If you have a bench plane with a tote
that looks like the one pictured below, or have
passed up a good deal on a plane because of a broken
tote then please read on.
This article may be the answer to your tote
I have been making replacement knobs and totes
for planes for number of years and through this article hope
to pass on some of the knowledge I have gained over that time.
Making a new tote is not too difficult for the average
woodworker, but explaining the entire process is rather
complicated. So I have chosen to break this article up into
several parts to make it easier to digest.
Part 1 - Making a Tamplate
The first step is to determine the angle of the
tote that you wish to make. This angle is the angle that the
centerline of the through stud hole forms with the base of the
tote. For Stanley #3 and #4 this angle is 26° and on Stanley #4
˝ thru #8 the angle is 27°. And yes 1° does make a difference.
To determine the tote angle for other planes use a protractor to
draw several angles close to what you estimate your tote angle
to be on an 8 ˝ x 11 sheet of white paper. With the tote removed
from your plane loosely screw the tote stud into the plane base.
The actual angle of this stud is 27°.
This method will get you close to the actual angle.
You will find that the stud will move up and
down quite a bit. Now setup the paper with the angles on it
directly behind the plane and sight the stud to one of the
angles on the paper. As seen in the pictures above. Draw more
angles on the paper until you zero in on the angle of the tote
stud with the stud in the lowest position it will go to. Next do
the same thing to determine the angle of the tote stud when held
in it’s most upward position. It is unlikely the plane
manufacturer would use a fraction of an angle so the actual tote
angle would be whatever whole degree comes between the angle the
tote stud forms in the uppermost position and the lowermost
position. Believe me it is a lot more complicated to describe
this process than to do it.
A drawing like this using your tote angle will
aid in designing your tote shape.
This angle is very important. If it isn’t
correct your new tote won’t fit. I suggest that you make a rough
tote to the angle you just determined and check the fit on your
plane. Drill the stud hole oversize to allow plenty of
clearance. I use 5/16” for stud holes on Stanley planes. If your
trial tote doesn’t fit right you can plug the hole and try a new
angle. Do this until you get a good fit.