Wadkin FM24” Planer Restoration


Help Support UKworkshop.co.uk:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
I thought at first there was a break in the casting inside the gearbox, but then realised it was missing red paint!
The more I see of the engineering on this beast the more impressed I am.

The big reveal this afternoon, little and often gets it done. It’s an incredibly simple design, superbly well over engineered and thought out. I shall remove the other table tomorrow which will allow me to easily get at the block and pressure bars/feeds etc.

My 16" SCM is only 620Kg so a lightweight in the great scheme of things, but it is on wheels so I can at least move it.
Is that measured on the over or the under? This Wadkin is a 24” and that’s the max width of the thickness bed. The top will shear 26”.
my daily user is the Bursgreen UOS, that’s a similar size to your SCM (capacity wise, it’s still a big old cast lump) and it very rarely comes up short in the size dept. A terrific all rounder and as old as the hills.
May I ask, how do you highlight a section of text and then reply to that? I’m still not up to speed with all of it 😄

Thanks in advance

May I ask, how do you highlight a section of text and then reply to that? I’m still not up to speed with all of it 😄

Thanks in advance

Like I just did? On the bottom right corner of the post you want to respond to is a Reply button. Click it and it opens a reply box. I deleted the part of the text in the box and that is why it isn't there. Add your text below the box.

I'm also enjoying the thread.

Is the skewed block a design feature or not?
Yes it's a design feature found on most Wadkin surface planers and thicknessers. I don't know if Wadkin-Bursgreen also have the feature.

A friend has a 16" RZ (surface planer only version of this FM). His has a 4 knife safety cutterblock with straight knives (no skew), but as far a I know all the Wadkin 2 knife cutterblocks are skewed.

Cheers, Vann.
I don't know if Wadkin-Bursgreen also have the feature.

The Bursgreen UOS I use daily (pre Wadkin takeover) has straight knives Vann. Whether Wadkin put their skewed blocks in when they merged I don’t know.

both tables are now removed, along with the castings that enable it to slide up and down on the main event. Leaving the machined top with the dovetail slot exposed. Once I remove the block and the feed rollers I will be able to remove the middle section which will then leave me with main casting. It will also enable me to remove the giant thicknessing bed.

I shall take some closer photos of the dovetail slots and their fixings for the slides and get them up here.


I have removed both sprockets from the rollers, small hammer and a block of wood rotating a 1/4 every tap. Came off no issues. They are secured by a Hex grub screw that just nips on the woodruff key. This machine is smothered in oil and grease which is actually ideal for taking it apart.


Centre photo above is the rod that goes to the underside of the top table, when turned with the crank handle the thread you can see pictured winds up and down that casting, thus moving the table up or down depending on which way you crank. The rear table is set in plane with the knives, and your front table is the one you set for how much you’re taking off with one pass.
This machine will take 3/4” cut in one hit, which for manual feed is asking for it big style.


The only heat I’ve had to apply so far is to one of the bolts holding the knives. Good going that is.


I’ll get that motor and gearbox off as soon as I’ve levelled down to the main casting.
I’m going to spray this machine RAL 7011 (iron grey off the top of my head) with red on the insides as per original spec. It will be enamel, most will be sprayed with some hand painted bits and pieces.

I removed the braking electrics today, good news is it can easily fit within the machine electrical compartment so I can rid it of the crappy modern electric box. I’m happy with that as it keeps it all as it was originally.


I’ll fill that hole and see what I can do with the lettering. This machine is also fitted with the factory optional extra isolation switch (removed In this photo) and that will be cleaned up and popped back on. When I’m messing with the knives it’ll mean I can switch it off there and not at the wall. Ideal!


I have nearly removed the pulley from the motor shaft, I need to take in my puller from home to finish the job. It’s a two part pulley so aligning the block pulleys to the drive pulleys and the gearbox link belt to the pulley can be done very easily. Above is the 3/16 grub that holds the block pulleys, this needs to be undone and then drawn towards the end of the gearbox pulley shaft as shown below

A spin of the shaft then reveals the second 3/16 grub keeping the gearbox pulley secure to the motor shaft. Both run in keys.


A small amount of heat and a decent Sykes puller will pull this assembly off no problems (I am hoping of course) all electrics have been disconnected so I will be able to remove the motor completely. Lovely stuff.
I’ll report back as soon as I have done a bit more.

Got the pulley off this afternoon, it put up a real good fight. It’s seen 62 harsh English winters and a little bit of corrosion fused the pulley to the motor shaft.
I had to call upon my Burke bar I made a number of years ago (I don’t know what I’d do without it now) and my dad. I had the puller on it, heated the shaft up nice and hot with the torch, then got my old man on a long crow bar one side and me on the other and it eventually came off.



The end of this is an old fork off of a digger bucket (good quality carbon steel that’s able to be hardened and tempered) still have a great lump of it left as it was huge. I cut it and then heated it in the forge until it was glowing orange and then shaped it and then re-hardened and tempered it. The handle is some 20x40 I welded to it. Reason for showing this is it is immensely useful to the practical person.
If you find yourself needing to move something that’s immovable, lift something that can’t be lifted, pull something off that can’t be pulled off, then this is the tool. Marshalltown make one (it’s expensive) or if you can make one yourself you get double the satisfaction. I loosely copied ‘essential craftsmen’ version of it.
It’s been terrific in the couple years I’ve had it and it got me out of many a sticky situation.


Pops giving a hand. What a hero.
The motor is being rewound and I’ll replace the bearings for new so i wasn’t overly concerned with having it large on the thing. It’s a beast of a motor, to be comfortable I used the forks to get it In the back of my van.


The dual pulley is off.


And the motor is gone. The machine is starting to lose most of its fat now.


I have removed the block from the machine too, 3/4w bolts (x4 each side) secure the bearing housings to one another to keep it all in one piece and 3/8w bolts hold the bearing end caps on (x3 each side)
The block is in fantastic condition and should clean up to a high shine. Pictured here is the section where moulding cutters can be fitted into the cutter block. Dated practice now but what a piece of engineering all the same.



The bearings are totally shot, the cages have broken down and they’ve fallen apart. Obviously they were always going to be replaced. Next big job and nearing the end of the tear down is lifting the table. Won’t be too long about I don’t think

Fabulous thread, many thanks for the time you are putting into this!

Regards all Wadkin heads being skew I’ll have to go look at my BFT9 as I’ve never noticed to date.

Fabulous thread, many thanks for the time you are putting into this!

Regards all Wadkin heads being skew I’ll have to go look at my BFT9 as I’ve never noticed to date.


It’s my pleasure Fitz. You never know it may help someone else in the future too.

Here’s what I would call the ‘near side’ assembly for the pressure bars and block plates. This is behind the cast alloy door that sits below the bridge guard assembly it’s a mirror image the other side (minus the rise/fall assembly) The chain you see in shot is part of the rise/fall gear.
All of this needs to be undone in order for the bars/plates to be lifted out from their housings above. It’s a selection of 9/16w and 5/16w threads. When I come to set these back up I can follow the operators manual as it has the settings noted down, which is handy as everything else on the machine is a case of following my nose.


These two threaded rods screw directly into the main casting, double nutting them enabled me to wind them out complete, they need to be removed to aid pulling the threads for the bars/plates up through. The plate to the upper far left in the above photo also needs to removed, but that was very simple as one of the slots was along it’s length so it simply swings out one end and can then be pulled away.


With everything now out the way, I can get rid of the bearing and feed assembly castings, they are fixed to the machine by x3 9/16 whit bolts (I shall double check that tomorrow in my head they were bigger) once out I gave them a few light blows with a copper hammer and lifted them off. They are dowelled so no issues with locating and aligning when it comes too. This machine is filthy with oil and grease and grime, which has kept everything quite free and the rust at bay.


And there is the FM down to its split line. Next job is to lift the thicknessing table away. I am really getting into it then and will be not far away from Initial prep. I will get some photos tomorrow of the feed rollers, they are lovely things, bronze bushed and really nicely machined.



  • 831131BE-D695-4A38-8A5B-5D061C1E9CA7.jpeg
    2.2 MB · Views: 0
Got the table off this afternoon. No hitches really, two 5/8w bolts on both screw threads for the rise and fall need to be removed and then it’s wound off, making sure I was taking some slack. Once it was only on its runners it was a case of bringing it up evenly.
I used the 4 link brothers chains, an inch piece of square steel Carver clamped to each fork and positioned the truck to lift it away.


I put a couple of 8” cramps on the central eye just to keep it from going walkies. The Carver clamps are perfect for this application, properly made tools you can depend on.


In position and ready to lift


Once is was clear of its threads it still needed to travel 6” on its guides, i had to lever it up about 1/4” at a time until it was clear. A crow bar, wedge and a block was used to good effect, it was long cornering itself but not any trouble, just a bit of leg work.


It weighs a fair bit I must say, wouldn’t want it landing on your toe anyway.


With the table off, the gearbox gone and most of the other tittle tattle it’s now a case of getting rid of any thing left, gunking off and cleaning to get ready for Initial prep. Lovely stuff


Looking forward to getting it back together now. Long way to go, but it’s all heading in the right direction.

The Wadkin is close to getting some paint, I have removed all the threaded bars from the main casting, I had to chase them as there was a small portion of the threads that were marred from rising and falling within the holes as timber was passed through. Nothing major though, all has gone well so far.


Pretty much the bare bones of it now, the original paint is like bullets, so I’ve wire wheeled the whole lot, scuffed with 80 grit, filled, and then scuffed again, this has been repeated 3x now and I’m getting a pretty good surface. The interior spaces are going red, and the exterior will be close to the original grey.


The rise and fall bevel gear that mates with the screw on bevel gear for the table. This was to the gunnels with Grease, i think they should be just in an oil bath but that’s for later down the line, I’ll blank these off for painting with tape. I have disconnected the feed lines so that’s about done. I have to say it’s a superb piece of engineering, it’s a pleasure to work on.

I have managed to nearly complete the motor assembly. It was rewound in 2009 (I think) and all was well before I took it apart, so I have just replaced the bearings as I was in there anyway.


Here’s how it looked, this is a beast for a planer. Brooks 7.5 HP, dual pulley to run both the block and the feed.


You can get a feel here for the colour the main casting will be, i think it’s a good match for the original. There is of course a big bell housing guard to make sure fingers and toes don’t get caught up in that red fan. I have stainless fixings to hold it all together once they are on and the bell housing is back on I’ll post some more detailed pictures. I’ll fork it down to the paint room in the next few days…….we shall see how it goes


Latest posts