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Collection, Preservation and Display of Old Lawn Mowers

HELP ! Webb Witch with ribbed rollers, works backwards !!

It's driving me potty. All restored. Now taken apart 4 times to check large ribbed rollers and fittings. Cannot see a fault but when it's all back together it clicks nicely  cuts nicely ,blades rotate nicely BUT ONLY PULLING BACKWARDS. 

Turn it round I hear you say  but there's nothing to turn round !!




moorcroftman Wed, 29/06/2022

Thankyou for that diagram. Word missing ? 

Are you saying the rachets should be different , ie . left and right hand ?

If that's true  where will I get a correct rachet from ?


Nothing to do with greasing the spindle , then ?


Thankyou once again 





moorcroftman Wed, 29/06/2022

Nothing to indicate which is left or right.

As they are both the same, have swapped them over.

Beautiful clicks, lovely sharp set blades...

The landrollers don't move the chain until I pull it backwards !!




wristpin Wed, 29/06/2022

If the pawls and ratchet wheels are correctly assembled ,they should engage and not click when the machine is pushed forward. If they are clicking they are incorrectly assembled and won’t drive .The ratchet wheels can only  need  different part numbers because there is some difference.

Put the two ratchet wheels side by side and, hopefully, the difference will become apparent. 



moorcroftman Thu, 30/06/2022


Attached some images.

They are 12 teeth ratchets so 1 pawl and 1 spring.

As I hope you can see  , apart from the notch for the Woodruffe key, they are identical. If I line up , there is a slight change.


I have swapped sides with the  the ratchets to try that.

Now the left hand roller engages the blades forwards but the right hand roller does nothing , either way.

Best wishes 

2 ratchets one on top.

Current direction of ratchets


1 pawl and spring

wristpin Thu, 30/06/2022

I’m struggling here! In your image of the two ratchet wheels together you are showing the inner face of one and the outer of the other. If you show the same side of both you will have  the teeth pointing in different directions ie left an right.

wristpin Thu, 30/06/2022

Webb ratchet wheelsPerhaps this will help ?  Two Webb 24 ratchet wheels posed as though they would be on a push mower , ie doing the driving, not being driven.

Just out of interest , was the machine operating correctly before you pulled it apart ?



moorcroftman Thu, 30/06/2022

But that's not how they fit at each end of the spindle as shown by putting inside on top of inside.

They both face the same way. To do otherwise would mean the inside of one ratchet would be facing outwards and not fitting.


Does anyone have left and right ratchets  for this machine ?


The last Webb witch I did had 6 blades   ,6 teeth ratchets and 3 pawls at either end . Didn't have a problem with that.

moorcroftman Thu, 30/06/2022

Thanks Wristpin  ,  for sticking with me.

I now think one pawl is worn. Do you know where on earth I can get a couple please ?

Clive1997 Thu, 30/06/2022

"The last Webb witch I did had 6 blades   ,6 teeth ratchets and 3 pawls at either end . Didn't have a problem with that."

I didn't think they made a Witch with 6 blades? Sounds like it could have been a Wasp?

wristpin Thu, 30/06/2022

A very long shot would be Jon Cruse at the Hailsham Mower Centre ( Back cover ad in Grassbox) . Other than that it’s likely to be from a scrap machine. If the pawl is worn and slipping, it may be possible to reshape it slightly. Perhaps you can post an image with the offending pawl posed in engagement with its ratchet wheel.


RansomesRob Fri, 01/07/2022

You could also try John Gregory at The Old Lawnmower Company, back of Grassbox. John has sourced me some handles for a Webb Witch and a grass box for a Ransomes Ajax in the past. Good luck! Cheers  Rob

moorcroftman Fri, 01/07/2022

Agreed ...scrap machine .  Lots of ifs and maybe 's otherwise.

In truth I'm not sure.  I will send another image next week ... off to Flamborough for a few days, not taking it with me .



hillsider Fri, 01/07/2022

Looking back to the beginning of this thread it would seem that the ratchets were both working but in reverse - is this correct or am I missing the plot.

Assuming that you had the ratchets correctly assembled on the roller casings at that point is it possible the the roller was assembled on to the shaft 180 degrees out? Looking at the parts drawing that has been posted I think it could be a possibility but then I don't have the machine to look at so might not be on the right wavelength.


wristpin Fri, 01/07/2022

Re the image that you have just posted, it will never drive like that. The pawl , fixed to the roller has to drive the ratchet wheel fixed to the shaft ie drop into the valley of the ratchet wheel , no ride up it. The one that you’ve got working must be assembled in the correct orientation.

moorcroftman Fri, 01/07/2022

I believe the ratchets are now correctly positioned on the spindle. The left half of the land rollers operates correctly.The right hand roller doesn't engage the ratchet and therefore not the blades. I look back and think it probably didn't when it was working ba kwards. It's as if the right hand land roller is slipping on the spindle which I greased. As that cannot be , Iam concluding that the pawl is worth replacing  if I can get one. Next thing to do is to swap the pawls over to test if that's the problem ?


Thanks for the conversations . 

wristpin Fri, 01/07/2022

Pawls and ratchet wheels

Any minute I’m going to confuse myself. Pawls are fixed to the rollers and push the ratchet wheels which are fixed to the shaft which drives the blades.

Pull the mower backwards and the pawls ride over the ratchet teeth - no drive 

moorcroftman Fri, 01/07/2022

You might have done it !!  , Wristpin.

I'm with you and understand.

Thankyou !!


On my return I will make that adjustment and see. 

I wouldn't have had that knowledge .


I will let you know , fingers crossed .





moorcroftman Sat, 02/07/2022

Thankyou all. 

I'm going to try that ,Ransomesrob, for spare grass boxes I've tried to get...webb whippet 10" and Ransomes Anglia 13"