House for a Homeless Stanley
This page documents a White Oak box I constructed in early 2011 to house a Stanley 45. It features a hard wood spine designed to hold the plane securely in place which I will describe in detail.
As far as I can tell, this particular 45 dates from the late 50s. Almost new! It was a Christmas present to myself. Actually, I already had a 45 but dropped it onto the concrete garage floor. In a fit of despair, I bid on this 45 on EBay and won. Meanwhile I was able to repair the cracked main stock on the first 45 so now I have two of them working.
Neither came with an original box which was likely cardboard anyway. Hence this project. Guess I will have to build two of them.
The first photo shows the plane side of the spine. The peg at left hooks the front of the skate on the 45. The plane then is lowered till the skate sits on the horizontal wooden ledge. Three magnets grab the main stock skate while the bottom of the wooden fence sits on a thin strip of Oak underneath the spine.
A Stanley 45 has sort of a turned up nose on the skates. That fits under the peg. The flat strip of Oak under the Rosewood fence is necessary and is cut away at the front because the front tip of the fence pivots down a bit while hooking the plane under the peg, and needs additional clearance there.
The main stock side of the oak spine has to be relieved to accommodate the slitter stop and the depth gauge and there was minor chiseling near the dowel to get everything to fit.
It was my goal to not have to disturb the plane’s settings just to put it away in the box. Usually that succeeds, though the fence does have to be close in and in the higher of it’s two positions.
This is the “new” Stanley 45 plane nestled in it’s docked position. It’s snug and the magnets hold it down pretty well.
On this plane, the tote and fence are Rosewood but not the fence knob. Stanley stopped using Rosewood about 1960, so this plane was probably made during that transition. The 45 was not made after 1962. I have not yet attempted to de-rust or otherwise clean this plane. Its clean enough to use. I’ve made a lot of Eleven Grooved Boxes with the two 45s.
Box joints for this project were cut with my lead screw box joint fixture, which is documented elsewhere on this Blog. Grooves for the top and bottom pieces were cut with a Lee Valley Box Slotting bit which works really slick. It cuts a 1/8″ slot so needs two passes to get the 3/16″ groove I needed. The July 2008 issue of “Wood” magazine had an article (“Box-Slotting Bits”, Page 24) on using this bit, but unfortunately, it does not seem to be accessible on line. You just set up the slotting bit in a router table, dry fit the box with strap clamps, then set the box over the bit and run it all around the inside.
The next photo shows completed sides and bottom with inside components attached. There is a double grooved block on the bottom which holds the longer set of rods. Button magnets keep the rods in place and there will be more button magnets inset in the bottom to retain the two removable depth stops, and the cam. I made seperate thin sided boxes to hold the cutters, these are screwed in place along the sides.
And this is the Stanley 45 nestled in its new home. I should have made the box a quarter inch longer, had to relieve the panel on the right side to allow the tote to seat all the way. The sliding top fits well enough that the plane can’t move much once the box is closed.
I did the glue up in the house as the garage was so cold that PVA wouldnt work.
About 120 box joint pins have to be coated with glue and the whole thing assembled at one time. I use Titebond 3 extend which has a long open time. You get at up to 15 minutes but that still means careful preparation and rehearsal is needed to get the thing together before the glue sets up. 15 minutes is used up very quickly.
I did stain all the interior surfaces prior to glue up as it would be difficult to get into all the corners later. Also liberal use of masking tape inside and out to control glue squeeze out.
On removing the clamps I noticed the box had racked a bit. Next time I will use strap clamps with corner cauls on the panels. It will be much easier to check for and correct errors.
The box is finished and assembled. It has had one coat of straight Minwax Golden Oak stain, two coats of 50/50 Golden Oak and Watco Natural, and a final coat of Watco Natural alone. After the Watco cures, everything gets several coats of paste wax.
You can see the cutters inserted in the two side boxes, long rods stowed at bottom left. The cam and one of the depth stops are tucked away at top left, and the tongue stop stuck to a magnet at bottom right. Button magnets work well to control those little parts.
This is the docked position of the plane. One of the medium width cutters is installed to check the fit and you can see the skates hooked under the dowel at the front. Later I learned to store the cutters pointed end down. Please don’t ask how I learned that.
All the White Oak material was obtained from inch thick cutoffs. It was resawn on my table saw, thicknessed to 3/8″ using a lunchbox planer, and glued up into panels.
The lid slides in a 3/16″ groove which was made with the box-slotting bit. There is a 3/8″ inch radius sanded on the rear corners of the top plate to match the size of the slotting bit A small lip at the front of the lid gives a better purchase for the brass latch. The box bottom has a similar design.
That brass latch was way more trouble that it was worth….
The box can now be considered finished. I let the finish cure for a few days then applied several coats of Butchers Bowling Alley Wax.
Final dimensions are 6 3/4″ x 7 1/4″ x 11 1/2″.
It’s now May 2012 and I finished a box for my second Stanley 45. This one is made of Jatoba – a hard tropical wood with twisty grain which makes it a real pain to smooth out.
The second box is pretty much identical to the first but is 3/8 inch longer. Please Don’t Ask Me Why the first box is shorter. Also I made the cutter holders longer on the right side, and used more magnets in the long rod holder.
This Family Shot shows the new Jatoba box next to it’s older White Oak brother.
The following photos have dimensions added. Most of my projects are Ad Hoc and if you build something based on these, make sure it fits your tools. I have noticed the two 45s I own are slightly different.
The spine has cutouts for the main and slitter depth stops. Two button magnets and a magnet from an old hard drive inset.
At the nose end, the spine has an extra piece glued on. The peg that constrains the hook on the front of the skates is inset in that piece. This is a critical part and needs to be positioned so the skate has enough clearance to hook underneath but is captured securely.
There is a thin spacer underneath the spine. It has a cutaway at the nose end to allow clearance for the fence when the plane is hooked under the dowel.
Finally, a close up of the dowel in the spine. You can see where I had to remove material to clear parts of the plane body.