Marples Smoothing Plane - No. M4 1/2
Review By: I.Ball
Category: Old Smoothing Planes
Plane Type: Smoothing
Model No: M4 1/2
The Wm Marples smoothing plane number M4 1/2 is a heavy, thick bodied plane
with a slightly thicker cast than most other similar 4 1/2 planes.
The plane was originally fitted with a hardwood rear handle and hardwood front knob. The hardwood selected was usually Beech which was often then stained to a dark brown colour.
This staining I understand was a cost-cutting exercise to make the handles resemble Rosewood as many of the early Stanley planes (and Record planes) were fitted with Rosewood handles. Using stained Beech handles was something Stanley and Record also went on to fit on their planes.
The M-4 1/2 was also equipped with a 'Marples' lever cap, a cap iron, a Marples blade and an adjustable flat faced frog.
The cap iron for these Marples bench planes have a piece at the
top set at an angle with the wording on the cap iron saying ‘Correct
Angle For Grinding’.
As you may have guessed the angle at which the top of the cap iron is set is intended as a guide for when sharpening the blade. The design of these cap irons I believe is unique (there are similar).
The plane is finished with the Marples red japanning. Other planes which have a similar red finish include I.Sorby planes and Rapier planes.
Originally the William Marples M 4 1/2 plane had a trade label on top of the rear handle. These have quite often disappeared or partially disappeared through the planes history of use.
The Bodies, Frogs and Lever Caps are made of high grade Cast Iron and the Lever
Caps are Plated.
The Positive Cutter Adjustment, together with the Adjustable Frog make accurate work easy to perform.
The handles are of Selected Hardwood and the Cutting Iron of heat treated Tungsten Vanadium Steel retains its fast cutting edge on the hardest of timbers.
Body and frog:
high grade cast iron
high grade cast iron with a plated finish
best quality steel
tungsten vanadium steel
Depth adjuster wheel/nut:
Handle and Knob:
hardwood, usually Beech / stained Beech
Marples M4 1/2 Plane Blade / Cutter
Blade Thickness: 2mm
Slot Length: 109mm
Slot Width: 6.5mm
Top Of Blade Shape: Squared
Blade Markings: W. Marples & Sons, Sheffield England, Solid Crucible Steel
Length: 254mm (10 inches)
Mouth Width: 62mm
Cast Thickness: 3mm
"Marples" - found on the top face at the very front.
"M4 1/2, Sheffield" - found on the top face at the front, behind the knob.
"England" + Shamrock Symbol - found on the top face at the rear end, between the handle and frog.
"Marples" - found on the lever cap face.
"Marples, Sheffield Eng" (in a circular motion around the Shamrock symobl) - found on the trade label on top of the rear handle.
..1937 - 1965..
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