I think therefore that any Nickel Plating was replaced by MARPLES around early 1936 with a Black painted finish.  The M40was produced throughout the war but had a 'Cadmium' plated finish applied [similar to RECORD planes] so as to comply with Ministry of Supply Order No. 1048.  [This would be the Type 2 below]

This Cadmium finish is quite rough to the touch and is Dull compared to a Nickel finish.

My example below [Type 2] indicates a price placed on the article of 13/6d,  no matter when it sold. This would put the date as around 1946?  [But it may have been 1944/5 when many MARPLES planes were then switched to the RED painted base.]

[The rod diameter and depth of Lever Cap screw both remained reduced at this time.]

Type 1:

I must suppose that the first issue of the M40 was Nickel Plated, as advertised, but this was swiftly changed to a Black painted base by at least early 1936 . Probably due to impending Government imposed restrictions on the use of nickel for non-essential purposes.

The M40 appears first in the September 1936 catalogue listed at 6/6d, and it makes its' last appearance in the March 1964 edition of catalogue P61.  However the March 1964Price List does not list this plane.  It is not listed in the D65/4April 1965 Price List either.  This 4/65 list does show the MA43, the direct descendant of M40.

Here follows a synopsis of M40 prices as I have noted to date:

9/36-3/40      6/6d.

11/51            16/6d.

9/55             18/6d

1/61             22/-

4/61             22/6d

9/61             25/-  Catalogue P61

4/62             25/-

3/64            still listed as available in 3/64  P61 Catalogue....see above.


In 1962 Wm MARPLES & Sons was bought out by RECORD [C&J Hampton Ltd] and the M40 survived intact until around March 1964.  Around early 1965 the frame was changed to support double arms for the fence. (A superior method of holding the fence). {the single arm fence tends to spin around in use because the user cannot tighten the arm sufficiently to lock it into place. All together a poor design.  The new 2 arm design was called the MA43, but this design had been used by RECORD since approx 1935, so it is a mystery why MARPLES never did copy this design improvement from the start.

From the very few examples in my collection, from which I can draw conclusions, there appear to be only 4 major Types, as outlined below.  I have listed any differences under the headings:  Body; Lever Cap and screw; Fence and Rod; Thumbscrews and Depth Fence; Box and Label.  The M40 was always supplied with 3 blades and these were always unmarked.  [1/8"; 3/16"; 1/4"] and were packed inside a small brown paper envelope within the box.

Type 2:

These were all Cadmium plated but in all other respects were exactly the same as Type 1A.  Except that the Lever Cap screw head seems to be reduced in depth and with coarser cross knurling.  The MARPLES lettering on the base is again highlighted in red.     This Type may have been produced until around 1944/5, when Red paint was introduced.

Box and Label:  The box lid is 14.7cm long and 7.2cm wide with 3cm deep.  The end label is fixed to the end and mounts slightly over the top of the box lid.

Fence:  Was 3.3/16th" long.

In the Black variety of Type 1 it should be noted that the hole size for the rod in the fence is 3/8" diameter, which is much larger than any rod subsequently issued for the M40.  [In all other aspects the casting is exactly the same as Type 1A ].  This Type 1 existed until at least June 1937, because I have a plane of that date showing the smaller  9/32"diameter rod.[Type 1A].   I surmise that the larger diameter would have endured over from the Nickel plated Type 1.  But this Nickel plane has yet to be found.

Type 4 shown above here extreme right. Type 5 shown to the left.

Thumbscrews:  These are nickel plated, 14mm wide and 9mm deep at the oval thumb part and have a central Diamond cast pattern.

Left, is a Type 1 box Label 

Fence and Rod:  As before.


Thumbscrews:  The Thumbscrews are still nickel plated and have raised Diamond type castings, but these diamond castings are now smaller at 13mm diameter and 8mm deep.

Depth Fence: Same as before.






Box and Label:  The box lid has of necessity been increased in size to 14.7cm long and 7.2cm in width with a depth of 3.8cm.   This therefore allowed the end label to be applied totally to the end of the box lid with no overlay applied to the top surface. [cf Type 3]

Lever Cap and Screw:  The Lever Cap is still painted Red and the screw is nickel plated. The screw thread is 5mm diameter and has a 13mm diameter head with Deep coarse knurling.   Each edge of the screw head is chamfered.

Note the larger diameter rod on the Type 1 on the left of this photo.

General , Box and Labels:

The box on the left is dated September 1960 and is 2,7/8"wide, 1.1/4" deep and 5.3/4"long  [Type 4]

The box in the middle          is 2.7/8" wide  1.9/16" deep and 5.3/4" long.  [Type 5]

The oldest box on the right [dated 6/37] is 2.5/8" wide,  1.5/8" deep and 5.3/4" long [Type 1]

Depth Fence: Is Nickel Plated and 2mm thick, 6.6cm long and 12.5mm wide

Type 3:

The pictures shown are from the Internet, and I do not possess an example of this Type.  Probably 1944/5< .

Body and Fence:  Painted Red

Lever Cap:  Painted Black. The screw head appears to be again less deep than Type 1. but having fine vertical knurling.

Thumbscrews: seem to have the Diamond raised casting

As can be seen, the Lever Cap was painted RED.   The Lever Cap screw head seems to be plated and is 14mm diameter x 6mm deep, and chamfered slightly on the top edge with fine knurling. The Thumbscrews ARE plated and are 18mm wide x 9.5mm deep at the thumb area, and have no knurled diamond pattern. (only seen later). In all other aspects the casting is exactly the same as other 'Types'.     The example that I have shows a Cadmium plating to the depth adjuster.

Type 4:

This Type was manufactured from at leastSeptember 1960 onwards, and probably before this date.  But I can only base my assumptions upon a dated boxed plane in my possession.

Body:  The Body is Nickel plated and the MARPLES letters cast onto the RHS of the 'handle' are highlighted in Red paint.  The total body is 13cms in length.

Fence and Rod:  The nickel plated fence is 8cm long and 14mm high.  The single Rod is 7mm in diameter and 11.8cm long and has a circular indentation close to the outer end.  The function of this indentation is unknown.

Type 5:


Body:  The Body has now been increased to 13.5cm long . This dimension is indicated in the 'Woodworker Magazine' of January 1961, so Type 5 may have been manufactured since a little before this time.

There is also a change in the casting since Type 4 castings have a fine stippling to the finger grip area whereas Type 5 castings show a much coarser stippling. [shown here [right] with Type 5 below in the photo]

You will also note that the lettering is slightly different in that the letters used to cast the word MARPLES  [especially the 'S'] are different.

                                         Number M40 Plane Study


The  M40 Plane was listed in all catalogues as a Grooving Plane and as "Nickel Plated with Adjustable Depth Gauge and Adjustable Fence.  Complete with 3 Cutters,  1/8", 3/16", 1/4".  Will cut grooves 1/2"deep up to 3" from edge".  In all catalogues it appeared with exactly the same line drawing.