Today I decided to make a new tote for a plane. This is the first tote I’ve made, so I learned a few things, and I know there will be more. Here is the steps I took.
First i downloaded the templates from Lee Valley.
I then glued to to the blank and cut it to size. Make the grain parallel to the bottom of the template.
I then drilled the holes. Make sure you drill it before you cut it out. First the tote top hole, then I drilled the through hole. I drilled from both sides first, then with a longer bit, cleaned it through. To keep it square I clamped 2 speed squares to each side.
I then drilled the two holes as the template instructions indicate.
Edit: I typically don’t bother drilling the holes anymore. I just cut out the whole thing with the bandsaw. I really haven’t noticed any difference.
Then off to the bandsaw to cut it out.
Then off to the router table with a round over bit. I’ve done this with a rasp as well, but the router is quicker.
Remember to not go all the way around. I marked the area I wanted to round over using a tote as a guide.
Then, i traced the top and the bottom from another tote. Off to the belt sander to round over and form the top and bottom.
A little bit of rasp work.
Off to the spindle sander.
Then a little hand sanding and we’re pretty close. Here it is next to a tote being refinished.
I’ll finish and post the finished picture when available.
Here is the final.
I wound up painting these. I wasn’t sure how’d they come out so I made them out of a couple maple scraps. I wasn’t crazy about the light color.
Edit, some additional experience:
I typically start the countersink hole for the nut, and finish it after shaping to get it exact.
Use the template but a bit of advice. The angle of the threads for bench planes are not exact. Check the angle against your plane before shaping it and get it exact. We’ve all seen bent tote rods. That bend is to compensate for the difference in the angle. (I learned this from a fellow LJ). I slightly modify the tote to reflect the exact angle before cutting the thing out.
I also struggled to get the front hole on a #5 and larger plane. I’ve found the easiest way to get it exact is with a broken sole. I dropped a #5 on the concrete and shattered it way beyond repair. I was heart broken, but it became my ’’front hole template’’. I drilled a pilot hole all the way through, and now just hook up the tote and drill it exact.
For sanding I have an old transitional frame. I hook up the tote, hold the frame in the vice, and can sand with a long piece of paper (like a lath strip). Any base would work, but the transitional frame doesn’t have the wider hump to get in the way.
As with all woodworking, make more than one at a time to save time
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