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Marples 4 1/2 plane rebuild

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Stan

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Hi all.

I am new on this website and looking to take my diy to a new level, having recently retired. I have decided that, where possible, I would equip myself with quality old tools even if they need some work. Cheap new tools are so often junk and good new tools are often not cheap.

One of my first acquisitions is this Marples 4 1/2 smoothing plane and I could do with some advice.

The left bolt hole in the frog receiver has been cast badly. It is irregular in shape and only partly tapped. Part of the paintwork extends into the hole, which is why I think it is miscast.


marples m4+half (1).jpg

marples m4+half (7).jpg



The threads on the corresponding bolt are mashed and the bolt does not tighten.

I could drill out the hole and tap it for a larger bolt, but there is not much extra width in the slot on the frog.

A possibly better idea I had is to fill the hole with JB weld, and once fully set drill and tap. Does anyone have any thoughts on this, or any better ideas? Thanks in advance.


For those who are interested in the history, Roger Ball on his excellent website dedicated to Marples planes, has dated this as 1944-5.
 

Mametz

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Hi Stan,

An interesting first post. I joined a couple of days before you, and this is my first post. I collect British metal planes, and have three rather well-used Marples - a 4 and two 5's.

In all my collecting I've never seen this degree of misalignment before, on either Marples, Records or Stanleys. It's very strange how it passed a quality control inspection (assuming they had such a thing back then).

I cannot offer any advice on correcting the problem, although in time I'm sure much wiser heads than mine will arrive to assist. For what it's worth, from my perspective I would either move it on as a spares item (the cutter, cap iron, lever cap, knob and handle all sellable on ebay), or alternatively search ebay for a replacement bed (which does appear from time to time , although not very often for a 4 1/2).

Finally I must compliment you on the clarity of your two photographs, if only most ebay sellers took the same time and effort in offering their items, I'm sure they would be rewarded with more interest and ultimately better sales.
 

D_W

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If there is some tooth left inside the hole, I'd try very thin shim stock - once you get the frog tight, there's no reason to move it around. If that doesn't work, then go to a better fix (on a nice plane like that, I'd address the hole rather than changing the screw, but just my opinion).

I have a twin to that plane here in the states. Of course, it came from the UK. Nice plane to use, not sure if it's similar era. very hard casting.
 

Stan

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Mametz and D_W, thank you for your comments.

I would like to return this plane to working condition rather than breaking it up for spares because I intend to equip myself where possible with old British tools using representatives from each company. I have Sedgley, Acorn and Rollins number 4's, Dronfield no2, Record 044, Rapier 43 and Whitmore 110 all awaiting their turn for reworking, and a spokeshave from Pibro. This plane is to be my Marples. I am looking for a larger Woden. Mametz - it appears I am catching the bug - help!

The Dronfield was a later cheap line from Marples. Putting the two together is like comparing a Trabant with a Bentley.

I have found out a little of the history of this plane, which may explain why a reject casting found itself at large.

marples m4+half (3).jpg


From this photo it can be seen that it is fitted with a black frog pre 1938 pattern and a solid brass adjusting wheel with the simple knurling from late war. The Beech woodwork is also from ww2 onwards. The sole is the crimson pattern from 1938 rather than the later fire engine red. My first thought was that this mongrel was thrown together from spares just after the war to rush things onto the market. I have been informed that it was in fact produced 1944/5. I suspect it was cobbled together from old spares and current parts by unskilled labour, or by a company prepared to overlook what appeared to be a small defect due to the situation.

D_W - thank you for the idea of a shim. I will try that. I have some PTFE tape which might be perfect. It will be a reversible experiment if it does not work, and I can then try something else.

Here are the restored handles awaiting the rest. I can't replicate the original finish, so I used linseed oil and my homemade wax.

new handles.jpg


Regards
 

D_W

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Mine is heavy, and I'm sure yours must b, too, as they look much the same. I think one way or another, the fix for the screw threads will be simple and nice if it's done at the threads.

Heavy is stylish these days. I can't admit to using mine much (other favorites that are lighter) but when I got mine, it was badly worn on the diagonal. No clue why. It was hard enough to be much easier to file than lap.


It's the only stanley style plane that I can say that for - usually if anything is unusual, the casting is soft, not hard.

(not great pictures of the plane there). The twist (if it wasn't wear - I guess one can't be sure) was bad enough that it wouldn't plane a flat board continuously - annoying).

Just pulling the plane for a look, I forgot - the iron was worn to the slot when I got it (I kept it in case I ever sell it - marples planes are uncommon here, and even if the iron is short, it should go with it) and made a replacement out of CTS-XHP (which is a likely suspect for V11).

I love marples and I. Sorby bench planes, but never have seen a single one here on the ground. 4 1/2s are an odd thing there vs. here, too. if a 4 is $50 here, a 4 1/2 of the same thing is double. So, you guys are the lowest cost source!! (the sorby planes don't come cheap, though -the iron and cap iron on my jointer looks the same as this generation of marples, and is there a connection to record? later?)

20210304_164013_copy_724x1400.jpg
 

Bod

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Stan.
Do you know the thread form for the frog screws?
If it's a normal standard,(BSW) the Helicoiling the sole and recut/replace the screw may be the way forward.
If the thread is unusual, as per Stanley's practice, then if there is room, replace the threads with metric, after all the threads themselves are never seen.

Bod
 

Stan

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D_W - Record took over Marples and for a while they made planes with both names on them.

Bod - I had never heard of helicoiling until your post. I checked it on the net and think it looks great. I have ordered some kit and will give it a try. An M6 bolt should do it, without having to change the slot on the frog. Thanks
 

galleywood

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If the helicoiling is not successful, an alternative might be to fit a threaded insert.
 

Stan

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Thanks for all the above. I have now based my drill press and am ready to try helicoiling. ( Sounds like an extreme sport...far too energetic for me ).

A couple of pics showing how cleaning up is progressing -


m 4 half (9).jpg


m 4 half (10).jpg



Once the helicoiling is done, I can move on to fettling ( sounds like something you should be arrested for....also too energetic).

After all that I intend to try and cut something, apart from myself this time.
 

NickM

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Helicoil should do the trick. They're typically stronger than the original thread. I've had to use a few when I've had a few mishaps tinkering with cars... (Oh, and welcome)
 

Stan

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marples 4 half (11).jpg


Success fitting a new bolt. It stands out a bit like the dog's danglies, but works fine and the frog will hide it.

Rejuvenation is now complete as per photos below -

marples 4 half (12).jpg
marples 4 half (13).jpg
marples 4 half (14).jpg
marples 4 half (15).jpg


I didn't repaint the sole or frog. I don't have the right stuff and I thought it would destroy the plane's character. Instead I washed the paintwork with soapy water and a toothbrush. I then sprayed it with WD40 and wiped it all down. Finally I thoroughly waxed it.

There are still some marks on the woodwork. To completely remove those I would have needed to change the shapes!

Since the above I have lapped the sole and the cap iron to fit snugly against the iron. Only the sharpening left to do ( I think).

Thanks for the comments above. If anyone has any tips I can carry forwards to my next plane, they would be gratefully received.
 

G S Haydon

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I think you've done a great job! Time to put it to work? What do you enjoy the most, restoring or using? Both are good fun.
 

D_W

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It looks lovely. Another option to keep original paint is super blonde shellac. And it's reversible.

I think it looks better than it would if you had repainted it.
 

Orraloon

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A good restoration. Like the others say it's better not to overdo it. Looking like a cared for tool of its age is about right.
Regards
John
 

thetyreman

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nicely restored, I think painting it would have made it look too perfect and it would have lost the character.
 
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