Mitre Box Manual, a Free Download

miter-box-opener

I adore my Millers Falls mitre box, and I’ve been bemused by a recent backlash against mitre boxes, which ruled the American worksite and garage during the first half of the 20th century.

The argument against a mitre box is that you don’t need it. You should develop your sawing skills to the point where you don’t need a mechanical contrivance to hold the saw for you. The things are training wheels. And you are a candy-bottom wuss girl if you use one.

To these people I say this: You don’t cut many miters, do you?

Metallic manual mitre boxes are more accurate than the electric miter saw in my experience. They allow a level of finesse and control that you aren’t going to get with freehand sawing. And chances are, if you aren’t a nincompoop, your miters will be dead-on off the saw with a mitre box.

Oh, and when armed with a shooting board they radically decrease your need for a table saw.

If you own a mitre box, you need to know how to maintain and use it.

So this evening I present to you a scan of a vintage Millers Falls manual for using the company’s mitre boxes. I guarantee that even if you are an ace, you are going to learn something from this short little manual.

The manual was given to me by the late Carl Bilderback. During my last visit to his home, he asked me to take his library. To keep the books that I didn’t have. And to give the rest away to deserving young woodworkers.

This vintage manual is one of about 100 books and manuals Carl owned that I did not.

So I present it to you in a free pdf you can download here:

Setting Up a Millers Falls Miter Box

Look it over. At the very least, you’ll learn the proper names for the adjustable bits, including the King Bolt.

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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20 Responses to Mitre Box Manual, a Free Download

  1. jeffreymotz says:

    Thanks for the info. I picked up my first mitre box this week – a Goodell in dire need of cleaning. What’s your take on that line?

  2. Chris, being from Australia these vintage miter boxes virtually don’t exist down under. Securing one from afar via Ebay was not an easy task. However I am now the proud owner of a vintage Miller Falls Miter Box and it is awesome. I have also recently added a fantastic new custom miter saw thanks to Deneb Puchalski and the great folks at LN. These saws are now available on the LN site. Thanks for making a copy of the vintage manual available.

  3. Rachael Boyd says:

    good stuff there. but I have a Stanly No. 350 I picked up for 8 dollars and refurbished. it but it was all there, length stops and all the pieces I have pic if you would like to see. I use it all the time.

  4. Marilyn says:

    Awesome! I’ve been looking for this ever since I got my Miller Falls mitre box with saw.

  5. azezo1 says:

    Yet again I am touched by Carl’s generosity. Carl is still sharing woodworking knowledge with an assist from Chris. Well done Mr. Schwarz.

  6. mylordsladiesandgentlemen says:

    ‘Make sure the Saw Teeth do not contact any part of the Mitre Box’

    Exactly. My concern with this metal contraption is that the cutting edge will inevitably make accidental contact with it. Less likely if the saw is left permanently installed but if in the habit of using the saw elsewhere the business of threading it through the guides is decidedly risky, at least for an infrequent user. Then if something slips or you lose your focus for a moment you may end up sawing the bottom of the groove in the gib (you’re right about learning the names for things!) Most old metal mitre boxes I’ve seen have had the saw marks to prove it; I think some smaller and less complex metal types (eg made by Marples) were designed to take a sacrificial slip of wood in the ‘gib’ to help limit the damage.

    There’s less worry with a wooden mitre box!

  7. tpobrienjr says:

    Thank you for the download. It will help me with my very similar “Pony” miter box.

  8. Wesley Beal says:

    I’ve gotten lucky and acquired a Stanley No. 2358. This is the best info I’ve found on that model so far:

    http://tooltrip.com/tooltrip9/stanley/stan-mbox/mboxman.pdf

    Reading through this Millers Falls manual it looks like much of the information is transferable. Anyone aware though of any more complete information on the 358?

  9. Chris;

    Thank you for this. I’d recently purchased a nearly new Millers Fall Langdon 74-C on Ebay. No, not this one:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Langdon-Acme-Millers-Falls-Miter-Box-No-74-NOS-Disston-Saw-28-x-5-Scarce-USA-/261418954754?hash=item3cddc8b002:g:9MsAAOSwBP9UXTRK

    But it shipped completely unassembled and, of course, sans manual. So your gift of the manual is the best Black Friday present ever.

    Warm regards,

    David, Portland, OR

  10. Niels Cosman says:

    For the time being, I am far busy being outraged over coffee cups to be bothered by the likes of mitre boxes… perhaps in the new year.
    For now, begrudgingly accept their reliability and accuracy.

  11. I inherited a 1909 disston/millers fall from wife’s grandpa when he passed. He inherited the saw and box from his father in-law. I’ve taken it down removed the rust and found my wife’s grandmas maiden name still inscribed on the blade. Her great grandfather may have bought it new or close to it. The thing works great and i’m using it to make a christmas present for my mother in law. This manual should help me figure out how to use it to its full potential.

  12. Chris, this is very generous of you and Carl – just awesome! I have the Miller Falls Langdon Acme 74A mitre box which calls for a 28 x 5 inch mitre saw. Do you think I could get away with ordering and using the Lie-Nielsen 28 x 4 inch saw? Thanks again for sharing…

  13. A miter box and miter trimmer are like peanut butter and jelly. I love mine.

  14. swani56 says:

    Chris thanks for the PDF. I have a Millers Falls Langdon Acme Mitre Box Size 2 No. 73 that has been in the family a long time and have never really know the proper way of setting it up. While my mitre box varies some from the ones in the PDF, it will be a great help. Thanks again for your generosity in sharing this information.

  15. Chris:
    Thank you for the PDF. I purchased a Millers Falls Miter Box at the Tool Barn near Bar Harbor Maine several years ago while on vacation (my wife is very understanding) and have not plugged in my powered miter saw since. Even after all these years, the 45 degree stops are dead on…

  16. marshall0351 says:

    Wow, thank you for posting this manual. I just purchased a Millers Falls 74C from a gentleman who is selling his tool collection so he can move. It has some slight rust on it but will clean up nicely. Plan on sand blasting and repainting it, just have to find the right color of grey and red so it will look good. Thanks Chris. Sincerely, Scott

  17. yrmh1 says:

    Thanks a bunch! I recently came into a Langdon Acme & will definitely need some advice on setting it up. Incidentally, I’ve been a power tool/machine junkie for some time now and am struggling to shake off this dependency. I must say the power compound (sliding) bevel miter saw is a principle gateway drug to such an addiction. Avoid them as long as you can!

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