Unisaw Rehab #3: Cleaning and Partial Disassembly

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Blog entry by Don Broussard posted 07-28-2013 11:51 PM 2196 reads 1 time favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Cleaning the Wings Part 3 of Unisaw Rehab series Part 4: Priming the Cabinet »

My wife helped me unload the saw from the truck and walk it into the shop. We left it just outside the shop so the sawdust would fall outside—I certainly don’t need more sawdust in the shop!

Using the air compressor, I blew off all the obvious vintage sawdust from the mechanism.

Here’s a before and after comparison:



EDIT: I pulled off the belts. Don’t think I’ll try to save these!

I removed the arbor assembly, intending to disassemble that subassembly. However, the set screw on the pulley is being difficult. I did listen to the bearings with my ear on the subassembly and there is no indication of a problem with the bearings. If I can coax that set screw out and remove the pulley, I will replace those arbor bearings.

I removed the rails from the main top and partially sanded the rear rail.

You can see the slight bend in the rear rail. I’ll have to figure out how to take that bend out, because it affects the operation of the fence. There was also something inside the rail that blocked the light—I figured it was a mud dauber nest. Turned out it was one of the end caps on the rail that was lodged inside the rail. I was able to get it out, but it is not reusable in its salvaged condition.

I started cleaning the cabinet with soap and water with wet/dry sandpaper. I did half of one side of the cabinet manually. I was not satisfied with results, so I got my ROS and dry sanded the rust and flaking paint off one side. I expect to prime and repaint the cabinet. I planned to remove the base, but it looks like I’ll have to hack off the existing screws and replace them. I’ll salvage the square nuts for reuse.

I also pulled the two handwheels off the machine—no problem there.

All of the loose small parts, along with the dust chute, are soaking in an Evaporust bath now.

After the day in the shop was done, I treated myself to a cold one. This is a new brew, and it’s not a new favorite. I prefer Turbo Dog or Purple Haze.

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

8 comments so far

View Mauricio's profile


7163 posts in 3659 days

#1 posted 07-29-2013 04:36 PM

This saw is going to come out great! I love how sturdy that old iron looks.

I’m more of an Abita Amber man myself but I haven’t tried that new on.

-- Mauricio - Woodstock, GA - "Confusion is the Womb of Learning, with utter conviction being it's Tomb" Prof. T.O. Nitsch

View Dave's profile


11434 posts in 3347 days

#2 posted 07-30-2013 01:20 AM

A piece at a time.
You are on your way.

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

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3798 posts in 2759 days

#3 posted 07-30-2013 01:53 AM

@Maur—Thanks for your confidence in my rehabbin’ skills. I’m no Rick Dale from American Restoration! As for the Abita, the Amber’s good too. Abita made a seasonal kumquat brew last year that I only bought once too.

@Dave—Thanks for the “You suck”—I agree that I deserve it! Looks like I won’t get any more shop time this week—going away for a few days with my bride.

Stay tuned for further updates . . .

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

View chrisstef's profile


17960 posts in 3514 days

#4 posted 07-30-2013 06:01 PM

Good work so far Don. I almost pulled the trigger on a Uni a few years ago but it fell through. I plan on living vicariously through you on this rehab. I don’t like that beer either. Fruit is not made for beer.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View cpd011's profile


91 posts in 3745 days

#5 posted 07-30-2013 11:13 PM

I love seeing a good restore. I completely tore apart my grandfather’s 1947 Unisaw. Replaced the bearings painted and primed almost everything. You may want to add a dust collection ramp inside. I did that and I now use the bottom of the cabinet with the vented door for storing dado sets and assorted pieces. I do have the a cleaned and painted splitter/ guard assembly as well as the jetlock fence and rails just sitting on a shelf. I would be glad to them to you but have no ideas about shipping etc. I replaced my fence with a T2.

View sgmdwk's profile


308 posts in 2380 days

#6 posted 08-01-2013 12:13 AM

Fascinating. I love following this sort of thing. Some day I might dump my old Craftsman and refurbish a cabinet saw.

-- Dave K.

View Roger's profile


21011 posts in 3312 days

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

You’re coming along very nicely on this. Wow!

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

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3798 posts in 2759 days

#8 posted 08-05-2013 01:24 PM

@Stef—Thanks for stopping by! I am livin’ the dream, man!

@cpd—I did watch the Popular Woodworking video series on youtube (twice!) and saw how he installed the dust ramp. My saw doesn’t even have a bottom, so a ramp makes sense. I don’t have the dust door, so using it as open storage is an option until I find a replacement door.


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

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