In Shop Blog, Techniques, Tools

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Soon I will sell my Makita LS1013 miter saw. Not because it’s junk , far from it. It’s still the best miter saw I’ve ever used. But I don’t need it anymore. During the last five years, I’ve started using miter boxes a lot more. And my Makita is just taking up space in my shop.

In an upcoming issue we’re featuring an article by Ron Herman on how to select a miter box, so I don’t want to steal his thunder here on the blog. But there is an important bit of miter box news that I wanted to share with you.

If you’ve tried to buy a miter box you’ve probably discovered the following:

1. The boxes are cheap and plentiful.
2. Many times the boxes are missing their saws.
3. A fair number of the saws are rusted, bent or have been sharpened too many times to work in the box.

My first miter box was a small Langdon model that I use for mitering mouldings and cutting rails and stiles to length. However, last year I sharpened the saw to the point where the teeth wouldn’t cut through the work.

To temporarily remedy this, I installed a new bed on the miter box, which raises the work up. But that diminished the depth of cut of the saw.

So I asked Thomas Lie-Nielsen if his company ever made custom saws for miter boxes. He said they had made a few and were considering making more. I ordered one and have been using it since January. Boy is it sweet.

This week Lie-Nielsen announced the company would take orders for custom miter saws. So if you have a good miter box with a crappy or AWOL saw, now is your chance to remedy that.

Lie-Nielsen said the custom saws should cost $185, regardless of their length or depth (within reason). Eventually the company may adopt a price list based on a sliding scale, he said.

The saws can be customized to fit your box, including the plate thickness (which is critical) and the depth below the spine (very critical). So you’ll need to take some careful measurements when discussing your order with the company.

A custom saw should take about a month to make, though that could be longer if the company has to order oddball materials for your saw.

This is great news for those of us who use miter boxes. And for those of you who don’t, this eliminates one of your major excuses.

To order a custom saw, call Lie-Nielsen Toolworks at 800-327-2520 or send an email via

– Christopher Schwarz

Thirsty for More Information on Saws? Me, too.

– The Norse Woodsmith is a great place to learn about sharpening and making your own saws.

– Vintage Saws is a great place to learn about restoring and sharpening saws. Plus you can buy sharpening equipment there.

– Andrew Lunn at Eccentric Toolworks chronicles his sawmaking operation (and the occasional pizza fire).

– Our book “Handtool Essentials” has a lot of good information on saws and is dirt cheap. Get if here from our store at the

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Showing 12 comments
  • Sawdust22936

    I found a Sears Craftsman, 1960, copy of the Miller’s Falls/Langdon miterbox at a Habitat Restore in Manassas, VA for a mere $35.00 in perfect shape with all the parts, but alas no saw. Still looking for the saw, but the miterbox is a gem. Just the other day there was a Craftsman like mine for 45.00 w/a saw that might have worked. Shipping would be a bear as the box weighs about 45 pounds.

  • stjones911

    The Mid-West Tool Collectors Association ( is good place to start – check the "Tool Meets" page. Some meets require M-WTCA membership ($25 and worth it) and most have tool auctions/sales. East of the Mississippi, LFOD auctions ( usually have several miter boxes.

    Or just hang out with some Neanderthals/Galoots/old tool fans. You may find someone with 5 or 6 piled in their garage somewhere.

  • Graham Hughes

    My experience has been that miter boxes are like boring machines. When you don’t have one, they’re nearly impossible to find. When you do have one, three more somehow show up on the doorstop overnight. eBay was where I got my first.

  • You say that miter boxes are common, yet I cannot find one good one (Langdon, Miller’s Falls etc). Are there other places except Jim Bode and eBay where one could look?
    Paul Moldovanos

  • Eric

    Mike Wenzloff also makes miter saws custom to your miter box, for those of us who covet his saws.

  • Ed Furlong

    For those of you who own (or purchase) a Stanley Miter Box, there is a great instruction sheet at:

    A link to a Miter Box instruction sheet pdf file is part way down the page.

    Thanks to Stan Faulin, host of the site!

    This has been a real help to me.

    A quick look in ebay suggests stanley miter boxes, with and without saws, are reasonably available and reasonably priced.

    Another suggestion–it never hurts to to have a spare backsaw that works with your miter box; I picked up a second stanley backsaw at a garage sale for a couple of bucks.

  • Kurt Schmitz

    I know what makes my mitre box good…

    – it’s portable, much more so than my cast-iron Craftsman chop saw
    – it cuts at 90 degrees every time, along with true angles to the left and right of 90

    My Langdon All-Steel is the perfect compliment to my radial arm saw in the shop, so between the two of them I don’t reach for the chop saw except when I go somewhere and have to do framing work with simple, repetitive cuts. Then it sings.

  • Gary

    Maybe Tom will make a comlete kit?

  • Christopher Schwarz

    That’s a book, not a comment….

  • Michael Zilis

    What makes a good miter box good?


  • Christopher Schwarz

    They are common. I have found them at garage sales, auctions, Craigslist, anywhere that tools are sold.


  • Anon

    Where does one get a good miter box, aside from eBay?

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