1954 Delta Unisaw

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Project by Mark Briley posted 01-09-2011 06:58 AM 8556 views 5 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is my first table saw, and I found this older machine for sale in a local classified ad. I became interested in possibly purchasing an old Unisaw after reading the article in Popular Woodworking magazine about cleaning and and tuning up a 1944 Unisaw. A few weeks later I happened to stumble across this one for sale, and since it was only an hour away I drove to the owner’s place to check it out.

The saw ended up being in very good condition, with all the original parts minus the original switch housing, goose egg motor cover, and a lock down lever for the fence. I found a goose egg cover for sale on the “bring out your dead” section, and the switch cover on eBay. Someone on the site was nice enough to give me an original locking lever and knob for the Micro-Set fence for free.

I stripped down everything down to the last nut and bolt and cleaned, polished, and re-painted with Rustoleum Smoke Gray on the outside and Rustoleum Machine Gray on the internal parts. There were a few broken welds in the cabinet in addition to a few extra holes that had been drilled, all of which were re-welded and ground smooth. I ground and polished the tilt and elevation wheels with a series of emery paper grits and sand papers to a chrome-like finish, and then coated with Renaissance Wax. I coated just about every other piece of steel that wasn’t painted with Boeshield T-9.

The previous owner had replaced the bearings in the 1 phase, 1 hp bullet motor, but I had to replace the arbor bearings myself which went off without a hitch. The saw runs very smooth and overall I’m very happy with how it turned out. I didn’t spend a lot of time cleaning up the rails to perfection since I’ll probably replace them with a Biesemeyer fence system in the very near future.

-- Mark, Utah

25 comments so far

View Tim29's profile


307 posts in 3716 days

#1 posted 01-09-2011 07:07 AM

Very cool. These saws will run forever if they are minimally taken care of. You did nice work, thanks for sharing

-- Tim, Nevada MO

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 4051 days

#2 posted 01-09-2011 07:13 AM

Man that is a beautiful restore. I know you put a lot of time and effort into making it right, and it shows. I love the old arn. The rustoleum gray is a classic.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View Canadian Woodworks's profile

Canadian Woodworks

702 posts in 3635 days

#3 posted 01-09-2011 07:22 AM

Impressed! I have a Powermatic Model 72 from 1961, ready for a full make over, it’s nice to see a saw that has gone all the way through the process to put a little motivation in my step.

-- Paul Lemiski, Ontario Canada, Custom Wooden Rocking chairs and tables

View thiel's profile


409 posts in 3857 days

#4 posted 01-09-2011 07:28 AM

Really nice. ... and ready for another 50 years of service!

-- --Thiel

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18744 posts in 4241 days

#5 posted 01-09-2011 08:08 AM

Nice job. Good as new, eh? :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View bvdon's profile


502 posts in 3580 days

#6 posted 01-09-2011 08:19 AM

nice restore.

View toyguy's profile


1705 posts in 4403 days

#7 posted 01-09-2011 11:53 AM

54 was a great year….... well for me at least… LOL !

You will love having this old machine in your shop. ....Nice rebuild…. They just don’t make great saw like this anymore. I have in my shop an early 60’s General table saw. Still cuts as the day it was new…...

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1590 posts in 4130 days

#8 posted 01-09-2011 01:23 PM

Looks like a great restore job, a joy to have and use i’m sure.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4523 days

#9 posted 01-09-2011 02:46 PM

Man, you did an outstanding job! That saw looks brand new now. the older saws are great, but I would agree with you on changing the fence. A Biesmeyer would be the crown jewel on this restore!


View MShort's profile


1798 posts in 3984 days

#10 posted 01-09-2011 03:15 PM

Excellent job on your restoration. It is a great looking table saw and it will last years. I agree as well on the biesmeyer upgrade.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View Splinterman's profile


23074 posts in 3927 days

#11 posted 01-09-2011 03:25 PM

Hey Mark,
Just added another 50 years of service to you T/S…good job.

View cstrang's profile


1832 posts in 3734 days

#12 posted 01-09-2011 03:27 PM

Nice job on the restoration, I would love to restore an old unisaw someday, it has been on my to do list for quite some time now if only I could find the time lol. Thanks for the post and I hope the “new” saw treats you well!

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4028 days

#13 posted 01-09-2011 03:44 PM

Nice job on the restoration. I did the same thing to a late 60’s 2hp 3ph unisaaw about a year ago. I must say that you VERY lucky finding the goose egg, they are hard to come by. I also went with the Bies fence, night and day. I recently sold mine to make room for an Oliver 232. Enjoy the saw and be safe.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View woodworm's profile


14476 posts in 4156 days

#14 posted 01-09-2011 03:50 PM

Before I read your descriptions, I thought it was Delta Unisaw reproduced… – fantastic restoration job!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3724 days

#15 posted 01-09-2011 05:45 PM

Very nice! It’s really not as difficult as people think. I’ve pretty much done the same with my 1992 Unisaw, which was a cheap CL purchase too. I just didn’t feel the need to repaint mine…it isn’t THAT old.

I replaced my fence with an Incra. It certainly makes it more functional.

-- jay,

showing 1 through 15 of 25 comments

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