I found this Stanley #2358A miter box on Craigslist for a reasonable price and snagged it. It's not that old, possibly from the '70s and is in pretty good shape. The "5" in the model number indicates that it came with a saw with 5" depth of cut below the spine. The "8" indicates that it came with a 28" long saw.
|Stanley #2358A Miter Box|
I cleaned up the box and sharpened the saw, but this post is not about rehab. Rather, it explains its workings and features. Anyone already familiar with these tools might skip it, but this could be informative to others who have never used a miter box. Personally, I had never used one before, and I'm not even sure I'll use it in my small shop. But if/when I get a larger shop, it would be nice to have a miter box station set up for cross-cutting rough lumber, sort of how some power tool users use a powered miter saw.
Today's post will cover all features except the mechanics of how the swivel / locking mechanism works. I'll go over that in a separate post, as it's fairly involved.
Let's start with the main feature of the box: the posts that hold the saw.
|Close-up pic of the main feature|
|The box upside down, showing the casting that connects the posts|
Inside each post resides a saw guide that lifts and lowers. The guides hold the saw vertically and also provide ease of front/back thrust via roller bearings.
|Front guide - The saw's spine slides through the upper wide slot,|
the saw's plate slides through the narrow slit and the saw's teeth are
positioned at the lower mid-width slot
|The top portion of a guide that takes the spine of the saw has bearings|
that support the underside of the spine
|These bearings are removeable by simply unscrewing from the guide's head|
|With the saw in place, you can see the underside of the spine resting on the roller bearings|
|A hole at the lower end of the guide accepts a pin in the post that keeps it in the "up" position|
(the pin assembly is removed in this picture)
|With the spring-actuated pin installed, pull the pin back to lower the guide|
|Pin pulled back, head of guide in its lowest position|
But this lowest position would put the saw's toothline well into the sacrificial wooden "floor" of the box, so there are stops that limit how far down the teeth can go.
|The adjustable stop bolted to the front post|
|When the guide is released down, the bottom of its head catches the stop.|
I set the stops so that the saw's teeth cut about 1/16" into the sacrificial wood piece.
Here's another type of stop, the purpose of which is unclear to me. Extending from the bottom of the front saw guide, a threaded rod is fixed in place with a lock nut. When the saw guide is in it "down" position, the threaded rod extends through the post, and contacts the angle-adjustment handle when the handle is raised. The threaded rod essentially limits how much you can lift that handle, but I'm not sure why you would want that.
|Front guide with machine screw at bottom|
|Guide installed in post, I'm pointing to the threaded rod that limits the handle (bottom)|
Like many miter boxes, the Stanley #2358 has stock guides. Honestly, I don't know how useful these will be, but they are nice to have.
|Pointing to the left stock guide|
|Their position is adjusted and fixed with a thumb screw behind the upright part of the main casting|
|The guide holds the stock in place. Normally, the user's non-sawing hand|
would hold down the stock, but these guides can also help.
|They might be especially useful for holding pieces of crown molding |
at a certain angle when cutting 45° miters
In addition to the stock guides, there are small pointed screws that project into the back edge of a piece of stock. I'm guessing that these keep the stock from sliding left or right during a cut. They do, however leave a small indent in the edge of the stock.
|These two small screws ...|
|... screw through the back of the casting ...|
|... and project out the front ...|
|... and help hold the stock in place ...|
|... but leave a small indent in the edge of the stock|
One last feature is a length stop. This piece of slotted, bent metal clamps to the back of the casting with a thumb screw. The bent tab on the end can be set for repeated cuts of the same length. It stores out of the way on the back of the casting by turning the angled end around and tightening the thumb screw. There is a threaded hole on both ends of the casting so the stop can be used on either side.
|Length stop fixed in place with thumb screw|
|The stock butts up against the stop (at right) for repeated cuts of the same length|
Next post I'll get into the workings of the swivel mechanism. Happy New Year to all of you out there.
Information for this post came from my own observations, as well as:
- The Valley Woodworker blog: http://thevalleywoodworker.blogspot.com/2018/01/the-stanley-mitre-boxes-family.html (Note: Bob has several posts on miter boxes)
- Stanley Miter Boxes user manuals that can be found online