I know people have had success using a router and roundover bit to break the back of tote shaping, but I prefer the less accident-prone approach of using rasps. That is to say, I’m less accident-prone that way. The Auriou’s slender shape was a boon on the inside curves.
The basic shape done and lookin pretty good to my traditionalist eye.
A good deal of sanding and shaping later.
Now as a rule I’d consider disembowelment too good for anyone staining Cherry, but I wanted to test this tote on its merits without being made unnecessarily conscious of it being different, so I figured hell and damnation was worth the risk to make it match the front knob a little better. Dark Oak and Mahogany stains, in different proportions, have proved equal to the task of replicating many a tool handle colour in the past, so if it ain’t broke…
Now the observant will have noticed I seem to be asking one single bolt to do the work of two. Not such a good idea on a plane the size and weight of the BUPP, as I think you’ll agree. But wait, what did Stanley et al do for all those years? Yep, a screw through the toe. Taking the opportunity of a pause between staining and polishing the new handle, I again used the ‘Rat to bore a hole for such a screw from underneath, fastened the tote to the plane, and scratched in the location for a corresponding threaded hole. Why from underneath? Simply because you can’t get to the toe from above because of the angle of the bulk of the handle.
So the scariest bit of all; drilling and tapping a hole in an otherwise perfectly good plane. I don’t recommend it for relaxation, but as long as you take care, it’s really not too bad. I went for M6 size as being about right.
I started the tap off in the drill press, switched to using a tap wrench, and finally switched taps to a bottom tap in order to thread right to the bottom (more or less) of the blind hole. If you’ve not been exposed to the wonderful world of taps and dies, I recommend it. It’s very a handy thing to be able to do in all sorts of instances. Anyway, the result. C’est magnifique, n’est pa? Okay, so it’s just a hole. But it looked pretty darn fine to me by that stage, I can tell you.
Splashing out on a suitable brass set screw for the toe seemed justified, even at 72p a piece! I blame the fact they were packaged up for the Yacht-y market, which always puts the price up… Naturally it was too long, but a little hacksawing took care of that, utilising the dodge of threading a nut onto it to a point above the cut so the action of removing it cleans up the sawn threads a little.
You might need to relieve the toe a little to get the screw head to sit more flush.
…and a few coats of shellac later. Not too shabby, in my opinion. It’s certainly already proved to be worth doing as far as I’m concerned, although I'm assured it’s a step backwards, design-wise. That's probably absolutely right, but then I’ve always had a suspicion I’m a bit of a backwards design too…

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