Loose Tote on used Stanley No 5

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by brtech posted 02-01-2013 02:26 PM 2955 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View brtech's profile


883 posts in 2345 days

02-01-2013 02:26 PM

Topic tags/keywords: plane stanley tote

Bought a used Stanley No 5 plane from ebay. Decent price, good transaction, and the plane is in pretty good shape although the blade looks like it was sharpened with a hand file!

Anyway, it has a weird problem. The long screw on the tote seems too long – it bottoms out before the handle is tight on the casting. It’s only a little loose, but it’s loose. The screw has one washer. The small screw seems to work correctly.

It’s certainly possible this plane has mismatched parts, but what do I do to fix it? My standard #10 washers fit on the shaft but are too big for the hole. I could cut the screw down, but that doesn’t seem right.

This plane will replace a new Groz that I bought in a sale at Woodcraft. Lousy plane, poor castings, poor fit on the frog, adjuster doesn’t work right, and on and on. Even with the loose handle, the used Stanley is way ahead of the new Groz.

11 replies so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3641 days

#1 posted 02-01-2013 03:35 PM

Are you sure the screw is bottoming out on both the bed of the plane as well as in the brass fitting at the top? It could just be the the threads are a bit messed up and it’s not really screwing in all the way on one end or the other.

If that’s not the case, it’s most likely that someone just replaced the screw at some point with a slightly longer one from another plane. It’s also possible that the tote itself was replaced with one that was slightly shorter than the original. Either way, I see no harm in cutting the screw down a bit.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Dave's profile


11394 posts in 2263 days

#2 posted 02-01-2013 03:38 PM

I agree with Charlie. Keep in mind that Stanley threads are not standard threads. If you cut it take great care.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View brtech's profile


883 posts in 2345 days

#3 posted 02-01-2013 03:52 PM

The screw I have is one piece, no brass insert like that on my No 7. Perhaps that’s part of the problem. I should be able to cut the screw down, I do that often enough in my armory work.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16229 posts in 3641 days

#4 posted 02-01-2013 04:12 PM

Yeah, the problem is that your screw is not the original. Cut it down, and you can always keep an eye on eBay for an original replacement, or just an old junker plane you can steal parts from.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View bandit571's profile


14084 posts in 2106 days

#5 posted 02-01-2013 06:24 PM

I have had a couple of those style of bolts. Usually I find one lock washer, AND at least one regular washer under the hean of the bolt. One even had three washers! Take the tote off, but leave the bolt in it, check to see how much of the bolt sticks down below the tote. Consider a washer as another shim.

This is a bolt from a Companion #4 by Stanley. It had a washer under the head of that long bolt. Washers are easier to use than cutting a bolt down. Sometimes the bolt would get too short. Try the washer first.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View ShaneA's profile


6424 posts in 2021 days

#6 posted 02-01-2013 06:48 PM

I have cut a few threads off in the past, “chamfer” the edge a bit to make sure the threads are clean and true around where you cut or ground from.

View Lynn Bradford.'s profile

Lynn Bradford.

68 posts in 1285 days

#7 posted 11-28-2013 01:45 AM

I bought a Stanley No. 4 off eBay. Great shape. But it has a loose tote. No brass fitting at the top. I read on another forum where a similar problem was had with a No. 3, probably from the tote loosening, and the owner tightening the screw, compressing the wood in the tote.

I thought the thread was a 1/4-20, but then read that Stanley used their own unusual threads. I tried a fender washer underneath, and it snugged it up, but I do not like the look of a shiny washer, plus only supporting it where the washer is, looks like another problem about to happen.

I saw where shortening the screw was a solution, so I may fire up the grinder and bump the screw to it.


-- Lynn Bradford | Indiana | A poor excuse is better than none.

View Brad's profile


1129 posts in 2163 days

#8 posted 03-02-2014 06:55 PM

Loose totes that shift left and right during use are a common problem I have found.

In the past, I’ve cranked down the brass nut so that it is extremely tight. Sometimes that worked. But I found out (the hard way) that over tightening nuts like that can crack the rosewood tote clean in half. So I don’t do that anymore.

I’ve also tried filing the tote bolt. But again, I’ve still had to put a lot of torque on the nut to secure the tote. I don’t like altering the original bolt either, so I don’t do that any more.

Instead, I borrowed a trick from Paul Sellers. He uses rubberized kitchen shelf paper. And I like his solution a lot because I can use “normal” torque on the nut. In use, it holds the tote firm—no back and forth movement. And I don’t worry any more about cracking totes. Here’s Paul’s picture.

Simply cut holes for the “front tote nib” or screw hole. Then cut out material to accommodate the large seating nib to the rear of the tote. For aesthetic reasons, I trim the shim so that I can’t see it.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View bluplanet's profile


37 posts in 2085 days

#9 posted 03-03-2014 07:22 AM

Sometimes problems like this can be caused by the plane being used for a long time with a loose screw.
The wobbling and twisting tote would not wear evenly on the bottom against the bed. The perimeter of the tote would wear faster because of pressure from wobbling. Another issue is that the previous owner may have lost the washer. The washer prevents wear on the top end of the tote when the screw is tightened. With no washer, the counterbore in the top would wear deeper when the screw is tightened.
So the first thing is to make sure the tote sits flat on the bed with no wobble when there’s no screw in it.
You might have to dress the bottom of the tote to get a good fit. Of course, that might make the tote even looser when the screw is tight.
You might have to add extra washers.
But if the counterbore is worn too deep, you can repair it with epoxy and re-drill and re-counterbore it.

View anneb3's profile


35 posts in 976 days

#10 posted 03-04-2014 01:12 AM

Just happen to have some of that rubberized kitchen shelf stuff sitting around taking up space. I have read enough about Stanley’s weird threads to know not to fiddle with them.

View ColonelTravis's profile


1159 posts in 1317 days

#11 posted 03-04-2014 02:23 AM

Brad that’s great stuff via Mr. Sellers, thanks.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

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