Langdon 74C miter box

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Forum topic by Armyguy posted 04-05-2017 10:25 PM 839 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 622 days

04-05-2017 10:25 PM

Hello every one. I picked up a miter box and saw the other day and am trying to go through the process of restoring it. I am pretty sure it is a Langdon 74C. As you can see from the pictures below the label was a little damaged. Before I go any further I should tell you I have little experience in wood working or any other handy things. I got this to start to ease into it. So when you respond assume I know nothing. All I have done until this point is blew all the dust and grime off it with an air compressor and used some liquid wrench to get all the parts moving and knobs turning. I have read many threads about the restoration of boxes and saws, but I still have some questions.
I want to clean the box to make it functional not necessarily a total restoration. I have read about disassembling the box and soaking it in a vinegar solution and repainting it. There is some rust on the box but I don’t think to the point that it will require a vinegar bath. What do you guys recommend cleaning the box with that will get the job done and not leave oil residue for sawdust to stick to? There is one knob that I do not believe to be original to the box. It is brass in color and has teeth. Where could I find a replacement knob?
As for the saw I have scraped some of the rust off with a razorblade. I watched many videos, but the following one is the one I was thinking of using. Are there any other tips or pointers or places I should look before I proceed? I know the saw is the heart of the box and I do not want to mess it up.
I have down loaded the instruction manual for the box and the operation seems straight forward. Anything your guys can offer will be a big help. Thank you in advance for your support.

7 replies so far

View BlasterStumps's profile


980 posts in 639 days

#1 posted 04-05-2017 10:34 PM

On the saw, the very bottom edge of the tooth line must be the same distance down from the spine all the way along the length of the saw plate. I mention this because you may want to remove the spine to clean the saw plate.

When you adjust the cut depth of the saw, you will want to make sure the teeth do not contact the metal trough when it the saw gets to the bottom of the cut. You should be able to download a manual on that mitre box that will guide you through set up.


-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2161 days

#2 posted 08-04-2017 07:31 PM

Welcome to Lumberjacks. That brass thumbscrew is probably correct, and the box probably isn’t valuable enough to make replacing it with the correct one worth it. Your saw was made probably in the 1950s or so.

The box looks to be in reasonable shape, I would focus on cleaning the saw up. Use a sanding bock on the saw plate and spine, carefully especially on the side where the etch might be. Start with a relatively fine grit like 400 or 600, I like wet/dry with some dilute simple green as a lubricant. You can go to a coarser grit if you see you’re taking too long with a fine grit, but the finer grit has a better chance of saving the etch if there is one left.

Simple green is a cleaner degreaser that is fairly mild but effective, will clean the box but not help much with rust. You can take off any easily removable parts and soak them in vinegar or Evapo-rust if they are too rusty. You can go anywhere from just cleaning the box to de-rusting and repainting the whole thing. It’s not a rare or valuable specimen, so you won’t harm it’s value at all by cleaning it up. It’s a decent one to start learning and practicing on. Take pictures at every step and have a set of ziplock bags to keep parts in and labeled. You’ll think it will be easy to remember where things go, but it won’t be if you don’t have a lot of experience with them.

Short of repainting you’re going to want to keep any bare metal surfaces lightly oiled to prevent further rust. A lightly oiled and wiped surface doesn’t collect much sawdust, and cleaning sawdust off a mitre box is standard anyway. Get a good small brush or a variety of them or some compressed air to clean it with.

View HokieKen's profile


7062 posts in 1338 days

#3 posted 04-06-2017 03:40 PM

Like Tim said, you don’t really have a highly prized relic here. But you do have a nice user tool. That’s a good spot to be in because it means you can try different techniques and not worry about destroying a valuable collector piece.

For the rust, if it’s just surface rust, I’d try sandpaper and soft wire brushes to remove the bulk. If it goes beyond the surface, I’d recommend Jasco Prep and Prime. It’s just a phosphoric solution. I go into detail about it in this blog post. You can just rag it onto localized areas like I did in this post instead of bathing the whole thing. It won’t remove paint as long as the rust isn’t under the paint. If there is rust under the paint, no guarantees.

Good luck and welcome to the site!

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2161 days

#4 posted 04-06-2017 07:19 PM

Kenny, never heard of the Jasco product, is it any better/different from Naval Jelly, a thick phosphoric acid?

View HokieKen's profile


7062 posts in 1338 days

#5 posted 04-06-2017 08:34 PM

Probably not, I’ve just always used the Jasco because it’s cheap and available locally. As long as the active ingredient is phosphoric acid, it should do the same thing – convert iron oxide to iron phosphate. I should probably get some naval jelly and try it. It’s probably better for doing localized areas than the liquid stuff.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View GlenintheNorth's profile


244 posts in 735 days

#6 posted 04-07-2017 12:01 AM

Phosphoric acid is the useful ingredient in coke, pepsi, and dr pepper. Probably a few others as well.

-- MFia-made man. But that doesn't mean I don't dig my 45. Minneapolis/St. Paul, burbs.

View Tim's profile


3812 posts in 2161 days

#7 posted 04-08-2017 04:11 PM

Yeah Naval Jelly is good for surfaces you can’t soak but it’s not cheap. Something like $7 for a 8 oz jar.

Army guy, give us an update when you get it all cleaned up. It should be a good user.

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