On the theory that in woodworking as in love and war, you must seize the initiative and keep it, I knew what to do as soon as I heard the snakewood crack: figure out what had gone wrong, ask my client for additional wood, and work it carefully.
This is what I saw when I pulled the cracked tote from the body of the plane:
The replacement cant arrived later, weighing in at nearly 13 pounds and bearing a smiley face from my client.
There was only one way to get a tote out of the cant with the proportions I wanted:
Against the odds, my usually-unreliable band saw actually made a decent job of it:
Wary of subjecting the snakewood to the stresses of machinery, I made sure to secure the wood firmly on the table of my mill before drilling:
I roughed out the back of the tote on the band saw, but after that it was all hand work: