The M50 ‘Improved Combination Plane ‘ was only available from March 1936 until March 1940 [or soon thereafter] according to the catalogues in my possession. The only description given in those catalogues is that the plane was ‘Rustless Plated and was supplied with 17 cutters. The first listing in March 1936 does not even give a picture of the plane and only in the September 1936 catalogue are we actually shown a picture of the plane (shown below)
The only hard-backed catalogue that the M50 appeared in was the 1938 catalogue, and there we are given a little more information…as seen below. Here you will see that the plane main castings are of STEEL and that it is described as ‘practically unbreakable’. Unfortunately I do not have, and therefore cannot show you, the ‘instruction card’ for setting up the plane.
Throughout all the catalogues listing this plane the price is shown as 30/- [30 shillings] and always as ‘Rustless Plated‘. At this time of War most tools were plated with a Cadmium based metal product that had a rather dull grey finish. But my example of this plane indicates that the rear of the handle and the top of the handle down to the leading edge were polished. As this plane was available for such a short period of time, it is unlikely that there would be more than one ‘type’, and given the advantages of this plane over its’ lesser brother, the M44, it is surprising that this plane was dropped from production whereas the M44 endured until 1970.
So what follows is a description of the plane according to the different parts:
Body: The Steel body is 8.3/4″ long and shows that the blade was depth adjustable by a screw feed mechanism that engaged milled slots in the back of the cutters.
Sliding section: this effectively holds the cutter and has the depth control screw feed mechanism that engages the slot on the side of the cutters. There is a ‘fixing screw’ at the back of the section to stabilise this part.[see above right and below.] The whole section slides on the 2 rods and is secured to the body by an attached threaded rod and tightened on the RHS of the body by a nickel plated brass wingnut.
Blades: 16 of the cutters came housed in 2 cardboard sleeves that had full covers and the Tongueing Cutter came in a brown envelope along with the Shaving deflector. The 1/8″and 3/16″ grooving cutters were held in place by a special holding screw [supplied in a brown paper envelope.]. All the cutters have no markings.
Depth of cut Fence: Was secured on the RHS of the body by a nickel-plated brass thumbturn bolt. This fence appears to be exactly the same as was furnished with the M40, MA43 and the M44. Approx. 2.1/2″long and 1/2″wide.
Long fence: Adjustable along the 2 Rods, this 7.1/2″ long fence [above] does not have a hand hold as is provided on the M44.
Match beading stop: supplied in a separate brown envelope.
Rods: only 1 set of 2 long rods was provided on the M50 (cf. long and short rods of the M44) and these rods are screwed into the body and tightened via the hole at the outer end of the rod (see above (using a suitably sized bar ). This is a much more secure method of assembly than is shown on the M44, where the rods are only held in holes of the body casting and clamped there by a flat head slot bolt.
The rods are 6.3/4″long and have a 3/8″diameter.
Thumbturn screws: All these screws on the M50 appear to be nickel plated and polished and have plain faces with no longer a central ‘diamond shape’ pattern.
Box and Labels: The box lid is 7.7/8″wide; 4.1/2″deep and 9.1/4″long.