Hand tools #2: Stanley No. 116 Mitre Box rehab-first in-depth job

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Blog entry by CFrye posted 10-17-2016 08:38 AM 1327 reads 0 times favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: They're everywhere. They're EVERYWHERE!! Part 2 of Hand tools series no next part

I picked up this little mitre box at a flea market back in August for $6.

It came with a Warranted Superior backsaw with a bent back/plate and possibly a replacement handle? That’s another story.
Out of all the tools that I have brought home to ‘save’ I’m not sure why this one jumped to the front of the rehab line. Maybe because it didn’t need sharpened. And I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be de-valuing it with refinishing (yeah, I watched a lot of Antique Roadshow).
I had a few goals for this rehab. I wanted the Stanley brandings to remain intact.

And I wanted to keep it as much original as possible.

I disassembled it and covered the graduated arc(?) with painters tape.

The remainder of the black was removed in the blast cabinet and then repainted with a few coats of gloss black rattle can paint. Sorry no pics of that. Hard to photograph but the lettering is ledgible. Yes!

The bed was more of a challenge. I decided to fill the major cut lines with walnut dust and CA glue.

Shoulda used some masking to contain the dust and glue. Oops.
Trying to sand the patches without obliterating the name…

I tried clamping a ‘shield’ over it. That resulted in a divot just next to the shield. No bueno. So I bit the bullet and sanded the entire surface v e r y g e n t l y.
Well, I know it’s there.

A little research revealed that a sacrificial board was often used with these Mitre boxes. Hmmm why not a piece of live-edge ash? Planed down to 3/8”. Fashioned some aluminum brackets (with leather to keep from scratching the newly painted surfaces).

The saw keeper(is that what it’s called?) needs raised to install or remove the sacrificial board. Once in place it is very snug and does not move.
OK! The bare metal parts were cleaned and waxed. The graduated arc was cleaned and covered with a clear finish. And the box was reassembled.

But, how does it work? Need a sharp saw to test it. The Veritas crosscut saw is sharp. The top of the saw keeper has nuts and bolts to tighten/loosen the hold on the saw.

Not sure if the nut part is original. It seems there may have been threads in the metal at one time and only one nut when I brought it home. A second was found in the shop’s ‘jewelry box’.

The Veritas barely fit. Unfortunately, there is not enough plate under the spine to cut anything thicker than about 1/8 to 1/4”. Thanks to a previous post by DocBailey, on the Mitre Box of your Dreams thread, I knew this particular mitre box was made to use both a backsaw and a panel saw. I have a small panel saw that fit, but it wasn’t sharp. So, I sharpened it! (So much for a ‘no sharpening’ project!)

It cut!

Test cut in a piece of cherry.

WooHoo! Better than I ever dreamed!

And After

Goals met (for the most part). It works. I’m happy with it. Any suggestions, comments, additional info are welcome. Thanks for reading.

-- God bless, Candy

19 comments so far

View CFrye's profile


8600 posts in 1264 days

#1 posted 10-17-2016 09:13 AM

For whatever reason, this Blog double posted. I deleted the lesser read copy. Sorry. At least no comments had been left yet.

-- God bless, Candy

View Combo Prof's profile

Combo Prof

2256 posts in 701 days

#2 posted 10-17-2016 09:49 AM

Looks very nice. Where will she live? My Miter box lives under the bench and I can’t seem to be bothered to get it out and use it. So I recommend you don’t do that :-)

-- Don K, (Houghton, Michigan)

View Don W's profile

Don W

17882 posts in 1991 days

#3 posted 10-17-2016 11:23 AM

Nice restore Candy.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. -

View CFrye's profile


8600 posts in 1264 days

#4 posted 10-17-2016 11:26 AM

Thanks, Don and Don. I don’t know where she will find a nest. I guess not under the bench! LOL

-- God bless, Candy

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1378 posts in 1612 days

#5 posted 10-17-2016 11:50 AM

Good job, Candy. I keep my miter box on my ‘bench o’ everything’ and It comes in handy occasionally.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

View 489tad's profile


3085 posts in 2435 days

#6 posted 10-17-2016 12:23 PM

I’ve never seen that type of miter box. Nice job!

-- Dan, Naperville IL, I.G.N.

View Roger's profile


19714 posts in 2228 days

#7 posted 10-17-2016 12:23 PM

Very nice Candy.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View JoeinGa's profile


7386 posts in 1431 days

#8 posted 10-17-2016 12:46 PM


Nice restore. Looks good!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8111 posts in 2852 days

#9 posted 10-17-2016 01:35 PM

A really nice job, Candy.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View CFrye's profile


8600 posts in 1264 days

#10 posted 10-17-2016 01:52 PM

Thank you, Dave, Dan, Roger, Joe and Gene!

-- God bless, Candy

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16822 posts in 2529 days

#11 posted 10-17-2016 04:38 PM

Excellent restore, Candy. Looks super!!!!!!!

Cheers. Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View tyvekboy's profile


1311 posts in 2437 days

#12 posted 10-17-2016 05:02 PM

Nice restoration job. I really think you need to restore the back saw that came with it.

-- Tyvekboy -- Marietta, GA ………….. one can never be too organized

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9331 posts in 3476 days

#13 posted 10-17-2016 05:39 PM


You did a GREAT JOB in restoring it!

C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s !!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Grumpymike's profile


1899 posts in 1739 days

#14 posted 10-17-2016 08:38 PM

WooHoo!! Look at you!!
Great job on a not to often found tool … nice save … And for 6 bucks, 600 units of pride.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View johnhutchinson's profile


1173 posts in 1053 days

#15 posted 10-17-2016 10:32 PM

Great save, Candy !!!
But how does a panel saw work in the fixture? Inquiring minds …
BTW, your close-up photos are excellent. I ran the patent number through Google Patent Search and this is what popped up …

-- John - Central Ohio - "too much is never enough"

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