LumberJocks

Practical decision on a table saw

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by Zachofalltrades posted 07-18-2020 11:32 PM 787 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Zachofalltrades's profile

Zachofalltrades

7 posts in 556 days


07-18-2020 11:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I am going to be building cabinets in our kitchen remodel, and I think I’ve committed to making my own doors and a butcher block countertop as well. I have needed a table saw for a long time, but I have been getting by with making basic rip cuts on a black and decker portable 10” saw for a while. I have been watching classified ads for a while hoping for a deal on something decent, but it’s been a rough with nobody in my area understanding that their saw isn’t worth as much as a new one.

So yesterday I basically gave up and figured I’d go buy the 36-725t2 at Lowe’s for $599 as the smartest buy for something with a workable fence out of the box, and a reasonably safe purchase with warranty and return policies. Then today I saw an ad pop up for a late 70’s unisaw. The catch is that it’s a 3-phase and has a static phase converter on it. Comes with a boat load of extras, and looks to be in decent shape. Asking price is only about $70 from the new China saw. So somebody reality check me on this thing. I’m familiar with them and I am comfortable checking it over in person. But is this more saw than I’d need, and the 3-phase converted not going to be everything I hoped for? It’s a 3hp motor. I do not yet have 220 in my workshop, but I need to add a subpanel anyways. My entire workshop right now runs off a single 20a breaker, so I couldn’t even run a dust collector alongside my mitre saw without overloading anyways. As far as space and portability, I probably would need to put the unisaw on wheels to slide it against the wall when not in use.


15 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1809 posts in 3064 days


#1 posted 07-18-2020 11:35 PM

get it, and then wire your shop for the power needed. ........... Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View JCamp's profile

JCamp

1534 posts in 1885 days


#2 posted 07-18-2020 11:42 PM

Well I personally think that the one from Lowe’s is probably the best deal for a new saw in that price range. The old one sounds good tho but I’m not familiar with them. Post some pics and I’m sure someone here will actually have one. I do want to bring up tho that 3 phase isn’t the same as 220. So to me the simplest thing would be to swap out the motor for a 120 or 220 and run it off a generator for now (Providing you have one). I believe there is device that allows u to make ur own 3 phase from a normal feed but I don’t recall what it’s called and have no experience with them.

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Sludgeguy's profile

Sludgeguy

59 posts in 1457 days


#3 posted 07-19-2020 01:16 AM

I would buy the Unisaw and and 3 hp variable frequency drive on eBay if you have access to 220 volt single phase. The vfd will convert single phase to 3 phase. It’s pretty common

View Nubsnstubs's profile

Nubsnstubs

1809 posts in 3064 days


#4 posted 07-19-2020 03:24 AM



Well I personally think that the one from Lowe’s is probably the best deal for a new saw in that price range. The old one sounds good tho but I’m not familiar with them. Post some pics and I’m sure someone here will actually have one. I do want to bring up tho that 3 phase isn’t the same as 220. So to me the simplest thing would be to swap out the motor for a 120 or 220 and run it off a generator for now (Providing you have one). I believe there is device that allows u to make ur own 3 phase from a normal feed but I don’t recall what it’s called and have no experience with them.

- JCamp

Re-read the description Zach posted. It’s complete and ready to be used on 220 single phase using the converter supplied with the saw. it’s a shame you don’t know anything about a Unisaw. 100 years from now that saw will still be working. ................. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson) www.woodturnerstools.com

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

8853 posts in 3533 days


#5 posted 07-19-2020 03:53 AM

The catch is that it’s a 3-phase and has a static phase converter on it.

Bummer – that turns your 3hp Unisaw into a 2hp one, and runs the motor on unbalanced power which will cause it to run hotter than normal and can cause premature failure. Use that as a negotiation point, and figure on spending another $200 for a VFD after purchase. The VFD will run it at full 3hp, and give you all sorts of additional benefits that you can’t get any other way.

Regardless – the Unisaw is the cabinet saw that all others are compared to, and a step and a half up from that Delta 36-725 you see in Lowes.

Cheers,
Brad

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

View Zachofalltrades's profile

Zachofalltrades

7 posts in 556 days


#6 posted 07-19-2020 04:28 AM



The catch is that it’s a 3-phase and has a static phase converter on it.

Bummer – that turns your 3hp Unisaw into a 2hp one, and runs the motor on unbalanced power which will cause it to run hotter than normal and can cause premature failure. Use that as a negotiation point, and figure on spending another $200 for a VFD after purchase. The VFD will run it at full 3hp, and give you all sorts of additional benefits that you can t get any other way.

Regardless – the Unisaw is the cabinet saw that all others are compared to, and a step and a half up from that Delta 36-725 you see in Lowes.

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

Thanks for the detailed response, brad! I knew that the static converter cut power a lot and shortened lifespan, but wasn’t sure why. I did a quick search for 3hp VFD controllers on eBay earlier and found one for $71. Like anything you get what you pay for, but just how bad are these?

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1837 posts in 4184 days


#7 posted 07-19-2020 01:43 PM

Please tell us where you’re located so I can go and buy that saw….

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View Zachofalltrades's profile

Zachofalltrades

7 posts in 556 days


#8 posted 07-19-2020 01:53 PM



Please tell us where you re located so I can go and buy that saw….

- ChefHDAN

Strategically vague…. ;)

View Zachofalltrades's profile

Zachofalltrades

7 posts in 556 days


#9 posted 07-19-2020 10:36 PM

Well, it wasn’t meant to be. Someone else bought the unisaw. I decided I needed to get to work and not spend so much time watching classifieds for another deal, so I just went ahead and picked up the new Delta a little bit ago. I’ll get it put together later tonight, so if anybody wants to see pictures of anything let me know. I mistakingly called it a Chinasaw earlier, but Taiwanasaw would be more accurate. It’s actually a huge relief, because Taiwan takes a lot more pride in their manufacturing than China does these days.

View 23tony's profile

23tony

77 posts in 1504 days


#10 posted 07-20-2020 07:36 PM

I’ve had a 36-725 for 5 years and it has served me quite well. Since you ended up going that route, a couple minor warnings:

  • The fence tends to shift as you tighten it (no idea if this happens with “fancier” saws)
  • The arbor is a bit short so you’ll be a little limited on how deep you can stack a dado
  • There are no stock zero-clearance inserts available so you’ll have to make your own

I plan to upgrade at some point, but it’s worked so well so far that it’s pretty low on my list at the moment.

View cmacnaughton's profile

cmacnaughton

222 posts in 979 days


#11 posted 07-20-2020 11:38 PM


I ve had a 36-725 for 5 years and it has served me quite well. Since you ended up going that route, a couple minor warnings:

  • The fence tends to shift as you tighten it (no idea if this happens with “fancier” saws)
  • The arbor is a bit short so you ll be a little limited on how deep you can stack a dado
  • There are no stock zero-clearance inserts available so you ll have to make your own

I plan to upgrade at some point, but it s worked so well so far that it s pretty low on my list at the moment.

- 23tony


There is a guy who sells ZCIs on Etsy now. I haven’t tried one, because I made my own…but they are available.

I’ve had my Delta 36-725 for a little over a year with no complaints.

-- –Chuck M. Nutmegger by choice

View Lefty53's profile

Lefty53

21 posts in 1367 days


#12 posted 07-21-2020 02:00 AM

I’ve had a 36-725 for 1 1/2 yrs or so, very pleased with it, tho my use has been rather light. I made a ZCI from oak, quite a bit of work, but turned out fine. Yes the fence does shift slightly when tightened, I’ve gotten used to it. I’m hoping my motor doesn’t turn out to be one that burns up!

-- Doug, Ohio

View Zachofalltrades's profile

Zachofalltrades

7 posts in 556 days


#13 posted 07-21-2020 05:03 AM

Thanks for the tips! I saw the ZCI on Etsy also, and I might order one. Depends on how I’m feeling about making one…

I wasn’t so lucky as slapping the fence on and having it in perfect alignment, but it was easy to make it parallel to the blade. I haven’t noticed it shifting when tightening, but I haven’t cut anything that I was measuring yet anyways. I got a very large quantity of solid oak and some solid maple panels that were rejects from a now defunct cabinet manufacturer. Most were rejects due to splitting at the glue joints, so I’m using these as my test pieces to rip strips of maple and oak back out of the glued panels.

I have a slightly different fence than you guys, but I think the only real difference is the flip down low profile rail.

Edit: I almost forgot to add: my original concerns about having inadequate electric in my workshop may be postponed for now. I realized that my house has central vac, and the can is wired on an outlet with its own breaker. The lights are also on a separate breaker and I converted all the cheap ceramic light fixtures to duplex outlets when I put up LED shop lights. So in a pinch, I have options and don’t have to worry as much about the saw and a shop vac throwing a breaker.

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1837 posts in 4184 days


#14 posted 07-21-2020 09:54 AM



I wasn’t so lucky as slapping the fence on and having it in perfect alignment, but it was easy to make it parallel to the blade.
- Zachofalltrades

Remember first get the blade parallel to the miter slot and then the fence to the blade/slot

Check Woodworkers Supply for ZCI's, you may have to check against specs but good prices.

Highland Woodworking is another GREAT store, little bit higher but sometimes worth it to do a task once

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View 23tony's profile

23tony

77 posts in 1504 days


#15 posted 07-21-2020 03:10 PM

Thanks for sharing those links!

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com