|Project by RMR||posted 06-06-2010 09:55 PM||3417 views||0 times favorited||23 comments|
This probably isn’t one of the smartest things I’ve ever done financially, but I am happy with the outcome. I won a Delta Unisaw, vintage early 90’s, on an eBay auction. The only reason I considered bidding is because – well I’ve always wanted a Unisaw – but, besides that, the saw was in Seattle, just 20 miles from my house, so no freight costs. This was a Boeing surplus item. It was sadly neglected but fundamentally sound, except for the motor and the starter switch, the fence, the rails, and on and on. If I paid myself $3.00 an hour, with the cost of my labor and new parts I probably could have bought a new saw; well—not quite that bad. But this turned into a labor of love and I enjoyed almost every minute. This is proof once again of the durability of these saws (along with a simple matter of money).
It had a three phase, 440V, 5 hp motor and an Allen Bradley starter. Turns out the motor was on its last legs and had to be replaced. The starter switch couldn’t be used either because the cost to convert it to 220V made it uneconomical to do so. I bought a new 5 hp motor and switch from Woodworker’s Supply. The fence was sound but needed a lot of TLC and new sides. And it needed rails and a miter stick. These items and other things I purchased from Mike’s Tools. I was also able to get parts like decals from Delta. Other than that, a good cleaning, some paint, and removing a lot of GI gold (rust), it was ready to go.
The top and side tables were badly rusted but, to my delight, they cleaned up nicely. They are flat and not cracked, I got very lucky. The under carriage was in good condition, oh and it needed belts and a mobile base. I built an extension table and a removable drawer underneath.
In the end I got a terrific saw that I am very happy with. It wasn’t a wise investment because it could have been much more costly to restore. I got extremely lucky that it didn’t have worse flaws. But it’s a sweet saw now and it will never be left in the rain again.
-- Bob, Kent, WA