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Blog entry by Alexdi posted 12-02-2011 07:51 AM 5679 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

About three months ago, I wanted to build a small furniture piece for my rec room. This quickly ballooned (as these things do) into putting together a full workshop. The plan to pick up an old $100 portable saw morphed into a recent contractor saw, and then on a whim, into a cabinet saw. Here’s what I discovered:

The saw:

There are no pictures of the saw fully assembled because it was dark when I bought it and in pieces when I got it home. A few shots of some parts:

I’d rate this saw a ‘good’ in condition. Issues I’ve encountered:

- A few teeth are chipped on the bevel adjustment trunnion piece. They caused chattering at certain bevel angles when the adjustment wheel was turned too fast, but not severe enough to merit replacing the part.

- The plastic knob that fits on one of the adjustment wheels is missing.

- The aluminum fan on the back of the motor was broken. Also, while the motor runs well, there’s enough play in the shaft to make me suspect the motor bearings are gone.

- The tack welds holding part of the top flat piece to the rest of cabinet were loose in one corner.

The saw was originally crudely sealed with a silicon sealant over the original gray paint. A few parts like the motor cover have random holes drilled into them (which were later covered in duct tape).

I want to repaint the cabinet with a decent finish, so step 1 was to get all the sealant, paint wear, and duct-tape residue off it. I first tried KS3 paint stripper. Almost a total fail, that. After an hour sitting on the cabinet, only tiny sections were beginning to come loose. Delta industrial paint is tough! I didn’t feel like waiting forever, so I pulled out the angle grinder with a 4” wire brush. Here’s the result:

That took about five hours including all the other little parts. I also went over it quickly with some 220-grit paper on my random orbital palm sander.

There is one thing to be weary of with the angle grinder (beyond the usual face shield / leathers / earplugs): paint dust. I can’t speak for this particular Unisaw, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it had lead paint. Definitely not something you want to inhale. I used a full respirator and an air filter running full bore when I did this indoors, and I still regret it because it’s difficult to remove lead dust from the room once contaminated. Outdoor stripping would have been much preferable.

The plan over the next few days is to weld the loose top and use silicon sealant on all the gaps and seams in the saw cabinet. Done properly, it’ll be smooth enough to paint over. Can’t wait to get this beast running.

4 comments so far

View Brandon's profile


4381 posts in 3968 days

#1 posted 12-02-2011 02:09 PM

Congrats on the saw. It’s nice to see someone giving new life to a nice vintage machine like this. Best wishes on the restoration and keep posting them here for us to see how it goes.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View ratchet's profile


1391 posts in 4804 days

#2 posted 12-02-2011 03:10 PM

This is going to be one sweet machine.

View willie's profile


534 posts in 3471 days

#3 posted 12-05-2011 06:05 AM

You have a good project on your hands. You might want to check about painting over silicone sealant. Paint won’t stick to silicone. Unless it is specifically labeled as “paintable” you might want to paint first and use the sealer after the paint has dried.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View Alexdi's profile


21 posts in 3425 days

#4 posted 12-05-2011 06:22 AM

I’m using DAP Plus which insists it’s paintable. Sealing under the paint has presented some order-of-operations issues I’ll probably elaborate on in the next post. My model for this project is here, another great restore:

Thanks Brandon!

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