Sundial Maker

The Tony Moss archives

Thanks to B. Tomas Johansson for providing a paper on the use of vectors and projections as a efficient way of describing 3D objects and hence of general use for sundials. The full paper can be read here.

Visitors are reminded that we are always on the look-out for sundial-related articles that can be publicised in this way. The current list is available here. and material for possible contributions would be welcomed by

Frank King has generously provided a number of articles that have been gathering dust in his personal archive. While not suitable for Bulletin Articles or Monographs, they will undoubtedly be of interest to members and can be found below or via Understanding Sundials in the Sundial Craft menu:

Frank is unlikely to be alone in having such material in the deeper recesses of his computer and members are encouraged to dig through their own personal archives. Material on any aspect of dialling that may be of interest to others is very welcome – thanks in advance!

The indefatigable Tony Moss has generously made available a video on “Photoetching a Clock Face and Sundial” which goes through the whole process step by step using ‘kitchen table’ technology with all processes, materials, timings and practical hints & tips included. 20 minutes of practical wisdom that tell you everything you need to know!

On the 20th. January over 120 pupils at Cheney School in Oxford learnt about the principles of solar time-keeping and ancient Greek and Roman dials, saw a demonstration of how they work and built their own hemicyclium dial – all within the space of an hour. The event, organised by the IRIS project as part of an ancient astronomy day, saw Chris Williams deliver a wide-ranging lecture on how the ancients told the time and the differences in their requirements for timekeeping and those we have today. An extract of the presentation, including various pictures of classical dials, can be seen here.

David Brown then took over, first demonstrating how shadows vary depending on the time of year and why a hemicyclium is more practical than a hemispherical bowl,

before each pupil was presented with a kit to make their own.

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As part of Tony Moss’ continuing generosity to the dialling community, here is a collection of compass roses and borders that he has used over the years. Click to view the PDF then save it to your computer by right clicking while viewing. Alternatively the file can be downloaded directly in Adobe Illustrator by clicking on an entry right column.

Name PDF Adobe Illustrator
Alsace Compass Rose PDF
Compass Rose after Cary PDF
Cooke, Troughton & Simms PDF
Troughton (original version without border) PDF AI
Broken Key Border PDF AI
Broken T Border PDF
Roman fret border PDF

Construct this unique instrument and you can read Solar Time simultaneously on four of the most common sundials. As an introduction to sundialling for beginners this project will develop several important concepts.

Tony Moss
March 2014



The initial inspiration for my Educational Multi-Dial arose from a diagram in ‘Sundials’ by Frank W. Cousins. My own design progressed through plywood and MDF construction in pursuit of something that could be made in schools but most were beyond the modest equipment found in the classroom.

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