Re-Tote Your Bench Plane (Part 3)

Here is a wooden jack plane, it has minimal checking and no major cracks. With a bit of time and a new tote this could be a very nice user. Original cost of plane was $6.50 add a few more dollars for the quarter sawn beech for the tote and a bit for finish and wax. Out of pocket well under the $10 mark.

Wooden jack plane missing tote.

I made a template from another open tote jack plane I had laying around. Transferred it to a piece of quarter sawn beech. Then at the drill press I drilled out the inside curves with a Forstner bit.

Holes drilled on drill press.

At the band saw I cut away all the waste material.

Waste removed at bandsaw.

Next I drew in some lines on the surfaces that needed material removed. This helps remind me which surfaces need material removed and approximately how much.

Lines drawn to guide waste removal.

With assistance from a wooden screw clamp and a vise its quite easy to hold the work and turn it quickly with minimal interruption. This also puts the work up at a comfortable working height for me.

Wooden screw clamps used while shaping tote.

Once I get the shape close I work on the fitting of the tote to the body. At this stage the fit is close but not perfect, I certainly wouldn’t drive it in with a hammer yet.

Initial fitting of tote.

The final shaping is done on the handle and it is sanded smooth. At this stage I had to make my final decision on what I was going to do with the body of the plane. Once again I took the drastic approach and planed off all the dirt, grime and patina. While I often hesitate at this stage to be this aggressive with a plane, I rarely regret it. The old quarter sawn beech comes alive once again. The strike button was severely damaged and I made the call to make a new one and replace it. While at the lathe I made two strike buttons, the second was for a wooden smoother. I flattened the sole of the jack plane at this time too.

Tote shaped and sanded.

Directly after planing down the body I apply a coat of finish to it and most of the tote. This helps minimize warping in the body due to moisture exchange. As well as it makes the wood grain pop, helping me get over the “oh no, what did I just do to this plane” feeling.

Final fitting of tote.

Once the first coat of finish dried I did the final fit of the tote to the body. The tote was glued in place with hide glue. If you don’t know this already, hide glue rocks, get some and try it.

Wooden smoother with new strike button and sole flattened.

Here is the other strike button installed in the wooden smoother. Sole flattened and finish applied. A second coat of finish was applied to the jack and let dry. Note there is at least a days worth of dry time on each coat plus the glue, so there is a fair amount of waiting. Final step is always to apply a coat of wax, let it harden up then buff it out. This leaves a great luster on the surface and makes the plane feel like brand new.

Waiting line for waxing.

I still have a bit of work to do on the iron of this plane but the wood portions are revived and complete. It feels so great in the hand!

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