This is indeed an enigma...
I have had this old miter box kicking around in the storage shed above my snowmobile shed. I am not sure what possessed me to drag it down from there, but anyway I did. It was pretty gummed up from years of non-use so a bit of WD-40 and some elbow grease and I got the saw and miter box to function.
Well sort of. No matter how I adjusted the miter box, the saw would not go all the way down to the bottom and cut the piece of wood off.
So having a "new" miter box made by Craftsman sometime in the 1950's (I actually use this one a lot) I decided to compare. It was pretty easy to see that the Craftsman Miter Box saw was an inch or two deeper then the older saw...hence the reason the saw would not cut all the way through the board.
Okay so that was easy to figure out, but why would a saw be stuffed inside a miter box that it does not fit? And who makes this miter box anyway? No amount of scrubbing or dusting off produced a stamp or name. I could tell by the way it was machined, and the way it was put together with a lot of castings that this thing is pretty old. Much older then the Craftsman miter box. Its almost funny because you can see where the Craftsman is almost an exact copy of this miterbox...almost. You can see where they cheapened things up and took shortcuts on the construction.
So with the miter box maker unknown, I turn to the saw. That is easy to figure out, Simonds its says on the saw screw head. It even says pat. December 27th 1887, but there is more to that story. After checking on the internet it seems the saw maker patented the saw screw on that date, but did not start making saws until much later. It only made saws from 1901-1926. That still means I got an old saw...and an old miter box of about the same vintage...but why don't the two match?
Perplexing to say the least
So why would I even care about miter boxes and saws in this day an age? Well its kind of funny. When I did the baseboard and crown molding in my house, I was constantly switching my radial arm saw from 45º to 90º. Grabbing my Craftsman Miter Box I quickly found out how fast and effortless a sharp Backsaw can cut through pine. It kind of hooked me. As for the Simonds saw, my Uncle owned it and had his own sharpening business back before carbide kind of ruined it. I can honestly say, I think that saw is as sharp as any saw on the hardware store shelves today. Its actually cool to slice through wood the old fashioned way with only a few strokes of the saw. As i said I am indeed hooked.
Now with two miter boxes, I gotta tell you I'm tempted to go retro on my next project....
I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"