Number 4 Plane Type Study

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This study has taken me many years to collect and then categorise the planes, and I still do not know whether I have things right.  This is due to the fact that there are no known catalogues of WS products  that would help to guide my judgement as to what was manufactured and in what order.   It has therefore been necessary to collect at least 30 WS number 4 planes and try to make sense of the characteristics of each plane and to try to place them in some semblance of manufactured order.  As you will hopefully appreciate, this study may be prone to future corrections, but please bear with me....      You will have to refer to the 'Analysis of Components' section on this site for more detailed references to the named characteristics of each type.

I chose the 'Base Markings' as the most probable way of categorising the planes.

Since starting this study I have discovered that many of the smaller parts show no decipherable relationship in this study, and I have therefore cut out their inclusion so as to make the end result more easily understood  by the reader (and by me too!).


The WS #4 planes were issued at 25cm long and 6cm wide.

20Feb15 011        20Feb15 012


WS Number 4 Type 1:

Base Markings BM1 :
The original and beautiful side shape is only marked No. 4 in front of the knob

Blade markings B1

Blade markings B1 B2

Front end is painted.

Cap iron has 'cast'  (C) in markings


Handle H1,  Knob K1 .     Either Beech or Maple (Maple may be later)

Handles      Knobs  K1 on the left

H1 on the left

Lever  L1



Has No Rear Handle Transfer. RHT

Frog type 1 with Rounded hole  F1R (below)

A7 study 008

Frog Landing Area FLA 1 or FLA2   (see "Analysis of Components" where I discuss the differences between FLA1 and FLA2)

Lever Cap LC1 (below or with a Red infill to letters)

12Sept13 025


WS Number 4 Type 1a:

Had all the Type 1 characteristics but with the following differences:

Has  Blade Markings B1 or B2

Blade markings B1 B2

Handle H2   Knob either K1 or K2

Lever Cap LC1, LC2, LC2a or LC2b:

Lever caps 1,2 and 2a

[LC2b is the same as LC2a (on the right above) but the letters are only 11mm high as opposed to 14mm high of LC2a .]

Rear Handle Transfer RHT1

17102013 010


WS Number 4 Type 1b:

As above but with the following differences:

Blade Markings B2
see above

Lever Cap LC3

Lever cap LC3

Lever Cap Screw LCS3 or LCS4 (later models)

LCS 3-4

WS Number 4 Type 2:

As above but with the following differences:

Base Markings BM2:

No A4 marked in front of knob.

Knob K2:

see above

Lever Cap Screw LCS4:



WS Number 4 Type 2a:

As above but with the following differences:

Blade Markings B3:

Blade markings B3

Cap Iron has 'stamped' in markings

Knob K3:

K3 knob

Frog F1S:

F1S and L2

Lever 2:




WS Number4 Type 3:

Has all the Type 2 characteristics but with the following differences:

Base Markings BM3:

12Sept13 011

showed the number shifted behind the knob and the N and 4 being only 10mm high.

The Front end is NOT painted

Knob K3:

K3 knob

Rear Handle Transfer RHT2:

WS transfer 005

Lever Cap LC4:

This is the cap with the finer stipled background under the red paint.

Lever cap LC4


WS Number 4 Type 4:

As above but with the following differences:

Base Markings BM4:

As above, but the N and 4 are now 13mm high and the BIRMINGHAM and ENGLAND are in much larger letters (see  Analysis of Components section.)

Blade B3 or B3a:

A130 blades


Handle H2 or H3:

This is the smaller handle than H1 with either a rounded (H2) aspect to the finger portion or has a distinct squared flat (H3) section to that side section (see Analysis of Components section).

Lever Cap LC5:

Almost the same as LC4 but the background is coarsely stippled.   The letters are smaller at 8mm high with 2mm between them. and the oval window is now only 21mm wide. The rivet is unusual in that it is small with a steel core inside a brass surround and has been peaned over on the back spring, showing radial cracks in the brass portion. The Brass has a fairly thick yellow lacquer coating.

Lever Cap Screw LCS4 or LCS5:

LCS 4 and 5



The actual label portion is 13.6cm wide and 5.8cm deep and the same label was used throughout production despite changes made to the look of the No.4 plane.

A4 label