Just plain (plane) handles

  • Advertise with us
Project by Shopsmithtom posted 2412 days ago 4957 views 2 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Just plain (plane) handles
Just plain (plane) handles No picture No picture No picture No picture No picture
Zoom Pictures

Lately, I’ve added several new (old) wood planes to my not-yet-built tool box. A lot of older Stanleys can be had for reasonable prices via E-bay, but many have broken/repaired totes, so I decided to try my hand at making them for one of my planes, a Stanley # 4.
I got the idea to try while at a Rockler store where they had a bin of various wood cutoffs that were pretty cheap. (for anyone who might have seen any of my previous projects, you’ll remember that cheap seems to the place I come from…heck, I think I was born & raised there, actually)
I bought a couple of blocks of kingwood that I was told was in the rosewood family, cost about $4.00 for both pieces, and thought I’d try some plane handles.
I traced the general shape of the rear tote and band sawed it out, then used a drum sander bring it down to shape, followed by hand sanding. The drilling was done using the old Shopsmith and making a jig by running my drill through the Stanley handle to get the correct angle, then locking it in place. I then made a small jig/block to hold the new piece in that position. I backed the drill out, and put my piece in & locked it down and drilled.This would have been just great, except that the drill I used wandered some and exited about 3/8” off center.
At this point, after taking several long, deep breaths, I resisted the urge to throw the handle against the concrete wall and then jump up & down on it until it was a pile of splinters.
Instead, (the aging process must have actually mellowed me out a bit) since I had drilled a 1/4” hole, I glued a 1/4” dowel in the hole and bought a shorter, better drill, and I re-drilled it… and it worked.
The front tote was turned, using a split Stanley knob as a guideline. I used a coat of Varathane cabernet stain, but that looked too red, so I applied a second coat of walnut, and finished with linseed oil.
I wasn’t sure which way to run the grain for the rear tote, and since the Stanley totes seem the have it horizontal, and they all seem to break that way, I thought I’d try it the other way. I like the look better, and if it breaks, I guess I’ll just make another the other way. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

20 comments so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 2668 days

#1 posted 2412 days ago

That’s quite an attractive handle.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Karson's profile


34870 posts in 3032 days

#2 posted 2412 days ago

Excellent job. a nice set of wooden handles to the used plane.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View Dano's profile


222 posts in 2663 days

#3 posted 2412 days ago

SST, is that a no 3? I have been working on one that was my Great Granddads which is a 3C. I have tried to refinish the totes but his initials are engraved on them and to make them look right I would have to sand them down to far so this gives me an idea to make new ones to use and keep the originals safely away. Nice work.

-- Dan in Central Oklahoma, Able to turn good wood into saw dust in the blink of an eye!

View RobG's profile


71 posts in 2453 days

#4 posted 2412 days ago

Nice job on the handles, now just add an aftermarket iron and you’ll bee making shavings that make paper look thick!!

-- Woodworking is Life. Anything before or after is just waiting.--S. McQueen sort of

View koolychik's profile


2 posts in 2433 days

#5 posted 2412 days ago

I like the looks of your handles. Were you able to use the original screws?

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

3963 posts in 2695 days

#6 posted 2412 days ago

Super job, I just cheesed out and got the Crown replacement set for a #410 Sargent I’m rehabbing. I’ve been creatively stuck today, even though it’s only metal work that needs doing today. Thanks for the kick in the pants.
Time to get back on the horse.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2625 days

#7 posted 2412 days ago

Nice job, SST! Way to recover from a disappointing experience.

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Shopsmithtom's profile


780 posts in 2826 days

#8 posted 2412 days ago

I was able to use the original screws. The rear tote is a bit thicker than the Stanley I used for the model, and I think it lacks a little of the really nice graceful Stanley flow. That’s because I traced the shape a little on the generous side, not wanting to cut too much off my blank. Next time I’ll make it somewhat leaner.
I even thought about trying to make custom fit to my hand, but decided that a more generic style was ultimately a better choice. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 2506 days

#9 posted 2412 days ago

Gorgeous handle!

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 2792 days

#10 posted 2412 days ago

beautiful handle
and you got a new drill out of it as well?

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View cajunpen's profile


14378 posts in 2697 days

#11 posted 2412 days ago

Wow – that really makes that plane look new.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Tomcat1066's profile


942 posts in 2427 days

#12 posted 2412 days ago

Great looking tote!

-- "Give me your poor tools, your tired steel, your huddled masses of rust." Yep, I ripped off the Statue of Liberty. That's how I roll!

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2593 days

#13 posted 2412 days ago

That is some pretty wood. Well done.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View snowdog's profile


1132 posts in 2614 days

#14 posted 2412 days ago

That looks great, I need to start looking on ebay.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View Hawgnutz's profile


526 posts in 2708 days

#15 posted 2411 days ago

Very skill full job and a BEAUTIFUL set of totes! You gotta love them “scrap” bins at Rockler and Woodcraft! We all make mistakes, but it takes a skilled craftsman to correct them so they don’t show, or seem part of the design. You pulled that off great!

I agree, I like the grain going up/down on the rear tote, too. Please keep us all informed how that change of grain direction works out.

God Bless,

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

showing 1 through 15 of 20 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics :: gardening showcase