Unisaw Rehab #1: Bringing the New-to-Me Unisaw Home

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Blog entry by Don Broussard posted 07-26-2013 11:39 PM 3639 reads 1 time favorited 19 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Unisaw Rehab series Part 2: Cleaning the Wings »

I look at CL pretty often, trying to be frugal in equipping my shop with good tools while keeping the home budget in mind. I spotted a Unisaw posted on CL about a week ago and posted it for my fellow LJs to consider. I wasn’t really looking for a second table saw since I already have a Craftsman 113 series saw as a regular user (got that one for free!). I did rethink getting the Unisaw later—my wife and I are planning to do some home improvement work on the home where I grew up as a youngster, about 40 miles away from where we live today. I reasoned that it would be good to have a table saw at the rehab project for cutting project pieces, and my wife agreed.

The CL posting had already been listed for a full day after I posted it to the forum here, and I was worried that someone had already bought the saw. I e-mailed the seller saying I was interested and got no reply. I e-mailed a second time and got a reply that the saw was still available. We exchanged a few other messages, during which I called dibs on the item at her asking price of $200 and arranged to pick it up. She did tell me when I picked it up that she had about 10 inquiries after I claimed it, and she honored that for me. An honorable CL seller!

This blog entry basically documents the as-received condition. Please advise if more detailed pics of certain specific areas would be helpful.

Cabinet showing the general condition of the cabinet and the two handwheels.

I had to remove the top and wings to lighten the lifting effort required to load it up in my truck. I have not yet checked the table for flatness, but it looks pretty flat—no obvious pitting but some easily removed surface rust.

Based on the serial number, it looks like a 1955 Unisaw.

The blade elevation and tilt mechanisms (right tilt) both work very smoothly.

The motor is a 1HP repulsion-induction, 1725 rpm bullet motor, and yes, it does work! It is wired for 110V operation, but can be wired for 220V if needed.

The fence looks intact and it also has the micro-adjust knob. The fence it too tight to move without a lot of force, so I’ll just wait and clean it up—I don’t want to break the fence before I even use it!

The original switch plate cover is included, but at some point it was replaced with a light switch.

There was no miter gauge, nor the riving knife nor splitter. The floor of the saw is also gone, and the owner did not seem aware of the bulbous motor cover. She did say that some stuff is in storage and she’ll look for the motor cover for me. The saw also came with some vintage sawdust inside the cabinet, but as mentioned earlier, it did not affect the operation of the internals. She also included three 10” carbide tipped blades with different tooth counts and grinds, as well as five 7-1/4” blades.

The saw was sold by a widow, whose husband passed away about 7 years ago. He was a master carpenter and a 2-time Purple Heart Awardee for his service in the US Army in Vietnam, a real hero. I told the seller that I’d send some pics of the saw after I pretty it up a bit. I intend to recognize the previous owner on a special marker inside the saw—don’t tell her this (it’s a secret). While I was there, I helped her identify and price a few other of her late husband’s possessions—I’d hate for some of her listings to show up here on LJ’s Craigslist Posters Have Gone Nuts forum!

I will download a manual for this model and study it before I begin disassembly. My plan at this time is to clean up the cabinet and repaint in original colors. I’ll be looking for an original replacement switch, the motor cover and the small door on the bottom front. As the rehab progresses, I might change the arbor bearings, but they don’t sound or feel rough, but while it’s apart, it’s just as well to swap ‘em out.

Thanks for looking, and if you have comments about the process, please chime in. This is my first such extended rehab project.

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

19 comments so far

View Garwood's profile


30 posts in 3287 days

#1 posted 07-26-2013 11:54 PM

It appears to me that you got a good deal. I have a PM66 but if the saw had been in my area, I would sure spend the $200 to get it.

-- Gary

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4033 days

#2 posted 07-27-2013 12:13 AM

I KNEW you were going to buy that saw! I know you will do it proud and honor the former owner in the process.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5016 days

#3 posted 07-27-2013 12:20 AM

Nice find!

View waho6o9's profile


9136 posts in 3920 days

#4 posted 07-27-2013 03:28 AM

Looking forward to your fine restore DonB and congrats
on your 2nd saw.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 4651 days

#5 posted 07-27-2013 04:03 AM

I am glad to hear you bought the saw Don. It should be a fun and rewarding experience to fix it up. I once had a 1947 Unisaw that this one reminds me of alot. It was a real workhorse and solid saw. Lookin forward to your future photos

View MrFid's profile


910 posts in 3247 days

#6 posted 07-27-2013 04:20 AM

Good catch! Looking forward to seeing the restoration process. Also, if she was selling a Unisaw for 200, I’d have a hard time believing that anything she posts will end up on the Gone Nuts page! :)

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Buckethead's profile


3196 posts in 3211 days

#7 posted 07-27-2013 08:10 AM

I really like that you’ll honor it’s previous owner in some fashion. A noble gesture.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

4095 posts in 3594 days

#8 posted 07-27-2013 02:19 PM

Thanks, y’all! I am looking forward to getting her back in service too.

I did remove the fence last night. The reason it was tight is that the rear rail has a slight bend in it toward the front rail—I’ll try to unbend it today.

@Garwood—I didn’t even attempt to negotiate a lower price. I still think it was a good deal.

@gfadvm—Me too! I was just hoping that I wasn’t too late to the party.

@CJIII—Sometimes the iron gods smile on you.

@waho—I’m still trying to lower the bar. Managing expectations is part of the restoration process.

@Greg—Thanks. So far, so good.

@MrFid—Good catch! Hopefully, I helped her identify some of her items and price things to move, and still leave room for negotiations.

@Bucket—Thanks for that nice comment. I would probably have done it just to track the machine’s history, but the fact that he was a 2-time Purple Heart Awardee makes it more special and a nice way to honor his memory.

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

View Dave's profile


11435 posts in 4183 days

#9 posted 07-30-2013 01:07 AM

I love it!
Well done and a nice catch.

-- Superdav "No matter where you go - there you are."

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5071 days

#10 posted 07-30-2013 04:16 PM

Wow am I jealous. I NEVER see a uni sell for under $500 near me and the ones that are close to $500 are in awful shape or are 3 phase. It looks like you are well on your way to getting it back to game shape. Keep chipping away and this saw will serve you well for a long time. Sorry to hear the fence rail is bent. That will probably require replacement as opposed to straightening.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

4095 posts in 3594 days

#11 posted 07-30-2013 05:55 PM

@Hokie— Thanks. I bought a Delta T2 fence about a year ago and installed it on my Craftsman 113 saw. If I can’t get the rail straightened out, I’ll move the T2 to the Unisaw. I haven’t put a lot of effort into derusting the Uni fence, and I won’t until I know if the old rails are salvageable.

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

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 5071 days

#12 posted 08-02-2013 12:39 AM

Best of luck. IF you do decide to derust a bunch of parts check out evaporust. You probably already know about it, but if not, it does wonders! I used it on the jointer restoration (I blogged most of it if I remember right). I still needed to sand the top because the jointer bed was too large for any containers I had. Also, I’ve found that using baby oil is great for lubricating the sandpaper. Far less toxic than mineral spirits. It’s also cheaper than buying pure mineral oil at a pharmacy or specialty woodworking shop. It does have a scent though…

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4147 days

#13 posted 08-05-2013 12:15 PM

Looks like you’ve scored a gem. Some TLC and this puppy will makin some fine cuts.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

4095 posts in 3594 days

#14 posted 08-05-2013 01:19 PM

@Hokie—I do support Evaporust’s stock price. I usually buy it by the gallon at auto parts stores—usually about $23 a gallon. I haven’t tried baby oil yet, but now that’s on the list. I don’t my if my saw top smells like a wee baby!

@Roger—Thank you, sir! I am enjoying the saw rehab project immensely.

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

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5016 days

#15 posted 08-12-2013 03:08 AM

I would love to have a Goose egg Unisaw myself.

showing 1 through 15 of 19 comments

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