Unisaw - Deciding whether to purchase - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 03-14-2020, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Question Unisaw - Deciding whether to purchase

So a 1.5 Hp Unisaw has popped up in my area on the used market for $780 and I'm trying to decide whether or not to buy it. It would be a big upgrade from my current tablesaw... but I'm not sure if the 1.5 Hp motor is worth the investment, especially since it's not an RI bullet motor.

Description from the seller is as follows:
Used Unisaw w/T-square fence in very good condition.
Original paint.
Cast iron base.
Cast iron 'goose egg' motor cover.
Dust door with Delta badge.
Original Delta switch plate.
Includes RH table board, miter gauge, blade wrench, original throat plate and 2 custom throat plates with slide-in zero-clearance inserts.
Single phase 1-1/2 hp Rockwell TEFC motor (not RI bullet motor).
Uses standard 10" blades.
Fence capacity is 63".

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
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post #2 of 15 Old 03-15-2020, 05:02 AM
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Only the motor is not "unisaw" ......

The fence looks like a Biesemeyer or clone, but that's good. The motor is a TEFC Delta, that's also good, not the bullet, but still good. At 1 1/2 HP it's gonna be a sheet goods cabinet saw, but it will still handle 2" hardwood pretty well, 3" not so well, but a thin kerf blade will help.

So, here's what I think. If your primary useage will be cabinets and general home shop projects, it will be fine especially with the huge right side extension. However if you plan to do serious furniture making, not I'd go for a full 3 HP cabinet saw. In may case, it's very seldom I rip any 3" hardwood on my Sawzilla since I can use the bandsaw for that thicker material when needed. Then a pass over the jointer and I'm back to smooth, straight and flat.


There's always the "two pass" method of ripping thicker stock when the saw is underpowered. Rip one side at less than full depth, flip it end for end and make another pass to complete the cut. This way it requires less power and you still can go on with your project. The disadvantage is that since the kerf is not completely through the stock the sawdust will build up easier and overheat the blade, not so good. A thin kerf rip blade would be advisable, like a 24 tooth Diablo. A pass or two over the jointer would still be required to eliminate the saw kerf marks.


As far as the price, I have no clue.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #3 of 15 Old 03-15-2020, 06:51 AM
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That is also an older saw probably before the 80s, just another factor to consider. Not saying that is bad though.

http://www.diychatroom.com/

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post #4 of 15 Old 03-15-2020, 01:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the detailed advice! I'm looking at it specifically for a home shop, so it sounds like it'd be a perfectly acceptable Hp for my purposes. I'll have to do some more research to see if the price is a good one but suffice it to say I'm very tempted.
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post #5 of 15 Old 03-15-2020, 02:19 PM
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If I were in the market for one, I would try to get that one for around $650, I sure wouldn't go over $700 but that is just me. That is a good solid saw and for home use, you are right, it should be fine.

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post #6 of 15 Old 03-17-2020, 08:20 AM
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Is it worth it? Lets see,break it down into parts selling on ebay. The cast iron base 150.00 if no cracks or brazing from repairs. The dust cover with badge 75.00, the goose egg motor cover 200.00, 1.5 hp motor 100.00, the piece of gold with switch(ball switch?) and the box that the switch is in 75.00 There may be dust pan in bottom of the saw 25.00,an arbor for that saw that is no longer made 180.00 that a member on another forum paid from a source that has them. Wings at 75.00 ea Hand wheels with the locking pin and wedges 75.00 for pair. Dang that type of saw is an investment and piece of history when quality was top priority and will last you and others several life times.Those saws are pass on and on and on. You buy it and in 20-30yrs later you sell it for what you paid for it. No worries. Jump on it and like other poster offer seller 650.00 but not over the phone in person,eye to eye. Dang 1.5hp? Put good blade on it, it cut anything you shove through it. Congratulations sir on just having a chance at purchasing a saw that most of the schools,cabinet shops have as their saw.
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post #7 of 15 Old 03-17-2020, 11:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kroll524 View Post
Is it worth it? Lets see,break it down into parts selling on ebay. The cast iron base 150.00 if no cracks or brazing from repairs. The dust cover with badge 75.00, the goose egg motor cover 200.00, 1.5 hp motor 100.00, the piece of gold with switch(ball switch?) and the box that the switch is in 75.00 There may be dust pan in bottom of the saw 25.00,an arbor for that saw that is no longer made 180.00 that a member on another forum paid from a source that has them. Wings at 75.00 ea Hand wheels with the locking pin and wedges 75.00 for pair. Dang that type of saw is an investment and piece of history when quality was top priority and will last you and others several life times.Those saws are pass on and on and on. You buy it and in 20-30yrs later you sell it for what you paid for it. No worries. Jump on it and like other poster offer seller 650.00 but not over the phone in person,eye to eye. Dang 1.5hp? Put good blade on it, it cut anything you shove through it. Congratulations sir on just having a chance at purchasing a saw that most of the schools,cabinet shops have as their saw.
Good info, I watch Unisaw parts a lot on EBAY, some of your prices are asking and not selling prices. The star of that package is the motor cover, might even go for more than you indicate.

I wouldn't have an issue with that saw, and 1.5hp would deter me. For around here it's a little high on the price, but it is complete, you might see if they will wiggle a little on the price.
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post #8 of 15 Old 03-17-2020, 11:08 AM
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I couldn't buy one that old. You should be able to get one in the 80's for around $700....
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post #9 of 15 Old 03-17-2020, 11:42 AM
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I like the old stuff...a lot. I own an old saw. I don't really believe this old stuff is worth all that much. More a labor of love. You use the word "investment" in your description. Who knows what an old thing is worth. If you are looking for an old saw to own and use, it is pretty complete having the cover and all. If you decided to change the extension tables on the right side to cast iron they are available...for a cost.

If you decide to get the saw, it might be worth the effort to check out the OWWM forums as well as the vintage machinery web sits. Lots of information over there.

Remember, it is a right tilt saw. Maybe that matters, maybe it doesn't. It doesn't have a riving knife. Maybe that matters and maybe it doesn't. You are already questioning the motor power. You are already at $780, if you up your spending to say $1200 how much modern new saw can you get?

I don't believe an old saw is for everybody. It might be for you. Just think about it.

Anyway, good luck with your decision.
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post #10 of 15 Old 03-17-2020, 11:44 AM
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There is a school inventory label on the saw (partly in picture). School saws were never run that hard, so likely there is very little wear on the saw. Back in the 1950's when I had wood shop class the shop teacher would not allow any kids to use the saw, except those few who took the cabinet making class, which required 2 years of previous wood shop classes to get into. There were only 8 of us in cabinet making, and the teacher allowed us to use the table saw, but only while he was standing there and watching every move. Before we could even touch the saw he had several safety classes on it's use too. For all of the other classes, the teacher used the saw and pre-cut the blanks for each student's projects. The 1.5 hp motor should do you just fine for home workshop use. I think the saw in my school's wood shop had the same motor. I think that saw may need new belts, and it definitely needs legs on that side extension table. Since the bearings in the arbor and motor are likely the originals, I would replace them too. With those upgrades, you will likely have a saw that one of your children will inherit. I think the price is a little high, but Unisaw prices vary widely from one area of the country to another. It's a very clean looking saw though, and likely kept that way though out it's life.

My Unisaw is a mid 1980's that was owned by a small cabinet shop for a short time, but then owned by another woodworker hobbyist, before I bought it from him. It is also the 52", but came with a Unifence. I replaced the bearings and the belts and cleaned up the cabinet right after I brought it home. It had no motor cover, so I bought one of the molded plastic ones. My saw has the 3 hp motor and I doubt that I have ever used more than 2 hp of it in the 12 years that I've owned it. It is the most repeatably accurate table saw that I have ever used. My #2 son will inherit my Unisaw as well as my other tools, since he is the only one of four who has any interest in hands-on work. I found and fixed up a Delta Contractor saw for him a few years ago. It should satisfy his needs until he inherits my Unisaw.

Charley
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post #11 of 15 Old 03-17-2020, 02:25 PM
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Heck guys I forgot about the fence,guessing it is a Biesemeyer fence but its the commercial one which is 52" long. The rails look fantastic even where the fence is mostly use. If there is a problem with fence there is rebuild kits that allows you to replace teflon pads and there is also handle available. So lets say 150.00 for that and that is a low figure.

Last edited by kroll524; 03-17-2020 at 03:35 PM. Reason: Getting carried away
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post #12 of 15 Old 03-17-2020, 02:26 PM
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Sorry guys I am partial to vintage.Getting away from what OP was asking
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post #13 of 15 Old 03-17-2020, 03:22 PM
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You will never regret having a 63" rip capacity.
A 1 1/2 HP motor is not a slouch. It will cut just about anything a home woodshop would have. Unless of course you cut a lot of 3" or thicker oak.
Most furniture is built with 3/4 ply and 4 or 8 quarter stock and 1 1/2 horse should cut that.
Just bring some plywood and hardwood scraps with you and test it out
Did I mention the 63" rip capacity? To me, that is a biggie.
If it was available near me, I would have been there already testing it out.
If it doesnt look abused, it probably wasn't.

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"Strive for excellence and settle for completion" Tony B
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post #14 of 15 Old 03-18-2020, 12:41 AM Thread Starter
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Whoa thanks so much for all the advice, this is all so helpful! I'm definitely going to go take a look at this saw as soon as is feasible.
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post #15 of 15 Old 03-20-2020, 12:05 AM
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I own (3) unisaws love them the 1.5Hp is a 115/220V and you can easily upgrade to the 3hp,5hp all the motors bolt right on. the 750 as a seller of two that I have for sale is a fair price as a buyer I would come in at 600.00 the fence is worth 250.00 (Have looked) a motor cover is hard to find, and the dust door is rare to find on them (don't know what happens to them. but the machine is better than anything found at the big box stores.
As far as it's too old, how do you know from the photos, the 30's early 40's they had 4 feet below the base, then it went to the style you see in the photo, then it was in the late 90's early 2K that they moved the wheels to the front but all the parts are interchangeable from the '30s to at least the change to the front mount wheels.
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