Dating record block planes
It has been noticed that early lever caps had poor chrome plating and were subject to corrosion and poor chrome retention.From around 1956/57, the plating process was improved and later lever caps have a much better chrome finish without corrosion.Re-capping, the original Woden (WW) period is from early 1954 until April 1961, at Wednesbury, and the Record Woden (RW) period is from April 1961 until the end of production, around mid 1965, at Sheffield.When dating planes, especially bench planes, it is usual to concentrate on the main parts - bodies, frogs and lever caps.Stan Faullin helped by providing some of the pictures used in the Plane Dating Flowchart, and Steve Turner provided the Post Script version of the flowchart.
This suggests that all 2-3/8 inch frogs were from the first batch cast at Wednesbury.All lever caps, irrespective of plane size, have single 5/32 inch (4 mm) marks on the reverse lower section.Early 2 inch lever caps had an inside measurement (shoulder to tip) of 48 mm (1954/55), increasing to 50 mm for 1955/57.Like the bodies and frogs, early 2 inch lever caps were probably cast at Wednesbury, changing to an outside supplier from late 1955.
Like the frogs, it appears that all 2-3/8 inch lever caps were from the first batch cast at Wednesbury.
2 inch frogs on W5 planes and all 2-3/8 inch plane frogs to date have been found with two lower face frames.