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Shop Fun with Scott Grandstaff

  Fix That Tote! by Scott Grandstaff 1 of 2  

Only one in 3 planes out there in the wild escape the chipped tote horn.  At the swap meet, yard sale or eBay it makes most of the difference between a $5 plane and a $50 plane.

You know the story.  You see a great plane and there you are wondering if you should take it or let it go. Most will just leave it be because finding a good original tote can cost about as much as another whole plane with a perfect tote and it takes time to find even a single one. 

Replacement newly made totes are available but again these cost about as much as the plane you were thinking of putting them on many times.  And about 75% of the time it's the tote tip that is chipped or missing in action.  We've all seen it and passed them by about a million times mostly just for this defect alone.

But fixing them is easy!  Easy, I say.

The trick is cutting off the offending area parallel with the bottom.  If the cleanup cut is made any old place you can't get a clamp on it.  Without a clamp your repair is going to stick out like a sore thumb from 50 yards and probably fall back off in a year or two.  When it's parallel any vise or sturdy clamp will give you plenty of pressure to make a tight permanent glue joint. It's why clamps were invented.

There are other ways of squaring up your gluing surface, I know, but the easiest and fastest for me is shown here.

This is an ordinary table saw rip fence with the tote being cut.  A good sharp fine tooth blade and a slow easy feed does it here.  This results in a smooth flat surface parallel to the base.

Next, pick through your scraps for a nice grain match in rosewood.  If you have a different species of rosewood that's ok, you can stain to match easy later, just try to line up the grain lines.

This is a scrap of purpleheart I just grabbed and placed on top.

You'll want to be sure to select your repair piece oversized.  Longer, wider and thicker if you can.  Make the horn longer and especially watch the curve up the back.  It'll look larger than it really is at first. 

Once you start to round this off it begins to look differently, so leave extra.  I realize this picture makes it look like I marked out for minimal but trust me it's considerable bigger than it looks. what I mean about not trusting your eyes?

Of course you will be grain matching rosewood instead of purpleheart.  I just wanted it so show up for the picture.

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