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Developement of the Wadkin RB Surface Planer.

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Re: Developement of the Wadkin RB Surface Planer.

Postby Vann » 01 May 2021, 23:17

Andyp wrote:Vann, do you think the contents of this thread would be better saved for prosperity in a book?

I don't think I'm up to writing a book (and not sure that more than a dozen copies would sell anyway).

But I enjoy the research and would like it saved in the public domain for future interest - which is why I post it on a forum - rather than somewhere really temporary, like Instantgratification.

Cheers, Vann.
Vann
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And the Last.

Postby Vann » 04 May 2021, 12:09

Having found the first Wadkin RB surface planers made, I was curious to find the last. I asked my contact and he came up with this batch list.

RB Batch List1.jpg
(683.23 KiB)
Which indicates that the final RB (from the batch of 48 ordered in January, 1953) was RB 1025. He then checked out the Test Books and found a further four RBs - 1026 to 1029 - presumably made up from leftover parts (I guess they would have made extra parts to allow orders to be completed in the event of some parts being flawed/faulty).

Here's the test sheet for RB 1029. Test 50921, carried out on 23rd January, 1955.

RB 1029 50921 NZ.jpg
(509.43 KiB)
Note that RB 1029 was supplied to "George Henry". George Henry & Co. Ltd. were the Christchurch, New Zealand, agents for Wadkin.

However it appears these final RB surface planers were not tested in order. The final machine to be tested was RB 1016. Here's its test sheet. Test 51235, carried out on 18th March, 1955.

RB 1016 test sheet.jpg
(494.13 KiB)
So Wadkin produced 925 RB surface planers - RB 105 to RB 1029 - over a period of 30 years, with the first one completed on 9th October, 1926 (RB 105) and the last on 18th March, 1955 (RB 1016).

Cheers, Vann.
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Batch List.

Postby Vann » 05 May 2021, 11:32

Having another look at the Batch List.

RB Batch List1.jpg
(683.23 KiB)
The list does not go back to the start of production in 1926, but starts with order "#1257" at the beginning of 1938.

Going by the note in red, it would appear that the first five machine numbers had already been used, and so five new numbers were added at the end.

RB Batch List.jpg
(215.84 KiB)
So the batches were:

A 1257 - RBs 390 to 413 - 24 machines commissioned 14th January, 1938;
A 1315 - RBs 414 to 437 - 24 machines commissioned 3rd November, 1938;
A 1423 - RBs 438 to 461 - 24 machines commissioned 26th June, 1939;
A 1500 - RBs 462 to 485 - 24 machines commissioned 19th October, 1939;
A 2170 - RBs 486 to 509 - 24 machines commissioned 6th March, 1945;
A 2239 - RBs 510 to 533 - 24 machines commissioned 4th September, 1945;
A 2258 - RBs 534 to 557 - 24 machines commissioned 30th October, 1945;
A 2286 - RBs 558 to 593 - 36 machines commissioned 18th December, 1945;
A 2320 - RBs 594 to 629 - 36 machines commissioned 15th February, 1946;
A 2372 - RBs 630 to 701 - 72 machines commissioned 1st August, 1947;
A 2406 - RBs 702 to 749 - 48 machines commissioned 9th January, 1948;
A 2469 - RBs 750 to 797 - 48 machines commissioned 30th November, 1948;
A 2547 - RBs 798 to 833 - 36 machines commissioned 7th February, 1950;
A 2572 - RBs 834 to 905 - 72 machines commissioned 23rd June, 1950;
A 2684 - RBs 906 to 977 - 72 machines commissioned 26th November, 1951; and finally
A 2776 - RBs 978 to 1025 - 48 machines commissioned 28th January, 1953.

It appears resources were diverted from RB production to more important machines - or to war work - during WW2, but then took off with a hiss and a roar through the second half of the 1940s. It also seems they liked to order machines by the dozen - with batches of 2 dozen, 3 dozen, 4 dozen and 6 dozen .

But of more interest (to me anyway) is the likelihood that machines of each batch had the same features. E.g. if one had a new design of fence then all in that batch probably had the new fence design.

Cheers, Vann.
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Batch Match.

Postby Vann » 06 May 2021, 12:08

The next thing is to match the known RBs to batches, as follows:

RB 105, test 4351, of Oct. 1926;
RB 106, test 4355, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand;
RB 107, test 4357, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand;
RB 108, test 4358, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand;
RB 109, test 4359, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand (RIP in 1987);
RB 110, test 4360, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand;
RB 111, test 4362, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand;
RB 112, test 4365, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand;
RB 113, test 4367, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;
RB 114, test 4370, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand;
RB 115, test 4372, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand;
RB 116, test 4374, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;
RB 117, test 4375, of Oct. 1926 - New Zealand - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;
RB 118, test 4544, of Dec. 1926;
RB 119, test 4545, of Dec. 1926;
RBA 158, test 8623, of Sept., 1930, - United Kingdom - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;
RBA 183, test 9335, of May, 1931, - United Kingdom - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;
RB 190, test 9407, of June, 1931, - United Kingdom - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;
RB 193, test 9452, of July, 1931, - United Kingdom - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;
RBD 212, test 700, of July, 1932 - United Kingdom - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;
RBV 231, test 1041, of 1932 - United Kingdom - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;
RBV 255, test 2359, of 1934 - United Kingdom - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;
RB 256, test 2360, of 1934 - United Kingdom - Wadkin & Co. cast tag;

Batch A 1257 - RBs 390 to 413 - 24 machines commissioned 14th January, 1938:
RB 409, test 9969, of 1938 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

Batch A 1315 - RBs 414 to 437 - 24 machines commissioned 3rd November, 1938:
RBA 418, test 10699, of 1938 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RBA 422, test 11103, of 1938 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

Batch A 1423 - RBs 438 to 461 - 24 machines commissioned 26th June, 1939:
nil.

Batch A 1500 - RBs 462 to 485 - 24 machines commissioned 19th October, 1939:
RBA 464, test 14604, of 1940 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RBA 485, test 19730, of 1943 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

Batch A 2170 - RBs 486 to 509 - 24 machines commissioned 6th March, 1945:
RBA 497, test 25435, of 1945 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

Batch A 2239 - RBs 510 to 533 - 24 machines commissioned 4th September, 1945:
RB 512, (test no. unknown) - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RB 519, test 27047, of 1946 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

Batch A 2258 - RBs 534 to 557 - 24 machines commissioned 30th October, 1945:
nil.

Batch A 2286 - RBs 558 to 593 - 36 machines commissioned 18th December, 1945:
RB 563, test 29408, of 1947 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RB 567, test 29231, of 1947 - New Zealand - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

Batch A 2320 - RBs 594 to 629 - 36 machines commissioned 15th February, 1946:
RB 611, test 30332, of 1948 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RB 620, test 30372, of 1948 - New Zealand - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

Batch A 2372 - RBs 630 to 701 - 72 machines commissioned 1st August, 1947:
RBA 666, test 32855, of March 1949 - New Zealand - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RB 677, test 32956, of 1949 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

Batch A 2406 - RBs 702 to 749 - 48 machines commissioned 9th January, 1948:
RB 733, test 35300, of 1949 - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RB 734, test 35301, of 1949 - New Zealand - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RB 745, test 35560, of 1950 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

Batch A 2469 - RBs 750 to 797 - 48 machines commissioned 30th November, 1948:
RB 763, test 37585, of Sept. 1950 - South Africa - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RB 793, test 38322, of 1950 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

Batch A 2547 - RBs 798 to 833 - 36 machines commissioned 7th February, 1950:
RB 830, test 39773, of 1951 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. cast tag;

Batch A 2572 - RBs 834 to 905 - 72 machines commissioned 23rd June, 1950:
RB 839, test 41647, of 1952 - New Zealand - Wadkin Ltd. cast tag;
RB 876, test 42337, of 1952 - New Zealand - Wadkin Ltd. cast tag;
RB 884, test 42634, of 1952 - New Zealand - Wadkin Ltd. cast tag;
RB 886, test 42636, of 1952 - New Zealand - Wadkin Ltd. cast tag;

Batch A 2684 - RBs 906 to 977 - 72 machines commissioned 26th November, 1951:
RB 921, test 45225, of 1953 - New Zealand - Wadkin Ltd. cast tag;

Batch A 2776 - RBs 978 to 1025 - 48 machines commissioned 28th January, 1953:
RB 994, test 47891, of 1954 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. cast tag;
RB 1010, test 50380, of 1954 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. cast tag;
RB 1016, test 51235, of March, 1955;
RB 1024, test 50316, of 1954 - New Zealand - Wadkin Ltd. cast tag;

Stragglers - RBs 1026 to 1029.
RB 1029, test 50921, of January, 1955 - New Zealand.

Next I'd like to itemise features of the known machines within each batch. For example, three machines in the final batch (A 2776) have RD/RM type fences, complete with handwheels for adjustment. RB 921 in the previous batch (A2684) has the RD/RM fence, but without the handwheel. So it appears that only the final 48 machines - and presumably the five "stragglers" - a total of 53 machines, came with the handwheel feature.

Cheers, Vann.
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Batch A-1257.

Postby Vann » 07 May 2021, 13:40

Starting with the lowest numbered batch on the batch list - so far we have just one machine from this batch.

Batch A 1257 - RBs 390 to 413 - 24 machines commissioned 14th January, 1938:
RB 409, test 9969, of 1938 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

RB 409 (and presumably all machines from this batch) has the following features:
- 2nd type of fence;
- 2nd type of handwheels (cast iron knobbed);
- base casting with opening for pushbuttons (no boss); and
- base casting with opening for full size electric control gear door.

RB 409a.jpg
Rear view. Note the 2nd type fence; the 2nd type handwheels; & the size of the door in the base casting (even though this machine is belt driven and therefore has no electrics)
(1.32 MiB)
RB 409br.jpg
Infeed end of base casting. Note the cover over the push-button opening in the base casting.
(1.54 MiB)

Cheers, Vann.
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Batch A-1315.

Postby Vann » 08 May 2021, 12:57

Of the next batch in the list - I've found two machines.

Batch A 1315 - RBs 414 to 437 - 24 machines commissioned 3rd November, 1938:
RBA 418, test 10699, of 1938 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RBA 422, test 11103, of 1938 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

These two machines appear to have the same features as the previous batch - specifically:
- 2nd type of fence;
- 2nd type of handwheels (cast iron knobbed);
- base casting with opening for pushbuttons (no boss); and
- base casting with opening for full size electric control gear door.

RB 418.
RB 418a.jpg
(1.16 MiB)
RB 418w.jpg
Cast iron knobbed handwheel.
(717.41 KiB)
RB 418c.jpg
Opening in base casting for pushbuttons.
(96.48 KiB)
RB 418br.jpg
Full size electric control gear door (with reset button).
(986.29 KiB)


RB 422 - now owned by Guineafowl.
RB 422gfa.jpg
(1.12 MiB)
RB 422c.jpg
Opening in base casting for pushbuttons (just visible above belt).
(243.64 KiB)
RB 422gfb.jpg
Opening for full size electric control gear door (non-OEM door fitted).
(1.18 MiB)

Cheers, Vann.
Vann
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Batch A-1423.

Postby Vann » 09 May 2021, 09:48

The third batch on the Batch List:

Batch A 1423 - RBs 438 to 461 - 24 machines commissioned 26th June, 1939:
nil.

Today's one is easy - I haven't found pictures of any machines from this batch, so there's nothing to see here :eusa-hand:

Cheers, Vann :mrgreen:
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Re: Developement of the Wadkin RB Surface Planer.

Postby clogs » 09 May 2021, 10:41

Vann
just out of interest....does the large gear have it's teeth cast in....
cant really see if they were machines in......
out of interest the badge for Citroen depicts the similar shape or ur gears...
as they were engineers specializing in that kind of gear work before building cars.....
does anyone know any better....?
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Re: Developement of the Wadkin RB Surface Planer.

Postby Guineafowl21 » 09 May 2021, 12:19

clogs wrote:Vann
just out of interest....does the large gear have it's teeth cast in....
cant really see if they were machines in......
out of interest the badge for Citroen depicts the similar shape or ur gears...
as they were engineers specializing in that kind of gear work before building cars.....
does anyone know any better....?

^^^ is this a poem?
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Re: Developement of the Wadkin RB Surface Planer.

Postby clogs » 09 May 2021, 15:40

really enjoyed the storey...
so much better than train spotting.....
I veiw Wadkin a bit like "Brunell's" bridges.....still working after all these years...

further to my coment on Citroen.....if ur interested.....

https://www.citroenorigins.com.au/en-au ... troen-logo
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Herringbone Gears.

Postby Vann » 10 May 2021, 07:41

clogs wrote:Vann
just out of interest....does the large gear have it's teeth cast in....
cant really see if they were machines in...
That's a good question that I can't answer without taking the top off the gearcase.

It's just got dark here (getting into Winter), and the planer is buried deep in my garage (awaiting further repair work) so I can't/won't go have a look now.

I understand herringbone gears are technically very difficult to machine - so maybe it is cast. If so, it's a very fine casting... :eusa-think:

Cheers, Vann.
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Batch A-1500.

Postby Vann » 10 May 2021, 08:07

And now the fourth batch on the list. I've found two machines from this batch:

Batch A 1500 - RBs 462 to 485 - 24 machines commissioned 19th October, 1939:
RBA 464, test 14604, of 1940 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;
RBA 485, test 19730, of 1943 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

There's one change from the second batch on the list:
- 2nd type of fence (same as batches A-1257 and A-1315);
- 3rd type of handwheels (cast iron 5-spokes); and
- base casting with opening for pushbuttons (no boss) (same as batches A-1257 and A-1315).

Unfortunately I have no pictures of the back of either machine so I don't know if the base casting electric control gear door has changed.

RB 464 UK.jpg
RBA 464.
(1.01 MiB)
wRBA 464 14604 UK.jpg
(1.47 MiB)

RB 485 UK.jpg
RBA 485.
(838.99 KiB)
wRBA 485 19730 UK.jpg
(1.25 MiB)

Cheers, Vann.
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Batch A-2170.

Postby Vann » Yesterday, 10:53

Of the fifth batch on the list I've only found one machine (so far):

Batch A 2170 - RBs 486 to 509 - 24 machines commissioned 6th March, 1945:
RBA 497, test 25435, of 1945 - United Kingdom - Wadkin Ltd. tin tag;

There's one change from the fourth batch on the list:
- 2nd type of fence (same as batches A-1257, A-1315 and A-1500);
- back to 2nd type of handwheels* (cast iron, knobbed); and
- base casting with opening for pushbuttons (no boss) (same as batches A-1257, A-1315 and A-1500).

There was only one picture of the back of the machine, and then only at an awkward angle. It is difficult to tell the type of electric control gear door fitted - but it looks like they may have made the change to the narrower door.

RB 497a.jpg
RBA 497.
(1.01 MiB)
RB 497b.jpg
Note that the pushbuttons appear to be mounted on a 'boss' - but they are on a packer.
(921.23 KiB)
RB 497c.jpg
Cropped view of rear of machine, showing part of the control gear door.
(93.87 KiB)
wRBA 497 25435.jpg
(1.19 MiB)

* Why the change back to knobbed handwheels escapes me. Maybe it was a wartime thing (using what they had available on the previous batch)?

Cheers, Vann.
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