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New In Box 16 Year Old Unisaw - What to Look For?

1400 Views 20 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  MrRon
Hello everyone, I've been a long time lurker but only recently got a shop set up (been a long wait). I am going today to pick up a Unisaw I found that was purchased new in 2006 but never removed from the crate. Yea, hard to believe but I have had extensive discussions with the owner and it is indeed legit. Belonged to a relative who had health issues after the purchase and never set it up. So it is a 3hp Delta X5, left tilt with Biesemeyer fence. It is literally still crated, I've seen pictures of the top and it is appears pristine but the seller won't unpack it because he wants to be able to easily move it when it sells and wants to preserve the "new in box" condition. So I am taking a risk as the amount of tire kicking I can do is limited. Is there a concern about a motor that has sat idle, unused for 16 years? I'm very familiar with how to assess the condition of a used TS (flatness, alignment, bearings, power, etc) but how do I assess a brand new saw that isn't "new" and I won't be able to fire up? TIA!
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If that box has no sign of damage from the carriers, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it. Age doesn't normally hurt anything unless it's out in the weather.
I thinks that’s a problem not being able to inspect the saw before you buy it.
I would be looking for a super great deal.
Good Luck
I concur on possible rust but also if you do buy it check all the lubrication points for solidified lubricants. Otherwise I would go for it. You might negotiate a secondary lowering of the price if rust is found. As I recall when I bought mine the top was pretty well protected and the protectant had to be cleaned off before use.
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Congrats on the find. My Unisaws are 63 and 71 years old. Age doesn't hurt them. Use may actually be a little better than dis-use, but it should be fine. Price should reflect the slight risk and only you know what that means to you. If the top is rusted, clean it gently with fine scotch brite pads and something like WD-40. DO NOT SAND the top, you can ruin the flatness which is part of the beauty of that saw. Good luck!
Forget about rust that’s insignificant. Look for a dished top the x5 didn’t use seasoned casting.
If the top isn’t flat it causes all kinds of trouble especially ripping small stuff.
Good Luck
Thanks everyone! Wow, what an adventure it was. I drove 3 hours not 100% sure this saw was what the seller said it was. At first he sent me a internet pic of one of the newer Unisaws (both cranks on the front) so I asked for the model number from the crate and he sent me some numbers that still did not line up with Delta models. He had no clue how to answer any question I posed to him so I was very skeptical. When I finally spoke to him he explained his father in law bought this saw in 2006 and never set it up. The father in law passed recently and the family was trying to clear out his hoard. If bought in 2006 I knew it wasn't the Uni with 2 front cranks. But he went to the trouble to call the original dealer (Klingspor) and they pulled the original invoice. He still could not tell me the exact model but said Klingspor told him it was an X5. OK...I'm good with that, but 36" rails or 52"? He didn't know. 3hp or 5hp? Maybe a 3hp??? He wasn't sure. Based on the dark and out of focus pics he sent to me I could tell it was a left tilt and that the tables were not rusted, but that was about it. I took a big gamble and made the drive.

When I arrived I found a Delta crate with a never unpacked unisaw inside! Turns out it is an 36-L31X. The crate and cardboard surrounding the crate framing were almost pristine...hard to believe after 16 years. No water stains, obviously not tipped over., "where are the rails and fence and table" I asked. Um...there's more? For the next hour we sift through a 3 car garage and a huge basement so full of stuff that I had little faith we would find all the parts. While we were at it I showed him that this big metal cabinet thingy under this pile of boxes was actually the base and motor of the still crated Delta DJ20 jointer that was in the garage (I had already asked him if he'd sell that to me but it had already sold). Suddenly, he says, "here's a box that says bis or bees or something meyer". THAT'S IT!! Well, the fence itself, now where are the rails? In the end, we found it all...fence, rails (52"), mobile base, base extension, extension table, We got it loaded onto my trailer (another adventure but I'll save that part for now) and I drove 3 hours home.

I'll have to say that despite his lack of knowledge about table saws the seller was a very pleasant, helpful and patient man. While trying to figure out if this was something I wanted to pursue I peppered him with questions that likely seemed completely foreign to him yet he was patient with me. Once I committed to make the drive he held it for me despite the many other inquiries he was getting in the meantime. I truly appreciate everything he did for me...working with me, researching the purchase history, helping load it.

So now I have the enviable task of setting up a BRAND NEW UNISAW!!! Well, a 16 year old new uni, that is! I, unlike the previous owner, cannot wait to tear open those boxes!! Don't know if it runs yet, so it was still a gamble, but will soon find out if the gamble paid off!
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I love it! A big CONGRATS to you.
So post an image when you have it setup.
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Good morning,

I spent yesterday getting everything unloaded and into my shop. I had to rearrange some of my shop to get room to do the assembly but finally got around to uncrating her. I continue to be amazed at my good fortune because inside that crate, other than some dust and a few cobwebs was what appears to be a pristine Delta X5. Rust...just a couple hints on vertical edges of the top and extensions, two of the screws that hold the top to the base had rusted heads and the tilt wheel shaft sticking out the right side had rust. All of these were easily cleaned up with WD and a fine scotch pad. I managed to get the surfaces of the tops all cleaned of grease and got a coat of wax on them - nearly a mirror! Got the extensions installed, got her off the pallet onto the mobile base, added the mobile base extension. Today I will add the rail and extension table/legs. On the flatness of the top - I can find no variance in the top greater than 0.0015" (1-1/2 thou). Coming from what I've been using where you measure flatness in tenths of an inch, this is very acceptable to me. At this point I have two things nagging me:

1) My previous saw was an 80s 3hp craftsman contractor that I had added a 52" Unifence a few years ago. I absolutely love working with that Unifence. But the Bis is new, has a stellar reputation and sure would look better on my new Unisaw than the somewhat aged Unifence. I'm pretty sure I will complete this assembly using the Bis - who knows, I may like it better than the Unifence. But when I sell the Craftsman saw I will certainly keep my Unifence.

2) The belts - I am sure that after 16 years in one position with the weight of the motor that the belts have taken a set. I have not cranked it up yet but am worried those belts may be a source of some vibration if they have set. I'll find out today but may get another set anyway just in case. Are these belts a common Gates belt you can find at auto parts stores or where's the best source for these belts?

Here's a couple pics of my haul once I got it all in the shop and the unveiling when I opened that crate. Pictues of the completion to come if I don't wake up first! Still pinching myself and know that I will wake up soon and this will all have been a dream!
Wood Shipping box Window Flooring Gas
Wood Shipping box Window Flooring Gas

Art Automotive design Automotive wheel system Gas Electronic device
Wood Shipping box Window Flooring Gas
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Sounds like you made a great score.

I would add, that vintage does not have a riving knife, though I believe there was a kit to add one depending on model. You can also make ZCIs with short splitters close to the slot. Personally, I will never use a table saw without a riving knife or at minimum, a splitter within an inch of the blade. Direct personal experience more than once. I am lucky to have escaped serious injury. They were mandated in 2007, so your saw is one version back.

You are correct you may want to get some decent V-belts. Chinese V belts are usually stiff, differ in length, and have bumpy splices. A set of Gates,( my first choice) Goodyear, Contenitial, or even Dayco run smoother. AX series help with the too small for spec arbor sheave all saws use and are the correct size and pitch, usually. Sometimes the size is a bit odd. Chinese tools seem to have odd size belts and they are not always as marked. D&D power has the odd sizes.

US made belts made a big difference on my Harvey TS, Ridgid jointer, and my old Delta drill press. My band saw uses a modern multi-rib belt which are superior in about every way. With new belts, you should feel even tension on all of them and when running visually the flutter willl be the same. If not, the length differs and at least the longer is not transmitting power. Do pay attention to the two different size methods. Outside vs "running" length. Metric vs Imperial measurement differ between running length and outer length. Not only does width differ, the V angle differs, so look at belt specs in detail. I was amazed how complicated it really is.
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Wow, you did good! Don't give up on that Unifence. I replaced my Uni with a SS some years back (SS has a Bies type clone) and really miss having the Unifence.
Great find. Great story. Well done!

In a pinch you can get Gates AX belts right off the shelf at O'Reilly Auto.

I'm a big fan of the Shark Guard to replace the factory splitter and add over-the-table dust collection.
A few yrs ago I bought a 20 yr old New In Box, made in USA Unisaw. I put new Gates AX23 belts on it (25") and have been using it for several years with no issues at all. Enjoy!
OK, I'll ask --What did you pay for it?
Hi everyone, sorry, but been busy with the saw as well as some ongoing projects. I got too many irons in the fire right now. So the saw set up is complete. Looks fantastic!! Finally got the nerve to push the start, the sound of power!! There was a noticeable vibration at first, a bit unnerving. I am convinced its the belts sitting in one position for 16 years. In fact, I noticed that after the blade stopped I could watch it very slowly creeping the belts gotta be replaced and they are on order. However, after running it for a while it is much smoother now and I've been using it quite a bit today and yesterday.

Price? I have been looking for the right saw/right deal for about 4 years and seriously looking the last year. I have lost out on many, walked away from a few, had many sold out from under me and looked at more rust buckets than I care to remember. For this, a pristine example of one of the saws on my ultimate wish list, I think the $1K I gave was very reasonable. I have seen precious few for sale around me that are deserving of that price...this one was.

I certainly wish it had a riving knife, but it was just prior to that requirement. I have used table saws all my life with no RK so I know what to watch for, but still it would be the one regret I have with this saw. Needless to saw, a Shark ARK is high on my list. I am still trying to give the Biesemeyer a chance...already today I missed the low position setting of my Unifence when I had to rip some poplar.


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Wow! That's a gem. And at that price, it was almost like stealing it. Use it in good health!
I wouldn't be surprised at all if its dead on, but don't forget to an alignment check.

You got a fantastic deal there!!
Great saw! I just sold mine for $800 we were moving, and it had to go fast. It did! I had the exact saw
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