M130 Plane Study

The first evidence that an M130 Double-end Block Plane had been introduced into the MARPLES plane lineup was in the December 1934 mini catalogue wherein a new line of metal planes was listed—Marples “M” Planes.

However there was no illustration and buyers had to wait until the March 1936 mini catalogue to see what the M130 was all about. Hardly a good method of introduction!   But it seems more likely that there were other more complete advertisments to introduce the line.

The illustration below, from 3/36, is the only illustration ever used throughout the life of the M130, despite physical changes that occurred.

The M130 was priced at 6/- each until March 1940.  Shortly after that time the plane was dropped from the line because of the war and was only re-introduced around April 1952 priced at 15/6d.  In 1961 it is priced at 19/6d and in April 1962 it is sold for 20/6d.         Soon thereafter MARPLES was acquired by RECORD Tools and the M130 was subsequently not manufactured so as to not compete with the RECORD 130 Block Plane.         By March 1964 it is not listed in the Price Lists and it is doubtful whether, unlike other MARPLES Block Planes which were taken over by RECORD and were continued in production,  there was ever an MA130 (Which is what RECORD would have named it).

What follows is an attempt to put into some semblance of order the ‘M130‘ Block Plane in a sequence according to manufacture date. Under these ‘Type’ headings I will list any perceptible changes that I have found to have occurred from the previous Type.   But these results could change if more contradictory evidence is found either from you, the readers, or my future plane acquisitions.     I will try to categorise the study according to the following points: Paint; Body; Lever Cap; Cutting Iron; Wheel; Knob; Box and Labels.

Type 1:

Paint: As with the other Block Planes the M130 was first introduced with a Black base and a Red Lever Cap. [But I do not rule out that the Cap may have initially been Black for a short while].    The rear and front edges and the outer sides were not painted. The mouth slopes were machined out after the paint process and show no paint.

Body: ‘MARPLES’ was cast raised up in front of the wooden knob and ‘SHEFFIELD‘ appears similarly behind the knob. Down the middle, between the blade supports, was raised cast the 3 leaf clover emblem + ‘ENGLAND‘. The unpainted cross rods were screwed into the body from the right hand side.

Lever Cap: Was painted Red all over, back and front.

Cutting Iron: Was probably stamped with a BM4 marking, like Type 2, but I think that it would have been furnished with this impressioin:


Wheel: Was painted black all over and had 12 large castellations.

Knob: Was fixed to the base by a ‘hanger bolt’ and had more shape to it than a Type 2 front knob.

Box and Labels: Unknown at present.

Type 2:

Paint: The colour scheme is now reversed and there is a Red base with a Black Cap. Since MARPLES changed the colour scheme around 1944-5, and the M130 was not available between 1940-1952, we can assume that the Type 2 plane came after 1952.

The example that I have is a dark Cherry Red. [I have seen this same colour on bench planes and spokeshaves from this same period]  Boths ends of the plane were not painted, but the mouth slopes and cross pieces are painted.

Body: As seen above the body casting and marks appear to be unchanged from a Type 1, although at this time, I do not have a Type 1 for direct comparison. The body measures 51mm wide and 203mm long.  As seen below, a previous owner has cleaned off the front mouth slope, but the rear mouth slope seen above is how it would have looked.

Lever Cap and Wheel : Remain unchanged from Type 1 and are painted Black.

Cutting Iron: Has a BM4 marking and is 41mm x 115mm.

Knob: Has now become a shapeless varnished Mahogany offering.

Box and Labels: Unknown at present.

Type 3:

Paint;Body and Cap are all unchanged from Type 2.
Wheel: This wheel has now been re-cast, and now has 29 castellations [shown on the right in photo below], but still has a total diameter of 37mm although it has a deeper casting at the perimeter, as seen.

Knob: Shows the same as Type 2.

Cutting Iron:   The Cutter is still the same dimensions as previous Types, but it now is stamped with a BM3 marking.

Box and Labels: Unknown at present.

Type 4:

My only example is in the original box and this is marked at 19/6d, and upon this evidence we can suppose that the Type 4 is dated around 1960/1961

Paint: The Red body paint seems closer to scarlet than crimson. The mouth slopes appear to have been machined clean at the factory.

Body: The base casting seems to have now been changed since the Type 3, in that now although still at 51mm wide it appears to be shorter at only 199mm (cf 203mm). BUT this shortcoming may be due to a more aggressive grinding at each end of the plane. The internal dimensions seem to be exactly the same as Type 3, but the more important casting differences of the Type 4 are the additional raised castings each side of the front knob…..’M    130′.. (The first to identify this planes’ number)...and the letters between the blade supports being different.

The metal on the base of the casting that runs down the middle section between the blade supports is quite noticeably thicker than the 2 strips that run down the sides. It seems to be level with the top of the mouth slopes. [right here below]

Note here the changes that occurred in the raised wording between Type 2/3 on the left and the Type 4 on the right.

Cap: Is still painted Black all over but now has a small Multi-coloured water transfer on the palm rest. This unique transfer (only showing ‘MARPLES’, not ‘MARPLES & Sons’) should also be found on previous Types, but due to wear may well be missing.

Wheel: The wheel adjuster is still the same as Type 3  [with 29 small castellations) but in this Type the ‘nose’ of the wheel may be much longer than previously.[see on the Right below]

This would therefore mean that the wheel did not have to be unscrewed as much from the cap in order to exert pressure on the cutting iron. This helps to prevent stripping of the wheel threads towards the end of the threads, as has been seen on so many older STANLEY block plane Lever Cap Wheel threads. [Because the end threads bore the brunt of the downward pressure exerted by the Lever Cap].

Knob: May now have been made from a ‘hardwood’ and thinly varnished.

Blade: Still shows the BM3 markings.

Box and Labels: The boxtop label [right below] shows the included circular label with ‘& SONS‘ shown.

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