Posted recently about buying an old Unisaw. The Owner sent me a video of the nickel test. No good?

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Forum topic by jaminjames posted 04-21-2017 02:51 AM 2326 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 1019 days

04-21-2017 02:51 AM

To my untrained ear, the saw sounds to be running rough. Almost looks like there is some wobble in the blade as it starts up, but maybe thats just an artifact of the poor video quality. I do hear a pinging which reminds me of the sound my car made when it needed new wheel bearings. When he shuts the saw off the nickel falls, and the video cuts. I know it shouldn’t fall ever, so that can’t be a good sign.

Am I right that it sounded kinda rough? Is that something that replacing the arbor bearings would fix? I’m going to have Saw Center rebuild the arbor if I decide to buy.

I’m going to go look at it tomorrow. Would anyone be so kind as to give me a few pointers about signs to look for that would be a definite no go on this, and a few ways to test the integrity of the saw.

We’ve agreed on a price of $375 for the saw.

Thanks so much!

10 replies so far

View alittleoff's profile


545 posts in 1888 days

#1 posted 04-21-2017 03:17 AM

Theirs definitely something wrong with the saw. could be the Arbor bearings or bearings in the motor. Either ones are cheap to replace.

View MrUnix's profile


7602 posts in 2810 days

#2 posted 04-21-2017 03:39 AM

Looks fine to me… heck, most of the machines I’ve bought didn’t run at all when purchased (even my Unisaw). The nickel test at this point is meaningless… you need to do it -after- you get it back into shape, not before!

As Scott mentioned in the other thread, you are getting a $200+ dollar fence with a Unisaw attached to it for just a bit more. Just check under the hood when you get there to see if you spot any obvious major damage, cracked or broken cast iron bits and any other problems. I doubt you will find any though… Worst case, even if there are, is you keep the fence and part out the saw to make your money back (and maybe even a little profit).

I bet you will find that with new motor and arbor bearings, a fresh set of belts and a good blade, that machine will be as smooth as butter. You can ship the arbor out like you mentioned, but it’s pretty trivial to replace those bearings yourself, and you don’t need any exotic special tools to do so. Your call… and your money :)


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View BlasterStumps's profile


1502 posts in 1051 days

#3 posted 04-21-2017 03:54 AM

If a belt drive saw, possibly it has not had use for a period of time and the belt is where the vibration is coming from.

-- "I build for function first, looks second. Most times I never get around to looks." - Mike, western Colorado

View Woodknack's profile


13027 posts in 2991 days

#4 posted 04-21-2017 04:05 AM

Sounds like a bearing to me. Could also just be crappy camera sound. Don’t worry about the nickel falling at the end. When the saw slows down they tend to shimmy a bit especially with an old belt.

-- Rick M,

View MrUnix's profile


7602 posts in 2810 days

#5 posted 04-21-2017 04:09 AM

When the saw slows down they tend to shimmy a bit especially with an old belt.
- Rick M

And single phase motors will shudder a bit anyway when the centrifugal switch closes and the start windings are brought back into circuit. Some more than others, and marginal bearings or belts will just make it more pronounced.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Holbs's profile


2262 posts in 2641 days

#6 posted 04-21-2017 04:14 AM

Would be a great purchase. Rehab time! To give an idea, my first run of new bearings and belts without the blade on my Unisaw:

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-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View knotscott's profile


8364 posts in 3987 days

#7 posted 04-21-2017 01:27 PM

I didn’t notice any problems or blade wobble. The blade is filthy and scorched, which may have given the illusion of blade wobble at slow speed to some. There’s a minor ringing coming from somewhere on the saw that could be as simple as a loose nut, washer, or screw somewhere, but it did not sound like a bearing issue to me. Bearings would be more of a constant squeal. I’d still be an enthusiastic buyer at that price.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View splintergroup's profile


3222 posts in 1834 days

#8 posted 04-21-2017 03:38 PM

That “dirty” blade makes determining things from the video difficult at best. Aside from the other things mentioned, I detect the blade rising slightly as the saw spins up, perhaps loose/worn worm screw on the height adjustment?

Anyway, impossible to confirm/deny based on the video but something to look at.

View Woodknack's profile


13027 posts in 2991 days

#9 posted 04-22-2017 03:47 AM

I’ve had blades that “ring,” very unpleasant to use.

-- Rick M,

View Carloz's profile


1147 posts in 1203 days

#10 posted 04-22-2017 11:12 AM

Know your buyer.
If I offered a Unisaw for $375 and the buyer would keep pestering me with weird requests to do a nickel tests etc I would just stop wasting time.

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