Woden Tools Ltd. became a C & J Hampton (Record) company early in 1961.
RW bench planes are those assembled or made by Record in Sheffield, from April 1961 until around mid 1965.
Woden catalogues issued by Record presented exactly the same line-up of Woden planes as the earlier Steel Nut publications.
Record used the same images as the earlier SNJH catalogues printed by Joseph Wones of West Bromwich.
According to the Hawley Collection, this was quite normal as new printing blocks were quite expensive. In reality, the planes themselves
gradually changed from the earlier Steel Nut product to one with fully Record made or specified parts.
RW planes were so different from their earlier WW sisters that a comparison has been used to fully describe them. The comparison is
between a late Steel Nut W4 plane with New Improved Cutter (NIC), and a Record Woden number W4, c.1961/62.See IMG 0040.
Larger RW planes will, of course, have some slightly larger components.
The early Sheffield planes (post April 1961) used a mixture of original WW components and Record specified parts. These have been
designated “changeover planes”.
RW planes are best identified by the style or profile of the body casting, which is identical to Record number 4’s of the same vintage.
The profile is less rounded than WW, particularly at the toe end. See IMG 0041 (RW is lower plane) and IMG 0042 (RW left hand plane).
At the heel, there is a notable bevel or chamfer underneath the handle. Shown in IMG 0043 and IMG 0044.
The RW body shows linishing marks running the length of the sides and sole. This is clearly shown in IMG 0043.
On WW planes, the top edges of the body sides and the toe are ground square. RW planes have the top edges of the sides of the body
rounded over and painted. The toe or leading edge may be ground square, as in WW, or unfinished and painted.
Generally, the toe is bright steel and the heel is painted.
The WW base is noticeably thicker than some RW planes, see IMG 0044.
Changeover RW planes have very similar body thickness to WW, that is base 4.5 to 5mm., and sides 3 mm. thick.
The brand identification cast into the
body shows some differences from WW.
Changeover planes have “WODEN” cast in front of the knob and “No w4” behind, as WW. Later RW planes have no WODEN cast and
simply “No 4” in front of or behind the knob. See IMG 0045.
Foundry marks may be found under the handle, usually “QC” and sometimes a single digit, but some RW bodies do not have them.
There is a single digit mark on the frog receiver upper bridge towards the left hand side, if there is none under the handle.
This could be because Record cast early w4 plane bodies in Sheffield, before outsourcing supply for later production.
WW planes have the handle set directly onto the base but RW have the handle set up 1/16” on a perimeter raised platform. See IMG 0046.
Where the plane sides turn to the handle at the heel, WW have concave curves sweeping toward the handle. RW planes have more of a
direct line leading to a pronounced platform for the base of the handle. See IMG's 0046 and 0047..
The RW frog receiver is slightly different in that the ‘wishbone’ is more pronounced and the split lower surfaces are smaller. See IMG 0048..
Lastly, RW has a thinner and taller transverse wall at the front of the mouth and the plane mouth and frog seating may be set further back
in the body by about 3mm.
Frogs and related small parts:
There are no appreciable differences in the length and width of WW and RW frogs.
On the cutter bed where the lever cap screw enters the frog, the WW frog is ground level and shows 3 radiating arms away from the lever
cap screw hole. On the RW frog, there is only one lower vertical arm. Both frogs have the Qualcast foundry mark (Q) and a casting number
in the top recessed panes of the ogee profile. see IMG 0049
IMG 0049 also shows the frog fixing screw differences. WW have un-plated slotted round head screws and RW have un-plated slotted
cheese headed screws with a minimum of chamfer.
The WW frog back edge is vertical, almost at right angles to the sole when fitted but RW is raked back. Hence the WW frog adjustment
clip is angled whereas the RW clip is totally straight along its length. On WW planes, the clip is plated and held by a distinctly chamfered
and plated cheese headed slotted screw. RW is un-plated and held by an un-plated round headed slotted screw. See IMG 0050.
Lever Caps and Screws:
All Woden bench plane Lever Caps are Chrome plated. The WW lever cap is one part that appeared to be in abundance to Record
for assembling Woden planes, well into 1962.
The Record specified lever cap is more easily identified on the reverse. WW shows less defined more rounded ‘ribs’. RW was more sharply
defined and had the added transverse strengthening strip at the leading edge. There are no marks on early RW lever caps but a single digit
mark did re-appear on later planes. WW lever caps used by Record were generally modified with a larger orifice for the Record lever cap screw.
The different size of orifice is clearly seen in IMG 0053.
Early changeover planes had chrome plating, as WW, but with a modified lever cap screw orifice (see below).
The name WODEN was cast into the top face of the lever cap and the background was painted red. Changeover and some RW plane
lever caps retained red, but the background changed to orange for later planes. Orange being the standard Record colour.
The “WODEN” casting appears to be finer on some of the later RW lever caps. See IMG 0052.
This style was later replaced by a plain fronted lever cap having without WODEN cast into it, but with the standard Woden brand transfer slide
applied on the neck close to the lever. See IMG 0054.
The differences in lever dimensions are shown on the following sketch:-
WW has x= 29mms. RW has x= 25-26mms.
The lever cap screw orifice is larger in RW planes (about 23 x
14mm) and the lever cap screw can pass unhindered from the lower (larger)
to the upper (locking) hole when the lever cap is replaced.
The Lever cap screws on both planes are Chromed and threaded the same, 24 tpi., 9/32 American UNF, and inter-changeable.
The WW screw has more thread with a set screw end, a more rounded head and a wider screwdriver slot. See IMG 0056.
Cutters and Cap Irons:
The RW cutter is designated ‘Woden type 4’. It is very similar to Record parts of the same vintage. See IMG 0058.
The top of the cutter has a curved profile and the WODEN brand identification is stamp marked. The cutters have radial
grinding marks on both faces and the thickness is similar to the WW type 2 cutter, about 2mm. The lower (working) facing between the
adjustment slot and the edge is usually linished or surface ground to a degree of flatness. The WW NIC is much thicker, about 2.5 mm.
(See later section on Dating Woden Planes for more details of cutters).
Unlike Record irons, most Woden branded irons were simply stamped
with the WODEN trade mark and "MADE IN ENGLAND".Record irons
of similar vintage were Tungsten Vanadium steel.
Sometimes “TUNGSTEN VANADIUM” is stamped under “WODEN”.
These tungsten vanadium irons, both Record and Woden, are understood
to have been made from cold rolled steel. Record introduced a new
process in the early 1960’s whereby the iron profile was stamped from a
strip of the correct thickness, replacing the earlier process.
IMG 0058 shows the cap iron has the same top profile as the cutter.
It has the original bright steel finish apart from the lower inside edge
which is ground so that it mates with the back of the cutter. It is stamped
with "CORRECT ANGLE FOR GRINDING" and a 25 degree angle
symbol, as per Record. It is 126 mm. in length. WW cap irons are
133 mm. long.
At the opposite end where pressure is applied to the back of the cutter,
RW has a gentle lower curve of about 20mm long. WW cap irons have
a distinct crease to the start of the curvature which is about 15mm long.
The cap iron screw is bright steel with either a cross-hatched (knurled) or
a parallel line rolled edge. WW planes always had a knurled screw
edge with a “Blued” finish. See IMG 0057 above.. On both planes,
the screws are inter-changeable with 18 tpi. 5/16 BSW thread.
Cutter adjustment:The brass adjusting wheel for depth adjustment on WW planes is
marked on the inside “ON OFF CUT". RW shows no adjustment
direction markings. See IMG 0059. A later brass wheel (c.1962 )
had much coarser fluting on its circumference, with no markings.
See IMG 0060. It may be that this wheel is to military specifications. IMG 0058 WW cutter (left) and RW 2 inch cutter c.1961/62
On RW planes, the left hand threaded screw for the adjustment wheel is thicker, 6.5 to 7mm. with thread 24 tpi. 9/32 American UNF.
The WW screw is slimmer, 5.5 to 6mm, with thread 26 tpi. 1/4 BSF.
The lateral cutter adjustment lever on WW planes consists of a 2-piece plated pressed steel lever bent at the adjusting end to form an
inverted U shape. As per Record, RW has a 3-piece riveted and bright steel finished lever. The RW lever is slightly shorter than WW.
see IMG 0061. The head of the rivet that holds the lateral lever to the frog is larger in RW. On the rear of the frog the rivet is flush in
WW planes, but is external and protruding in RW. See IMG 0062.
In WW, changeover and some RW planes, the “Y” adjusting lever is a one-piece painted steel casting. Very Late RW planes have a
two-piece riveted and BZP pressed steel “Y” lever, the same as used on Record planes from the late 1960’s. See IMG 0063.
Handles, Knobs and Studs:
Handles and knobs were made of Beech, machine made and dark lacquered as received from the supplier. Shades varied,
but generally the wood grain was not obscured.
ALL WODEN planes have the same brand transfer on the top of the handle. Both WW and RW handles are about the same
thickness, side to side. WW handles are taller and deeper front to back, with flat sides. RW handles are slightly smaller and more rounded,
showing slimmer proportions overall. See IMG 0063. RW have a top rear edge that is quite pointed at the top and rear of handle junction.
WW have a rounded appearance at the top rear edges which meet at almost at 90 degrees. Typically, WW handle dimensions are 110mm
high x 77mm deep (at base) x 24mm thick. The RW handle is 104mm high x 78mm deep (at base) x 24mm thick.
IMG 0064 shows the WW knob (left), with a rounded top profile, a distinct ‘waist’ and a crisp chamfered foot. RW (right) has an elliptical type top
profile with a blended indistinct waist and foot. There is also an indistinct groove at the base.
The RW knob is 63mm high, 35-39.5mm wide with a boss diameter of 28.5mm. The waist width is 19-20mm.
The steel screws or studs for the handles and knobs are similar in length, but have different diameters and threads:-
WW 5.5 mm diameter with 26 tpi., ¼ BSF thread.
RW 4.5 mm diameter with 20 tpi.,7/32 BSW thread.(the same as the frog screws).
WW handle and knob screw cap nuts are brass, straight sided with a top flange, 13.5 mm long x 11mm diameter at the top. The RW cap nut is
‘waisted’, 12.5mm long x 11 mm diameter at top. See IMG 0064.
Larger RW Planes:
No 4-1/2:Unlike the No. 4 size, there is little difference in the body side profile between larger WW and RW planes. We believe the RW4-1/2
body also had the heel chamfer. IMG 0065 shows an RW4-1/2 changeover plane from around 1961/62.
RW4-1/2 changeover plane
This plane has painted body side tops, a Woden type 4 double iron and an un-marked RW depth adjustment wheel.
Later W4-1/2’s with fully Record specified parts, will be similar to the No. 5 size described below.
RW5 plane bodies have the following differences from original WWs:-
The brand identification “WODEN” is larger and “No 5” slightly smaller and the order of the foundry marks (eg. “QC2”) is different;
The two ribs on the toe and heel of the plane are wider;
There is a thinner, taller transverse wall in front of the mouth, similar to RW4s;
There is no strengthening rib on the base from the back of the frog to the front of the handle;
The handle is mounted on a raised bed, similar to RW4s; The body side tops are painted and
The frog receiver is slightly different, with smaller upper bearing surfaces and the lower ones linked together, but otherwise similar
to RW4s. See IMGs 0066 and 0067.
The frog assembly, small parts, lever cap and cutter assemblies are similar to RW4.
The wood parts are larger and similar to vintage Record. The RW5 handle is different – it has a rounded toe with no flat for the toe screw
and no washer is fitted. See IMG 0068.
IMG 0069 shows a nice example RW5 with all the features described above.
Corrugated bottom (C-series) planes:These planes do not appear to have any distinguishing features other than the corrugated bottom. It is thought that standard production
planes were used and the bottoms machined as required. RW continued to make planes with corrugated bases until around 1962/63.
Designated the ‘C’ series, page 48 of Cat. 30 (1962) explained the advantage of these planes for face planing thin boards. See IMG 0069.
Woden Tools catalogue information, 1962
Woden bench planes appeared in the 1964 catalogue, but not 1966, so we believe Woden Tools Ltd. continued to make bench planes
until around mid 1965. By this time, as has been described, there was very little superficial difference between a Woden and
a Record branded plane and the performance of each would have been comparable. All patterns of Woden plane were discontinued at
this time (1965). IMG 0070 shows a 1962 Woden Tools advertisement for planes.