Other Woden Tools

 This section has been created to study other fine tools made by Woden, apart from planes. The main focus will be on cramps, vices
 and other joiners tools, for which The Company (The Steel Nut & Joseph Hampton and Woden Tools Ltd.) were well known and respected.  Engineers tools will also be included.

 To meet the end of March 2013 target for the publication of the hand plane pages, this section is not complete, and has not been updated as soon as anticipated.

I am pleased to advise that details and images are now being added gradually (from January 2015).

 We apologise for this delay but trust it will not detract from your enjoyment of the site.

Woden Joiners and other Cramps

Clamp or Cramp?

The word 'clamp' of Dutch origin, is listed in my dictionary in relation to tools as "a brace, band or clasp for strengthening or holding things together" and "fasten in place or together with a clamp".

This term appears to have replaced the word 'cramp' (probably from German or Dutch), which has historically been used by tool manufacturers to describe the tools used by Carpenters and Joiners for this process. 'Cramp' is no longer listed in the dictionary in relation to tools.

'Clamp' appears to have crept in with post war tools imported from the U.S.A., and more accurately describes a tool with a short screw which can quickly fix an item of a particular thickness to a surface in a woodworking or engineering workshop.

I prefer the term 'cramp' for woodworking tools. It is what you will see in vintage tool catalogues and price lists, including Woden.

 G Cramps:

The Steel Nut & Joseph Hampton (SNJH) illustrated catalogue of 1920 lists eight different patterns of Woden brand G-Cramp,    124, 125, 127, 128, 129, 130, 131 and 132.

Pattern 124 – A single size Deep Pattern in 2-1/2 inch capacity only, with a malleable iron frame and steel thumbscrew.

Pattern 125 – Similar to 125 with but with a shallower frame. A light duty cramp in seven sizes from 2 to 8 inches capacity. 

Pattern 127 - A Strong Ribbed Cramp in eight sizes from 4 to 14 inches capacity.  The frame is similar to type 125 but with a strengthening rib on the inner frame edge.

Pattern 128 - A Strong G Cramp made of best wrought iron, stronger and more expensive size for size than type 127, but with a similar screw and handle. Seven sizes, 4 to 12 inches capacity.

Pattern 129 - A simple but heavy duty Boilermakers Cramp in wrought Iron with steel screw and hardened points.  Five sizes, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 inches.

Pattern 130 - Piano Makers Cramp in best wrought iron with bright steel screw and handle. Seven sizes from 6 to 18 inches.

Pattern 131 - Coach Makers Cramp in best wrought iron, similar to type 130. Eight sizes from 8 to 22 inches.

Pattern 132 - A Sliding Pattern G Cramp (Hamptons Patent). This adjustable cramp had a Malleable Iron frame with a short steel thumb screw in seven sizes from 4 to 12 inches. "Hamptons Patent" GB189517672 relates to flooring cramps and "other cramps for joinery and cabinet work".

Woden G Cramps in detail

woden 124 deep pattern

Woden 124 – I do not have an example of this cramp; neither have I seen one in over 4 years of looking. So if you have an example, some photographs for publication here would be much appreciated.


Woden 125 - The standard Carpenters/Cabinet Makers light duty G Cramp. Unsure of the original colour - could have been Woden blue or black. "WODEN" was cast into the frame and/or the thumbscrew on smaller examples. There is a shoe with a degree of movement on the end of the Acme screw and the head end of the frame has a coarse knurled pattern to improve grip. This is shown in the pictures below. This cramp has been re-painted. Similar cramps were made by other makers, for example Preston and Marples.
 


Woden 127 - A stronger cramp than 125, with a ribbed malleable iron frame, painted in Woden blue. The screw was fitted with a tommy bar handle and later examples had a more flexible ball end and shoe. "Woden" and the pattern and size number were cast into the frame on one side; the other having the Woden brand transfer slide. The images show a 127/4 inch and a pair of 127/12 inch. The smaller one has a slightly distorted frame and the larger cramps were used by an Airframe Fitter in the 1940's. Details of the improved (castellated) shoe and tommy bar handle are also shown. These cramps were replaced with the Woden 126 around <1930>.
 

Woden 127/4 pre war

Pair of pre war 127/12


improved (castellated) shoe, pre war

 

Woden 128 - You only have to pick up an example of this cramp to appreciate the '"Strong" in its description. The frame is rectangular and substantially made from drop forged wrought iron. The screw is similar to pattern 127, with later examples fitted with a castellated shoe. Finished in Woden blue enamel, the are no cast marks on the frame, simply the brand transfer slide label on one side.

The collection example is a 128/4" and "WODEN" is marked on the boss of the tommy bar handle. It also has Air Ministry marks for 1939. The frame is 1-1/4 x 5/16 inches, with the head end 1-1/2 x 1-1/4 inches. The screw is 9/16 inches in diameter and the cramp weighs around 3 pounds. Also shown are details of the head, castellated shoe and military marks.

Woden 129/130/131 and 132 - I do not have examples of these cramps.  If you have an example, some photographs for publication here would be much appreciated.

Woden 126: c. <1928-1961 (SNJH);  1961-1969> (Record-Woden)

Inter-War These cramps were introduced in the late 1920’s.  They were a general purpose and very useful cramp, available in a wide range of sizes, more than other makers. This new pattern replaced the earlier Woden 124,125 and, eventually, 127. Compared to Pattern 127, these Cramps had reinforcing ribs on the outside of the frame and the screw boss.

The “Woden” brand was cast marked into the frame, together with the pattern and size number.

Substantial ACME machine cut steel screws had a ball end with a castellated swivel shoe, giving full flexibility. Sizes up to 8 had a wing or fly nut handles. Sizes 9, 10 and 12 had Tommy Bar or drop handles fitted through a ’T’ shaped boss which gave improved torque. The bar end caps were cheese shaped.

1938 Pocket catalogue entry:

The 1938 catalogue entry (above) described these cramps as “entirely re-designed”. This could have been improved raw materials or manufacturing process. The only visible difference being a slightly more rounded or “C” shaped frame with more substantial ribs internally.

Later examples had frames marked “WODEN” or “BRITISH MADE” on one side and “126/6” for example, at the handle end on the reverse. 

Post WW2: 126 cramps were catalogued as the “WODEN RIBBED ‘G’ CRAMP”. Despite inclusion in the catalogues, some sizes (5, 7 and 9) were not always included in price lists; The cast markings were “WODEN” and “BRITISH MADE”, later replaced with “MADE IN ENGLAND”. Apart from a batch of immediate post war cramps with more of a "G" shaped frame (see below), the only difference in construction was the replacement of the wing nut with a T-bar type handle on sizes 2 to 8 and a swivel shoe with a plain edge over the ball end of the screw. Sizes 10 and 12 continued with castellated shoes well into the 1950’s. 

Sizes 5 and 7 did not appear in the 1952 catalogue, though size 5 re-appeared in the mid 1950’s., together with a new and largest size 14. The drop bar handle was fitted into a cylindrical boss. 126 cramps were painted in Woden Blue and the cast markings did vary slightly throughout the 1950’s.

Extract from 1952 catalogue

From around 1957, when Woden Tools was formed, The frames had additional punched marks, for example “C62” or “C56” (2 inch) to “C69” (14 inch) and sometimes the digits “P” and “M”, with a triangle and an additional digit. Similar marks may be found on other Woden tools of similar vintage. I am still investigating these marks and have an idea of their origin. If you can help to identify them, please get in touch. Thanks.

From around 1959, the screws and handles on sizes 2 to 6 were bright plated and polished. This was to improve corrosion resistance and working characteristics. A new Light Hammer Blue paint finish was also introduced.

Sizes 2 to 6 were supplied to Tool Dealers in boxes of four. The larger sizes were supplied in pairs, probably brown paper wrapped.The frame castings also varied slightly, perhaps indicating supplies from other than the Woden Foundry.

Extract from 1960 catalogue, noting bright plating to screws and handles on sizes 2 to 6.

Record-Woden: Record continued to make the same line of 126 pattern cramps after the takeover of Woden. The Record 120 and Woden 126 specifications were very similar. An improved swivel shoe was fitted, flatter and stouter than earlier, sometimes marked with the size number on the face. On the larger sizes, the drop bar handle ends were globular, rather than cheese shaped as on the earlier SNJH made examples. Some frame markings were different, for examples just “4” or “6” for the size and the earlier “C” markings disappeared, indicating either Record made or a change of supplier for the castings.

As with Woden planes, from c.1961> some 126 cramps had 'changeover' type features with a mixture of SNJH and Record parts. This was usually SNJH frames with Record screws.

Any cramp with "V" marks, but not "C" marks, is likely to be from this period.

126 Cramps in Use: All very easy to use and relatively quick to adjust, thanks to the machine cut square threaded screws. The most common fault found is frame distortion but this is not as a result of poor design. The malleable iron frames were designed to ‘give’ rather than break and this happens where too small a size is used, or inappropriate use for welding or brazing. Many cramps in my collection have signs of heavy use for engineering purposes; frame distortion and small deposits of welding rod or spelter. Occasionally, the screws distort, perhaps due to over-tightening or the inappropriate use of heat.

Attached is a table, summarising the availability of 126 cramps from c.1930 to c.1970.

Size 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 12 14 Remarks
Inter-War yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes no

All painted Woden Blue.

Cast marked "BRITISH MADE" (BM); Transfer slide Trade Mark label.

Castellated swivel shoes. Sizes 2 to 6 have fly nut handles; 9 to 12 have

drop handles with cheese headed ends to bar, through a T-boss.

1946-55 yes yes yes

*

yes

yes

*

yes

yes

*

yes

yes yes no

All painted Woden Blue.

Cast marked BM or "MADE IN ENGLAND" (MIE). Trade mark label.

Sizes 2 to 6 have plain swivel shoes and T-bar handles. 9 to 12 have castellated

swivel or plain shoes and drop handles through a T-boss or barrel boss.

1956-61 yes yes yes yes yes no yes no yes yes

**

yes

Painted Woden Blue or later, Hammer Blue.

Cast marked MIE; Later marks "C62, P V M" Trade marks labels.

All with plain swivel shoes. Sizes 2 to 6 with bright plated and polished

screws from around 1958/59.

1961-70 yes yes yes yes yes no yes no yes yes

**

yes

Painted Hammer or Woden Blue.

Cast marked MIE; some with "C" or "V" marks, absent later. Some size marks "3" or "4" etc.

Trade Mark labels. Made or assembled by Record in Sheffield.

​Shallower plain swivel shoes. Sizes 10 to 14 with globular ends to drop handles

Notes.

* Sizes 5,7 and 9 not always included in Price Lists (production temporarily suspended).

** Size 14 from April 1956 but only on special order from January 1968

The following photos show a pair of cramps from each period, noting the different characteristics in the table.

pair inter-war 126/9"

This pair of inter-war 126/9" are quite rare.

Showing the T-boss with drop handle on the larger sizes.

The frame of the top cramp is slightly distorted

These Post War 126/4" are in original condition.

From around 1950, the castings are typical of a more "G" shape which appeared at the time.

Two 126/6" from the late 1950's. These are painted in new Hammer Blue and have plated screws.

These 126/3" appear to be a pair, but have different castings. 

They both have the Record-Woden improved swivel shoe, so were undoubtedly bought and used together.

Both over-painted in light blue.

Woden 131: (To follow).