Marples Jack Plane - No. M5 1/2

marples jack plane m-5 1/2
Our Rating


Review By: I.Ball

Category: Old Jack Planes

Manufacturer: Marples

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).

william marples jack plane m 5 1/2

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.

william marples jack plane m 5 1/2

Additional Information

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

william marples plane m 5 1/2

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

Plane Markings

marples 5 1/2 plane

"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.

Manufactured Dates

..1937 - 1965..

william marples jack plane m 5 1/2

Your Say..

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 1939.


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.


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