Monday, February 6, 2017

Woden No W5 Jack plane

Another recent Kijiji finds, an almost perfect specimen still in the cardboard box with the instructions pamphlet. It was a bit out of my way, Truro NS, but it was a good ride in the country side, and it so happened that one of my girlfriend sisters lives in Truro, so great excuse for a visit. Thank you Crystal and Paul for the hospitality :-)

Black covered paste box with yellow label.
I gave it a quick wipe, it was quite dusty... Coming from a typical powered woodworking's shop :-)

What is inside, complete with plane pamphlet

The Woden company of Wednesbury Staffordshire (1868-1961) was a maker of a limited range of hand tools for woodworking such as ratchet braces, carpenter bench cramps (vises) flooring cramps, wrenches etc. They had a steel foundry and were equipped to make all the parts required to make hand tools. The hand tool division was relatively small within the overall product range, of metal castings, nuts and bolts and related steel products.

Like most British companies that were heavily involved in the war effort (WW2), the company struggled to return to normal products production due to a shortage of raw material and qualified manpower.

They did not manufactured metallic planes until 1954 after acquiring WS Birmingham in 1952. Part of this acquisition gave them the redesigned copy of the Stanley No 78 Duplex Rabbet plane, the dual fence rail WS78, which would later becomes Record 778 after Record purchased them in 1961.

Paul Sellers really like them so you know they are every bit as good or better than Stanley and Record.

Their planes offering grew to includes two Block planes the W110 and W130

Bench planes:
Smoothers W4 and 4-1/2
Jack planes W5 and 5-1/2
Fore plane W6, and
Jointer plane W7
They never produced size No 2, 3, 5-1/4, 8
They also made some corrugated sole bench planes until 1963
And of course the better copy of Stanley No 78, the W78 Duplex Rabbet plane.

This was a somewhat limited offering compared to Stanley and Record, but in order to compete they had to produce a high quality and finish product, which they delivered. They are as good, and in the case of the W78, better than the originals Stanley and Record copies (No 078 specifically)

In the early 60s Record was expanding by purchasing rivals manufacturers, they acquired Woden in 1961 and moved operations to Sheffield.

Early on the planes had a mixture of parts from the old Woden's parts and the newly produced ones from Record.
Gradually, all parts were being made solely by Record, with a few small modifications in materials and design.
Record continued to produce the Woden range under that name until about 1965
Other products were continued under Record own model numbering, such as the W78 which became Record No 778.

Lets see what we have here and try to narrow it down to a period of manufacture.

According to this site there are 5 different productions variations, or Types:
As usual for these Types studies, it is based on the No 4 (W4)

Three (3) from Woden and the last two (2) when Record took over:

Type 1 - 1954-55, early production,

- Bodies without "QC" or "Q" foundry marks (in house Woden foundry)
- W4's with single lower pane frogs
- 2 inch frogs with small (4mm) marks
- 2 in lever caps with inside lower flat or rounded bottom edges
- Type 1 or 2 cutters
- Type 1 Label (L1) boxes and Woden Plane Instruction pamphlet (WPI 2 or 3)

Type 2 - 1955-57

- Bodies without "QC" marks (in house)
- 2 inch frogs with 2 lower panes, without "Q" marks but with single 5.5 mm       marks
- 2 inch lever caps without inside bottom flat, with or without rounded bottom edges
- Type 1 or 2 cutters
- Type L1 boxes and Type 2 or 3 Woden Plane Instruction pamphlet

Type 3 -  1957-61 late production

- Bodies including the "Q" or "QC" foundry marks (out sourced to Qualcast foundry)
- Frogs with "Q" marks and 5.5 mm marks
- 2 inch lever caps without inside bottom flat and square corners
- Type 2 or Type 3 New Improved Cutters (NIC)
- Type L1 or L2 boxes with or without NIC label, and
- Type 3 or 4 Woden plane instruction pamphlet

Type 4 - 1961-1962 Early Record production, the change over period

"Changeover" planes were being assembled in Sheffield (Record) with Wednesbury made parts (Woden). There were problems with Record using a mix of Woden and Record manufactured parts that were using different screw threads. Woden used mainly BSF screws and Record  used the historic Stanley and BSW threads. This resulted in some re-machining and or a few special "one of" parts to be found

- "WODEN" and "No Wx" cast marked on either a Woden or Record shaped body
- Either Woden or Record specified frog
- Woden Type 4 Tungsten Vanadium cutter with stamped marks
- Either Woden original or Record modified lever caps
- Either Woden or Record wood parts with the original Woden transfer slide decal affixed to the handle
- Either Woden or Record specified depth adjustment wheel with appropriate screw or
- Unusual pattern of depth adjustment wheel with Woden screw

Type 5 - 1962-65 Record production until discontinued

- A Record body shape with just "No 4" in front of, or behind the knob and NO "Woden" cast marks
- A Record type frog having a thicker USA UNF thread depth adjustment screw
- Record unmarked adjustment wheel
- Record 3 pieces lateral adjustment lever with a bottom fixing rivet
- A lever cap with either a Woden cast mark with a red or orange background
- Later Record production had no Woden cast marks but a simple transfer decal near the top
- Lever cap handle is shorter and curved is more pronounced. Woden made had a lever length from cam boss to tip of about 29 mm, Record about 26 mm
- Record wood parts with Woden transfer slide decal on the handle top
- Record small parts: Cheese headed frog screws, straight frog clip with round
 head screw and Record BSW ended studs for the handle and knob

My example as found:

L2 box (black) and label 1957-61/62

Water slide transfer decal, intact and pristine
Type 4 1961-62

Pristine frog surface

Upper quadrant marked "Q" on left, "7" on right 

Three (3) piece Lateral adjuster. 
Earlier Woden had a simple bent tab at the end of the lever

Cutter Full size , still showing original grinding marks, 
never sharpened.

Woden Type 4 Tungsten Vanadium cutter with stamped marks. 

Square bottom edge on lever cap Type 3 1957-61.
"Woden" red paint, "Record" had more of an orange paint.
From about 1956-7, the plating improved and did not easily flaked and resist corrosion better. This thing is perfect...

Less pronounced and longer curved lever.
The shoulder cam is higher 51mm versus 48mm 

Knob and tote have some finish flaking off. Lacquer, Shellac or Varnish? 
I see this typically on Record tools.

High knob and tote, stained and lacquered (?) hardwood

Frog receiver with frog adjuster screw

Frog adjuster screw has square end (Woden)
Later Record has a more pointed end like a set screw.
This is just about the only rusted screw on the whole plane.

Notice the slight angle machined on the frog for the clip.
Frog capture clip is angled with a straight clip (Record), Earlier Woden had a near vertical casting and an angled clip

Lever cap screw has the Record longer non thread portion 

Front toe casting shows WODEN and No W5
Later Record made models had only No 5 cast in front of knob
Knob shows waisted barrel nut, earlier were plain cylinder.

Rear casting has MADE IN ENGLAND
and QC 2 stamped inside the tote receiver

Side show some minor discoloration

Sole has virtually no scratches

This side shows the most discoloration, light surface rust 
should easily cleaned up

Everything point to an earlier Type 4 1961-62 Changeover period plane.

The japanning is in perfect condition, there are some small stained surfaces here and there on the bright metal parts. The level cap is just like new, the iron is unused and full length but has some small chips at the cutting edge. The wooden parts, tote and knob have no defect except for flaking off protective coating (shellac or varnish) here and there. The box is in good shape but the pamphlet has some rust stains on it. All in all, an unusual find in great shape. I don't often run into these. Quite the score : -)

Well worth the travel to Truro and got to spend some quality time with Jean's sister Crystal and her husband Paul... Bonus :-)

Rudy awaiting the return of his beloved Jeanie.
Everytime he hear a vehicle in the yard he rushes to the window :-)

Bob, who had a biopsy of the prostate this afternoon... Another cancer scare? Bring it on, i'll fight you till the end!! This would be round 3 for me with cancers, Heather had 2.  I am not worry but getting frankly tired of it all... :-(


  1. Nice find there! I see some great tools on Kijiji, tho I live in Montana, I have a sister in Calgary who will chase down some finds for me. The yankee dollar is doing pretty good against the Can. dollar so it makes it worth while at times. I've been hunting for some Beaver chisels but their hard to find in good condition.

    Good luck with the prostrate thing, it sounds like your on top of it and early detection is a huge plus ...which reminds me I'm due for a test.

  2. Great looking plane.
    Amazing that it hasn't seen more use in all those years.

    That is a nice sweater that Rudy is wearing. I guess if you are not as furry as Newfoundland, living in Canada can be a bit cold if you are not dressed properly :-)


  3. Are there any tools left in Canada to buy now Bob? Good find with the Woden. I've never seen one in person but I have my eyes peeled.
    Good luck on the prostate findings and I hope that are benign.

  4. HI Stephen
    Yes there are some amazing finds to be to discovered on Kijiji :-)
    And similar to the antique tools situation in the States, you will find more on the East coast. Never cease to amaze me what you can find sometimes.... Enjoy your stronger US greenback while it last :-)

    Bob, the tool hunter and gatherer

    1. It always amazes me the tools that are for sale on the east coast, tools I didn't know existed! Where I live, the people who settled here had only rudimentary tools(axes,knives,rifle,shovels, plows and a cast iron skillet)...sometimes tho I'll find at a farm auction tools that only a cabinet maker would own, I always wonder how such tools found their way out here.
      I got a chuckle out of your comment about enjoying the US dollar success while it lasts...I'm afraid with our new president it won't last long! Oh well, the US made it through worse times, as did Canada...World Wars, depressions, Justin Bieber, tornados, hurricanes, ice storms... the list goes on yet we're still here!
      Happy tool hunting, I'm always impressed with the tools you come up with.

  5. Correct JOnas, Rudy, being hairless really needs to be dressed up all the times. Just like humans he wear layers of clothing as required by the weather and were he goes. To him getting dressed is like a game, taking off with clothes in his mouth, running around the house :-)

    Sometimes it takes the two of us to cornered him, I think he does that so that Jeanie will pick him up. Smart dog! :-)

    Bob, who just saw a piece of clothing walked by...

  6. Heh heh Ralph, ... wondered what made you asked that ? :-)
    Have no fear plenty left out there, but yes, Im on the trail :-)

    Like I said I am not worry about my prostate, but I am sure getting tired of dealing with cancers so many times....

  7. Will you leave it be as a collection piece, or will you use the snot out of it?

    I vote you use the snot out of it.

  8. Oh i will use it Brian, maybe not the snot out of it, but it will go to work... as any tools has to in my shop to earn their keeps :-)

  9. A nice find, indeed! And a nice write-up of Woden plane history. Thanks.