1944 delta unisaw refurb

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Blog entry by swdst posted 09-10-2019 03:26 AM 1336 reads 0 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

As some of you may know, I recently acquired a 1944 unisaw from an ad on the interwebs. I had contacted the fellow about a month ago, but couldn’t afford his price of $400 at the time. Well, he contacted me a couple weeks ago and asked if I was still interested, and needed it gone, and how I felt about $250? Well, I was still pretty tight on funds, but drove to have a look see, and while we were looking it over, he said $200 cash and it’s yours, well, how could I resist. So on the truck she went. I never gave any thought as to how I was going to unload it, much less get it in to my shop (basement), but hey, I managed a walker turner 20”dp and matching 36” lathe. Needless to say, it went down like an old Johnny Cash song, one piece at a time.

The previous owner took good care of this saw, and I have no doubts I could have just plugged it in and ran it, but since it was apart anyways, might as well clean it up. I started with the base and the plinth, sanding down til the rust was gone, and leaving the good paint for a primer base

While the cabinet and base paint were drying, I moved on to the floor plate (sorry, no pics of that one). And the guts. Everything came apart pretty easily, and a quick dip in the electrolosis tank and a light scrubbing was just about all that was needed.

Again we are waiting on paint to dry (enamel takes forever). The color in the above pics was machine grey from sw, I had left over from the walker turner dp, but realized I didnt have enough left, and wasn’t digging the light color on this saw, the final color would end up massey ferguson grey. While inwas waiting undecided to tackle the adjustment rods, and hand wheels. The butterfly locks were pretty buggered up and required vise grips to pull out. I finally got those out and filed off the burrs, and pulled the plungers, I used a bore cleaning brush chucked in my drill to clean the inside of the shaft, and polished the plungers, note, re-install these before putting shafts back in the cabinet, don’t ask how I know this.

The handwheels got dunked in the electrolosis bath as well, and then chucked in the lathe with a homemade wooden center to make polishing the outer edge easier, I’m a little lazy at times, just seemed better to let the lathe spin the part while I held the sand paper and polishing rag. Just note that the handle can, and will bust your knuckles, dont ask.
After their bath

Now it was time to take on the arbor bearings, a pretty straight forward process, remove nut, washer, and bearing retainer nut from the rear, and drive out, or so I thought. Man, this thin was stuck, and I mean stuck. I soaked it in a mix of acetone and at fluid for hours before it finally moved a tiny bit, and the forward bearing still required a gas wrench for removal. After what seemed like a lifetime, she finally came out. Oh, now is a good time to mention, if you clamp the assembly in a vise to drive out the arbor, make sure the assembly isn’t slipping in the vise, again, dont ask, time torder a new pulley…

There she is, finally out, shaft cleaned up, and first bearing on, and new pulley waiting, installation is again pretty straight forward, just reverse order, haha. After finally getting it together and firing it up for a test run, something wasnt quite right, inwas getting a bad squeal, checked the arbor and noticed some heat from the rear bearing. It would seem I put the keyed washer in backwards, and it had a slight burr on it, just enough that spinning at mach 2 to shred the seal out of the new bearing, well, off to tractor supply. Now, all back together, the second time, and all is well. Now is the time I think I should throw out a couple things that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else. First, do not over tighten the rear arbor nut, dont ask. Also, with newer bearings, there is still a little wiggle room even with the spacers installed, it is very easy to draw the arbor in far enough that you can no longer get an arbor wrench on, again dont ask. I fixed this by putting the wrench on as I drew the rear nut up, and just snug is enough. I had to order a new indicator pointer housing as the one on mine was split, appeared to have been over tighten beyond the pot metals pressure limit. Only thing left to do now was put on the top, and level the wings. That went pretty easy, gotta love machined parts when people actually cared, no shims needed. Wait, inforgot to install the blade guard, thank god I have small hands and could do that through the throat.

Well, there she is, just waiting for the wax to dry. Thanks to everyone for keeping my faith and keeping this dream alive, the past dew years have been great. Another shout out to the fine folks over at owwm, such a big help.

-- The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for. Louis L'Amour

6 comments so far

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

4093 posts in 3585 days

#1 posted 09-10-2019 09:10 PM

Beautiful restoration! I understand about having to rework stuff. I redid a ‘47 Unisaw a few years ago. I’m happy for you to have the project completed.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View swdst's profile


123 posts in 2425 days

#2 posted 09-10-2019 11:25 PM

Thanks Don

-- The trail is the thing, not the end of the trail. Travel too fast, and you miss all you are traveling for. Louis L'Amour

View avsmusic1's profile


682 posts in 2018 days

#3 posted 09-11-2019 12:51 PM

i love me a good old iron restoration thread
Thanks for sharing! looks great!

View NormG's profile


6575 posts in 4337 days

#4 posted 09-14-2019 07:06 PM

Wonderfully done

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1245 posts in 1722 days

#5 posted 09-15-2019 10:57 PM


-- Bill - Rochester MI

View Bill Berklich's profile

Bill Berklich

1245 posts in 1722 days

#6 posted 09-15-2019 10:58 PM


-- Bill - Rochester MI

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