Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Craftsman Miter box

My new to me Craftsman miter box arrived with my son over the Easter holidays.
This makes mitre box No 3.

The Sears plate with the model No and such is peeled off, it would have been on the LHS on the frame front. The label not being riveted but a sticker, makes it a bit more modern.

Lets see what others No we can get from it, to help identify it

No 881 36301 is stamped on both bracket feet.

Looking up the first 3 numbers of the part No (881) which is the manufacturer code, we get Hempe Manufacturing  Company, still in business. Hempe was bought by Empire Level Co in 2000.

So this box was not made by Millers Falls but later by Hempe.

Hempe sticker on similar boxes 

Sears Craftsman sticker on Hempe made boxes, this one is riveted, 
later they were stick on labels.

They still make miter boxes today of the variety you often see of lesser quality models (China?), not to be confused with the Nobex models (Sweeden) sold at LV.

Modern Hempe mitre box

The saw that came with this box is a full 26 in X 3-7/8 (must have been a 4 in saw?), it is large!! Interestingly, its the same depth as the one found by Tom Fidgen, I don't think its a coincidence.

A full 26 in of blade, its a monster

Warranted Superior medaillon

It has the following markings:
Craftsman No 30070 Made in Canada

Trying to date this box, I went searching for patents on Hempe miter boxes
Found these


So I'm guessing it falls in somewhere in between. 

 At first I thought that the the number stamped was for the box foot bracket part No 881 36301, deducting that my model No is 881 36300. But I found in a 72/73 tool catalog a model No 36302

Model 36302 middle one in this pic, with a 24 in saw 
and a different angle sector lock lever

This one on line says it is a 36300, same as mine, so I'm guessing mine is really a 36301

Found a manual on line to a similar Hempe model, which judging from the Simpsons Sears Canadian markings makes it early 70s to 80s vintage at best, before it became Sears Canada in 1983. 

Model 30001 ?? manual
The manual also says that the model number is stamped on the foot bracket, 
so mine is model No 881 36301

That one has a lever on the side to unlock the angle sector, mine used lever under, and the way the saw brackets are held/release on top of the guide look also slightly different.

There is a lever nut (Half a wing nut) that locks the settings in between preset detents.
The pin lever is seen between the locking nut and the end of the arm. It is pulled back to unlock preset detents.

The way the bracket hold the saw up, does not inspire much confidence for 
your hands fiddling under the saw to line up the cut...Very easy to trip.

Armed with my new found knowledge did some more research on model No 36301 and came up with two other bloggers mitre box & saw restoration like mine:
By Swirt on Timber-Frame tools, and Tom Fidgen on Unplugged woodshop
So I guess if that one is good enough for them, its good enough for me :-)
Looks like the only thing missing are the cut off stops at each ends.

Top saw is the Craftsman 26 in
Middle is Stanley 24 in
Bottom Disston 16 in 

One last word of wisdom, Miter saws 22 to 30 in in length are NOT to be used free hands, they are only made to be used in a proper miter box, or they will bend. DO NOT do that, ever!

Bob, very happy with what my son brought for Easter :-).


  1. Hi Bob,
    I got two miter boxes and I use neither. The saw I have for my stanley 358(?) is 5"x26". I liked them but it is too much of a PITA to take it out, set it up, use it, and stow it.

  2. Agreed, the set up and breakdown is cumbersome, which is why I'm thinking of a dedicated mitre saw station :-)

  3. I have Dewalt DW175 miter saw. I have problem with cutting board 45 and 90 degree. Do you sharing tips? I want to d├ęcor crib for my daughter next week

  4. Hi Sarah
    What kind of problems are you having? Cut not coming out square? As long as you are close, it is quick work with a hand plane and a shooting board.
    If I am not clear, just let me know, glad to be of some help.

  5. Thank for your sharing. I read information very late, your article is closed but congrats to our winner. I bought Dewalt miter saw. It very good, I think I create anything that join contest