Just a quick post about a Marples ‘X4’ plane I recently found. I couldn’t find a lot on the web about this plane, so hopefully this will show people some of the details of what, to me, seems like a fantastic tool.
The Marples X4 smoothing plane, which went into production in 1954. Production was short-lived, due to the high production costs of the plane’s design.
This view shows the distinctive wavy shape of the lever cap release. When you use the plane on it’s side, on a shooting board for instance, your fingers have a much better hold with this grip. It’s much less awkward than trying to shoot holding a plane with a standard lever cap.
With the blade removed, you can see how Marples was clearly taking a design lead from the finer British infills available. The production on those planes pretty much got unsustainable around this time, so as the quality dropped slightly on those, Marples hoped to capitalise. Unfortunately, this plane suffered the same fate, and was short-lived.
Another thing I love about this plane’s design is the rounded top on the iron. Again, very distinctive.
This is perhaps the most interesting thing about the X4. An adjustable throat! By releasing the front two bolts, you can move a big hunk of metal back and forth, effectively opening and closing the throat, just like smaller block planes. The block is very well made, and mates well with the base.
Here you can see the block fully forward, so the mouth is open to maximum, but it could come right back if need be.
I haven’t even tuned this plane, I just spent a few hours removing sixty years of filth, but already it’s taking feather shavings on the first few passes.
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