I was at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore a few weeks back with my son. In a pile of saws I saw a 24″ long backsaw peaking out with a $5.00 price tag on it. I looked it over. Not a Disston, Warranted Superior. I explained to my son that we had a longer better old Disston at home, and that we didn’t need this saw. I put it back. Then on a different shelf, I saw a cruddy old miter station looking at me with a $12 pricetag on it. Now I was interested. I grabbed the saw, just because it was the mate to this miter station.
The saw I took only because I thought, what if my old Disston doesn’t fit? I’ll need a saw to use. The saw was pretty dirty, but not in too bad of shape. The miter station seemed to be operational and in pretty good condition. The rollers an guide rods were pretty gummed up with sawdust and oil but moved with a little help.
The model number 881 36301 gave me some hope of finding some information about this Craftsman miterbox.
Things just needed a little cleaning. I told myself I was not going to get carried away making this miter box and miter saw look like new. I was going to keep it simple. Then it started… well I just need to cover some little rust spots. I just need to de-grease the roller assembly… The next thing I knew I had removed all the old paint and painted the entire miter station.
Craftsman miter box restoration
The four guide rollers front and back keep the saw aligned. By lossening a bolt and two top screws then turning the roller rod assembly, you can tighten the guide to the saw to remove as much play as possible. It seems to be a very solid system.
Most miter boxes or miter saw stations have a bench-hook that runs along the entire front of the miterbox. I wanted mine to be able to flip up so that the saw could sit flat on a bench without needing to be at the very edge of the bench. I also wanted to avoid having it be full length so that it would not rock if placed against a less than flat bench-front. So I added two quick flip down bench hooks to the front of the board that makes up the base of this miter saw station.
Craftsman 24″ miter saw restoration
Ok so now with the miter box all cleaned up and painted, it was time to give the saw some TLC.
Begin by putting a big piece of cardboard down over your bench to protect it from the saw grime slurry you are about to create. That and make sure your son is in disposable workshop clothes 😉
First came the WD-40 soak treatment, followed by some scraping to get rid of some of the rust scale and crud.
After a bunch of scraping, we decided to try the electric sander. My son had a ball with it (his first time with the sander), but the sandpaper just clogged too much with the crud from the saw. The electric sander only works well once all the crud is gone.
We also used a 2″ steel cup brush in the drill, a 4″ brass wheel in the drill and finally a flap sander. The metal brushes were nearly worthless, but the 60 grit flap wheel sander did a great job of removing the grime and the rust. I stuck a bit of blue painters tape over the region where the etch should be as a reminder to not sand that area.
Then there was some hand sanding with a solid sanding block and more WD-40 and lots of wiping of the rusty slurry. You go through a lot of paper towels.
Craftsman 24″ miter saw tote restoration
With the sawplate cleaned up, it is time to work on the saw tote.
I use this handscrew clamp in my end-vise to hold the saw-tote in a way that let me get to it the way I needed to.
Chisels, rasps, files and even a spokeshave were used to give this saw tote a more pleasant feel. I followed it up with some sanding and then some 0000 steel wool.
For finish, I started with a good rubdown of BLO and then when that was dry I followed up with several wipings of dewaxed shellac and mineral oil.
These before and after photos show the improvement in appearance and comfort. Flat sides and paint stains get replaced by slender curves and a smooth finish.
The finished team. All in working order, just in need of sharpening.
My miterbox has one knurled bolt but is missing the pair of stops that came with it. The following photos are not mine and not of my miterbox but do document a nearly perfect version of the same miter box and clearly shows the missing stops.
- I was able to find a manual that is for one iteration past the model 88136301 that I have. The model-88136301C-manual which has different methods for hanging the saw at the top of the rails, and the methods used to lock the miter arm into position.
- I found that Tom Fidgen at TheUnpluggedWorkshop.com has the same model miter box and roughly the same saw, though his has four saw-nuts to my three.
Sometimes the generosity of people overwhelms me. Lumberjock JMHJR found a matching stop in some old tools he acquired and sent it to me. Thank you JMHJR, she fits like she was meant to be there.