Plough Planes


The first real entry I can find for Plough Planes is in the 1861 Catalogue and presently I strongly suspect that these planes [along with most other MARPLES wooden planes] were made for MARPLES by MOSLEY in London.


The 1877 Catalogue is a little richer, with numbered items:

Next is 1897:


In 1909 we again have a number system change:

The 1921 Catalogue entry is here:

By 1928 we have this:

Just before WWII in 1938 we have these listings:

Two decades later in 1959 the range certainly has been reduced:

The last listing that I can find is in the Price List of April 1962 wherein #2903 is listed at 160/-,
#2905 is shown as 176/6d, #2907 is 200/- and #2909 is listed as 220/-.
The March 1964 Price List shows no listings for any of these great planes, and the end of a 100 year old era.

Here is a table showing the availability of the MARPLES plough planes from 1897 onwards.
1909 saw an Item # change.  The option of having the front plate shaped as a ‘Skate’ was available up to 1921 and after then could only to be had on  #2910 and #2912 .

Below I will try to show the characteristics of the various planes over time. But trying to date these planes is, as always, very difficult.

1].  This plane may be the earliest that I have because it is stamped on the nose [ because the blade was adjusted by striking the heel of the plane] with a single Shamrock mark [<1875] but this mark may well have been used well into the 1880s, from my experience. What is odd about this tool is that the short 7.1/2″ body has a fence that is rivetted to the stems, when most older examples have a countersunk screw bolt connection [see later]. The Boxwood stem wedges appear to be less thick than later examples.
The stems are capped and the skate screws are flat counter sunk.  This may be an early #1037.


This plane is strange in that it has an ‘I.Sorby’ mark on the toe and a Marples transfer on the fence. It is very possible that this could have been on the cusp of the I.Sorby mark buy out of ‘Turner Naylor & Co Ltd.’ by MARPLES in 1909. The fence is rivetted to the stems from below culminating in a brass diamond cap on the top of the stems.  The skates are connected to the body by oval headed slot screws. this is probably plane #1040 or #2907 after 1909.


This plane has the ‘spiral figure of eight’  mark which I date to c.1900. It has Boxwood stems which have pointed ends and Counter sunk slot screws are used to secure the fence to the stems. The stem securing nuts on the fence side of the body are in Boxwood and smaller than on later issues. The Boxwood securing nuts on the other side of the body are also made from boxwwod.sThe cutters are not marked and are not polished. Note: the brass backing to secure the depth gauge stop.  I do not know when this thick brass U shaped insert was replaced with a thinner fancier brass plate, but it may have been in the 1890s.  This is plane #1042 [#2911 after 1909]

Another ‘spiral figure of eight mark‘, capped and with fence screwed to the stems. Plane #1039 [#2906 after 1909]

On this plane can be seen the early Wedged depth gauge, ‘Trade Mark‘ within the Marples mark and no caps being on the ends of the stems. Either #1034 or 1035 [#2901 or #2902 after 1909]. I suspect this plane is c.1910.

6].  This plane shows the Boxwood nuts and stems….note the elongation at the distal end of the stems. This is the same as Plane #3 above, but has a modified fancy brass plate at the depth securing bolt and larger boxwood stem securing nuts.

7]. This one has a rivetted fence, rounded nobs to the Beech stem ends, Beech nuts and a standard MARPLES stamp.  Plane #2909.

8]. This boxed plane is marked  with WD up arrow 19 on the cutters  [no other mark], which indicates that it may have been manufactured in 1919, or that it was marked on that date.  But since the Govn’t Inspectors/markers operated in a special room at the MARPLES factory, it is likely an accurate date. The skates have counter sunk oval headed slot securing screws to the body and the capped stems are rivetted to the fence. The stem wedges are from Boxwood, as are most of these planes, and the toe of the body has a standard impressed MARPLES mark.       { By ‘standard’ I mean that the mark existed for so many years that it adds nothing to our knowledge to enable us to identify a date of manufacture.}. You will see a repair to one of the stems because that stem, when I received it, had previously received the standard British army repair….a tosh job!!    It is plane  #2904 or #2905 in 1921 [there is no ‘extra’ work on the fence].

9].  You will never find a better example than this MINT plane.[#2903]  It has ‘I.SORBY‘ impressed into the toe of the plane and also a MARPLES transfer on the side. The fence is rivetted to the stems and there are oval counter sunk slot screws securing the skates to the body.  The ‘Turner Naylor & Co Ltd
[with the I. Sorby mark]  was purchased outright by MARPLES in 1909 and I presume that the stock on hand, including wooden planes in the process of completion and having already received the impressed I.Sorby mark on the toe,  could therefore have received the additional MARPLES transfer at that time.  Therefore could this plane be c.1909?

10]  This plane is marked on the toe with a WD up arrow 1942.  I also have an exactly similar plane marked 1944.  The skates are rivetted to the body and the fence is rivetted to the capped stems. Boxwood may have been in short supply during WWII, or were the Govn’t Inspector pencil sharpeners exercising their power by insisting that MARPLES use a cheaper African hardwood for the wedges that held the stems in place?
Plane #2905?



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