The Unisaw Experience #2: Tearing it down, inspection, cleaning, and a clearance issue...

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Blog entry by MrMeasureTwice posted 07-30-2012 04:36 AM 3587 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The deal of a lifetime... my first Unisaw (maybe my one and only!) Part 2 of The Unisaw Experience series Part 3: Blades of Glory!! »

Fellow LumberJocks,
I submit to you, the second installment of the Unisaw Experience…

Day two plan:
  1. remove the table
  2. clean the interior of the saw
  3. inspect trunion ways
  4. clean ways of any crud/corrosion
  5. check motor clearance…

Table removal was uneventful, but required assistance from my 20 year old son to put it aside once the bolts were removed. When removing the bolts, I noticed one was longer than the other three. Not sure if that is normal, or ?? Maybe someone here knows the answer to that one.

CHECK - table removal complete

Next was to clean the interior of the saw – there was a LOT of caked on sawdust, and some indications that there may have been some overlubrication due to the drip marks and caked on, oily sawdust. I vacuumed all of the loose stuff I could reach with my shop vacuum and it looked pretty decent. No surprises were revealed, so I then took a brush and began to knock off the more difficult sawdust and the caked, oily deposits as well as vacuuming the bottom of the box (the floor of the cabinet), and as deeply into the trunion and yoke assembly and the gears and mechanisms as possible.

This brought light a Unisaw interior that looked pretty decent. Minor rust as expected, no major pitting or holes or other bad stuff. A little more brushing and vacuuming, and even some blowing, got rid of nearly all the undesirable material inside.

CHECK - interior cleaned

A careful look at the ways indicated they were in need of some WD-40 and a brass wire brush to remove some light rust. Squirt-squirt, brush, brush, wipe, wipe and the front way looked pretty decent. One more round of SSBBWW and it looked very nice, and on to the back way we went…

SSBBWW x 2 on the rear way and it too looked like a nicely prepared portion of the assembly.

CHECK - ways cleaned and remediated

As mentioned by MedicKen in the comments of the first blog entry on the Unisaw Experience, clearance with the non-stock motor may be an issue, and, IT IS AN ISSUE!. Currently, the tilt only goes to 20.5 degrees, and then the motor hits the cabinet. It can be forced past that, but I am not fond of forcing things that are not designed to be forced. So, now it is decision time. I can either go out and find an alternate motor, which I cannot afford, or, I can make a small notch in the cabinet so the motor can clear without forcing it past.

CHECKcheck motor clearance (fail)

As with many other projects I have endeavored, this one too has its snags, albeit a small one overall. I am seriously considering the notch since I intend to keep this saw until I die, and, it is not original anyway without the bullet motor, so it’s already not a pristine and perfect example of the Unisaw. Lastly, I fully plan to use this saw and it needs to operate correctly without busting what little budget I have set aside to finish this project up and start cutting wood. So, after a bit more fiddling around, I realized all I have to do is raise the blade about an inch, tilt it while the blade is up and it clears the housing. WHEW! I really didn’t want to cut the cabinet.

Also, the pulley on the arbor shaft has the triple pulley, but the motor only has a double. The two belts are not installed correctly, with one of the not in alignment with the triple pulley, so I will need to move that belt over one spot to align it correctly. Since I will be keeping this motor, I need to make it work correctly, with good clearance and properly aligned belts too.

Another thing I noticed on the cabinet wings that the table bolts to, is that the right front wing and left rear wing both appear bent. The left rear is bent slightly up, and the right front looks bent down, very noticeably. My gut says it may have suffered some sort of impact since it was built in 1955 – since I am owner number X, and COWBOY was owner number X-1, who knows how many previous owners may have had this saw. I am not going to sweat it too terribly much as the saw is in overall very good condition and I expect it to be a great saw for decades of producing sawdust.

If anyone has seen similar bending of these wings on a Unisaw, and they know HOW it happened, I would be interested in learning more, but it does not look to be a “deal-breaker so far.

Here’s a little bit of the process documented with my fancy little phone camera…

Bolts removed…

Table removed – lots of packed sawdust, lots of loose stuff too…

Clearance issue…

20.5 degrees of clearance – won’t make it to 45 without forcing it…

Injury on the job – should have removed saw blade…

A clean saw is a happy saw!!

Front way – some rust…

Rear way – some more rust…

Right front wing – bent… not sure how or why… been there a long time based on rust where pain has cracked away.

Left rear wing is slightly separated from the cabinet… but not bent itself…

Clean ways – front is much nicer and the things glides perfectly now…

Clean ways – rear one looks very nice as well…

Next steps:
  1. put table top back onto cabinet
  2. install new Freud blade
  3. align miter slots to blade and tighten down table
  4. check tilt gauge and ensure accuracy – adjust as needed
  5. adjust cast iron wings (right now they are out of whack)
  6. clean table top
  7. find a miter gauge for a Unisaw ($$$)
  8. make a crosscut sled for the saw
  9. CUT WOOD!!!

Next installment should be mid-week – so long…

-- May your shop be filled with chips and sawdust all year long, – “Mr. Measure Twice”

4 comments so far

View RCT's profile


89 posts in 4718 days

#1 posted 07-30-2012 11:06 PM

I thought I would let you that I’m watching this closely as I’m about a week behind your steps with my new saw.
Have to get the 3 phase plugs set up. Just learning the ins and outs of the VFD.

-- "Ya but what does he know anyhow?"

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3657 days

#2 posted 07-31-2012 01:31 AM

Looks like you’re getting a lot done in a short time. I sense the excitement! That saw is cleaning up vey nicely.

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

View MrMeasureTwice's profile


128 posts in 3388 days

#3 posted 07-31-2012 01:33 AM

@RCT – cool – it’s great fun doing this project, and, on such a hefty saw – I am looking forward to cutting some wood on it soon. I just got home from work and have a bit more work to do, then it’s out to the shop to re-install the top and get it aligned and secure. If I have time (I go to bed early since I am up at 0400 every day) I will try to get the wings aligned – they are WAY out of alignment and the straightedge I have rocks on the seams right now! Soon it will be flat…

I will get some video of the first cuts for all to see and enjoy…

Mine is single phase, so I now have the wire to make the whip for the saw. I am stealing the 220 from my dryer since I have a gas dryer now, so the 220 is no longer needed. I am not fond of doing electrical work, but the $700 for an electrician was a bit too rich for my blood. Not that I have not done electrical, I am an ex-Navy Avionics technician and I regularly dealt with power up to 440v and actually survived a hit with 440v – 2 days in a coma, and another 2 days under observation, a small burn on the back of my hand, but I survived it.

So, I am a little reluctant to do the work, but I’ve wired tons of stuff here at the house, so I figured I would delve into the 220v realm and give it a whirl…

The wiring will be later in the week… stay tuned!!

-- May your shop be filled with chips and sawdust all year long, – “Mr. Measure Twice”

View MrMeasureTwice's profile


128 posts in 3388 days

#4 posted 07-31-2012 02:16 AM

@gfadvm – ya, I am very excited because I have had 3 table saws, all were little, weak and unable to handle what kind of work I want to do. I am looking forward to being able to effortlessly cut wood on a large, precise surface with a nice fence that will not move. I’ve made so many slop cuts on other saws I actually SOLD my last table saw before I got the Unisaw. I was SO frustrated, I said I would never use a cheap-o table saw again and I would wait for the right saw to come along. I missed out on seven different Unisaws and two Powermatics before this one finally came along.

-- May your shop be filled with chips and sawdust all year long, – “Mr. Measure Twice”

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