wodenbrandlabel


Woden Block Planes 1954 to 1965

Original Woden Block Planes:

Steel Nut Woden (WW) block planes were in production at Wednesbury from 1954 to early 1961.

WW made two Block Planes, numbers W110 and W130. These were based on the earlier A110 and A130 planes of W.S Manufacturing.  The numbers correspond with the convention of other plane manufacturers, also being copies of Stanley originals. Type 110 is a standard non-adjustable plane and 130 is a double-ended non-adjustable plane.  IMG 0071 shows a typical 1950’s catalogue entry for these tools.

 

blockplanesfromcats     The paragraph “The base and sides are precision ground” etc.,
    was omitted in Cat 52E of 1956 and subsequent catalogues.


    For both patterns, a plain cast steel cutter rests bevel-up on the front of
    the cutter seat, secured by a cast clamping plate underneath a steel
    crossbar or pin.  The cutter angle is about 22.5 degrees, and with a 30o
 
  honing  angle the effective pitch is 52.5 degrees.

 
 On W110 planes, the rear of the cutter rests on a cutter support pillar in
    the centre of the body casting.

    On W130 planes, there is a back-to-back  arrangement to support the cutter
    in either working position.

 
    A knurled brass locking wheel screws into the clamping plate and an
    integral plain stud on the opposite side secures the cutter.  With the cutter
    locked, the clamping plate is at a high angle which enables the stud to press
    down on the cutter at right angles, providing positive fixing.


    The stained Beech knob is well designed; a threaded hanger-type bolt
    screwed into the knob secures it over a boss at the front of the body casting.

 
    All castings are painted Woden blue enamel.  The tops of the sides are
    painted but the toe and heel are a bright finish. The cutter seats are also
    painted, but not as thickly as the other parts.




    IMG 0071, SNJH catalogue entry for block planes

Plane part names:


Manufacturers used a variety of names for the various plane parts.
The following table lists the Woden plane parts for block planes which are copies of Stanley originals.  The names originate from Woden
Spare Parts List (S.P.L.) or Woden Plane Instruction Leaflets. The Stanley names and those used by other makers and/or common names
are also given.
The part numbers are those given in Stanley catalogues of the same vintage. See table 002.

 
Part number Stanley name(s) Woden name(s) Other names
4 Lever (includes wheel) Clamping Plate or
Lever Cap
Cap iron, Wedge
  Block plane iron
or Cutter
Cutting iron or Cutter Blade, Iron
    Adjusting Screw or Locking wheel Knurled wheel and screw
12 Plane Knob Knob  
16 Plane Bottom Body Body casting, Bed
 

Table 002, block plane part names

 IMG 0072 shows both patterns of plane and the descriptions that follow use Woden part names wherever possible.

wodenblockplanes

IMG 0072, W130 (top) and W110 block planes

Block Plane W110:


These were simple but well made planes consisting of the following parts: -
Body casting (16), cutter, clamping plate & locking wheel (4) and knob (12). See IMG's 0073 and 0074.

w110sideelevation

IMG 0073, W110 side elevation
w110dismantled

IMG 0074, W110 dismantled


The cutter seat on this plane is “C” shaped but there is a slight gap between the insides of the body casting and the flat section of the seat. Some cutter seats are end milled; all are painted over.

w110mouth

W110 toe view, showing cutter seat and cross bar

w110rearview

IMG 0074, W110 showing cutter support pillar and locking wheel

The cross bar passes through one side and screws into the opposite inner side. On most planes the screw slot is visible on the left hand body side.  The screw thread is 5/32 BSW, 32 tpi.

 Block Plane W130: 

These have the same parts as W110 apart from the body casting which is slightly longer, wider and heavier.
 IMG 0075 shows the W130 set up for bull nose work.

w130asbullnoseplane

IMG 0075


With two cutter seats, the cutter can be removed from the normal position and re-positioned at the opposite end of the body for bull-nose work.  In contrast with type W110 planes, the cutter seats are simple ramps across and between the insides of the body.  They appear  to have a more coarse  finish than W110 planes.  Some seats are end milled; all are painted over.  The cross bars screw in from the left hand side and the heads may or may not be visible, as on W110 planes. From either position, the cutter is clamped onto a back-to-back cutter support with a rounded top. See IMG 0076.

w130body

IMG 0076

Specifications for planes W110 and W130:

The catalogue entries above give the nominal specifications for these planes.
Table 003 gives more detail on each part and includes equivalent contemporary units.

Part/plane

Plane/part

Description

 

Complete tool

 

W110

 

7 inches long, weight 1-1/2 pounds;
(180 mm. long, wt. 715 g.)*,painted Woden Blue.

 

Complete tool

 

W130

8 inches long, weight 1-3/4 pounds;
(200 mm. long, wt. 900 gm)*, painted Woden Blue.

 

W110

 

body

 

Cast iron, linished sides and sole. 180 x 52 mm., wt. 490* gm. Single 4.5 mm. dia. steel cross bar spanning cutter seat. Single tall pillar shaped cutter support. “C” shaped, end milled and painted cutter seat.

 

W130

 

body

 

Cast iron, linished sides and sole. 200 x 54 mm, wt. 640* gm. Two 4.5 mm. dia. steel cross bars spanning cutter seats. Height of sides 35 mm. Twin back-to-back slim cutter supports.
Two flat painted cutter seats.

 

 

 

 

 

cutter

 

Cast steel, 1-5/8 inches wide
(115 x 42 x 1.5 mm thick), wt. 62.5* gm.
“Sheffield Cast Steel” and “Made in England " printed above and below Woden Trade Mark.

 

 

 

clamping plate

 

Cast iron, 104 x 42 mm. wt. 155* gm., painted.
24 x 15 mm rectangular slot cut centrally. Woden Trade Mark transfer slide on top. Two indented “windows” in reverse, towards the front edge, provide torque to secure the cutter.

 

 

 

knob

 

 

 
locking wheel

 

Dark lacquered beech, goblet shaped, wt. 15*gm.
Ht. 30.5 mm., max/min dia. 29/24 mm, with screwed in steel dowel screw;
 Thread pitch BSF, 26 tpi.

 

Cast or stamped brass, 38 mm. diam., wt. 30* gm., knurled edge 6 mm thick.  1.5 mm. chamfer on inner (upper) edge. Screws into clamping plate; Thread pitch BSW, 20 tpi..

 

 
Table 003, WW block plane data
     

Notes * Data taken from the average mass of a number of examples.  Variations in finish grinding results in the exact weight of each part being unique.

clampingplatetopview

IMG 0077, clamping plate top view
clampplateandlockingwheel

IMG 0078, locking wheel screwed into clamping plate

brasslockingwheel

IMG 0079, brass wheel for cutter locking
clampplateandwheelsideview

IMG 0080, clamping plate andlocking wheel,
 side elevation

Development of Block Planes and source of parts:

Comparing Woden W110 and W130 planes with the earlier W.S A110 and A130, it is evident that the W.S and earlier Woden body castings are very similar.  From catalogue entries, Woden bodies and parts were cast by the maker, and generally better finished than W.S. The locking wheels and knobs are almost identical and interchangeable, and probably came from the same source.  Both cutters are Sheffield cast steel, but the Wodens have a better surface finish.  The Woden paintwork is superior to W.S, but even though more evenly applied, is thinner.

Later clamping plates came from the Quality Castings (Qualcast) foundry at Wolverhampton.  This is evident by the foundry marks and casting numbers, for example “B66”, found on planes made towards the end of the 1950’s.  Stanley (GB) was a major customer of this foundry and similar marks may be found on Stanley block plane castings.
Despite the limited production period of WW block planes and no noticeable differences in specification being noted from Woden literature or catalogues, slight differences have been noted in a number of examples which span the production period.

The source of castings has already been mentioned, but generally, later planes have more foundry marks and casting numbers than the earlier ones; The body and clamping plate Woden blue finish on later planes looks lighter than that on earlier examples;
Earlier planes have slightly larger cutter supports at the back of the mouth and larger “windows” in the reverse of the clamping plate;
Earlier planes have ground and un-painted leading and back front edges of the clamping plate;
The knob finish is either dark brown with a straight sided flange at the base, or a red rosewood type finish with a rounded flange at the base;  Later planes have the red rosewood finished knobs, but not always.
 
These differences are summarised in the following tables:-
  
Variation 1 (Earlier) Darker Woden blue enamel Larger cutter supports at back of mouth Larger "windows" in back of clamping plate Un-painted leading and back edges of clamping plate Body and clamping plate single number stamps only.
 
 
Variation 2 (Later) Lighter Woden blue enamel Narrower cutter supports Smaller "windows" in back of clamping plate Fully painted clamping plate Additional casting stamps eg. "B66" on back of clamping plate

Note.    Despite the noticed differences above, and change of casting supplier, it is possible that there were no intended differences in block lane specifications throughout the WW manufacturing period.  The changes noted being either the normal variations in supplied components, the finish imparted by the machining methods in use at the time or, in the case of cutter seat finishing and clamping plate bearing surfaces, final tuning by the purchaser to give a “sweeter” tool.
 

Packaging:



blockplanesandboxes
Original Woden block planes may be found packaged in buff paper covered
thick cardboard boxes with either a red, yellow or orange and black contents
label attached to one end of the lid, with a simple printed font.
These boxes are designated ‘L1’.

Later examples were packaged in black paper covered cardboard boxes with a
yellow and black label and a more advanced font.
These boxes are designated ‘L2’.

The box contained the standard Woden buff and blue open-out "Woden Planes Instruction Leaflet" and a brand label tag. 

 

                                                    IMG 0079, L1 labelled box (left) and later L2  box.


Orange (faded red), and red labelled L1 boxes are believed to be the oldest. yellow L1 might be a ‘one off’ or mistake for a batch of boxes as this colour was generally used on the boxes containing bench accessories.  L2 boxes appear to be towards the end of WW production period.
See later page “Dating Woden Planes” for more information on packaging.


Performance:


IMG 0080 shows an extract from the Woden Plane Instructions relating to block planes.

wodenblockplaneinstructions

IMG 0080

The planes were well engineered, an improvement on the earlier W.S models with better finished castings and paintwork.  The cutter is secured positively by the well designed brass wheel-to-steel cutter arrangement of W.S; the pressure under the front of the clamping plate and the cutter seat giving a three-point fixing. The knob is firmly secured and has a pleasant recess in the top for the forefinger, but some woodworkers might find the high angle of the clamping plate a little uncomfortable in the palm of the hand.
 
Although described as non-adjustable, planes may be found with hammer marks at the end of the cutters where adjustment has been attempted in a similar manner to that used for wooden planes.
 
On W130 planes, the toe/side and heel/side angles are quite sharp which could easily damage the work.  These angles can be softened slightly if tuning-up the plane.
 
Notwithstanding, the planes are let down by the painting and poor finish around the cutter seats and it is difficult to improve these surfaces. There is a large non-adjustable gap in front of the cutter when correctly set, so the planes are not suitable for fine cabinet work. They were intended for repetitive jobs with a fixed cutter setting and most suitable for chamfer work or general trimming and shaping etc. 
 

Record Woden Block Planes:

 
Record-Woden (RW) planes were in production at Sheffield from April 1961 to around 1965.
Woden price list HPL11 and accompanying letter advised of the switch of production to Sheffield.

rw110rearview  
  Several examples of planes have been noted with components from the original
  Woden factory and those common to Record planes.
  For example, Record used a smaller, narrower body casting for its  o110
  block planes, similar to Stanley. These have been noted with WW clamping plates
  and brass locking wheels. See IMG 0081.

 
Also, WW 130 bodies have been noted with Record style clamping plates and die
  cast locking wheels. See IMG 0082.
This is considered quite normal where parts
  transferred from an acquired brand would be used up by the new manufacturer
  and these planes may be considered as ‘hybrids’ or ‘changeover’ planes from one
  factory to another. With the W130 being a less common tool, the ex-Wednesbury
  W130 bodies would have lasted longer into assembly at Sheffield.

 
  Gradually, as the old parts were used up, complete RW specified type W110
  and W130 planes appeared.


  During the RW production period, changes took place to individual components.

  The knobs were similar but screwed into a narrower boss on the bodies, using
  a 3/16 BSW, 24 tpi thread.
  The locking wheel changed to the Record specified die cast type with fluted edges
  and steel screw.

  The clamping plates dropped the ‘windows’ on the back and the rectangular
  cut out but the Woden brand transfer slide was retained.


  IMG 0081, W110 changeover plane, rear view

 
The Record ‘teardrop’ type body castings (see IMG 0081) were used for 110 planes.The originally cast “WODEN” and “W” in W110 was eventually dropped, leaving "No 110" and “Made in England” and later "No o110" and “Made in England” on the bodies and with a solid
clamping plate.

RW plane bodies are lighter and show more consistent grinding (linishing) marks than the earlier WW bodies. The Record style cutter seat is similar, lightly end milled and wider than WW planes.


rw130topview
 Type 130 body castings from different manufacturers were very similar. See IMG 0082.

 RW eventually dropped “WODEN” and “W” as on the 110 bodies, replacing W130 with "No 130"
  and later still with "No o130".
 They also used the narrower boss and thread for the knob, the opposite end fixing into the knob
 by means of a number 8 dowel screw.
 
 Some RW o130 cutter seats are “C” shaped and others have flat ramps as on WW130 planes.
 All are lightly end milled and painted.

 
 Similar changes to body castings have been noted in Record branded
 type o110 planes in the Hawley Collection at Sheffield.
 
 The Record production lines for o110 or o130 planes used the same body casting for its Record
 or Woden branded planes. The warehouse would apply labels and add cutters and packaging
 as required for either brand.


 Towards the end of the RW production period, both planes were quite different from their earlier
 WW sisters, despite there being no differences in the images displayed in Woden catalogues
 issued by Record and the earlier ones issued by SNJH.

 Catalogue images were not up-dated as replacement printing blocks were expensive at the time.



                                                                                                       IMG 0082, RW130 changeover plane
  

Table 004  gives more detail on each component and includes equivalent contemporary units.
 
Part/plane Plane/part Description
 
Complete tool
 
W110
 
Length 7 inches, weight 1-1/2 pounds
(180 mm. long x 50mm wide; weight. 650gm*),
painted Woden blue.

 
Complete tool
 
W130
 
Length 8 inches, weight 1-3/4 pounds
(200 mm. long x 50mm wide; weight. 750 gm*), painted Woden blue.

 
W110
 
body
 
Cast iron, linished sides and sole. 180 x 50 mm., wt. 385* gm. Single 4.5 mm. dia. chrome plated cross bar spanning cutter seat; Twin slim cutter supports and central ‘teardrop’ at the heel. Reduced diameter knob boss at the toe.

 
W130
 
body
 
Cast iron, linished sides and sole. 200 x 50 mm, wt. 500* gm. Two 4.5 mm. dia. plated cross bars spanning cutter seats. Height of sides 35 mm; Twin back-to-back slim cutter supports. Reduced diameter knob boss at the toe.

 
 
 
cutter**
 
Cast steel, 1-5/8 inches wide
(110**x 41 x 1.5 mm thick), wt. 70*gm.
“WODEN Trade Mark” and “Made in England” stamp marked into top front.

 
 
 
clamping plate
 
Cast iron, 98 x 40 mm. wt. 140* gm., painted overall with Woden Trade Mark transfer on top;
Plain undersides. Later examples have no ‘hole,’ they have a solid plain front.

 
 
 
Knob
 
 
 

Locking wheel
 
Dark lacquered beech, Goblet shaped, wt. 12* gm. , Ht. 31 mm, max/min dia. 28/24 mm, with screwed in dowel screw. Thread pitch 3/16 BSW, 24 tpi.
 
Die cast alloy with steel screw.  38 mm. dia., wt. 21.5*gms. Fluted parallel edge 5.5 mm thick; 4 x symmetrical quadrants on dimple side; Screws into clamping plate with BSW, 20 tpi. thread.
 
 
Table 004, RW block plane data

Notes * Data taken from the average mass of a number of examples.  Variations in metal and wood finishing results in the exact weight of each component being unique.
** Likewise, data from the longest of a range of used cutters; the original length and weight unknown.

IMG's 0083 to 0090 show more of the features of late RW block planes

rw110mouth

IMG 0083, Late RW110 cutter seat, marks and knob boss

rwblockplanes

IMG 0084, RW changeover (left) and mainly Record parts (right)

rw110inparts

IMG 0085, Late RW110 plane parts
rw110srearviews



 IMG 0086, rear views of above planes
laterw130markingsandknobs


IMG 0089, RW130's with different cast marks
laterw130parts

IMG 0088, Late RW130 planes parts
lockingwheelcomparison


IMG 0089, Locking wheel comparison, RW in forefront
comparisonofcuttermarks


IMG 0090, Comparison of cutter markings, RW on the left

Development of Block Planes and source of parts:

A comparison of earlier WW and later RW 110 and 130 planes has already been given.  It is believed that Record cast their own parts in Sheffield and made and marked their own irons.  This also applied to the Woden brand.  Probably only the knobs were outsourced components.

Packaging:

RW catalogues listed Block Planes as “individually boxed”. Record used the remaining L2 type boxes to distribute planes around 1961/62,
as these were the remaining WW stock transferred to Sheffield.
See IMG 0091.

rw110andl2box

IMG 0091, RW110 changeover plane and L2 box
laterw110andl3box

IMG 0092, Late RW110 and L3 box 


Later boxes were constructed from one piece of thin buff cardboard, 180mm long by 70mm wide and 50mm deep. At each end are a pair of ‘wings’ and a tuck-in flap.  The box is held together by five 15mm steel staples at the bottom of one side.  The label is approximately 65mm wide by 45 mm deep, affixed to one end.  There are yellow top and black bottom panels complete with the plane identification. The ratio of yellow to black is approximately 3:2.  These boxes are designated “L3”. See IMG 0092.


‘The box’ probably contained the standard Woden buff and ue open-out "Woden Planes Instruction Leaflet" with the address either modified to or printed as “Woden Tools Ltd., Bernard Rd., Sheffield 2, and later, Parkway Works Sheffield 9.  It is believed that these leaflets were probably phased out and replaced by a small Record style Instruction Booklet in distinctive Black and Yellow.  These booklets would have had a reference such as W.P.I./63 (Woden Plane Instructions, 1963).

Performance:


Generally, RW planes had reduced specification parts compared to WW. Otherwise, the same performance notes apply to RW as to
WW block planes.

 
The change in type 110 bodies has been mentioned earlier. One slight advantage over the earlier WW bodies being the ‘teardrop’ at the heel, which gives an extra bit of metal to “tap” if attempting to adjust the cutter.  This was a long established feature of both Record and Stanley 110 bodies.  Most 110 and some 130 planes also had slightly improved cutter seats, resembling the “C” shape of the earlier WW planes. There is evidence that some were end milled but they were also invariably painted.
 
rw110poorcutterseating  
  The cutter supports on the later 110 body type were easily broken.

  Sometimes the plane of the cutter seat and angle of the support tops were
  not in alignment, resulting in a very poorly secured cutter. See IMG 0093.

  The locking wheel had a coarser thread, resulting in a sloppy fit in the
  clamping plate and insecure cutter locking. Some may have been better
  supported at the mouth but were less secure and liable to rock due to slight
  variations in cutter support height and the changes to the clamping plate.

  The lower overall metal weight is an indication cheaper cost compared

  to the earlier WW examples.




  IMG 0093, Late RW110 showing poor locking of the cutter.

Conclusions:

1954 to 1961:

Whilst the planes have been categorised into possible Variations 1 or 2, it is probable that all the minor variations noted were part of the normal tolerances in supplied parts and manufacturers machined/paint finish at the Woden factory.  In other words, there is very little difference in the specifications of all WW Block Planes made between 1954 and 1961.

1961 onwards:

Record eventually produced Woden planes, assembled totally with their own specified parts. These tools were very similar in quality to those of other  manufacturers, including their own Record brand. They were of lesser overall quality than the earlier WW  planes.
It is believed that production of Woden block planes ceased around mid 1965.

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