I submit to you the story of my Unisaw (so far…).
On June 26th, a Unisaw popped up on Craigs List with a price of $300 – I hesitantly clicked expecting one of two things to happen. Either the posting would have been deleted already because I did not see it within 37 seconds of it being listed and sold, OR, it would actually be a heap of PARTS for a Unisaw. But, I clicked anyway… Lo and behold, it was still listed, and NOT a pile of parts! Immediately clicking on the email link I sent a brief email stating the following: “Hi – I want the saw. Will be there in 45 minutes, cash in hand, just need help loading. Can you do that? – Thanks, Jim”
Within 8 minutes, I got a reply. Reluctantly I opened the email and found that the saw was still available, they were there ready to help me load and they would even let me see it run before we loaded it!! HOLY SAWDUST! I finally hit the mother lode of table saws for a RIDICULOUSLY low price of $300.
I ran out to the van, ripped out the seats leaving them in disarray in the driveway and I hauled BUTT to the location only 31 miles away…
42 minutes later, I am rounding the last few corners into a nice, upscale neighborhood near the waters of San Francisco Bay around 7PM. Left, right, right and a left into a cul-de-sac and I coast along looking for the house number… 1542 – there it is in the court, and my sawdust radar locked onto the saw – the top glistening in the evening sunshine and a small crew of 3 men and one woman are milling about smartly, apparently picking up for a garage sale.
Van parked, cash in left front pocket, I walk up and introduce myself to the woman, Joanne, and she smiles as I shake her hand. the men range in age from about 60 down to 30’ish. The 60 year old is clearly the one who owns the saw, but they all inhabit the one home, along with 3 children in the garage playing among themselves, unaware I have arrived – they don’t care about Unisaws. I named him COWBOY (he has a BIG tattoo on his forearm that says COWBOY – looks as if he was a Dallas Cowboys fan, but the S was left out, maybe, because his arm was too short… I dunno…)
COWBOY old pulls out a long, thick extension cord with an L6-20 connector, plugs in the saw and flips the switch without saying a word. It spins up and hums along smooth and clear. He grins and unplugs the saw, it winds down and eventually stops. “So, whatayathink buddy?” I said “I think I owe you $300!”
Joanne shuffles over and in-between us, facing me with her hand out waiting for the cash. I shoot a glance to COWBOY – COWBOY smiles and nods, so I hand the stack of 20’s over to Joanne.
COWBOY and the two fellas flip the saw over, and move it into the rear door of my Chrysler mini van – it fits fine and now slid deep into the van, I slam the rear door shut. COWBOY hands me the door and one insert plate for the saw and looks sad. He laments for a moment “I’ve had that saw for 22 years now – it’s been perfect and I’ve built three houses and countless cabinets with it. Take good care of her, OK?” I shake his hand, look him in the eye and tell him that his saw will be well cared for and used lovingly in the production of much sawdust, and hopefully some nice projects too.
COWBOY tilts his head, let’s go of my hand and says a hearty THANK YOU to me. Joanne has gone inside, most likely to add the money to the coffer of the garage sale. The 30’ish looking guy walked with me and said that COWBOY was his dad and they were losing the house since all of them were out of work and can’t make the payments. I told him I was sorry about that awful situation and that I wished them better times soon. He said so long as I got into my van.
They stood in the driveway and watched as I pulled away with COWBOY’s beloved saw. Inside I cheered a big HOORAY for finding such a great deal, but I also felt bad for COWBOY and family that they had to sell the saw in desperation. It bothered me a little too much and I turned around, pulled back into the driveway and hollered for COWBOY. He turned around and I asked him to come over to the van. When he got to the window he asked me “Didyafirget sumthin’?” I said no, but I wanted to give him some extra money to help them out. Handing him another $200 in 20’s, I told him that I hoped it would help a bit and I really would take good care of the saw. He just smiled a sad smile and patted me on my arm.
Backing out, he turned away, head hung low and walked into the house like a defeated Rocky, only $200 richer. It was not much, but we came VERY close to being in that same situation, so I understand their plight and felt like I needed to do something.
Besides, $500 for a Unisaw in running condition is still a very good deal.
Did I mention the Biesmeyer fence? Oh, well, it has one attached to it as well.
THe saw is serial number 115-3861, and, according to the Vintage Machinery Delta serial number wiki page web site, it was manufactured in 1955
1955 serial numbers: 113-9614—116-5949
So, COWBOY had it for 22 years, but I wonder who had it from 1955 to 1990?
Jim “Mr. Measure Twice” Marchetti
-- -- Jim “Mr. Measure Twice” Marchetti -- http://www.mrmeasuretwice.com/