troubleshooting, and stress-testing what has become the centerpiece of the South Gallery: a majestic mechanical clock that wraps around the central column that is part of our gallery.

Many more details about Tim's clock will be emerging in the days and weeks to come, we'll devote several blog posts about it; this is to share the process of receiving the clock, and installing it. Tim has built and installed several clocks in his lifetime, but this is the only one on the American continent! He built it entirely at his shop in the UK, and only agreed to take the risk of shipping it here because he knew he'd have a full shop at his disposal to fix anything that might have gone wrong.

Tim Hunkin's clock installation
The clock was shipped from the UK and traveled on a boat to New York, then by train until Los Angeles, and finally on a truck to the Oakland port. Somehow along the way one of the two giant crates it was packed in developed a rather large hole, right below the warning "fragile." Luckily nothing was missing, and nothing was damaged beyond repair.

Tim Hunkin's clock installation
Tim might have been a little too enthusiastic with nailing the crate shut... It took a lot of effort to release the sides of the crate!

Tim Hunkin's clock installation
Tim crawled right into the crate to undo the many straps holding the clock's framework in place.

Tim Hunkin's clock installation
Tim Hunkin's clock installation
And then crawled right out of the hole!

Tim Hunkin's clock installation
The top of the clock, ready to be installed.

Embargadero Stuff
A rather funny moment happened during installation: just as we were about to lift the first of two halves of the clock, Tim realized we were about to put the wrong one up! You can briefly catch it in the timelapse, where one side starts going up, then we take it back down and switch it for the other side...

Embargadero Stuff
Lifting the clock parts was a very slow and careful process, with all hands on deck.

Embargadero Stuff
The two parts then bolt together in the middle, and sit right on top of the base that was installed earlier.

Embargadero Stuff
Tim putting the finishing touches.

None of this conveys how awesome the clock is in operation, of course. Stay tuned for photos and videos of the clock in all its glory. All I can say for now is that it is a veritable crowd stopper!