Stanley #5 Tote Restoration

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    Matt McGrane

    I’ve had these two Stanley #5’s for a couple years now and use them often. But both had broken horns (not certain if that’s the right term) on the handle/tote, making it uncomfortable to hold. I’ve been using a glove when using these planes.

    Finally I got around to fixing them. I don’t happen to have any rosewood, so I used the darkest wood I had – walnut. On the first one, the fix is very obvious so I stained the walnut part on the second one and it’s a bit harder to tell a repair has been done. Also, as long as I was repairing them, I scraped and sanded off the old finish and refinished the whole thing.

    I had to plane off the broken area of the tote and I made a little “sled” to plane the top off cleanly and close to parallel with the bottom. The sled was just two equal sized scraps of pine, on which I made identical rabbets on one edge. In the vise, I clamped the tote in between the two boards, with the amount of tote that I wanted to remove showing above the shoulder of the rabbet. The two rabbets made a ramp or sled for a block plane and it was quick work to clean up the broken area of the tote.

    After gluing on a walnut piece, I drew a horn pattern to guide my shaping with saw, rasp, file, scraper and sandpaper. I finished with two coats of BLO, then 3-4 coats of a BLO/Tung oil/poly blend and a coat of paste wax. On one of the planes, I also refinished the front knob

    I’m so happy with how they turned out. Incredibly comfortable now. Wish I hadn’t waited so long. One challenge was in getting the hole in the top the right size. Since I covered the existing hole with the new wood, I carefully drilled small holes and used a round rasp to widen the hole to match the original.

    Matt, Northern California - Started a blog in 2016:

    Maurice Villari

    Lovely looking totes.
    It’s strangely satisfying to look at the before and after pictures. It justifies the hours of fiddly work spent.

    Frank Joseph

    Matt looking good you have come a long way


    In South Jersey the good part of New Jersey, USA.

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