Not as nice as I thought it would be

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Review by Dedvw posted 03-04-2017 03:28 AM 8355 views 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Not as nice as I thought it would be No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve owned the Delta Unisaw (36-L336) 36” 3hp for a couple months now and have enough time with it to give it a review. I will break this review down into my pros and cons.

Pros: Saw makes exceptional cuts. The 3hp motor is very powerful, I cant see much need for more power. The power button is placed in the perfect position, its very easy to turn off with your hip. Assembly is fairly straightforward. The mobile stand is very robust and is actually a very good price for what you get. It is mostly welded and all you need to assemble is the wheels and raise/lower pedal.

Cons: The side table is garbage. Mine came with screw holes in the laminate and when i place a straight edge across it there is a 1/8” dip in the center. The side table legs are bent out at a 94 degree angle for the table to sit on the mobile stand. It’s almost like the stand was made a tad longer than it was supposed to, or the table was made a tad shorter than specs. I don’t know which is the case, but it doesn’t fit correctly on my base. The blade that came with it was defective. My cuts were horrible at the beginning, and i thought that it was the saw. My dial indicator said the blade was straight, but my cuts were worse than the Ridgid 4511 it replaced. A change of the blade fixed this, it must have been a bad carbide on the blade. Dust collection is average, I have this connected to the new 2HP Jet cyclones (they are awesome) and it collects dust pretty well until you connect a dado blade to the saw. The fence is OK quality, the packaging is inadequate and the quality is not what I expected.. One frustration I have with the function of the fence is when you rip narrow strips (less than an inch), the fence pushes down on the insert plate and pushes it up in the front. The wood catches on the plate as you push it into the blade and anyone that rips thin strips knows this is a pain. I am working on moving the guide back a few inches, which requires drilling new holes, so it doesn’t push down on the insert plate.

I hope this helps anyone looking at buying this saw.

View Dedvw's profile


176 posts in 3656 days

21 comments so far

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4143 days

#1 posted 03-04-2017 06:04 AM

” the fence pushes down on the insert plate and pushes it up in the front. The wood catches on the plate as you push it into the blade and anyone that rips thin strips knows this is a pain. I am working on moving the guide back a few inches,” Makes no since to me, how can the fence be hitting the insert and moving what guide back?

View Dedvw's profile


176 posts in 3656 days

#2 posted 03-04-2017 11:42 AM


The Teflon or plastic glide on the bottom of the fence that helps it slide back and forth on the table sits right on the insert when the fence is close to the blade. Because the insert doesn’t lock in with screws or by any mechanical means, it pushes down on the back of the plate. This causes the front of it to push up about a 16th of an inch.

I went as far as resetting the fence height, but it made no difference. The glide still runs along the table the same way.

I’m going to take the piece and move it back on the fence 3 inches so it doesn’t sit on the insert when the fence is close to the blade.

I hope that makes sense.

View dhazelton's profile


2839 posts in 3072 days

#3 posted 03-04-2017 01:44 PM

An 1/8 inch sag in a large wood and laminate top doesn’t sound all that horrible as it really is just a material support. If you planned on putting a router in there you would probably make a torsion box top for that side. The plate issue sounds like something that you can solve – maybe you need to remove a small amount of that nylon strip where it catches the insert. You have to remember that Delta is not American Delta, but Chang Type Industrial Co., Ltd and corners will be cut. The fence and side extension are common complaints on Amazon.

View Dedvw's profile


176 posts in 3656 days

#4 posted 03-04-2017 01:49 PM


It’s not a matter of removing some material. The whole nylon strip sits on the insert. The strip stays in contact with the table/insert when the fence is locked. I am going to move it back three inches and see if that works.

It just seems like they missed the mark on the nylon piece.

The side table is only 24”wide. 1/8” seems like a lot over that distance.

View Greg the Cajun Wood Artist's profile

Greg the Cajun Wood Artist

515 posts in 1717 days

#5 posted 03-04-2017 04:19 PM

1/8” would not be acceptable to me either. When you pay a couple of thousand dollars fo a saw you expect more precision than you would get on a lower priced one.

The side table that came with my sawstop was not perfectly flat and had a dip in the center. I did not even bother to put it on…I just built a side cabinet with doors and storage and built it to my standards.

-- Wood for projects is like a good Fart..."better when you cut it yourself" Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does

View Woodmaster1's profile


1480 posts in 3362 days

#6 posted 03-04-2017 05:17 PM

I bought the unisaw 5yrs ago it came perfectly setup as far as the blade to the miter slot no adjustments were needed. The fence has performed great for me. I use a thin strip jig and keep the majority of the wood between the blade and fence. I also make sure my set screws are set on th throat plate. I made my own zero clearance plates and they seem to work well for me. I have used the unisaw at home and a sawstop at the school where I taught my personal choice is my Unisaw. The unisaw has more power and the controls on the front are an asset and the stops were dead on at 90 & 45. My table had no issues with construction.

View Woodknack's profile


13395 posts in 3155 days

#7 posted 03-04-2017 05:53 PM

If your side table is like mine (US made) it’s melamine covered particle board. Mine has a dip too and I’ve been meaning to replace for years but it doesn’t hurt anything so I never get around to it.

-- Rick M,

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 4143 days

#8 posted 03-05-2017 07:48 AM

You need to replace the blade insert. It must be sticking up above the table top for the fence to hit it and then pops up above the table in front when the fence hits it. Sounds like the insert is bowed. Make a new zero clearance insert for your saw. As for the side table, replace the top with plywood with a sheet of laminate on it and increase the length enough to fit the mobile base.

View Dedvw's profile


176 posts in 3656 days

#9 posted 03-05-2017 03:00 PM


I just checked my insert per your recommendation. Mine is flat, but I did notice something that intrigues me. There is a small tab on the back of the insert that slides into a grove in the table as you place it in the saw. When I push down on the front of the insert with my finger, it moves up until this tab catches in the grove. If the tab were a little taller/larger, it would fit tightly into the grove. This might be the reason its not locking into place. I know this wont help me for my shop made inserts, but at least its something.

Can anyone with the Unisaw please tell me how big that tab is on the back of their insert?

As far as the side table, I am planning on making a new one. As Rick mentioned, it is low on my priority list.

View KEP's profile


20 posts in 3024 days

#10 posted 03-07-2017 03:11 PM

I have the same saw. I bought it 5+ years ago and have had no issues with it.
My fence has two nylon guides, one is an inch beyond the insert plate, the other about 1 1/2” onto the insert plate. Both have left a wear mark where they slide across the table and there is a wear mark where it slides across the insert plate. However when the insert plate is level with the table there is no problem.

On my saw if I press on the front of the insert plate and the opposite end lifts, its because the four leveling screws are not adjusted correctly. when all four screws are leveled correctly the insert plate does not move regardless of where I press on it.

-- Ken

View Dedvw's profile


176 posts in 3656 days

#11 posted 03-07-2017 10:08 PM

It sounds like they changed the fence a bit. I only have one nylon guide that falls behind the rear leveling screws. I included a picture this time to illustrate what I’m talking about. All you can see in the image is the marks where the nylon guide slides on the table/insert (about 1 1/2 inches behind the leveling screws).

As far as setting the leveling screws on the insert, I take a straight edge, across the front of the insert. Adjust the two front leveling screws until the insert barely touches the straight edge. I move the straight edge to the rear and adjust the rear leveling screws the same way. I verify that the front didnt move during rear adjustment and run my straight edge parallel to the blade opening to verify flatness in both direcgtions. In the end, my insert does not wobble and all set screws are in contact with the table. Based on where the set screws are on my saw, I don’t know how they can expect this insert to not lift while being pressed in the rear.

Here is a picture showing the insert kicking up with the fence in the locked position. Its hard to see but it is there. The insert drops down to level as soon as the fence is moved away. I also have tired lowering the fence to where it touches the table. I didn’t like the way it moved and the insert still moved up.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6157 posts in 3588 days

#12 posted 03-09-2017 03:58 PM

Sorry to hear you are having some issues with your saw. I wanted to comment about the dust collection with a dado blade. I don’t have model-specific input, but what really helped on my cabinet saw is to only raise the dado blade the necessary height to make the cut. I used to raise the dado blade all the way up into each new zero clearance insert. Now I just use the insert for dado cuts up to 1/2”, and use a separate insert for taller cuts. This has really helped with dust collection for me.

I would definitely try to figure something out for holding your inserts down. My old Jet contractor saw scared me once when the ZCI popped out during a cut. My Sawstop cabinet saw has inserts that lock into place, and they feel much safer.

Good luck resolving some of the issues with your saw.
Thanks for posting.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Dedvw's profile


176 posts in 3656 days

#13 posted 03-09-2017 11:31 PM


I will give that a try with the dado blade. I have to say that a non secured insert freaks me out for reason you experienced, esp with zero clearance inserts. I would have purchased another saw if I had known this it had a floating insert. An oversight on my part that I now have to deal with.

View JayCee123's profile


200 posts in 1540 days

#14 posted 03-25-2017 04:05 PM

Hi Dedvw’s-

I have a 10” Unisaw which was purchased back in1985. I couldn’t be happier with the performance of this saw since initial setup. I’m sorry your having an issue. I have made some modifications to my setup over time, hopefully something may help. Like yours, the machine was ordered with the side table and the mobile stand. The laminate table did developed a warp, which I tried to eliminated by adding stiffeners to the bottom of the table top. I added these stiffeners when I cut thru the top to insert a 3hp router. The stiffeners were made up of steel angle iron and hardwood lumber. This eliminated most of the warp but some still remained, but it was something I could work around. The dust collection for the table saw and router came from a 1-1/2hp collector. The dust collector was connected to the saw cabinet and to the underside of router tabletop. I fashion an enclosure around the router by hanging a 5 gallon Home Depot pail around the router, which in turn was connected with a 2-1/2” hose to the dust collector. This worked for awhile but certainly wasn’t anywhere near perfect.

Now getting back to your issues. My saw was originally equipped with a Uni-Fence which rode on a front rail and one nylon foot that rested on the saw tabletop. This fence served me very well over many years. The fence design was such that even when the fence was positioned up against the saw blade the support foot was clear of the throat plate. The OEM throat plates had a tab that extended out from the rear of the throat plate and was positioned under the table top when in operating position. This tab held the throat plate in position even when force was applied to the very front of the plate. Even when I would use my zero clearance throat plate, which didn’t have a tab, the fence design was such that it was never an issue. See the photos below.

I don’t know exactly what your throat plate looks like, but perhaps you can thread a screw thru the plate or add a tab to the rear of your insert. Another approach may be to attach a sacrificial fence to your present fence. This fence would need to be approximately 2” thick. That way you could position the sacrificial fence against the blade while the offending fence would remain clear of the throat plate.

Over time my vision hasn’t gotten any better. In an attempt to moderate the loss, I have move from my original Uni-Fence to an Incra fence system. With this arrangement the fence rides on rails attached to the front and back of the table top and has virtually no contact with the table top. Fence positioning is very accurate and repeatable. I also wanted use the Incra system with my router, this gave me the initiative to scrap the original laminate top, build a flat top for a proper router insert/lift. I built a dust collection box under the router table and piped it to the collector. Building the router top has also given me an opportunity to provide some cabinet storage and table saw blade storage. Wow, all those little goodies as a result of a sagging table top :).
See the photo below for my present set up.

The table saw cabinet is on the left, with an out feed table behind. The router table extends from the right of the table saw, and in addition to the saw top, it is supported by two sets of legs. One set of legs extends down to the mobile base, the other set extends to the floor. The router enclosure is free-standing with levelers on each side so that it can be snuggled up to the bottom of the router table top. The enclosure does not provide any support; and has a removable front panel to provide for access to the router. All router bit changes are done from above the table surface, so I haven’t had any reason to get in there to date. Under the router enclosure theres room for sliding tray storage for table saw blades and dado sets. The four drawer cabinet provides storage for table saw and router attachments. The Incra fence is positioned for use at the table saw. In this position it can also be used for limited work at the router, about 5” between the router and the fence. If additional space is needed, the fence is moved to a pre-positioned location at the far right end of the rail system, this gives me approximately 18” between the router cutter and the fence.

If I can provide any additional information please feel free to ask.

View builtinbkyn's profile


3009 posts in 1716 days

#15 posted 03-25-2017 04:30 PM

OP I purchased the same saw about a year go. I don’t have the issue you’re reporting. However I rarely use the OEM insert as I’ve purchased a few of these for ZC. Delta Zero Clearance Insert

These have a set screw on the lead side of the insert that provides fore/aft adjustment of the insert, which basically prevents movement such as you’re experiencing. There are also set screws to prevent side to side movement. The only issue I have with them is the metal plate for the riving knife end. It needs to be shimmed with some thin stock. The way it’s set from the factory is below the table surface and can snag a workpiece. They’re pricy, but well made and will last the life of your saw and beyond IMO.

The only other suggestion is to move the skid pad on the fence so it doesn’t pass over your insert and displace it.

-- Bill, Yo! Brooklyn & Steel City :)

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