Rust-hunting serendipity—A year of searching turns up “Precious” parts

About a year ago, I restored a Goodell Manufacturing Co. miterbox. It was lacking both of its accessories when I originally bought it. A slide post to facilitate crown moulding cuts, and a length gauge slide. It was also missing a slide retention clip and a thumbscrew.

That nagged at me. So much so that I made a clip and bought a jig thumbscrew to secure it. I also started making wooden prototypes of the slides.


That didn’t help. The missing parts weighed on me like a Chinese water torture. The dripping even drove me on a quest to hunt down vintage accessory parts. That journey hit a dead end but pronto. So I fiddled with the idea of having a machinist make them. But I couldn’t find one in my area to fashion the pieces at a reasonable price. And with that, the whole notion moved to a back burner.

Then one day, I was clicking through Ebay’s listings for miterboxes when I came across this pic.


It’s a spitting image of the one I restored. Only it looked much sexier for a few very important reasons.

For one, it had the post slide accessory. Which was held in place by a vintage thumbscrew and bracket.


And on the right, there was the length gauge.


These were just the parts I needed to end my torture. I submitted the winning bid, though at the time the shipping seemed a bit low at $13.00. Sure enough, soon after, the seller informed me that he had made an error. He would either refund my money or bill me $25 more to ship it, my choice.

I paused a moment to consider my options.

Option A: Get my money back. Like hell. By this time I was fixated on the parts like Gollum was to the Ring in Lord of the Rings. “Come to me Precious.”

Option B: Pony up the extra cash. That would have brought the price of the things I needed to about $50.00. Ouch! It also would have brought a fifth(!) miterbox into my workshop. That might be a problem. You see SWMBO might start to think—justifiably if you want to put a fine point on it—that I had a miterbox hoarding problem. There must be an….Option C!

Option C: Counter the seller’s fair offer with a win-win proposition. I told the seller that he could keep the cash I had paid, and most of the miterbox. I specified which parts I needed and enclosed digital pictures of each. And while I was at it, I asked if the miterbox came with a saw. He agreed, saying that he had a saw that he would send.

When the parts tumbled out of the box onto my workbench, I uttered a single word, “Precious.”

The slide retention clip was painted black to match its restored counterpart. Then it was attached with one of the vintage thumbscrews.


It took some time to remove the rust that was caked onto the other parts. Inserting the first slide felt like slipping a .45 shell into a special-edition Colt revolver adorned with silver plating and decorative carving.



Reuniting the length gauge with its period-correct sister felt just as good.


“Oh my Precious.”

After pausing to admire the tool in all its restored glory, I turned to the backsaw.


Turns out it’s Disston with a 10” plate. No good for the miterbox, but I love it anyway. I’ve sharpened her for service as a dovetail saw.

And with these parts my Depression-era miterbox is complete!

Well. Almost complete.

You see, while I love the miter saw I bought for it, the etching identifies it as originally being paired with a Langdon miterbox. And that nags at me. Drip, drip, drip. So I’m on the hunt for a saw that originally came with these boxes. A Disston stamped with an etching that reads, “Made Exclusively for Goodell Manufacturing Co.

I know now to bide my time. Because one day, a period- and model-correct saw will be cradled in its posts. And when that day comes, my restoration will, at last, be complete!

So that my descendants can sell it for peanuts at my estate sale. Well, at least there’s hope the next owner will enjoy a lifetime of untortured use from it.



About The Write Biz

By day, I'm a mild-mannered copywriter who harnesses frontal-lobe creativity (right brain) to help B2B marketers generate leads and sales. By night I pick up hand tools to create wooden masterpieces...and give my black lab Bella the "red dot" laser to chase after.
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3 Responses to Rust-hunting serendipity—A year of searching turns up “Precious” parts

  1. Dwight says:

    Apologies, can’t find your name here. Anyway, I too had a similar problem. I really wanted to get that miter box up and running. Like you, had everything but the same parts you were looking for. Serendipity is a wonderful thing. Made a friend who did have the parts, which I then asked a machinist friend if he could copy. He could and he did. Nicest part? My friend did it simply because he enjoys making things. Pictures are here:
    Enjoy! Dwight

    PS But then I found a Stanley 358. Extra gizmos abound and a lovely tool.

    • Excellent job Dwight. Your machinist friend is a gentleman and very fine craftsman. I know of a couple of others who are in search of the very same accessories. Do you think your friend would be willing to make a few more sets just like the fine work he did for you? I’m sure they’d pay the materials costs plus a bit for his time.

  2. PeteW says:

    Ah, jealousy! A very nice rehab of a fine tool. You can see pictures of mine here:
    Miter saw restored

    Sadly, I have little hope of finding the missing parts on this side of the Atlantic – I often wonder how it came to be so far from home when I found it. On the other hand, I do have the saw 🙂

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