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w.s. NO A4

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hammer n nails

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hi was at a boot fair to day when i came upon a plane its a WS no a 4 Birmingham England the front that holds the blade is made of brass a few rust spots but should clean up well does anyone know anything about this plane i paid £8.00 for it and he threw in a wooden block plane as well but no makers name on it cant put up photo my cam not working
 

Vann

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There's not much information about on WS Tools (of Birmingham). They were bought out by Woden (of Wednesbury) in 1952, and Woden planes later became part of Record (of Sheffield).

WS used a bit of imagination with their planes. Unlike Record, who copied Stanley planes right down to the obsolete threads, WS tried to make their planes different which resulted in some of the ugliest planes ever made (beauty being in the eye of the beholder :wink: ). Another plane that WS left their mark on was the Stanley No.78. WS added a second fence rod making a major improvement (later copied by Record for their No.778).

As for the planes themselves: I have a WS No.4 (not A4) and an A7. Neither are up and running, but I've done some fettling on the No.4. I found the castings to be good and solid. I love the brass lever-cap. But the machining leaves a little to be desired - the base casting, immediately behind the mouth, where the lower foot of the frog seats, has significant coarse machining marks. Both have fairly large mouths, so I've fitted a thicker cutting iron in the No.4 - without needing to file the mouth.

When I picked up my No.4 it had been stripped of almost all the brass: lever cap, lever cap screw and depth adjuster wheel. I managed to pick up a WS lever cap. The other missing parts came off a Rapier plane.

Sorry, no photos. I'm at work ATM so can't access them.

Cheers, Vann.
 

Scouse

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Vann":17e62x3j said:
which resulted in some of the ugliest planes ever made
I kinda like the way they look, in a heavy, 'Dreadnought' sort way; perhaps the shiny lever cap is there as a distraction!

Although mine is polished and rust free now, it still needs a few bits to be put to work, namely a new iron and chip breaker, likely Clifton, and lapping the frog and base seating areas as per Jim's instructions (further down the above link) as the quality of the casting is ok, but could be better. Just need to find the time! Good planes, overall though.

El.
 

Vann

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Scouse":1db1vien said:
...it still needs a few bits to be put to work, namely a new iron and chip breaker, likely Clifton...
WS 4 polished LC S.jpg
Wot? Like this guv... (the cap iron is off a Record).

Scouse":1db1vien said:
I kinda like the way they look, in a heavy, 'Dreadnought' sort way...
8) :lol:

Here you can see the rough machining refered to in my earlier post...
WS 4 frog seat front S.jpg

WS 4 frog seat front 2S.jpg

WS 4 frog S.JPG


Scouse":1db1vien said:
Just need to find the time!
Mines been awaiting a bit more TLC for several months :roll:

Cheers, Vann.
 

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Scouse

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I confess that my main reason for the Clifton iron is that it does carry a certain air of authority!

As for the frog seat, it must be genetic



Gonna take a while with valve lapping paste!
 

Vann

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For a while I've been wondering why some WS planes are (for example) "No. 4" while others are "No. A4"?

Possibly one is an earlier designation than the other. But I've been looking at WS planes that come up on internet sites, as well as my own, and there are two distinct lever cap styles

"Type 1" - chunky with crude "WS"
WS lever cap epay.jpg

and "type 2" - curvey with more refined raised "WS" (lower plane)
WS N.4 & A7.jpg


And there seems to be a tendancy for the more refined lever-cap to be on the "A" planes, as the photo above (the "A7") and those that follow show
WS orraloon.jpg
A4 & A5, both with "type 2" lever caps and "No. A5" visible on one casting.

WS A4 orraloon.jpg
here's the above No.4 with "No. A4" cast behind the knob.

WS A4 epay1.jpg
and another with the "No. A4" in front of the knob.

Then the basic "type 1" lever caps on "No. 4" (non A4) planes
WS No.4 e-pay.jpg

WS4a.jpg
actually this seems to be a transitional lever cap, with the sweeping curves of the "type 2" but the lettering of the "type 1".

Then, just to throw my theory out the window, there's this
WS 4 & box.jpg
I'm sure there's a tiny "A" in front of the "4" on that box :evil:

Cheers, Vann.

My thanks to those whose photos I've half-inched
 

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Scouse

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My 5 1/2 has the 'A' cast in it, but I can't help you with regard to my No 4 which has had the cutting assembly, (frog, blade etc) placed onto the casting of a Woden W4.

Interestingly, the Woden has the same (ugly?!) profile to the cheeks and the same questionable frog seat finishing. In fact, were it not for the 'Woden' cast into the base, it is identical to the WS; I guess Woden bought the bad with the good when they took over WS!
 
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