I have a #5 with a cracked tote that was repaired with less than what I would term "precision". I'm thinking I should just make a new tote, so I'm looking for any advice prior to starting this project.
I'm thinking I'll just trace the outline of the tote on an piece of stock (oak is what I've got on hand) of appropriate thickness, cut it out with a jig saw, and then use a rasp to shape it and round the corners. The only thing I'm not sure how to do is bore the hole through the tote for the threaded rod. I don't have a drill press, though this would be a great excuse to get one. Even if I did, how would I get the appropriate angle/location of the hole, and how would I make such a long hole - I'd have to have something with a quill stroke of at least, what, four or five inches? Do you just get a long enough bit, drill as far down as you can, then raise the table with the bit in the hole, then drill the rest of the way? How do you handle the angle and location precisely?
Like I said, any advice is welcome. Also, if you know of a good place to buy a replacement after I screw this one up... ;-).
I replaced the tote on one of my no. 4's a while back. I drew the profile out but left extra stock at the bottom and top of the tote so I could drill the hole at a right angle and then drilled form both ends. I do have a drill press so it was easier.
Without a drill press I would still leave the wood square with the hole, mark out where you want the hole on both ends and drill as carefully as possible from botth ends. If the holes arent lined up exactly but are close (you can see light through it) ream out the hole enough to get the bolt through. Drill the larger counter sunk hole on the top for the bolt head. then stick a dowel or pencil through the hole and use this to align placement of the handle for transfering your pattern.
For a guaranteed "match" in the center, where the two bored holes should meet end-to-end, try this:
Make yourself a little board with a slightly coutersinked hole in it that fits a dowel center. Clamp this board to the drill-press table (or to your bench, if you're using a handheld drill) - if on the drill press, mount it exactly centered under the quill. How to center it? Well - use your imagination. I've used long drill bits and round steel rod with the end ground to a point (chucked into a hand drill, ground on a belt sander) and LOTS of other things. Center it, any way it comes to you to center it. Hand drill doesn't need that centering.
Next, centerpunch both ends of the blank exactly where you want the holes to enter / exit the blank. They're gonna meet exactly between those two centerpunch marks.
Now, hold one centerpunched "dimple" in the dowel center while you drill as far as you can into the blank from one side. While you're at it, drill another hole with the same drill bit in your block of wood (the one with the dowel center in it). Dig up a little bitty length of dowel the same diameter, and cram it into that last hole you drilled next to the dowel center. If you're using a drill press, now ya gotta center the DOWEL under the quill.
Flipflop the workpiece and cram the halfway-hole down over the dowel, which should be sticking up just a little way. Now you've got a centerpunched dimple looking up at your drill, right? Start drilling.
Provided you're drilling straight toward the dowel point in the first place (if you've got a drill press and located it accurately, you've got not CHOICE) and toward the little dowel in the second place (same holds true again), you should break through perfectly centered in the middle of your workpiece.
It's a whole lot simpler than it sounds from the above description. I use this technique, thanks to Limey's wisdom, to drill 7mm bores in overlong pen blanks. I've drilled accurate 7mm diameter holes in blanks as thin as 3/8" square.
By it's design the Tote is going to have two areas of short grain, these areas are very easily cracked and broken...look at where all the old totes break.
Unless the oak you have is Japanese Oak ,,which I doubt ..then I believe you will have disappointment waiting for you round the corner..
A better choice would be a hard close grained wood such as rock maple.
I'd hate for you to spend hours make this little devil and then have it break soon after.
FWIW, I agree with Limey on not using Oak for the tote. Stanley and most other metallic plane makers went from Rosewood to Beech around the Second World War, Birch would also work.
The main cause for the tote breaking, though, is from it being loose and/or hogging off too much wood with a dull iron (one of the reasons why it's so hard to find a vitage scrub plane with it's tote still intact). So, it's always a good idea to check the tote and knob to make sure they are tight; change in the humidity will cause movement.
Sometimes re-gluing with expoxy then sanding the tote is the easier fix, just make sure that if the tote rod is bent that you straighten it...
Thanks for the advice. The only reason I would choose Oak is because that's what I have some scrap of in the shop.
The thought had occurred to me to attempt to repair the repair. However, although the person who made the original repair didn't line up the two halves very well, he did use one mother-ducker of an adhesive. I'd have to saw the tote in half at the joint, and then I'd have to resharpen my saw! Seriously, though, I presume I'd have problems if I did saw the tote in half to reglue it...it seems that being 1/8" shorter would make the threaded rod a bit too long.
Maybe I can sweet talk someone down at the lumber yard to let me run off with a tiny little section of hard maple...