LumberJocks

A vintage miterbox worth owning.

  • Advertise with us
Review by Brad posted 07-11-2014 09:28 PM 6262 views 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A vintage miterbox worth owning. A vintage miterbox worth owning. A vintage miterbox worth owning. Click the pictures to enlarge them

I see many reviews of contemporary tools by modern manufacturers. However, given that many woodworkers purchase vintage tools for their own use, I thought it would be valuable to write a review about one of them.

My goal here is to answer the question, “Is a Stanley #60 miterbox worth buying?”

Spoiler alert. Answer. Yes, it is.

My sample came from an estate sale. It was so minty that I couldn’t resist handing over $15.00 to take it home.

Based on the crappy saw handle, I would guess that this model was manufactured in the 1970s. At first blush, the saw guide posts look flimsy compared to vintage boxes.

However, after cinching down the screws, they hold the saw firmly with little play to either side.

You can get a manual for the No. 60 here. It details a number of features.

The Stanley No. 60 Miterbox’ Features With Amaze and Astound You

Saw-guide catches
The catches located at the top of each post work well to keep the saw secure while stock is placed on the bed below.

One user-friendly feature is that when you release the front catch by hand, the back-side catch releases automatically by angling the saw downward—thus allowing a one-handed release. Compare that to the usual, but awkward method of holding the top front of the saw while releasing the back catch on other models.

Stock-retention “spurs”
One feature I’ve never seen before are the “spur screws” for keeping stock in place while sawing.

They are like set screws but have a sharp pointed end that the stock seats against. It works surprising well at preventing lateral movement and makes me wonder why more models don’t have this feature. Other than marring the edge with a small puncture mark they apply a lot of holding power for such small hardware. That’s an ingenious solution in my book.

Easy-peezy adjustable depth stops
Another feature I like is the adjustable depth stops. Rather than clips with serrated sides affixed by a screw, they are circular hardware that resemble bearing casings.

I’ve never gotten the knack of adjusting the serrated stops, they’re just too finicky for me. The #60’s bearing stops, by contrast, are easy to set. There are two per post, one atop the other. You set the lower stops so that the saw completes the cut no more than 1/16” into the sacrificial board. For cuts of a specific depth, simply adjust the upper stops.

Panel saws welcome
Another interesting feature is the ability to use a panel saw with this model. There’s a hole to place a nail in to prevent the saw from riding up into the saw guides and damaging the teeth.

Decent-quality saw comes standard
The miterbox came with a 24” x 4” “Warranted Superior” saw. It sports a nice Stanley etching reminiscent of the “Made Expressley for” Disston saws of yesteryear.

The quality is “decent” compared to the mitersaws of the early 20th century, and downright “fantastic” compared to what you can buy today.

Still, I have two beefs with the saw. For one, the hardware is made of nickle, or possibly even aluminum-gasp! Secondly, the stock handle is clunky and uncomfortable.

So I made a new handle out of walnut.

And now it fits comfortably in my hand.

Configuring for use
The saw I use with my Goodell Manufacturing Co miterbox is sharpened at 30 degrees rake and 25 degrees fleam. And boy does it make beautiful cuts, leaving a smooth surface. But it cuts relatively slowly. So to give myself a fast-cutting option, I sharpened the #60’s saw with 15 degrees rake and 20 degrees fleam.

That setup suits my taste, cutting fast while leaving OK-smooth surfaces that can easily be cleaned up on the shooting board.

And that brings us to THE most important feature of the #60 miterbox. And the reason why I would recommend that you consider buying it.

Dead-on 90- and 45-degree cuts
I was pleasantly surprised with how well this puppy performs. The sawing action is smooth and comfortable. Most importantly, however, is the fact that it produces cuts that are flawlessly accurate.

Summary
The Stanley #60 miterbox and saw deliver accurate cuts along with a lot of user-friendly features. It performs as well as my Millers Falls #1124, my Goodell Manufacturing, All-Steel Miterbox and my Millers Falls #74C 5-inch monster of a miterbox. It’s lighter than the 74C and because it’s a later model, I wouldn’t mind travelling with it. No worries about losing or breaking a classic with this one.

While the saw’s steel is of good quality, the handle is of poor quality and demands replacement. Creating a new one to fit my hand made a significant improvement in the feel of the saw.

© 2014, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.

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




View Brad's profile

Brad

1139 posts in 2821 days



14 comments so far

View 489tad's profile

489tad

3386 posts in 3092 days


#1 posted 07-12-2014 03:13 AM

Thanks for the review. I was just given a stanley miter box, I haven’t really given it the once over but it looks like yours. I have to agree about the handle.

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

View LoriF's profile

LoriF

119 posts in 1958 days


#2 posted 07-12-2014 05:09 AM

HOLY SMOKES BRAD YOU SCORED!!! Check out what your miter box is selling for on ebay listing below.

“http://www.ebay.com/itm/Stanley-No-60-Miter-Box-Mitre-Saw-NOS-VTG-Carpenter-Cabinetmaker-Tool-Rare-USA-/251498798856?pt=LHDefaultDomain0&hash=item3a8e7f1f08

-- There's a crack in everything that’s how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

7739 posts in 2088 days


#3 posted 07-12-2014 09:31 AM

15BUCKS? Yeah, I’d say that’ll get you a ”You suck” for that one. Good review too.

I had one of these years ago and never used it. Gave it away… Boy was I a DUMMY for doing that!

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

View michelletwo's profile

michelletwo

2750 posts in 3096 days


#4 posted 07-12-2014 10:40 AM

I like miterboxes and use mine a lot. thanks for the review of an arm powered tool!

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

9879 posts in 2532 days


#5 posted 07-12-2014 01:21 PM

Nice score Brad, BUT remember the Slippery Slope Syndrome! I’m up to five mitre box’s and still looking. :0)

Really nice job on the tote by the way.

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

View Brad's profile

Brad

1139 posts in 2821 days


#6 posted 07-12-2014 04:33 PM

TOF, thank you! Figured walnut lends itself to some beautiful tool handles. Yes, I know what you mean about miter boxes. I have four myself. Almost ended up with five, but ended up (thankfully) just scavanging the parts I wanted from it and left the carcass to the seller.

The thing about finding miter boxes in the wild in Denver is that when I come across them they’re in phenomenal shape and are being offered for a song. I paid a whopping $30.00 collectively for the three vintage ones that I own. So when I come across them, I feel like I need to take them home.

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

View Brad's profile

Brad

1139 posts in 2821 days


#7 posted 07-12-2014 04:35 PM

OK LoriF, the owner of the NOS #60 is clinically insane. The price doesn’t include the original box. Even with that, I can’t see them justifying the price. An Ebay search of other #60s turns up much more reasonable prices even for minty-looking specimens.

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

View theoldfart's profile

theoldfart

9879 posts in 2532 days


#8 posted 07-12-2014 08:03 PM

3 fer 30? And I thought the hunting around here was good! Awsome.

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

View LoriF's profile

LoriF

119 posts in 1958 days


#9 posted 07-13-2014 05:34 AM



OK LoriF, the owner of the NOS #60 is clinically insane. The price doesn t include the original box. Even with that, I can t see them justifying the price. An Ebay search of other #60s turns up much more reasonable prices even for minty-looking specimens.

I searched multiple variations of Stanley # 60 Miter/Mitre Box and got the same three results every time.
1) Clinically insane. 2) Stanley # 60 miter box $10. 3) Stanley Miter/Mitre Box #60 MB60 $29.9
I can’t figure out why my search failed to find the same posts that you found. I welcome any suggestions or advice you have to offer. Thank you.

-- There's a crack in everything that’s how the light gets in - Leonard Cohen

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12222 posts in 2461 days


#10 posted 07-14-2014 03:08 AM

Nice work on the handle. I have a Goodell miter box that is in nice condition, just need to sharpen the saw but have been putting it off.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View docholladay's profile

docholladay

1287 posts in 3139 days


#11 posted 07-16-2014 03:32 AM

I’ve had lots of those miter boxes over the past several years. I had one just like that one that proved to be a nice miter box. I generally prefer the Acme/Langdon/Millers Falls/Goodell Pratt series of miter boxes, that the Stanley miter boxes of that same era (pre 1950) are good too.

Doc

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Brad's profile

Brad

1139 posts in 2821 days


#12 posted 07-16-2014 02:43 PM

I would agree Doc. I’ve found that the performance of the Stanley #60 is every bit as good. However, my older vintage items just ooze more history :)

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

View redSLED's profile

redSLED

790 posts in 1973 days


#13 posted 07-19-2014 02:44 AM

Darn you, Brad, for your $15 minty vintage Stanley miter box gloat. Thanks for the review and great photos.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View Brad's profile

Brad

1139 posts in 2821 days


#14 posted 07-19-2014 09:03 PM

Oh, don’t you worry redSLED! I’ve been burned on other tools that turned out to be unserviceable when I got them home…It evens out in the end I figure.

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

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com