This page concentrates on bench and rebate planes.
There are some dating notes on Woden block planes at the end and more detailed information is incorporated in the
page describing those planes.
If you have read the brief history of Woden Tools or any of the sections on patterns of Woden planes, you will have noted the switch of
production from Wednesbury to Sheffield after the Record takeover of Woden Tools Ltd., in 1961.
Re-capping, the original Woden (WW) period is from early 1954 until April 1961, at Wednesbury, and the Record Woden (RW) period
is from April 1961 until the end of production, around mid 1965, at Sheffield. This applies to all Woden planes and is the starting point
for dating an example.
When dating planes, especially bench planes, it is usual to concentrate on the main parts - bodies, frogs and lever caps. Other smaller
parts, including cutters, are user replaceable and could distort the dating process if not original to the tool.
With WW planes, accurate dating is not easy as they were only in production for about seven years and the main parts show very little
difference size for size.
Fortunately, many Woden bench planes retain their little-used original cutters which were marked in a specific way. Hence it has also
been possible to use cutters to assist with dating as three different types have been identified within the seven year period. Even then,
some overlap in date ranges must be allowed for.
Bodies and frogs can be dated approximately by the marks underneath the handle and face frames respectively.
WW lever caps appear to be consistent throughout production, apart from a batch of both sizes with rounded lower edges, made
between about mid 1954 to1957. It has also been noted that some very early 2-inch lever caps are slightly shorter (by 2mm) than later
ones and have an indistinct flat about 7 mm wide on the inside lower edge, similar to that found on the 2-3/8 inch size.
These parts were fitted to early planes which also have slightly thinner body sides and frogs with a single lower pane face frame.
On mid production and later frogs with 7/32 inch (5.5 mm.) marks, the right hand orifice for the frog screw is lower than the left.
Other pointers include plane packaging, instructions and tool dealer prices, if marked. The price marks can assist in confirming a date
range despite the lack of inflation in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
RW planes are a little easier, even though Sheffield production only lasted for about 4 years. This is because of almost continuous
changes implemented by Record, following the takeover of Woden Tools Ltd.
In the U.K., most RW planes have been found to comprise a mixture of original Steel Nut and Record specified parts. In this study,
these planes are referred to as ‘changeover’ planes and such examples will date to c.1961/62.
Later RW planes have been found to be rarer in the United Kingdom (see history) and fully RW specified planes will date from late1962
to the end of production, around mid 1965.
For WW planes, analysis of collected data from several dozen examples, indicates that there are three periods of time in which
to date the planes:-
1 – 1954/55, (early production);
2 - 1955/57 (mid)
3 - 1957/61 (late).
These periods are based on there being at least two common factors in the main parts of the planes in each period, including cutters.
There may be some overlap and change as more examples and data is collected. Here are some images to illustrate differences
that have been noted:-
W4 body cast marks and side thickness
Left to right, thinner side thickness, c.1954/55;;
Thicker sides c.1955/57 and
Foundry mark "QC" under the handle, c.1957/61.
W4 2 inch frogs
Left to right, small 5/32 inch (4 mm.) mark and single pane lower face frame, c.1954/55;
7/32 inch (5.5 mm.) mark and two lower face frames, c.1955/57 and
Foundry mark "Q" in upper left hand face frame and right hand frog orifice lower than the left, c.1957/61.
Types 2 and 3 may show radial grinding marks on the upper front and complete rear surfaces.
The lower front surface (slot to edge) of some cutters is finished to a degree of flatness by linishing at right angles to the length.
All WW cutters are print marked at the top with the Woden brand.
Rear views of 2-inch lever caps
Left to right, early parts with an indistinct rib along the lower
Later parts with slightly longer sides and without the
bottom rib, c.1955/61.
These later parts are found on the majority of W4 and W5
planes from 1955 to 1961 and on into 1962 as some were
carried over to assembly at Sheffield,
(see RW bench planes below).
2-3/8 inch lever cap with rounded bottom corners.
c. mid 1954 to 1957, this uncommon pattern appeared on both
sizes of lever cap.
Note the indistinct 'rib' across the bottom at the rear,
also found on very early 2 inch lever caps (see above).
1. 1961/62 (changeover) and
‘Changeover’ planes are identified by being constructed of a mixture of original Woden and Record parts. At the time of the
Record takeover, part made Wednesbury planes were completed at Sheffield. Original Woden bodies, frogs, and lever caps may be
found on these planes, together with small parts, for example lateral levers, found on Record planes. The greater number of Wednesbury
parts, the earlier the date. The more Record parts found, the later the date.
These ‘changeover’ planes were packed in L2 labeled black boxes until the latter were used up. The most common original WW part
in these planes is the lever cap. These seem to have lasted the longest into Sheffield production, but they did need modification by
Record to accommodate the Record lever cap screw.
There were problems for Record in changing over to their own parts in that the screw threads of original Woden and Record planes were
different. Woden used mainly BSF screws, but Record used historic Stanley and BSW threads. So, for example, Record could not use
its own pre-drilled and tapped depth adjusting wheel on Woden frogs unless the screw was changed. Consequently, there are some
unusual depth wheels on RW changeover planes that are not common to either Record or later Woden planes.
Whilst it is not possible at this time to give all the options which may be found on 1961/62 RW planes, all the examples seen so far
have the following features:-
Later (1962/65) RW planes have all Record specified parts. A full description is included in the bench plane section, but to summarise,
late RW planes had:-
Here are some further notes on RW bench planes, in summary:-
Planes assembled by Woden Tools Sheffield either had the original WW body (1961) or the Record type body
(mid to late 1961 onwards), described in the Record Woden bench plane section.
On sizes 4 and 4-1/2, the Record bodies are most easily identified by the chamfered heel end of the casting and rounded and painted
side tops. On larger planes, the high transverse rib in front of the cutter mouth is prominent.
The main difference between the RW frog and the earlier WW is the lower rear suface where the clip for the frog adjusting screw is fitted.
This is angled backwards with a straight clip, whereas the WW frog is near vertical with an angled frog clip. It has also been noted that
2-3/8 inch frogs with 4mm cast marks were consistent throughout production and also carried over to Sheffield and used in
‘changeover planes’. It is likely that these were original Wednesbury production and too many were made such that, unlike 2 inch frogs,
no external supply was needed. to meet further demand.
A surplus of WW lever caps were transferred to Sheffield after the takeover (from April 1961).
These were fitted to Woden planes during 1961/62. They were modified to have a larger orifice for the Record specified lever cap screw.
The Record specified lever cap with a rib along the inside lower edge was used on Woden planes from about 1962 onwards.
Most RW plane examples have the stamp marked type 4 cutter described above.
1962 to the end of production, around 1965, marked the complete change to Record specified parts for Woden planes.
From 1962 onwards, ‘changeover’ and RW planes are fitted with a number of variations in small parts. Generally, Woden and Record
planes used the same small parts. One notable exception was an unusual depth adjusting wheel, not yet seen on any Record plane.
This coarse fluted brass wheel could have been sourced locally by Record to fit the ¼ bsf WW screw on WW frogs, until this latter part
was expended. Although some un-marked Record wheels were machined for the narrower WW thread, the standard Record wheel had
a thicker and coarser thread and could not be used until the matching Record screw was fitted to later frogs.
L1 box and label, c.1954/57
L2 box and label, c.1957-61/62
L2 lable with New Improved Cutter (NIC) sticker
L3 box label, c.1962/65
W78 c.1953/54, offside view
W78 nearside view
Early W78 body, top, compared to W.S A78, bottom.
Showing shorter bull nose on the Woden W78.
IMG 0614 (right)
Modified cutter bed.
Revised offside body panel
Revised cutter bed c.1954/57
Cast marks and numbers on later
body castings, c.1957/61
IMG 0618a and b
Shorter ribs and cast marks on fences.
RW78 linished sole, left, c.1962/65. (WW on right)
RW parts for W78, c.1962/65
Modified RW78 body offside view
showing reduced size panel and Record 'star' shaped spur.
(Images (2) from The Hawley Collection)
Nearside view showing ebonised knob,
large headed lever cap screw
and "W78" cast mark missing.
Later W110/W130 clamping plate
with cast marks, c.1957/61
RW130 showing Record parts.
Changeover L2 boxed W110, c.1961/62
Full Record spec. No.110, L3 boxed, c.1962/65
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