Tool Trek #3: The Search for Unifence

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Blog entry by magaoitin posted 07-03-2017 05:15 PM 1377 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Rockwell 28-3x0 Bandsaw w/3 phase motor Part 3 of Tool Trek series no next part

This was a busy weekend for me to fix tools. I have needed a new Unifence from the day I bought my cabinet Unisaw.

Being an auction junkie, I picked up a Delta Unisaw 34-802 Type 1 with the 52” Unifence, at an online auction a while back for $200. I did not get a chance to go down and view the saw before I bid, and there was only a single photo for the online auction. With an actual dedicated shop that has room for big equipment, I figured it was time. It was a gamble but all the parts looked like they were there and I have always wanted a full sized cabinet saw. And as you would expect, for $200 the saw was not 100%. I did luck out and the motor runs great and it is smooth to raise/lower/tilt the blade. The only down side was the fence is badly damaged.

The fence works with the aid of a couple plastic shims, but the dial indicator half of the fence is missing. As a result, without the shims (1/8” red shim between the fence and the guide) it sits about 1/8” out of square to the blade with no way to adjust it, and does not lock into the fence rail without additional shims at the handle (2 blue 1/16” shims at the handle). But a few shims and some patience when adjusting the fence and I get great, square cuts.

For the last 18 months I have been watching Craigslist, about a dozen different auction sites, and even the dreaded eBay, but have only seen glimpses of the elusive Unifence by itself. I also did not want to spend $300+ on a new rail system, so the search went on.

Sure that I would never see just the fence for sale at a price I was willing to pay (I’ve seen a couple for $300-$400 just for the fence over the last year, or a 500+ mile round trip drive, which is not worth it), I changed my search term in Craigslist from Unisaw and Unifence to just Delta Table Saw and stumbled on a slew of older Delta Contractor saws.

I set a max price at $200 for finding a Unifence, since a new Biesemeyer fence and guide rails is around $450

while the Vega Pro 50” new is $270 on Amazon right now

I finally found what I considered to be a good deal. An older Delta Contractors saw with the Unifence including a bunch of new blades, jigs, push blocks, and the rolling base for $250.

All I wanted off this was the fence, and thought about reselling the saw without a fence, or with my broken fence, but I doubt it would be worth my time. Instead I am scraping the majority of the saw and just picking some valuable to me parts.

Obviously a great working fence

The 240v motor, starter, and switch are going to my Powermatic Model 60 Jointer. I burned out the motor controller on the 3 phase motor, and have decided to just put in a 240v that I know works. I have been fussing with a 3 HP motor off an old dust collector, but it has too many problems for me. Plus I just don’t know enough about electric motors to be able to rebuild/refurbish one right now (too many other projects)

The rolling base happens to fit my 20” Rockwell (Delta) bandsaw with a 26” base. It is a bit longer than my bandsaw and I need to beef up the wheels to handle the weight, but I can finally get it off from a pallet. (3) New HD rollers and a solid bottom plate welded in place should do the trick.

And I decided to salvage the 30” Unifence Rail for my Rockwell as well. Not that I really need a fence for my bandsaw, but I now have a mostly functional spare Unifence and an aluminum guide rail that would otherwise go to the metal recycler.

Leaving me with just a cabinet and cast top to recycle.

For some reason I really feel bad about tearing apart a perfectly good, working 10” tablesaw for parts and putting the rest in the recycle bin, but I have gotten impatient with waiting to find the perfect a $150 unifence on Craigslist, just miles away from me.

In an odd coincidence my Rockwell/Delta 20” bandsaw table is drilled exactly the same mounting hole placement as the Unifence rail. And sits exactly level!

Since I won’t need a 30” bar (nor do I want it sticking that far into my isleway) I cut the rail down to just the size of my table.

I also remounted the VFD for my saw inside the main post. There is a cover plate to access the ON/OFF switch that was a perfect fit.

I only had one shot at cutting the steel plate, so I made a template out of a scrape of plexiglass and transferred that to the steel.

For the most part it fits good. My dremel grinding got a way from me a bit so I will need to repaint the cover at some point.

The mounting point for the ON/OFF switch wiring is outside of the enclosure, so it looks like I am going to have 2 wires visible when I wire in my switch. I probably will make a cover of some sort just so I don’t see it and paint to match the case

Now with the shortened Unifence guide.

While the holes lined up perfectly, the run-out of the fence on the left side of the blade wasn’t enough, so I ended up driling new holes over about 12” from the factory ones. I still need to build a small extension table for the left side.

and if anyone wants the trunion, raise/lower/tilt guides from the contractors saw PM me. You can have them for the cost of shipping. just PM me. Or if you are in Washington state let me know and I will give them to you.

-- Jeff ~ Tacoma Wa.

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