Hand Tool Journey #40: Stanley SW #358 Miter Box Restoration #6... Assembly! Long Winded and A Ton of Pics..

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Blog entry by Airframer posted 07-14-2014 03:54 AM 8470 reads 8 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 39: Stanley SW #358 Miter Box Restoration #5... Final Touches Before Assembly.. Part 40 of Hand Tool Journey series Part 41: Stanley SW #358 Miter Box Restoration #7... Cleaned Up The Saw Plate.. Is This Worth Saving? »

(Inhales deeply)

OK, lets get this going. Warning up front to anyone NOT curious about how one of these goes together you might want to scroll a bit to get to the money shots otherwise hang in there we have a bit to go over first.

First things first here are what I typically use in any tool restoration during assembly. Nearly all of these deal with corrosion prevention in some form or another and that folks is the name of the game from this point on. We just spent a lot of sweat equity REMOVING years of corrosion from this tool and we should be willing to spend a few extra moments to ensure that never happens again (or at least happens slower).

Wax: I like Renaissance Wax and you can normally find it for a decent price on Amazon if you search for it. A large(200ml) can will last long enough to make the price worth while. Otherwise any other wax product will work but I have just found this to be the easiest to work with and it doesn’t color the metal.

Oil/Lubes: Moving parts need to stay mobile and the best way to ensure that happens without metal wear is oil and lube(giggity). 3 in 1 is pretty much the standard and I also use some general axle grease in certain high motion areas.

General Corrosion Prevention: T9 is the bees knees guys. I can’t speak highly enough about this stuff! We use the Mil Spec version of this product at work and it works wonderfully. The handplanes I treated with T9 over a year ago still show no signs of tarnish or rust and the fasteners all turn easily and freely. It works by drying to a lubricated film creating a barrier against water and the atmosphere. One word of caution.. it WILL slightly darken older metals. Just keep that in mind when using it.

Other items needed are rags, paper towels, some q-tips, a small parts tray and a variety of slotted screwdrivers..

NOW.. first thing on the list is to give the entire main body of the box a good coating of wax. It is much easier to do this now then after assembly. Make sure you pay attention to any areas that will be covered and forgotten about for years.. that is where rust likes to form first and you won’t even know about it.

Buff with a soft cloth and done..

Next we will install the name plate. The plate has 2 small twist blind rivets that simply tap into place.

Place them in either a bag or on your plastic tray and give them a spritz of T9. EVERY fastener on this box will get a coating of T9 pre assembly.

Next using a ball peen hammer and tapping LIGHTLY! Tap them into place. Lightly is the key here folks. If it takes 300 light taps it is better than 4 hard whacks that breaks the cast iron making this thing a boat anchor again.

Next is the wood base. Clamp it to the box same as when you marked your holes and give the wood screws a good spray of T9 (I use the bag, spray, toss then dump method from here out.)

Then.. install!

What it all looks like at this stage..

Now the legs. Here is a look at these parts.. Remember Bag and T9 before installing! Don’t get lazy on me now!

Looking more like a mitre box now..

Now the “dun Dun DUNNNN” Swing arm…

Give ALL the machined areas inside and out a good coating of T9 using a q-tip soaked in it.

Next find these bits here.. this is your degree clamp mechanism. (bag, T9.. dump. Seriously.. seeing a pattern here?)

Here is how it is positioned within the arm. You have to kinda fiddle with it to get the axle to slip into place but you will figure that out.

Then flip it over (careful nothing falls out on the way.. Not that I know because I had to chase these 2 bits down about a hundred times while doing this lol.. nope not at all) and fill the inside with some 3 in 1 and grease.

And then install the plug. The plug also acts as a clamp force adjustment. You loosen it to decrease force and tighten to increase. Play with it a bit and you will see what I mean. That is what i love about these boxes.. Every bit of the mechanics is adjustable.

Next is the positioning pin assembly.

Assembled it looks like this.. (note the tear drop shaped item.. it goes with this guy..) (You used T9 right?)

Slip it into the arm like this and lock the brass portion into place with the 2 set/adjustment screws.

Then press the spring loaded pin down and install the teardrop actuator into the hole in the right side till it fully seats and holds the pin in place..

Then we install the actuating arm. Watch the positioning.. there is a tab that sticks out on one side.. that needs to be on the right so it bumps the teardrop and actuates everything. Install it into the axle with the 2 screws.

Now is the time to check that everything moves like it should. When the arm is down the clamp should drop and the pin raises.

When it is lifted the clamp should raise and the pin drops..

If it doesn’t or nothing happens backtrack till you find the culprit (not going to teach trouble shooting procedures here.. they are pretty universal)

Next is the hold back screws and springs..

Then the third hand (used when adjusting the arm.. this is often times missing and not really a critical component just a convenience)

Then the main swivel joint. Insert the bushing from the bottom up..

LIBERALLY lube the joint on both the box and the arm and slip the clamp into the track.. lock into a positive position and screw down the swivel.

Now we can install the marking plate..

Next up is the upright assemblies. The bases are normally marked “F” and “B” for front and back. Position them so that the 3 holes face outward and fasten into place from below with the large knurled screws. (You are still using the T9 right? Bare surfaces Get There!)

The long screw is the center pivot bolt.. (note the position of the tapered side of the pivot plate. It should face the 2 screw holes)

Then install your adjustment screws.

Do this for both front and back and now we are cooking!

Now.. this next part is my least favorite part mainly because of the exercise in frustration trying to shim these. I got lucky and the previous owner had already installed some shims and was able to reuse them but you may(read will) need to make your own. I have used aluminum foil with good results and have seen them made from a soda can which would probably work better. The thing is you want these to be tight and have the 2 tabs on top to go laterally across the top at the same time. Take your time and do it right and you won’t have to worry about it again.

Tip: You can use one of the latch assemblies as a tool to tighten these.

The position of these is typically found as follows.. threaded post on the right and smooth post on the left.. is that critical? No but that is how I have recieved them and how I install them.

Before installing any of the threaded posts thread on (from the bottom) the brass max depth stop. It only threads on from the bottom.

Here is a look at the fasteners for the stops. Some older boxes came with a thumb screw on the smooth stop while others are slotted screws like these. Just make sure you position the stops so that the screws heads are facing outward otherwise you won’t be able to get a tool in there to adjust these.

So now you have shimmed, tried again, shimmed and gotten close enough on all 4 posts (try the posts in different holes.. sometimes what doesn’t work in one works better in the other)

Install your adjustable stops and cushion spring then we move onto the saw guides..

If you look at the slip tab you will find a machined divot in one spot.. this is positioned down and inboard to catch the hook on.

Slip the 2 halves together (you did treat all this with T9 right? Just checking) and with some fiddling and persuasion slip it over the upright rods.

Then the hooks and cross bars are installed like so..



The back assembly..

Check your catch and release works..

Then the cross member. This is installed UNDER the cross bars not on top of it like is seen in so many eBay photos.

Then whatever accessories you may have..

Incidentally.. these screws are exactly the same as the rod holding screws on a Stanley 45.. if your are missing those will be easier to find..

Annnnd Boom.. a Mitre Box.

Now I just need to see if I can make this shine and cut again and I can call this officially done..

Whats that? Oh you skipped all the way down here for the money shots.. well I’d hate to disappoint a slacker such as yourself.. here ya go!

And sitting next to it’s little brother..


Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the saw restoration..

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

15 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile


15584 posts in 2767 days

#1 posted 07-14-2014 12:17 PM

Wow. Just, wow…..

I’d feel bad letting it get dusty again if it were in my shop, I’d have to build a cabinet for it.

Beautiful tesults, excellent blog.

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. -- OldTools Archive --

View GrandpaLen's profile


1651 posts in 2421 days

#2 posted 07-14-2014 12:44 PM


This may well be the most intense and thorough offering for a restoration that I’ve ever had the pleasure to experience.
Although I do not own a Miter Box of this quality, my Uncle has this very model which was a ‘user’ in my grandfather’s shop for years, and will be passed on to me eventually.
It has seen a lot of use, but has been cared for properly over it’s lifetime.
I am adding this Blog to my ‘Favorites’ as well as printing a copy which I intend to send to my Uncle to be kept with the miter box, should it ever need a thorough restoration.

Thanks for taking the time to ‘photo document’ your restoration and for sharing it with us.

Best Regards. Len.
Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View chrisstef's profile


17683 posts in 3155 days

#3 posted 07-14-2014 01:08 PM

You did an amazing job on the restore of that box AF. I gotta say that after reading through the whole tutorial I don’t ever want to completely tear apart and restore one lol. Well done brother.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View theoldfart's profile


10050 posts in 2600 days

#4 posted 07-14-2014 01:25 PM

Eric, this will be a reference article for years to come. Excellent work, writing, and photography.

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View SamuelP's profile


793 posts in 2795 days

#5 posted 07-14-2014 01:37 PM


Great job.

-- -Sam - FL- "A man who carries a cat by the tail learns somthing he can in no other way" -Mark Twain

View ToddJB's profile (online now)


8226 posts in 2279 days

#6 posted 07-14-2014 01:39 PM

Stand up job. I believe you have become the resident authority on these restorations. Simply amazing.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

View terryR's profile


7350 posts in 2457 days

#7 posted 07-14-2014 01:41 PM

+1 to this being a reference article! Bookmarked and saved! Nicely written.

Eric, what an awesome job on the restore. I had no idea there were so many lil parts on one of these guys…now, I’m afraid of trying to buy a vintage miter box complete! :(

Thanks for all your re-assembly tips…going to order some T-9 today, already swear by the Renaissance wax! And Thanks for sharing the plastic baggy trick for nuts and bolts…you just saved me some $$$ there…

-- tr ...see one, do one, teach one...

View CL810's profile


3847 posts in 3137 days

#8 posted 07-14-2014 03:14 PM

+100 to all of the above!

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Brad's profile


1139 posts in 2889 days

#9 posted 07-14-2014 05:01 PM

Excellent work Eric. You are a braver soul than I by taking it down to the last bolt. Getting it back together would have been a major challenge for me. Great restoration. Can’t wait to see how it performs for you.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View 7Footer's profile


2569 posts in 2097 days

#10 posted 07-14-2014 07:54 PM

Amazing work there Eric. I’ll be referencing this many times!


View AnthonyReed's profile


10009 posts in 2589 days

#11 posted 07-14-2014 09:04 PM

Stellar results Eric.

Thank you again for taking the time to make such a magnificent blog on this.

-- ~Tony

View Airframer's profile


3043 posts in 2102 days

#12 posted 07-14-2014 11:39 PM

Wow! Thanks guys! I’m glad you guys enjoyed it and hope someone will find it useful at some point. I do eventually hope to get my hands on some other brands of mitre boxes but might have to wait till after we relocate to Texas.. otherwise I might need a second truck just to haul them all lol.

-- Eric - "I'm getting proficient with these hand jobbers. - BigRedKnothead"

View grfrazee's profile


388 posts in 2288 days

#13 posted 07-15-2014 05:45 PM

Holy cow, this has to be one of the most detailed walkthroughs I’ve seen on LJs thus far. Great job, Eric.

-- -=Pride is not a sin=-

View bandit571's profile (online now)


21311 posts in 2832 days

#14 posted 06-16-2016 04:23 PM

Been trying to get mine rehabbed…..mostly done, except for that “Tree” Will need to build one, I guess….

A new deck, and fabricated stops..

A “proper” saw…

Takes up a lot of room on the bench…..I have one rod and the coppler/connector, will need to buy new rods to replace the other ones. Hmmmm,maybe get a pair of the copplers and some bar stock, and fashion a tree?

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View Patrologia's profile


1 post in 38 days

#15 posted 09-14-2018 02:33 PM

Beautiful job, and great write up. It has been helpful to me as I’m trying to get one apart (safely) for cleaning up. I have a question about how you got the nameplate rivets out. Were you able to just tap them from behind, or is there a magic method I can’t figure out for extracting them without messing up the name plate. Mine is on the end, not front and center like yours, so at least on mine there is no way to come at them from behind. I may end up making slots in the heads with a Dremel, but I’d prefer to keep the solid head look for authenticity. I don’t really have a choice about taking off the nameplate, mine is in pretty rusted condition and needs to go into the e-bath.

In any case, whatever I end up doing about the nameplate, this documentation has been invaluable, so I thank you for your work and the photography.

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