Old Unisaw vs Grizzly 0771 (purchase decision)

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Forum topic by RedTex posted 08-26-2019 01:09 PM 723 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 58 days

08-26-2019 01:09 PM

I’ve been a lurker for awhile, but this is my first post. I’m trying to setup a workshop in my garage, and I’m in the process of buying tools. I have a small general contracting business, but have never really worked with large table saws, jointers, planers, etc. I’m looking to build furniture in my off hours.

Anyway, I have been struggling with a lot of pros and cons with various saws. Safety, price/buy once cry once, size, etc. I almost bought a used contractor Saw Stop last month, but it was far more beaten up than what I expected so I passed. I’ve come to enjoy my ten fingers and two eyes, and I’m am not eager to lose any. Hence the saw stop. Then I told myself, well, if I went with something like the Grizzly 0771, I could get the benefit of a riving knife, and the extra money I’d save I could add any other safety accessories (featherboard, grrripper, sled, push sticks, whatever) to ease my concerns.

Well…Hahah…here’s the kicker. A neighbor just told me he is selling his beautiful 1950’s Unisaw in great condition. He’d let me have it for “a few hundred.” I know I’ve gone over to the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of safety. But the saw quality and the price seem like a no brainer. But with the Unisaw, if I add a shark guard and maybe a new fence, we are already approaching Grizzly territory.

I apologize for the rambling. I need to make a decision ASAP with regards to the Unisaw. The only thing I’m hesitant about is safety, and how much money I’d need to drop into it for some peace of mind. I understand it’s wood working and things happen, but I’m just trying to put the odds in my favor.

What would ya’ll do? Thanks

20 replies so far

View avsmusic1's profile


529 posts in 1199 days

#1 posted 08-26-2019 01:48 PM

a vote for the unisaw
does your neighbor have all his fingers and both eyes? I’m a fan and owner of sawstop saws bu they’re certainly not a must have IMO

you can get an MJ splitter (wont move/tilt with the blade) but between that, various pushsticks/blocks, and proper saw technique you’ll have a great set up at a price that’ll allow you to pick up some other equipment

View RedTex's profile


10 posts in 58 days

#2 posted 08-26-2019 02:37 PM

Hahah, good point. He does in fact have all fingers and eyes.

I guess common sense and not being a knucklehead goes a long way.

View jmartel's profile


8572 posts in 2664 days

#3 posted 08-26-2019 02:44 PM

Unisaw. And I say this as a G0771 owner. I like my saw, but a Unisaw would be an upgrade in just about every way.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View PaulDoug's profile


2174 posts in 2218 days

#4 posted 08-26-2019 02:59 PM

Unisaw with a Shark Guard would be my vote.

-- “We all die. The goal isn't to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.” - Chuck Palahniuk

View HokieKen's profile


10984 posts in 1653 days

#5 posted 08-26-2019 05:30 PM

I would step on the Grizzly on my way over to pick up the Unisaw. There’s a good reason that vintage Unisaws are probably the most sought-after on the used market. Shark Guard is a good add if it makes you feel safer. Anything is a good add if it makes you feel safer. And if you get the saw for a couple hundred bucks, you can afford a lot of add ons and still come up ahead :-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View EarlS's profile


3105 posts in 2862 days

#6 posted 08-26-2019 05:40 PM

No brainer – Unisaw for all of the reasons listed above.

-- Earl "I'm a pessamist - generally that increases the chance that things will turn out better than expected"

View MrUnix's profile


7483 posts in 2713 days

#7 posted 08-26-2019 05:46 PM

That Unisaw should be a right tilt, so you can put a disappearing splitter on there if it doesn’t already have one.


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

View hkmiller's profile


163 posts in 596 days

#8 posted 08-26-2019 06:13 PM


-- always something

View Brawler's profile


72 posts in 345 days

#9 posted 08-26-2019 06:28 PM

I have no experience with the Grizzly saw but I have a 1940 Unisaw that I restored, it is a quality piece of machinery. I just made my own splitter and added a feather board to the fence for safety.

-- Daniel

View CaptainKlutz's profile


1900 posts in 2008 days

#10 posted 08-27-2019 12:31 AM

If Unisaw has modern 3-5HP 240v motor, then Unisaw is hands down the better saw.
If Unisaw has the older 120/240v 1-1.5HP RI motor, then I suggest Grizzly has nearly same performance with less upgrade hassles, and makes for harder decision?

While the 1HP motor has the torque of modern 3HP motor, it can still bog down ripping 8/4 dense exotic woods. Just like the Grizzly 2HP. The RI motors have brushes inside, and are not maintenance free like modern motors. So if you don’t want to spend a little time maintaining your saw every 3-6 months, the Grizzly might be more appropriate?

But would still buy the Unisaw for less than $300 any day of week.

+1 on disappearing splitter.

Fence upgrade can wait. The old tube fence on Unisaw was accurate, but sort of fidgety. Was also prone to breaking rear clamping mechanism if man handled, so be gentle. They work well enough, you can use it while you wait for a used Unifence or Beisemeyer to hit CL. They pop up for half or less of new fence price often in my CL. Can also make for a modern T-Sqaure fence for less than $100, check out Twisted Know Woodshop free plans.

Best Luck on decision!

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View therealSteveN's profile


3925 posts in 1088 days

#11 posted 08-27-2019 03:13 AM

Not having the huge love affair with Uni’s I should have being an American male. Mine was always with PM 66’s, I’d say the Griz gives you a sound saw, but most importantly it already has a good guard, and a riving knife, which you will not get even with retro kits saying they are. The splitter doesn’t raise and lower with the blade, so it’s a shorty splitter at best.

Saw safety is really pretty simple, but with as many folks whacking off fingers every year you should have a guard at the get go.

Your comment

“But with the Unisaw, if I add a shark guard and maybe a new fence, we are already approaching Grizzly territory.” Makes me wonder if you will go get the Shark right away. My thoughts always run toward have the guard already. With the new saw, it’s already there, plus with a RK, so for me no brainer. Griz wins hands down.

-- Think safe, be safe

View RedTex's profile


10 posts in 58 days

#12 posted 08-27-2019 04:13 AM

So I ended up getting the Unisaw today. It’s a 1950’s vintage with the 1-1.5hp motor. I’ll have to do more research to find out exactly what year. The previous owner was older and retiring, and couldn’t take it with him where he was going. He had the saw for nearly 50 years. I got it for $400 and didn’t really want to haggle all things considered. I think for my purposes it will serve me well, and if I decide to down the line, I can get a bigger saw. I don’t think I would want to get rid of this guy though. He said he only replaced the belts once and I think he replaced a bearing too. The table is off, so it might be a good time to replace what I can before I start using it. I also picked up a 1971 6” Rockwell jointer. I had the trailer, and it was close by. I’ll post some pictures soon. I’m looking forward to using these boards more as I start to fix up both machines, but they are in good working order. I really appreciate everyone’s input!!

View coxhaus's profile


145 posts in 1409 days

#13 posted 08-27-2019 04:42 AM

Congratulations on your old iron purchase. I have an old Unisaw which is better than any of my previous table saws. I think you will be happy with the Unisaw.

I also have an old Delta 6 inch jointer which is serving me well. I have a small shop.

View CaptainKlutz's profile


1900 posts in 2008 days

#14 posted 08-27-2019 06:16 AM

Everything you could ever what to know about American made Rockwell/Delta Unisaw can be found on the Vintage Machinery site.
Their sister site OWWM, also has threads on repair, and rebuilding Unisaw. Be sure to register so you get full access to everything.


-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Brawler's profile


72 posts in 345 days

#15 posted 08-27-2019 11:40 AM

Congratulations on your new Unisaw, use it in good health.

-- Daniel

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