Storage Case for Stanley #45

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Project by GeBeWubya posted 04-25-2014 04:57 PM 3253 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

There’s no such thing as a $25 Stanley #45 Combination Plane!

There are always more cutters (plane irons) to buy—plough cutters, bead cutters, fluting (cove) cutters, reeding cutters; there are always more sizes from 1/8” up to 1 1/2”; there are slitters, hollows and rounds, sash cutters, matching (tongue and groove) cutters. The rods that the fence rides come on 2 standard and who knows how many custom lengths.

Once you have a bunch of cutters and other parts, how do you keep them organized? I’ll leave you in suspense for a moment, and talk about my back gate. I have a 20’ wide electric gate across the driveway on the alley behind my house. It has a steel frame faced with cedar pickets to match the rest of the back yard fence. Some of the pickets were broken, rotted or just ugly, so I decided to replace the wood on the gate. I bought about 50 6’ western red cedar pickets for the job, but when I figured out what a pain it was to reattach the wood to the steel, I just replaced the worst ones. So now I have 40-some-odd 5/8” x 3 1/2” x 6’ pickets in my shop.

A cedar tool chest for the #45 attacks both problems.

I milled a few pickets to 1/2” x 3 1/4”, glued up some 6” wide panels for the sides and built a 12” x 18” dovetailed box with a 1/4 ” groove 1/4” from the bottom. I ploughed and dadoed a 1/4” rabbet on the loose boards for the bottom to fit into the grooves on the sides. That made the bottom come out flush with the bottom of the sides. Before assembling the box, I dadoed for dividers to separate the body, slide, fence and rods, and made a compartment on the right for a set of slotted racks for the cutters. I made two 1 1/2” x 13” x 19” open, dovetailed frames, one for a reinforcing band at the bottom of the box and one for the frame of the lid. I grooved the lid frame the same way as the bottom of the sides, and beveled the ends and outside edges of some 3 ” and 3 1/2” wide slats to make the raised panel for the lid. The panel slats had some warp, so I added battens on the inside of the lid to flatten and reinforce it. The lid made a nice, snug fit around the top of the box and I thought of leaving it like a shoe box, but in the end, I mortised into the inside edge of the lid and outside edge of the back of the box for hinges. When I installed the hinges, the screws were longer than the 1/2” thickness of the back of the frame, and the weight of the lid when fully open threatened to pull out the hinges, so I added blocks to house the screws and support the open lid against the box.

With a block for the hasp, a couple of handles on the ends, magnets epoxied into a lid batten to hold the extra nickers, and a coat of boiled linseed oil, I declared it finished.

I used the 45 for the grooves, but discovered that it did such a poor job on dados, that I used my table saw to do all the cross grain dados.

It was a fun project, and I learned a lot—especially that I need a lot more practice dovetailing!

-- (- |: \,/

9 comments so far

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 2160 days

#1 posted 04-25-2014 07:11 PM

The suspense nearly




killed me!

View GeBeWubya's profile


56 posts in 2602 days

#2 posted 04-25-2014 07:20 PM

I understand.

In fact the suspense did kill my Great Grandfather’s brother; he was hanged as a horse thief.

-- (- |: \,/

View swirt's profile


4405 posts in 3538 days

#3 posted 04-26-2014 02:05 AM

That came out great. Just a warning from someone who learned the hard way. Be sure to seal well with shellac or poly or whatever any of the compartments where the red cedar will touch iron or you will be crying when you discover your beautiful box has caused your vintage tool to rust.

Cedar (red cedar especially) is quite acidic and will cause premature rusting where it comes into contact with iron.

-- Galootish log blog,

View LeTurbo's profile


234 posts in 2152 days

#4 posted 04-26-2014 09:08 AM

Nice! I’ve only used my recently-acquired #45 once so far. Cost was about $70, with 5 straight cutters, two short rods, and (unfortunately) one stripped thread. Did I get had? I don’t know. But you have a lovely collection of cutters there, and it’s great to see your plane will be used. Swirt, thanks for the heads-up on the cedar issue.

View Arcola60's profile


105 posts in 2950 days

#5 posted 04-26-2014 12:47 PM

Very nice. I have a Stanley # 55 that was given to me. I do not have all of the cutters. I am in the process of making boxes for my hand tools and small jigs using cedar fence boards. They work really well. I have been lucky to find them on sale, and some are quarter sawn. Dovetailing by hand with cedar is very difficult. I have started using dovetail jigs to cut them in soft woods, much cleaner cuts. The wood is so soft it tears, even with the sharpest chisels. The first one I bought was the EZ pro II 861. A little tweaking and it works great. Next I bought the Milescraft/Stots template master. I have not set it up yet, but I am certain it will work well for me. I like having versatility and options.
Thanks for posting

View GeBeWubya's profile


56 posts in 2602 days

#6 posted 04-26-2014 02:21 PM

Swirt, Thanks for the warning. I knew that eastern red cedar had acidic needles, but I was unaware of the issue with the wood of western cedar. I’ll keep an eye on it!

LeTurbo, I may have paid more than $25 for the plane, but $25 is all I’ll admit to the wife. The cutters have cost me about $200 more. Don’t tell her, ok? I was very lucky to find the boxed set of all 22 of the standard cutters. The 1/8” plough and dado cutter was broken off just below the adjuster hole, but it still works. All the cutters were in excellent condition. I had earlier dug through a box of assorted cutters and picked out a dozen or so that were in good enough shape to sharpen, but I didn’t have a nearly complete set. I now have a few fluting (cove) cutters, two hollow and one round cutter (but no corresponding bottoms) and one reeding cutter from the accessory set of cutters. I also have the slitter, but not the slitter or beader depth stops. Mine came with the 8 1/2” rods, but I found 3/8” steel rod at Lowe’s for $5 for 3 feet. I made up my own 4 1/4” and 12” rods from that stock with a pneumatic cut-off tool, grinder, and stationary belt sander.

Arcola, With a #55, you may NEVER find all the cutters. I think they even had a cutter that made moldings with Andrew Jackson’s profile! (OK, maybe not.) You are so right about the difficulty of dovetailing in cedar. Several times cutting into the end grain parallel to the growth rings, I’d hit a soft spot and one short stoke of the dovetail saw would cut 1/2 to 3/4” deep.

Thanks to all of you for your comments.

-- (- |: \,/

View Schwieb's profile


1896 posts in 4028 days

#7 posted 05-04-2014 12:53 AM

I have a #45 and #55 with quite a few cutters that I am very proud to have but can only imagine how to sharpen, set up, and use. My hat is off to you!!

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View GeBeWubya's profile


56 posts in 2602 days

#8 posted 05-04-2014 04:36 PM

Dr. Ken,

Mein Traum war es nicht zu müssen, um zu arbeiten, und wirklich, harte Arbeit (und viel Glück) hat es wahr machen.

One nice thing about the cutters for the combination planes is their small bevel area. That makes sharpening quicker (if not always easier). I have found a slipstone for sharpening carving tools works well on the hollows and beading cutters. If the flats beside the concave of the beading cutters are sharp, the concave does not need too much attention.

-- (- |: \,/

View Arcola60's profile


105 posts in 2950 days

#9 posted 06-24-2014 03:21 PM

Nice job. I have a #55 with most of the cutters. It was givven to me from a coworker. I owe him. I have been using cedar fence boards to make boxes for my tols, fixtures, jigs, etc. If you go through tham @ the big box stores you can find quartersawn boards. Most of them are knot free! And still under 3 bucks a board.
Everytime I go I usually grab 2 or 3 just to have on hand.
Thanks for posting.

Ellery Becnel

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