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Repair of a plane handle/tote?

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J.A.S

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Dear all,

I've just bought an old (Type 11: 1910-1918) Stanley no.5; this one, in fact: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... RK:MEWA:IT
(sorry, don't know how to do that clever, one-word-link thing)

I'm not too worried about most of the restoration, because I brought my grandfather's no.4 back from rusty limbo, with very pleasing results.
However, I am a little concerned about repairing the tote of my new acquisition. I'll use epoxy, and may well use West System instead of Araldite. I've read a number of online descriptions, including these:
http://www.georgesbasement.com/fixatote.htm , https://home.comcast.net/~rexmill/plane ... handle.htm and Bob Smalser's articles on plane 'rehabbing' and on the repair and refinishing of a gun stock.

Yet, I still have a few questions, and would welcome any help on these:

1. I imagine that, before applying the epoxy, I should give the rosewood a swipe with acetone. Does this need to evaporate completely before the epoxy is applied? That is, would a trace of acetone significantly weaken the bonding potential of the epoxy?

2. Should I fill the gaps at the same time as I glue the handle? My instinct is that I should first glue the handle, wait for the epoxy to cure, and then fill the gaps with a new mix of epoxy. However, would the new epoxy soften the already-cured epoxy?

3. West System offer a number of different thickeners that can be added to the epoxy. Which would be the best for this job? If I do glue, and then fill, should I use a different blend of epoxy and filler?

4. Smalser's articles often refer to epoxy pigment, but the only West System pigments that I can find are black, blue or grey. Does anyone have experience of colouring epoxy? I'd like, as far as possible, to produce an almost-invisible glue line. Could that be achieved by adding sanding dust from the existing rosewood?

5. Smalser suggests that the existing finish should not be removed: rather, the new should be blended with the old. But, if I'm gluing a large section of the tote wouldn't it be better to refinish the whole tote? Moreover, if I need to blend sanding dust with the epoxy, I'll have to remove the finish, won't I?

Thanks for your patience, and I hope that such a long post hasn't produced drowsiness.

On a different note, would anyone be interested in a photo-laden, step-by-step plane restoration and tune? It's been done elsewhere, by Rarebear and Smalser, but I'd be happy to post one, if members think it would be interesting and/or helpful. However, the caveat is that it would not be 'How to'; rather it would just be 'How I do'.

Many thanks.
Jeremy
 

J.A.S

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Aldel,

thanks for your suggestion, but I'd like to repair it: I enjoy doing that sort of thing. If I can't repair the existing tote, I'd prefer to make, rather than buy, a new one, for the same reason.

Jeremy
 

Chris Knight

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Jeremy,
A few thoughts on your questions.

1. A solvent like acetone is always recommended for woods that are difficult to glue owing to oils in the wood. It can't hurt but it helps less than you might imagine. A roughening with 100 grit sandpaper is better - by all means follow this with acetone. It evaporates in a minute or two.

2. I would use a two step approach. The new glue will not soften the previously applied stuff

3. You do need the basic thickener with West system glues - I think it is 403 (they say on their website somewhere). Without this thickener, the glue is too runny and will leak out of the joint in a flash. If you don't want the hassle, use Devcon 2 ton epoxy

4. I wouldn't bother, it will be a thin line anyway. You could use sawdust from some wood like mahogany or walnut but because of the intense "wetting" this can turn the colour very dark. Always experiment if unsure.

5. You can always remove the finish later if need be. I'd repair first and then re-evaluate.


I would be interested in seeing a picture sequence.
 

J.A.S

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Chris,

many thanks for your useful answers.

As you suggest, I'll certainly have a practice first. I may even make a handle, break it, and then try to repair it.

Jeremy
 

DaveL

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Jeremy,

I have never had to repair totes but I have use epoxy for all sorts of gap filling fixups. I can understand why you want to have a go at gluing it up instead of buying a new one. :)

Please post pictures of the planes restoration, I love seeing what the rest you are doing. :D
 

Alf

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Jeremy, no good asking me. I've never done a genuinely invisible repair in my life. :oops: As long as it stays together I'm not fussed; I use Araldite. I also tend to refinish when there's been a break, but usually the totes I seem to get need refinishing anyway. :roll: And for the public record, the plane re-hab would be great. :D

Aldel, the Crown handles aren't bad but they're not a patch on the curvaceousness of the old Stanleys. I've also found the angle on the bolt hole doesn't always match with older Stanleys.

Cheers, Alf

P.S. One, or two, word links like this:
Code:
The #5 1/2 jack on  [url=http://www.cornishworkshop.co.uk/toolchest.html]this page[/url] has a repaired tote.
Gives you:
The #5 1/2 jack on this page has a repaired tote.
 

J.A.S

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Lady and Gentlemen,

many thanks for your thoughts. I think I will make a tote out of similar-coloured timber, break it and glue it, to have some practice.

I'll take some snaps throughout the restoration procedure, and post them with awkward narrative.

There's now greater scope for a restoration post, because I've been very naughty, and also bought this.

If that link works, it'll be a bl**dy miracle!

Edit: B****r me, it works! I did it! :lol: Thanks, Alf.
 
A

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Jeremy

Al I could say has already been said. Epoxy in 2 stages is what I would do. No chance that second application wouls weaken the first

I would indeed like to see a step-by-step photo sequence of the refurbishment

Best of luck
 

Frank D.

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Hi Jeremy,
I rehabbed an old #7, it was a lot of work, then a few weeks later I bumped it off my bench as I was reaching for something. The handle broke and I fixed it with regular epoxy and it worked out fine. Just a word of advice: If the handle doesn't go back together perfectly, which it might not, it's preferrable to leave a gap and have both pieces line up properly than to get rid of the gap but have them misaligned. It's a lot easier to fill the remaining crack than to sand the handle smooth and straight again. ALso make sure you wipe off excess squeeze out while you have the chance (I put a little packing tape around the fix and removed it when dry, so the glue didn't leak out).
Frank D.
 

Derek Cohen (Perth Oz)

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Jeremy

I have repaired a few totes - to the point where I cannot see the repair - and have not gone to anything like the lengths you have outlined here.

Basically, clean any existing glue from the join, then reglue using Titebond II. Try and align as closely as you can. Once dry, sand the tote, begining with 80 grit and working your way through to 600 grit. When levelled, this will remove all traces of any cracks. I use a coat of blond shellac at this point to seal the wood, then a few coats of wax rubbed on with 0000 steel wool.

You should have a silky smooth tote that begs to be held!

Here is an example: cracked and broken rear tote, refinished front tote. Vintage Rosewood.

http://www.woodworkforums.ubeaut.com.au/attachment.php?attachmentid=3096

Regards from Perth

Derek
 

J.A.S

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Tony, Frank and Derek,

thank you for your helpful posts. Derek, you did a super job on that tote, and I'm relieved that you didn't have to go to the trouble that I've suggested.

It's occurred to me that, if refinishing both the tote and the handle, the knob ought to be sanded to a higher grit than the tote, in order to prevent the knob's appearing darker. I've seen a number of planes with this problem, and wonder if it's caused by using end grain for the knob, and using long/cross-grain in the tote. Anyone have thoughts on this?

Jeremy
 

dickm

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Any special reason why so many of you are suggesting epoxy for this job? It seems a very expensive solution compared to, say, Cascamite (whatever it's called now) and I have to confess to not having had great success with epoxy on wood.
 

Frank D.

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Hi Dick,
I've had success with epoxy and wood so far, although it's not an adhesive I use all the time. I've even done repairs to a historical house with it (rotten siding and structure). As to the cost, I wouldn't fix my backyard fence with it but a plane handle shouldn't cost too much. Sorry, I don't know what cascamite is.
Frank D.
 
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