Tool gloat: UNISAW! #1: Take it apart, clean it up, put parts on order

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Blog entry by ic3ss posted 04-04-2011 11:56 PM 2050 reads 1 time favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Tool gloat: UNISAW! series Part 2: Parts arrive early. »

Several years ago I bought my first table saw, a Delta shopmaster cheapo model. I think I paid $100 brand new at HD. I needed it to complete a wood molding job around the house. It worked for what I needed at the time, and afterwords, I actually avoided using it because it was such a POS. The throat plate is recessed about 1/16” below grade and stock always catches on it. Whatever, it was cheap and I got what I paid for I guess.

Well, now I’m finding myself getting serious about woodworking and I’m buying tools now to allow me to make furniture again. I picked up a used Jet 6” jointer a while back, and a new Delta 13” planer a week later. For big power tools, the only thing I was missing was a good table saw, so off to Craigslist again. I didn’t think I needed a cabinet saw, and I thought the size and weight wouldn’t work well for me working it the garage, so I was looking at hybrids and contractor saws. What I learned is that there’s a big difference in these saws in the type of trunions and how they are mounted in the saw. I really only want to buy one table saw in the next 20 years, I don’t like the idea of buying one that’s good enough for now but I’ll have to replace in a few years. I’d rather pay the money for what I’m sure I’m going to need later now, so I don’t have to deal with losing money on an intermediate deal. The one saw that I came back to time and again was the Unisaw. The big thing that sold me on the Unisaw was how old the model was, the availability of parts, how little the model has changed until recently, and the availability of old saws on the secondary market. There’s lots of them to be found on the web.

I found this one in Tacoma, WA, and I had to borrow a friend’s SUV to bring it back to Salem, OR. It wasn’t fun paying $95 to fill the tank after the trip. The seller said it had a 3HP motor, I wanted a 3HP motor, but as it turned out this one had a 1.5HP motor so I talked him down from $450 to $400. I got this thing home last weekend and yesterday I finally had the time to start tearing it apart.

Someone had replaced the broken start switch with a 20amp light switch. I put a new start switch on order from Grizzly. Then I took the arbor apart and found the bearings are trashed. I found someone on eBay selling a pair of bearings for $22. Normally I’ve only seen them at that price each, so that’s a deal. The saw came with a home made T-square fence and I think if I add some polyethylene wear pads, it should work pretty well, so I need to pick up some of that.

I took off the table extensions and wire brushed everything, then waxed all bare surfaces. So now I’m on hold waiting for parts. More to come. . . .

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

5 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 5006 days

#1 posted 04-05-2011 12:20 AM

Congrats, you got a nice find.

View D1st's profile


291 posts in 4373 days

#2 posted 04-05-2011 12:41 AM

congrats on your purchase. I hope it works good for you.


View bigike's profile


4059 posts in 4621 days

#3 posted 04-05-2011 01:46 AM

the best saw on tha planet that thing will run forever.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View Randy's profile


397 posts in 4780 days

#4 posted 04-05-2011 02:55 AM


-- RKWoods

View ic3ss's profile


404 posts in 4110 days

#5 posted 04-07-2011 04:18 PM

I put the arbor together yesterday: no spare parts yet.

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

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