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

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Blog entry by Brad posted 04-12-2014 02:10 PM 1601 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

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.


-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

8 comments so far

View Smitty_Cabinetshop's profile (online now)


16449 posts in 3260 days

#1 posted 04-12-2014 02:18 PM

OMG! You SUCK!!!!

(I want those parts, they look INCREDIBLE!!!)

Please don’t stop looking for those parts, for those of us (like me) wanting to complete my precious…

-- Don't anthropomorphize your handplanes. They hate it when you do that. - OldTools Archive -

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8554 posts in 2624 days

#2 posted 04-12-2014 04:07 PM

Persistence pays. Good stuff Brad. I’m gonna start restoring my stanley soon.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3858 posts in 2893 days

#3 posted 04-12-2014 04:07 PM

Congrats, Brad. You’re doing it proud!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Tim's profile


3859 posts in 2603 days

#4 posted 04-12-2014 05:12 PM

Congrats, that’s awesome. If you keep at it you’ll get the right saw sooner or later. I also need to put that same fervor into finding a couple pieces for my Langdon.

Regarding your tools being sold for pennies at your estate sale, here’s a pretty good article from MWTCA “Disposing of a tool collection”:

If you make a notebook with records of your tools and keep it with your estate papers that should help.

View theoldfart's profile


11143 posts in 3092 days

#5 posted 04-12-2014 06:34 PM

Brad, congrats on the score. I’ve been looking for the cope posts since I got my GP, though it did come with the repeatable length attachment . As or he saws I’ve been lucky enough to get two. The box came with a Simonds 26 1/2” mitre saw and I picked up a Diston 26 1/4” this past summer

The Simonds has a normal stamp on the spine and a GP etch

The Diston has a Diston etch and a Langdon stamp with the Millers Falls address on the spine

They are out there so good luck on the hunt

-- "With every tool obtained, there is another that is needed" DonW ( Kevin )

View Brad's profile


1141 posts in 3381 days

#6 posted 04-12-2014 06:55 PM

BRK, looking forward to you putting that Stanley back to work. Post pics brother! I’ll be posting a blog about the Stanley #60 I cleaned up and have ready for use. It has some really cool features so I’ll be posting that blog in the “review” section.

Tim, I would say that if you take a “networking” mindset to your tool hunting it will promote your success. For example, I have a MFs 74C (it was cheap and in phenomenal condition) that needed an elevator assembly. I read a thread on Neanderthal Haven where one person had gotten that very thing from another woodworker. I emailed the good samaritan and lo and behold he had one that he sent me.

TOF, those saws are two sweet looking twins. The monster Disston looks like it would work through stock like a hot knife through a scoop of chocolate-chip Hagen Daz ice cream. Thanks for posting the pics. that’s awesome.

-- "People's lives are their own rewards or punishments."

View Brit's profile


7891 posts in 3484 days

#7 posted 04-13-2014 06:02 AM

Good story Brad and I’m glad you’ve managed to find the missing parts. Be careful though, this collecting disease is a dangerous thing. I mean, where does it stop? Once you have the correct saw, you’ll want the original packing that it came in, then the truck that delivered it, then the factory that made it. Before you know it, you’ll have a new career making high-end contemporary miterboxes in the same way that Benchcrafted make vices and it will just be one more American made quality tool that I can’t afford the shipping on. LOL.

-- Andy - Old Chinese proverb says: "If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it."

View ToddJB's profile (online now)


8599 posts in 2772 days

#8 posted 04-14-2014 01:32 PM

Nice Brad, I love when stories like this work out. I once bought a vintage lathe off Craigslist that was missing its Banjo (bracket that holds the tool rest to the lathe bed). I could find replacements but people wanted a king’s ransom for them on ebay. So I had set my search aside for the time being. Then one day, a high school girl, posted two of the exact one I needed on Craigslist only a few miles from me. Ha. These aren’t parts are found on CL let alone being sold by a teeny-bopping Belieber. It can and does happen, and it the victory feels so sweet.

-- I came - I sawed - I over-built

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