Review By: I.Ball
Category: Old Jack Planes
Plane Type: Jack
Model No: M5 1/2
The William Marples jack plane number M5 1/2 is a heavy, thick bodied plane
with a thicker cast than most other similar number 5 1/2 planes.
The 5 1/2 models are wider than the number 5 models. The 5 1/2 planes take a 2 3/8 inch wide plane blade compared to the 2 inch blades used with the number 5 planes.
The plane is fitted with a Beech rear handle, a Beech front knob, a 'Marples' lever cap, a cap iron and a Marples blade. The blade rests on a 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 5 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 blade can be easily adjusted laterally using the lateral adjuster found behind the blade.
The plane is finished with a red japanning.
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.
Length Of Sole: 381mm (15 inches)
Cast Thickness: 3mm
Body and Frog: high grade cast iron
Lever Cap: high grade cast iron and plated
Handle and Knob: wooden, usually Beech
Plane finish: red
Marples M5 1/2 Plane Blade / Cutter
Blade: Tungsten Vanadium Steel
Width: 60mm (2 3/8 inch)
Blade Thickness: 2mm
Top Of Blade Shape:: Squared
Blade Markings: W. Marples & Sons, Sheffield England, Solid Crucible Steel
"Marples" - found on the top face at the very front.
"M5 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..
Momist - My recently acquired M 5 1/2 has a blade 2-1/4" wide, not 2-3/8". Does
this make it an early model? I know that Stanley changed their 5-1/2 blades around
FindMyTool - Thanks Momist, I haven't come across this currently, it would certainly make sense the 2 1/4" is an earlier Marples plane example especially with the echo of the Stanley plane. I will keep an eye out for any further info.
Brendan - I have bought a M 5 1/2, but it has a dovetailed sole. I cannot seem to see this on any other Marples steel plane?
FindMyTool - Thanks Brendan, once again this isn't something I have come across currently, on the face of it my initial reaction is this is very unusual. Thanks for bringing it to my attention, I will keep an eye out for any further info.
(i) This review/article may give warning(s) / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines given
in good faith, any such information should not be solely relied upon and seen
as the exhaustive list of warnings / advisory notes / cautions / guidelines. Refer
to good safety practices for the safety of you and others. Refer to good practices
for the good health of your tool and property.
(ii) The details here are given in good faith, the details are constantly growing and evolving including corrections, there is scope for error and shouldn't be fully relied upon, please confirm any details for yourself by performing additional research from reliable sources.
Enjoy viewing the encyclopedia of tools.
If you use info such as dates, sizes, details from FindMyTool.co.uk for certain online auction sites, forums, video footage, websites and any other forms of media, please kindly give credit to this site and spread the word so others know where to find the information.
Please see our terms if using more than a few dates or details.