Benefit of upgrading Unisaw model?

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Forum topic by Nate1 posted 03-07-2014 10:43 AM 5370 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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20 posts in 2801 days

03-07-2014 10:43 AM

Topic tags/keywords: unisaw 34-461 36-953 1977 77 1999 99 benefits

I currently own a recently refurbished 34-461 Unisaw (~1977’). The saw has been completely disassembled, cleaned, painted, new arbor bearing, new motor bearings (original Baldor motor), and tuned. The saw is a 3hp, 230v single phase, right tilt.

An opportunity has presented itself to get a 36-953 (~1999’) Unisaw with a new Leeson motor and new arbor bearings. 3hp, 230v, single phase, and left tilt.

Dollar wise, it would be an even exchange between the sale of my model 34-xxx and purchase of a model 36-xxx. Are there any benefits between these two models besides the tilt direction (depending who you ask) or the overall age?

For reference

34- Era Unisaw (similar condition as mine)

36- Era Unisaw (similar to the one I am looking to purchase)

14 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3870 days

#1 posted 03-07-2014 11:02 AM

Im partial to the rockwell simply because I had that saw for quite a few years, well not only owned it but used it a lot, and it never let me down.

Its missing a motor cover in the pic. but easy to make.

cabinet looks nicer (to me)

Its a fight tilt, which I prefer , but I can use either

Both have 8 inch wings so thats not a consideration

I prefer baldor over leeson

I like the fence lock down lever on the rockwell biese better

I don’t see where you would be ahead on the trade

The cabinet labels look sorta cheesy on the newer one.


View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 3666 days

#2 posted 03-07-2014 11:59 AM

Dust collection on the newer one. That is about it.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6934 posts in 3555 days

#3 posted 03-07-2014 12:16 PM

Will you get a better fence on the new one?

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Nate1's profile


20 posts in 2801 days

#4 posted 03-07-2014 01:37 PM

I will be keeping the fence I prefer, which will likely be the Vega Pro 50 which resides on the 34-461. The new one I am looking does have a Bessy. I am not a big fan of the Bessy despite having used one for many years while in the industry.

Motor cover, I am in the process of building a nice motor cover for the current 34-461 I have. Just verified the dimensions via a prototype two days ago. :-)

Dust collection…yep. Prior to finding this opportunity, I was planning to fashion an angular pan in the 34-461 similar to the newer models.

View joek30296's profile


53 posts in 3928 days

#5 posted 03-07-2014 02:06 PM

The fact that the newer one is left tilt would be my reason for trading. Everything is equal as far as I’m concerned.

-- "There are two theories to arguing with a woman....neither of them work"

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 2610 days

#6 posted 03-07-2014 02:24 PM

I’d keep the one you have for the cool factor alone. Older Unisaws are much better looking. The right or left tilt never effects me personally. I have a ‘74 UNI, r tilt, single ph. Love it. Finish your saw and enjoy.

View bigblockyeti's profile


7213 posts in 2782 days

#7 posted 03-07-2014 02:29 PM

I’d hang onto the older one, especially since you know what is newer on yours. I prefer right tilt. If the newer one had a Unifence, that is something I would consider an upgrade from the Biesemeyer style fence. Since it does not and for the many reasons stated already, I’d stick with what you’ve got.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Nate1's profile


20 posts in 2801 days

#8 posted 03-07-2014 03:05 PM


Out of curiosity, how do you use the right tilt in a way that you have preference for it?

View mikeevens45's profile


68 posts in 2637 days

#9 posted 03-07-2014 04:28 PM

keep the 77

-- as technology progresses, wood workers seem to regress...all my power tools and my favorite is a chisel and a hand plane

View knotscott's profile


8415 posts in 4437 days

#10 posted 03-07-2014 05:01 PM

I prefer left tilt, but that’s a lot of trouble to go through to gain that feature. You’re at least familiar with the nuances of your current saw…the other is a bit of an unknown. If it were me, I’d keep what I’ve got.

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

View bigblockyeti's profile


7213 posts in 2782 days

#11 posted 03-07-2014 06:25 PM

With a sacrificial fence and the blade penetrated into the fence it’s much faster at chamfering corners than on the router table or jointer. Taking much off the corner does require a setup to keep the captured cutoff from being shot back by the blade. I’ve found a tiny leaf spring on the correct height riving knife works very well.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View toolie's profile


2203 posts in 3690 days

#12 posted 03-08-2014 12:58 AM

Left tilt would be reason enough for me. According. to shop notes magazine, left tilts are somewhat less prone to kickbacks arising from material being trapped between the blade and fence when bevel ripping.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View vonhagen's profile


549 posts in 3426 days

#13 posted 03-08-2014 01:35 AM

mine is a 1972 model with cast iron base and right tilt and i like the older models just for the fact that the machining and the metal was all done here in the us. i do prefer the baldoor motor. i like the right tilt just for my slide attachment but hate it for ripping because of kick back. for general work go with the new model, i dont know if the new model has triple pullys like the older ones but i was getting more vibration with matched belts then bought a single cogged browning grip notch belt and its smooth as silk. if you look at larger saws or shapers they use a thin single belt that is cogged.

-- no matter what size job big or small do a job right or don't do it at all.

View Woodknack's profile


13552 posts in 3441 days

#14 posted 03-08-2014 02:15 AM

Been using a right tilt for years with no kickback problems. The left/right tilt thing is getting into minutiae, the theory of safety vs the reality. If you are careful with the basics then tilt will make no difference and if you have an ambidextrous fence then who cares which way it tilts.

-- Rick M,

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