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By sploo
#1029179
I've been collecting a number of old Stanley and Record hand planes, but as some have pretty sad looking handles I wanted to try to make some replacements. Starting with the templates here http://www.leevalley.com/us/wood/page.aspx?p=63262, I put together a single image that contained both a #4 and a #5 drawing, squashed together so I could cut them from a smaller sheet of stock.

I don't have all the required imperial forstner bits, so I added centres to the drawings for some of the nearest metric equivalents.

The purpose of this thread is mostly in the hope it'll help others; I previously cut some prototypes from pine, and made adjustments to my process as a result. Needless to say there were more "learning points" with the actual build.

I got some 200x200x50mm bubinga, which I resawed and hand planed down to the required 15/16" thickness. I then glued two templates to the stock:

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From lessons learned with the prototypes, I used a small diameter drill bit to cut a reasonable distance into both the top and bottom ends for the main fixing bolt:

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The plans call for a 7/16" (11.1125mm) drill for the nut at the top of the tote. I found that was a bit tight, so I used an 11.5mm bit - the pilot hole diameter was chosen to hopefully guide the tip of that bit:

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That looked to work well - the smallest hole is the pilot, and next is the 11.5mm tip, and the rest is obviously the 11.5mm pocket:

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I then drilled the bolt hole. The plans call for 5/16" (7.9375mm) but I found a 7mm bit is more than enough, with plenty of "wiggle room" for the bolt.

When cutting the pockets and holes at the bottom of the totes on the prototypes I had problems with the drill bits entering the stock at an angle - especially the forstner required for the #4. So I cut away some of the stock, parallel to the bottoms of the totes, and then use the marking gauge, square and knife to find the drill points:

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When I drilled the large forstner holes on the prototype I got a bit of blow-out on the opposite faces. It didn't matter that much as the edges are rounded, but this time I drilled small pilot holes through in order to use the forstner bits from both sides:

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I then drilled the bottom pockets (note: I used a 15mm bit as I didn't have a 9/16", and found 14mm was too tight):

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And the results... were terrible:

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The problem is that, despite everything being clamped really well (and using a very high quality bit) the 7mm bolt hole undermines the cut as it causes the forstner to "fall" into the wrong path.

Hindsight #1: If I made more in the future I think I'd leave just the small pilot hole for the bolt at the bottom end, and cut the stock parallel to the bottoms much closer to the line. That way there's less chance of a small out of square issue meaning the pockets end up in the wrong place, and less chance of the forstner wandering. The bolt hole could then be finished to 7mm as it's much less critical at the bottom in terms of looks (and more forgiving in terms of being a mm or so out - the pockets however need to be exactly right for the stubs on the plane casting).

Alternatively, if it looks as though you've got the stock really nice and square in both planes on the drill press, I'd be tempted to drill the bolt hole down from the top only, and stop just as you break into the space that'll be removed by the 9/16" (or 15mm) forstner bit. That way there'd be no hole in the bottom to affect the forstner (at least until it's nearly finished the cut) and if the bolt hole is a mm or so off at the bottom you'll probably get away with it.


The stock ready for the bandsaw:

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Once cut out with the bandsaw (a good 1-2mm away from the lines) I cleaned up the convex curves on the disc sander, and the concave on the bobbin sander (for the observant: yes, I was too lazy to change the base ring as I used different sanding sleeves):

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Hindsight #2: The forstner cuts from both sides didn't line up perfectly (0.5mm or so off), so actually just created more sanding work. If you have a bobbin sander with suitable diameter sleeves I'd be tempted to save time by not using the forstners, and just rough cut the shapes with the bandsaw - the bobbin sander will deal with the concave curves just fine.

A shot of the #5 and #4 bubinga totes, with an original #5 1/2, an original plastic #4, and the pine prototypes:

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Looking at the originals, the vast majority of the roundovers are 1/2" radius. That's a small problem as 15/16" stock means you can't safely use a bearing guided round over bit to full depth (think about it). The very top sections and toes seemed to work better with a 9.5mm (3/8") round over - though the flat toe section on the #5 is not touched at all.

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Despite taking a lot of shallow passes on the router table, and careful climb cuts at the ends, I did get some chipping on the bottoms. I held some scrap against the bottoms for subsequent cuts to alleviate the problem.

Note that it is possible to hold these on a router table but you need to be really concious of where your fingers are, and which way the material would get pulled if it kicks. Do a few dry runs with the router off, and ensure you've never got a finger hooked over an edge - it's very tempting for control, but suicidal for your digits.

The end results weren't bad:

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Hindsight #3: When cutting out the shapes on the bandsaw, I'd leave a bit of material (~3mm height, maybe 5-10mm long) sticking out below the heel, and a similar "horn" above the front/top. After rounding the edges over you'd bandsaw them off and use the disc sander to smooth the top and bottom face - it means any router bit chipping would happen on those waste stubs. If that's not clear, put a paper cut out on your router table and see where you'd be at risk of chipping. The only downside of that approach is that you can't test fit the totes to the plane until you've gotten this far. However, unless you've massively screwed up, you should find they'll fit (even if you need to take a small rasp to your bottom pockets on the #4).

That's as far as I've got for the moment. I think the chipping (fortunately to the bottoms of the heels only) is repairable. Next it'll be a lot of rasp and file work do the final shaping - but they do feel OK in the hand already.

EDIT: If you want to skip straight to the "done" post, it's here: post1040556.html#p1040554
Last edited by sploo on 04 Mar 2016, 23:00, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By Pete Maddex
#1029231
Very similar to what I do, drilling the counter bores first and leaving some meat incase of breakout. I drill the bolt hole from both ends with a long brad point drill.
I do all my shaping by hand with rasps etc it dosen't take long to do.

Pete
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By custard
#1029243
What a clear and well documented account!

=D>

The paragraph about the router table made me shudder though! It would be really quick and simple to make a couple of jigs (one for each side) that held the workpiece with toggle cramps and end stops, but that gave run-in and run-out surfaces for the bearing and also kept your fingers well away from the cutter! In fact if you did that accurately enough it would replace the entire bobbin sanding section of the job, you'd just bandsaw 1.5mm oversize and form the final shape plus the round over on the router table. In fact my advice would be, either go the router route complete with jigs, or go the rasp/sanding route, but don't mix the two.
By GLFaria
#1029344
Great post, thanks.
Be aware that, as LV state in their instructions, there may be some dimensional diferences, both between nominally sized Stanley planes and between actual planes and their plans. Better check this carefully before starting cutting and drilling. Guess how I found out (too late...)

G.
By Bedrock
#1029413
Very helpful post, but I'm am with Pete Maddex on this. I reckon that rough shaping with a sharp chisel, followed by rasps and sanding, is quick, peaceful, and less dangerous. Also allows for a little free thinking, if that's what you want.
By sploo
#1029414
No pics from today, but I have achieved:

Hindsight #4: On the pine prototypes I cut the 11.5mm holes for the nuts a bit too deep, so I erred on the side of caution, with the thinking that I could deepen the holes once I'd shaped the totes. That's not a great idea, as it's much harder to safely deepen a hole of that diameter - especially when your centre material is now gone (due to the 7mm bolt hole). I made a (recoverable) mess of one tote in the process. Take home message: it's easy to add a few washers if your holes are too deep.

I also flattened the areas of chip out on the heels; either as a chamfer or in one case I used the edge of the file to create a 90 degree triangular wedge recess. In both cases it's then easy to get a bit of flat square stock and superglue patches in place. I've not finished cleaning those up but I think I've matched the colour and grain sufficiently that they won't be obvious.


Pete Maddex wrote:I do all my shaping by hand with rasps etc it dosen't take long to do.

I don't trust my carving skills enough to get a decent shape by hand with rasps - hence the use of the router to do the majority of the rounding over.


custard wrote:The paragraph about the router table made me shudder though! It would be really quick and simple to make a couple of jigs (one for each side) that held the workpiece with toggle cramps and end stops, but that gave run-in and run-out surfaces for the bearing and also kept your fingers well away from the cutter! In fact if you did that accurately enough it would replace the entire bobbin sanding section of the job, you'd just bandsaw 1.5mm oversize and form the final shape plus the round over on the router table. In fact my advice would be, either go the router route complete with jigs, or go the rasp/sanding route, but don't mix the two.

I was in two minds when I wrote the section about using the router table. I've spent way too many hours standing over a router table, so have a pretty good idea of what's likely to happen where. That said, I cringe whenever I see someone get within 6" of a table saw blade, and always use push sticks myself.

I suppose it is a case of familiarity breeding... not contempt, but perhaps not enough caution. With hindsight, some push sticks or blocks with rubber or sandpaper would have worked (you really want to be able to control the totes in terms of pulling them away as well as pushing, so it helps to feather the cuts slightly.

A jig with toggle clamps would also be an excellent idea.

I have been spending some time in recent weeks thinking of the best way to cut these. I have a CNC machine, so with appropriate stock, it would be trivial to get parts to the stage after the bobbin sander (when doing it by hand) - i.e. go from sheet stock straight to cut outs ready for rounding over. With a little more work, it would be possible to do the rounding over on the CNC machine. But the big problem with this is that you wouldn't have any of the drilled holes or pockets, and it'd be much harder to do them on an shaped piece.

I suppose I could cut a jig of the same thickness, with a hole in the middle exactly the shape of the tote (into which you'd place a tote) and with guide holes drilled at the top and bottom of the jig (a bit like a pocket hole jig) you could get accurate drilling into the tote. It's probably only worth the effort if I were batching lots out for sale, but even if I wanted to I still don't think I could make them economically.


GLFaria wrote:Be aware that, as LV state in their instructions, there may be some dimensional diferences, both between nominally sized Stanley planes and between actual planes and their plans. Better check this carefully before starting cutting and drilling. Guess how I found out (too late...)

Indeed. My (IRC) 1990s #4 seems to have the main bolt hole at a slightly different angle - but the hole is just wide enough to get away with it. Both the #4 and #5 designs are at least 2mm taller than my originals (my #4 1/2 and #5 1/2 are 1960s vintage). The #4 has a very slightly different curve too.

Another case in point is that I have a couple of spare bolts and nuts for #4 planes from Faithful. The nuts are much more domed on top than any of my planes, so in the same depth hole they would stick out of the top of the tote slightly. All stuff to consider.
User avatar
By custard
#1029423
sploo wrote:With a little more work, it would be possible to do the rounding over on the CNC machine. But the big problem with this is that you wouldn't have any of the drilled holes or pockets, and it'd be much harder to do them on an shaped piece.


There is another option for drilling the holes.

Lamp.jpg


This was an apprentice piece I made, it's basically an octagonal lamp constructed chiefly by spokeshave. The upright column needed to be drilled to take an electric cable, but drills always drift and wobble over a long length, and there was little room for error. So the best way was to take a length of timber, rip it down the middle, plane the sawn surfaces true, route out a matching groove in each half, and then glue the two halves back together again. The glue line is virtually invisible and you're left with a perfectly centred hole running accurately through the column. It would be possible to make the tote hole using the same principle.

Just a thought.
By sploo
#1029430
custard wrote:So the best way was to take a length of timber, rip it down the middle, plane the sawn surfaces true, route out a matching groove in each half, and then glue the two halves back together again. The glue line is virtually invisible and you're left with a perfectly centred hole running accurately through the column. It would be possible to make the tote hole using the same principle.

That's an interesting idea. In the absence of a 5 axis CNC machine, anyway. The only issue might be trying to scoop out half of a 7mm diameter hole from the side for the stub on a #4 casting (though a small bullnose bit might work).

Nice lamp BTW :wink:
By Vann
#1029453
As others have said, I think this is a great tutorial, and I wonder if it shouldn't go into the tool restoration sticky.

Like shed9, I've been intending to make a few new totes myself. About three years ago I bought all the correct size Forstner bits, and the longest 7mm brad point I could find. But, while waiting for international purchases to arrive, I glued my existing totes back together - and am still using them :oops:

Cheers, Vann.
By Austinisgreat
#1029462
Having just picked up several old planes from the bay this is superb information. Thanks to the O/P and also Custard for his usual additional interesting information. I have some rippled sycamore which might just make some nice totes. (Subject to operator error - of course!!)

Cheers

Andrew
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By Pete Maddex
#1029475
I did have the idea of making a laminated handle with the middle pieces cross grain to add strength, but I never got round to it.
I would be interesting to see if it works.
Pete
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By AndyT
#1029487
Vann wrote:As others have said, I think this is a great tutorial, and I wonder if it shouldn't go into the tool restoration sticky.

Cheers, Vann.


Agreed, and done.

Don't forget to nominate other useful cleaning and restoration posts for inclusion in the sticky.
User avatar
By custard
#1029489
Here's a photo of how Bill Ritner holds the tote for router work

Router Tote.jpg


Better than holding the workpiece by hand, but there's no lead-in or lead-out, and the angled wedge piece won't make for the most secure grip. Personally I'd still go the toggle cramp route.

Lots of good stuff in Bill's blog and web site by the way,

https://newbritainboy.wordpress.com/page/8/

http://www.hardwarecitytools.com