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Making a wooden Marples style plane

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scooby

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Last year, I removed the parts from a broken no.4 with the intention of making a wooden plane with a adjustable metal frog. Much like the wooden planes Marples. I've cut and ground down the frog (last year) so thats ready.
I was just wondering if anyone here had made such a thing and could give me some dimensions and advice. I'd imagine sole thickness would the most important thing to consider for rigidity but still allow blade protrusion.
I've looked online but couldn't find any dimensions. Paul Sellers did a blog post on his version a few years ago and it looked like he would do a video series but it never appeared.

Also, would oak be ok to use? I know beech is the preferred choice but I dont have any, whereas I had a loads of oak scrap pieces and japanese planes are usually oak. Thats my thinking anyway but I dont mind buying some beech if needed.
 

AndyT

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I think that sounds an interesting and worthwhile project.

This old thread might help

marples-hybrid-plane-t90264.html

It confirmed that my one is slightly unusual as it might be a prototype. I can take some measurements if you like.
 

Bm101

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Looks interesting! Please do a build wip if you feel up to the posting.
About as far from expert as possible but can't see why you couldn't use oak. I'd guess grain alignment is more important. Perhaps beech was more readily available and cheaper stock here traditionally? In parts of Europe I think they have used fruit trees like apple a lot. Maybe it just depends on traditional availability and cost. I would guess historically it was all about cost. Lovely looking woods as tool handles for the sake of it has to be fairly modern thing doesn't it? Not to say it's wrong of course. Far from it. (hammer)

Cheers
Chris
 

custard

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I had one of the hybrid Marples planes that Andy referenced.

Marples-Plane-2.jpg


But I had mixed feelings about it.

One the one hand you get all the usual advantages of a woody (such as a super slick action, lightweight for site work, etc) together with the adjustability of a Bailey plane. It should have been an absolute winner, but it was let down by one problem. The ergonomics meant it was very difficult to adjust the blade extension on the fly, the closed tote was set too far back. I know there's another version of this plane with a simpler open tote and that would probably solve the problem by being closer to the adjustment mechanism (I can't say for certain because I've seen this alternative but never actually used it).

Is adjusting the depth of cut on the fly important? It is to me! Imagine you are edge jointing a board and hand planing down a rough sawn edge. The first couple of strokes you'd want the plane to have a coarse cut, but then you'd want a much finer cut for the finishing strokes. It really helps to make that adjustment on the fly without breaking your rhythm.

So, if you're going to make your own version I'd personally suggest a simple open tote is the better design.
 

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D_W

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Some of the transitional smoothers made in the states suffer from the same thing. Lots of potential, but impossible to adjust on the fly and some of them don't adjust well even when not on the fly because the casting/frog/handle combination make the adjuster hard to get to.

When I set out to build planes a few years ago, several people sent me pictures of those very planes from marples suggesting they'd be easier to make. I never looked close enough to know, but suspect maybe they'd be easier to make in a factory.

Whatever you make, plan on the first one not being that great, examine why and then build a second. It sounds uninviting to think that way, but it's reality.
 

scooby

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AndyT":19r35pti said:
I think that sounds an interesting and worthwhile project.

This old thread might help

marples-hybrid-plane-t90264.html

It confirmed that my one is slightly unusual as it might be a prototype. I can take some measurements if you like.
Thanks for the offer Andy, the picture of your plane in your handscrew cramp thread resparked my interest in making it.
I dont want you to go to any trouble but thanks for the offer. The thread you linked to has already been very helpful. I've been a member (admittedly not full time) since 2006 so I'm a bit ashamed I missed that thread.

Bm101, I'll take photos of wip and get them posted when I start the project. I'm overly self critical about everything I do/make and I'm a bit apprehensive about posting pics, but I will. I dont think I've made anything that I've been truly happy with it..good inspiration to practice and improve though. Thanks for the advice also.

Custard, I'd never seen a closed tote hybrid/Marples woodie until I saw yours and Andy's. I originally planned (and intend) to copy the Marples with a normal tote as I'd prefer on the fly adjustment.
Even with an open tote, I'd hazard to say adjustment wont be as slick on a metal plane. It appears on the Marples, the thrust wheel almost contacts the top of the sole or the sole needs a small notch.

Either way, It'll be enjoyable. I think I'll make another plane ( a more traditional style woodie, albeit laminated) in tandem with this one.
 

scooby

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D_W":3ty5kw19 said:
Some of the transitional smoothers made in the states suffer from the same thing. Lots of potential, but impossible to adjust on the fly and some of them don't adjust well even when not on the fly because the casting/frog/handle combination make the adjuster hard to get to.

When I set out to build planes a few years ago, several people sent me pictures of those very planes from marples suggesting they'd be easier to make. I never looked close enough to know, but suspect maybe they'd be easier to make in a factory.

Whatever you make, plan on the first one not being that great, examine why and then build a second. It sounds uninviting to think that way, but it's reality.
I was making my post before I saw yours. Your first comment coincides with what I guessed about the wheel being so tight to the sole. As for dont expect great first time, totally agree.
Thanks for the reply
 

ED65

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Couple of options for you scooby. First, from the wonderful post-war Charles Hayward book on making tools linked to here many a time:

You could scale up from this easily enough if you particularly want something the size of a jack plane.

This design doesn't use the frog of course but that just eases construction and you could always have this built and 'empty' and just pop an iron assembly and lever cap into it as desired.

There's a full build of the proposed Sellers design here on Instructables, So You Dropped Your No.4 Hand Plane?

scooby":1t51degf said:
Also, would oak be ok to use? I know beech is the preferred choice but I dont have any, whereas I had a loads of oak scrap pieces and japanese planes are usually oak. Thats my thinking anyway but I dont mind buying some beech if needed.
Beech became a default choice in Britain for various reasons and not because it was the best wood possible.

There's a long tradition elsewhere of making planes from other woods even with beech being commonly available which tells us something, and both Hayward and Wearing mention that any stable hardwood is suitable. Some quotes:
"Beech is usually selected but many successful planes are also made in pear wood. If you use beech try to arrange that the medullary rays are as nearly vertical as possible."
"Any hard reliable hardwood can be used."
"Beech is the commonly accepted wood, preferably the red varieties. Hornbeam, maple, pear and cherry are common in Europe; boxwood and walnut are satisfactory though expensive. It would appear, then, that almost any close-grained hardwood may be used."
"Beech and maple have been the common woods. Fruitwoods and oak are also particularly successful, but do not discard a nice block of imported timber, either."

One additional quote from Wearing that I think worth including:
"Ideally the body should come from a quarter-sawn board, but in the past, wooden planemakers frequently ignored this. If the material is old and dry, it will hardly distort anyway. Quarter sawn, of course will not distort, but as these planes are not intended to be used on their sides, a slight distortion should not affect the performance."
 
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