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  1. #1
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    Default Wadkin WW Mechanical Woodworker

    I was going to add info to Henry's thread Wadkin pattern mill c1911. but the Mechanical Woodworker is a slightly different machine from the Pattern Mill (or "Semi-Auto Wood Miller") and is quite a special machine. So I thought I'd start a new thread and attempt to consolidate all the info I can find on the Mechanical Woodworker, from both this forum and the Canadian forum (and anywhere else I can find info).

    On 26th March, 2013, Henry wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by clear out View Post
    Pics of mill in the old tram workshop at Randwick Sydney.
    The mill is now in storage elsewhere.
    H.
    WW10.jpg

    WW11.jpg

    A year later - 6th April, 2014 - Henry posted this on the Canadian forum (CWW) - where he posts as "Pfakir"
    Quote Originally Posted by Pfakir
    ...Does anyone on the forum know of the existence of one of these machines anywhere in the world?
    Reason for asking is there was one put in storage in the early 90s here in Sydney.
    This has now gone missing.
    However I have become aware of another and before mounting an expensive rescue effort would like to ascertain its rarity...
    H.
    The second Mechanical Woodworker he refers to is (was) located in Brisbane. I believe to date (2019) Henry has not located the Sydney tramway Mechanical Woodworker as, on 9th January, 2017, he wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pfakir
    I havent got anywhere chasing up the one in Sydney. Government department and no one has a clue what they've done with it.
    The one in Queensland similar. The auction company that sold it in 2013 won't tell me who bought it for privacy reasons.
    Bloody frustrating really I now wish I'd stored the Sydney one in my shed, especially as I'm recommissioning the line shaft.
    Henry.
    So that is two Mechanical Woodworkers lost somewhere in Australia - and hopefully not melted down and turned into Holdens .

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

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  3. #2
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    Default There is one still around in Oz.

    There is one in Oz in the original Patternshop.
    Ive been asked to not disclose its location but this picture of it is less than a year old.
    H.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jimcracks for the rich and/or wealthy. (aka GKB '88)

  4. #3
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    Default Books and Catalogue Cuts.

    On 31st December, 2013, Henry wrote:
    Quote Originally Posted by clear out View Post
    Looks like its brother is up there in Ipswitch from the old railway foundry. See Barker double disc posting.
    Some info from Modern Mechanical Engineering 1923 The Gresham Publishing Co...
    WW 103.jpg

    WW 104.jpg

    WW 105.jpg

    WW 106.jpg

    Here's a cut Camo posted (on CWW) on 7th April, 2014, from his 1922 catalogue:

    WW 111.jpg

    And some cuts Auscab posted on 24th August, 2019 (without that accursed Photobucket watermark):
    Quote Originally Posted by auscab View Post
    Vann. The 1924 Catalogue with the WW on page 6 . Just after the larger WM and WJ on Page 4 and 5 .
    WW 110.jpg

    WW 109.jpg
    (snip)

    The Pattern shop with a WW in use back left of shop.

    WW 107.jpg

    WW 108.jpg
    This diagram was posted on CWW by jcge71 on 9th April, 2014:



    Edit: And finally:



    Now to go read what Henry just posted...

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  5. #4
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    Default Two Current Woodworkers.

    Quote Originally Posted by clear out View Post
    There is one in Oz in the original Patternshop.
    Ive been asked to not disclose its location but this picture of it is less than a year old.
    H.
    Thanks Henry. You beat me to it.

    And there's this one in a boatyard in Auckland.

    WWc1.jpg

    WWc2.jpg Excuse the fuzzy phone photo.

    Henry, is the Brisbane Mechanical Woodworker in the Ipswich Railway Workshop, or was it sold from there?

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  6. #5
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    Default WW 620, of 1925.

    To me, this machine is special because it was the mechanical woodworker, one of Wadkins first designs, that launched Wadkin as an innovative company. It is also special because this appears to be one of very few currently known to exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vann View Post
    ...And there's this one in a boatyard in Auckland...
    As youíll have read earlier in this thread, clear out knew of the existence of one in storage in Sydney Ė however that one seems to have gone walkabout. Clear out also started a thread on the Canadian forum asking if anyone knew of the existence of a mechanical woodworker - and it was on that thread that Chris, a semi-retired boatbuilder from Auckland (NZ) replied.

    On 11th April, 2018:
    Quote Originally Posted by chris m nz
    ...Yes, There is a Wadkin Mechanical Woodworker here in Auckland New Zealand
    I purchased it at an Auction about 25 years ago. It was from the pattern making shop at Mason Bros Foundry. If I had not won the bidding it would certainly have gone for scrap. I was obviously the only person who knew what it was and or had room to install it !
    The cutters went up as a separate bid. I won that too.
    Since then, I purchased a Wadkin Recessing machine with similar tooling. I use that machine a lot. It does not have the capacity of the MW er but more convenient for the size of work I do. The MW is absolutely original and has it's own Wadkin installed electric motor complete with a Induction regulator for speed control...
    I had contacted him then asking if heíd mind if I visited, but each of my trips to Auckland had coincided with a trip of his, and so it took until early August this year to meet up. Photos of Chris's machine were taken on 2 August, 2019.

    Chris's machine is WW 620, Test No.3414

    wWW 620 3414 NZ.jpg

    Which, according to Wadkin's Test record, was tested at their works on 18th November, 1925.

    WW 102a.jpg

    Itís origin is most likely to be one of two imported into New Zealand for the Auckland Tramway Corporation and Wellington Municipal Tramways, respectively. Going solely by itís location, itís probably the Auckland one. These are the only two mechanical woodworkers known to have been imported. I believe that the government railways never owned one, but it is possible that other large manufacturing plants, such as the Naval Dockyard, or A&G Prices may have had one Ė buts thereís no evidence to suggest that either did.

    Chris tells me that he hasnít used his mechanical woodworker for about 10 years, as he bought his Wadkin LQ recessor, which has preformed any tasks he might otherwise have carried out on the woodworker - more simply. I guess an analogy might be comparing a Record 043 plough plane to their 405 multiplane. For simple grooves, the 043 is just so much simpler to set up. Itís only when you get into more complex shapes that the 405 comes into itís own.

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  7. #6
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    Default The Table.

    Chris allowed me to have a tinker with the woodworker (as well as kindly allowing me to take photographs, and to post them on forums).

    First the table: the table has x, y and z movements. These are controlled by the handwheels at the front of the table.

    WW 117.jpg WW 118.jpg

    X movement is controlled by the spoked handwheel to the left. For x movements, the entire table assembly rolls on railway type tracks, set into the concrete floor. Thereís probably 2 yards there, mostly set to the RHS.

    WW 119.jpg WW 120.jpg


    The y movement was close on 24Ē from fully forward to fully back (compared with 18" on an LQ, and just 9" on my LP). Y movement is controlled by the ball handle inside the solid handwheel at the front of the table.

    WW 121.jpg WW 122.jpg

    IIRC the solid (yellow) handwheel controls z movement. It doesnít look like thereís a lot of vertical movement. The handwheel was very stiff and near the lowest position, so I didnít mess with it.

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  8. #7
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    Default More pics from my stash.

    Vann, Thanks for doing this thread Iíve meant to get all this info on one thread but been too slack.
    Heres a few more pics, one of the original Woodworker and some advertising and the tooling cattle dog.
    There is a post out there by one of the UK posters re the number of Wadkin Pattern mills that had been sold up to aboutthe 1960s.
    Id put the Oz figures up and you could pick the Randwick tram workshop machine plus the Queensland railway Ipswitch one.
    Ill have a search when I get time and repost it.I canít remember if it had NZ.
    I think this thread should stay on the Woodworker and not include the early Pattern mill even thou these overlapped in production by the two Wadkin companies in the 1920s.
    H.
    Jimcracks for the rich and/or wealthy. (aka GKB '88)

  9. #8
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    Default Tilting The Neck.

    Next I tried tilting the neck (or arm), of the machine. There is approximately 10 degrees of upward movement, and maybe 25-30 degrees downward.

    WW 113.jpg

    WW 114.jpg

    WW 115.jpg

    These adjustments have to be made by brute force after releasing the lock handwheel and a locating pin (via a small handle under the neck).

    WW 116.jpg WW 116a.jpg Locating pin release handle (centre).

    From the first of the pages in my second post: "The machine is supported on a main frame, curved deeply inwards to receive articles of considerable width. On this the overhanging arm carrying the spindle-head floats up or down on sensitive bearings, with a range of movement that will permit of its being raised above the horizontal position, or lowered until the spindle is below the level of the work table."

    This movement on Chris's machine was quite stiff. Chris did say he hasn't used it in about 10 years, and I'd guess that in the previous 15 that he's owned it, he'd have had little or no need to tilt the arm. I think we reached it's maximum upward tilt (2nd photo above). We then tilted it downward until the spindle hit a timber packer we'd placed on the table. If we'd moved the table out of the way it would have tilted further. There's an idler pulley inside the arm, near its pivot, to allow the belt to run smoothly when the arm is tilted down.

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  10. #9
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by clear out View Post
    ...There is a post out there by one of the UK posters re the number of Wadkin Pattern mills that had been sold up to aboutthe 1960s.
    Id put the Oz figures up and you could pick the Randwick tram workshop machine plus the Queensland railway Ipswitch one.
    Ill have a search when I get time and repost it.I canít remember if it had NZ...
    Would that be this list Henry? You posted this on CWW back in January this year, copied from a post on OWWM.

    WW 124.jpg

    Then there's this one, also posted by you in January.

    WW 123.jpg

    I wonder how many of these are Mechanical Woodworkers and how many are Pattern Mills?

    Quote Originally Posted by clear out View Post
    ...I think this thread should stay on the Woodworker and not include the early Pattern mill even thou these overlapped in production by the two Wadkin companies in the 1920s.
    I quite agree. The reason I finally got my A into G and started this thread was because of the amount of discussion about the mechanical woodworker on the "On the Road Again" thread. Better all kept together in one thread.

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  11. #10
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    Default

    I went and checked out that thread on OWWM. In it I found a better pikkie (with thanks to celeriac for posting).

    Quote Originally Posted by Vann View Post
    Would that be this list Henry? You posted this on CWW back in January this year, copied from a post on OWWM.

    WW 124.jpg

    Then there's this one, also posted by you in January.

    WW 123a.jpg
    There's a lot of good Wadkin info in that thread, posted by Aillison - but as it's mostly of the Pattern Miller I'll say no more . Here's a link:
    Oliver Pattern Mill resto - Page 3 - Old Woodworking Machines

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  12. #11
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    Default You mentioned Oliver.

    The Wadkin Mechanical Woodworker was sold in the US by Oliver.
    Hereís a bad photo and a few lines from Phil in the UK.
    H.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Jimcracks for the rich and/or wealthy. (aka GKB '88)

  13. #12
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    Default Rotating the Head.

    With Chris's help we then turned the head (and spindle) 90 degrees, from vertical to horizontal, anti clockwise. I believe it will also rotate the other way, but we didnít try that.

    Head with spindle vertical:

    WW 127.jpg Front view of head in vertical position.

    WW 128.jpg Note the flat belt and driven pulley.

    WW 129.jpg Some closer detail.


    Head with spindle horizontal:

    WW 130.jpg With arm horizontal.

    WW 131.jpg With arm lowered.

    WW 132.jpg

    And set up to shown how the spindle might be used in this position with a fly cutter to cut a half-round hollow.

    WW 133.jpg

    From the 1st & 2nd of the pages in my second post:
    "The spindle head, at the outer end of the arm, swivels between the vertical and horizontal, and can be locked in each or any intermediate position. It carries a spindle and a chuck solid with it, ground to a No.4 Morse taper. It runs on two double rows of Hoffman ball bearings in dust-proof housings. It can be rotated in either direction by means of a lever, a features which is of much value because it enables cutting to be done with, instead of against, the grain. The spindle is fed to the work quickly by a hand-lever, and slowly with a fine screw adjustment by a hand-wheel. The lever motion is controlled by a spring plunger taper pin working in holes in a quadrant and having an index, by which the depth of cut may be predetermined and the cutter gradually fed into the work."


    It would appear this machine was never lineshaft driven, but powered by a large motor mounted at the back, directly driving the flatbelt that turns the spindle. The flatbelt runs inside the arm. Rotating the spindle 90 degrees simply twists the flatbelt through 90 degrees.

    WW 134.jpg

    WW 135.jpg

    Below the motor is a speed control device (an induction regulator?), activated by a handwheel at itís top.

    WW 136.jpg

    The motor and speed controller are believed to be original (i.e. supplied by Wadkin) although I note that the machine tag states rpm for a lineshaft type drive pulley (my 1925 LP, tested and supplied with an electric motor, has a similar tag). I didnít spot a tag on the motor, nor on the controller (but I have to admit to being a little overwhelmed by Chrisís machines, and this one in particular, so l may have forgotten to look).

    Finally, Chris ran the machine.

    YouTube

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  14. #13
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    Default Thanks and a safety note.

    Thanks Vann thatís amazing stuff and as a reward Iíll be posting a few numbers I snapped yesterday for your ongoing tag tally.
    H.
    PS hereís something that filtered thru the web on Wadkin and Patternmaking, was a mill Iíd say from the fact he was trapped in it.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by clear out; 8th Sep 2019 at 10:19 AM. Reason: More info
    Jimcracks for the rich and/or wealthy. (aka GKB '88)

  15. #14
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by clear out View Post
    Thanks Vann thatís amazing stuff...
    Thanks for your kind words Henry. I just wish my skills with a camera (or phone in this case) were better. Too many out-of-focus shots - but hopefully enough detail to get the idea. My other regret was the lack of time - I had just two hours to get photos and details of ~eleven old woodworking machines, before having to return the rental car.

    However Chris is a very nice guy, and I believe I'm welcome back in the future.

    Quote Originally Posted by clear out View Post
    ...and as a reward Iíll be posting a few numbers I snapped yesterday for your ongoing tag tally...
    That would be appreciated. Thanks.

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  16. #15
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    Default

    This may be of interest. Youtube video YouTube "A little bit of Doosan Babcock history - all about the foundry casting process" Wadkin machine in action at minute 8.17 cutting a core box.

    Cheers Hugh

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