Marples Smoothing Plane - No. M4 1/2

marples smoothing plane m4 1/2
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The Verdict

Review By: I.Ball

Manufacturer: Marples

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.

marples plane m-4 1/2

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.


Additional Information

marples plane m-4 1/2

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.


Plane Construction

marples plane m 4 1/2 parts

Body and frog:
high grade cast iron

Lever cap:
high grade cast iron with a plated finish

Cap iron:
best quality steel

tungsten vanadium steel

Depth adjuster wheel/nut:

Handle and Knob:
hardwood, usually Beech / stained Beech

Plane finish:

marples plane m 4 1/2 parts

Marples M4 1/2 Plane Blade / Cutter

Width: 61mm

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


Plane Dimensions

Length: 254mm (10 inches)

Width: 71mm

Mouth Width: 62mm

Cast Thickness: 3mm


Plane Markings

marples plane m-4 1/2

"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.


Manufactured Dates

..1937 - 1965..


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