Replacement Tote

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Project by drsurfrat posted 02-12-2021 12:30 PM 896 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It’s sad to have a de-horned tote on a plane. Might be original, but definitely not comfortable to use.

I got a board that was used for something like a wheelbarrow ramp, but turned out to be full 4/4 walnut. Not enough to make furniture, but ideal to use for replacement handles. I have a collection of Stanley planes, so could get templates off of many types and sizes of totes. I traced and cut them out on my horribly cheap bandsaw, then carved, filed and sanded down to 320 grit. I worked in Danish oil for about 15 minutes by hand (the only warmth in the basement) and now they feel velvety.

The walnut is more similar to rosewood than I thought it would be, perhaps without that slight red tint. The grain is similar, and while it is not as hard, it still seems that it will be a tough enough handle. It is gunstock material after all.

This isn’t an efficient process, I think I put about 10 hours into this one. And I can’t figure out how to not chip the edges of the brass nut hole. I might change the grain direction to follow the angle of the horn, not the base like all others.

-- Mike (near Boston) ... Laziness is the mother of invention, necessity is the mother of exhaustion - me

10 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7995 posts in 1747 days

#1 posted 02-12-2021 12:55 PM

I can think of two solutions to avoid that chipping. One would be to drill the hole before cutting that part of the tote. That way, you’ll chip a piece of wood you’re going to later cut off, anyhow. The second would be to use a spoon bit and start the hole at a slightly different angle, then switch to the correct angle once you have the edges of the hole established.

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View hockeyfan_019's profile


69 posts in 397 days

#2 posted 02-12-2021 01:18 PM

Another idea I’ve used for the same purpose, hot-glue a sacrificial piece of scrap over the location for the hole, then drill through it into the premium material that you want chip-free. After drilling, pop off the scrap and you’re left with a nice chip-free surface.

I’ve actually also made several replacement plane grips like you have shown here, with walnut, and despite the concern about the grain direction, all seem to be plenty strong. I suspect that the broken ones were likely the result of the combination of old-overly-dry-untreated wood, plus abuse and neglect. Mine are holding up fine. But, I may make the next ones from hard maple or ipe or cocobolo, something less likely to fracture along a grain line, and then they’ll likely outlive the sole plates. I suppose you could also use some walnut with a more knotty-less-straight grain, but it’ll still be weaker than the others I mentioned.

-- Most of my tools are older than I am

View Oldtool's profile


3273 posts in 3355 days

#3 posted 02-12-2021 01:36 PM

Great job, looks like an original.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

View Andre's profile


4623 posts in 2971 days

#4 posted 02-12-2021 02:52 PM

Nice Job, I just buy a New Plane :) Walnut works real nice for Saw Handles!

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View HokieKen's profile


18475 posts in 2303 days

#5 posted 02-12-2021 02:57 PM

Excellent work Mike! I love the shot showing the progression from bandsaw to finished tote :-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View DBwoods's profile


38 posts in 564 days

#6 posted 02-12-2021 03:02 PM

Those look great, I picked up an old plane with a broken tote and tried to make a new one. It worked, but didn’t look anywhere near as nice as those. I eventually ended up planing flats on all the breaks and gluing in new wood then smoothing all the transitions.

-- At some point in your life you will use everyone of your tools as a hammer.

View grovemadman's profile


963 posts in 4936 days

#7 posted 02-12-2021 03:12 PM

I need to make one of these for my no. 4 Bailey. I think I might use a piece of Ipe or some Brazilian cherry I have laying around. Nice job!

-- "It is the job of the woodworker to hide his mistakes and keep a tight set of lips about them!"--Chuck

View poopiekat's profile


4959 posts in 4899 days

#8 posted 02-12-2021 10:13 PM

Seriously great looking tote!! I’ve added exotic wood to totes that are missing the horn, and I found the best way to get a good hole bored is to follow up your 1/4” through-hole with a step-bit, being sure to stop at the diameter of your brass barrel nut. Then take the appropriately-sized brad point bit down to the proper depth so that the top of the barrel nut is just proud of the tote.

I’ve tried making polysiloxane molds and using casting epoxy, and it creates usable totes. I’ve used random bits of rosewood from wrecked totes, casting them in the same molds with epoxy, with iffy results.

As soon as I can get away, I’ll get some 5/4 stock and use a large thumbnail bit. I’ve noticed that a thumbnail creates the perfect ovoid shape (in cross-section) on a sawn 5/4 board bandsawn to the Lee Valley tote template. Just gotta waste some more material as I tweak the template profile, then I’ll be developing a procedure for shaping the tote. It should bring the elapsed time down to a fraction of an hour apiece if I do a half dozen or so at a time. Glad of that, I need about 30 to replace all the busted ones I have.

But I digress, your totes exemplify some major skills!!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Jeff's profile


218 posts in 550 days

#9 posted 02-13-2021 04:25 AM

Very nice. I need to make one for a Stanley #3.

View Keebler1's profile


1643 posts in 872 days

#10 posted 02-13-2021 04:29 PM

nice work.

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