Woden W78 Rebate/Fillister Fence Out of Square

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    Hello. I purchased a Woden W78 recently, in excellent condition. However, after trying it out, I’ve realized that the fence is quite out of square. I inspected the bars closely and they seem to be quite straight, but I guess it wouldn’t take much misalignment to put the fence off-square, though I can’t detect it. Any suggestions on what I might do to correct this? Some options I’ve considered:

    1. Filing the fence down. I’d have to remove a lot of material and it seems pretty tedious, and my metal working skills are not so hot.
    2. Machining some screw holes (like the record fence) and attaching a wooden fence, which I could square up more easily. Seems like a plausible solution.
    3. Gluing on a wooden fence. Not sure how well it would hold up, but if it was waxed really well I imagine it would be ok.
    4. Try to find a replacement fence. Are the screws / fences compatible between Woden W78 and Record 778? I supposed I could just buy a second one and convert one to a scrub per Mr. Seller’s blog.
    5. Just give up and rely on a clamped on fence or my square-ness intuition to keep things at 90. Ha… probably not the best idea. Better to stick with chisel!


    Larry Geib

    In most cases you do nothing
    When properly set up for a rebate, the iron sits proud of the plane body and the body shouldn’t be contacting the wall of the rebate.
    The fence is what determines the location of the iron.

    (When you use the plane, press the fence firmly against the work. The right hand should only push.)

    If you are doing cross grain rebate (fillets) with the nicker and can’t get the iron and nicker aligned, you add a wood fence to the iron one. If holes aren’t provide, cast iron drills very easily. If you are squeamish, go to a hobby shop and ask for Servo Tape. It is a two sided tape that will hold quite well, and you will find that if you want to get the fence off, it will be a chore. It is used to hold parts to model airplanes.
    . You plane that wood fence on a skew if necessary make the fence and body align.

    The pictures are of my #289, which is the skew version of the #78, with and without the wood fence. Note the iron fence is quite out and I have planed the wood fence parallel to the plane body. If you look closely you see that the wood fence is a wedge.

    The traditional wood used was rosewood or cocobolo or lignum. Something hard, smooth and oily, so the plane glides easily.

    But any hardwood will do. Walnut and cherry or any of the fruit woods are good because they are close grained and even in hardness. Just wax or use Paul’s oil can to keep the fence gliding well. They also aren’t oily themselves, which will help if you go the Servo tape route.

    My lumber dealer has a bin of scrap cutoffs that he sells by the pound. If you can find a place like that, you can get most woods in fence size for not much money.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Larry Geib.
    • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by Larry Geib.

    Larry has just about summed it up. Just to add a little more:

    The Woden brand was a Record/C & J Hampton hybrid dating from the 1950s/60s, sharing the much same casting facilities and as usual in those days, relying on a degree of hand-finishing; it’s was not unknown, therefore, to see occasional ‘quality variations’ from time to time.
    In the UK at that period most large towns had well established ironmongers and tool retailers; it was customary for knowledgeable users to personally select tools from a line-up of products in stock on the retailer’s counter for this reason.

    If the misalignment of the fence is a problem, adding a wooden fence (even though holes are not provided) can be aligned to the sole of the tool at a right angle, correct any sideways error and in my view, will contribute to the stability of movement on larger pieces. They can be to any size practicable and I like wooden side fences for this reason. They can be removed temporarily if they get in the way.

    When sharpening, it is important that the right-hand forward going corner of the blade is an exact pin-sharp right angle and the immediate portion of the side above it has a clean edge – failure here will not allow the plane to cut a vertical side descending, as each stroke of a rounded corner, however minute in size, will force the blade sideways. You’ll get a gradually curving side-wall.

    If you need to work to an accurate line – rather than rough removal of wood for a basic rebate shape – a good and quick technique is to scribe the position of your side wall with a cutting gauge to avoid surface tear-out on wavy-grained wood, then to align the blade of a plough plane to it and drop a pilot slot close to it. The rebate plane blade can then be set coarse to hog out the remaining wood down to depth. This way, the exact position and alignment of the fence is then unimportant. After this, clean the edges back to the scribe lines.

    good luck – it’s a good tool for its intended purpose.


    Thank you for the responses. Very interesting and good info!

    However, I’m afraid I was not describing the problem well enough. It’s square in the direction parallel to the plane movement, forward and backward. It’s not square in the vertical plane, so that my rebates have a sloped bottom, deeper at the edge and shallow on the inside corner. I attached a photo explaining.

    I expect I can correct this with a scrap of wood, just tapering it in the right axis. Do you think superglue or double sided tape would work here? I have some apple, cherry and walnut scraps I can use, so that’s no problem (no cocobolo or rosewood sadly).




    If it’s upsetting you, can you not return it for a refund?

    What you have there is as I suspected, a quality-control aberration from 60-odd years ago and probably why it is still in relatively unused condition……. the engineering technical term in UK English is an F.A.J. (‘Friday Afternoon Job’).

    However, it is a good, usable plane with this single small defect.

    Quite seriously, you have already alighted, in my opinion on the solution. Fix a wooden fence, about 1/2 inch thick, about the length of the bed and about 1 to 1-1/4 inch deep and use it to disguise the error. There are as many opinions on the type of wood for fences as weeks in the year, but the wood can be anything you wish provided that it is dry, solid and stable. Of what you have mentioned, I would choose Apple immediately. Best wood of all for stress. (All my bench-dogs are made of Apple, still going after 30 years).
    Fixing it with glues and tapes will work loose in time and provide you with more blood-pressure and grief when it comes off in mid stroke, half-way down a prize plank….. the best solution is to drill two small holes near each end of the metal fence, fix the fence then plane it to a resulting right angle with the sole.

    or……. put it up for sale on a well-known auction site.

    Good luck


    I bought the tool about 4 months ago and I am just now getting around to looking at it… I guess I was a bit optimistic on how quickly I’d get to the wellboard fitting stage of my bench build :). It’s not upsetting me really, I’m just looking to get the tool into working order – I’d rather fix it and use it than trash it or pass it along.

    Indeed, you make a good point regarding glue/tape. Thanks again for the advise.

    Larry Geib

    Adding the wood fence and planing it square is still your easiest solution. I like wood fence anyway, and add them to all my fenced planes. You can get a longer and wider fence and it’s easier to push the fence.

    However, if you have a steady hand and reasonable metal working skills, a solution is quite easy. Use a round file around the diameter of the fence rod hole ( I find chain saw files are good for this sort of task) and file bottom of the rod hole square on the side opposite the holding screw. It will only take a couple strokes in all likelihood. Just be sure the bottom of the hole is flat in the direction of the rodar the fence will rock. A small correction here yields big results at the fence.

    Either way, you aren’t far from having a good plane.


    Drilled a couple of holes through the fence and carefully planed up a piece of cherry tonight. It’s looking pretty darn square when attached, you can see the angle I added in the attached picture.

    Only downside is it’s still a bit thick and so limits the width of my cut a little. I’ll cut it down if I ever need a wider cut.

    Just need to oil and wax the cherry, clean up the plane a bit and do some sharpening. Oh, and then learn how to actually use the thing.

    Thanks again for the tips and encouragement to fix it properly.

    Larry Geib

    Good job.

    You might find you won’t have to go through the trouble to thin the fence. It’s not often you need a rebate at full width.

    There in a bit of a learning curve. Main points are : sharpen the plane dead flat – don’t ease or crown any edges.

    The plane should protrude maybe the thickness of a business card with the grain.

    Cross grain work that needs the nicker should have the iron aligned with it. Take a couple back strokes first so the nicker scores the cut line. And sharpen iron and nicker.
    And I avoid spelching cross grain by removing wood down to depth at the end of the cut with a chisel

    Paul has more: https://paulsellers.com/2016/05/rebate-plane-no1-78-filletster-plane/


    I found on my stanley no78 that the sole was not flat, it needed a bit of fettling, not sure why but once done it improved things a lot, the woden ones are really nice planes.

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