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Which Unisaw Should I Keep?

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Forum topic by JK0702 posted 04-10-2016 11:15 PM 851 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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JK0702

131 posts in 1593 days


04-10-2016 11:15 PM

This is a nice problem to have, and there’s no bad choice, but I would like your input on these two Unisaws. I have a Delta Unisaw model 34-802, but a buddy is retiring and closing his shop. He needs the money now, so I bought his Unisaw model 36-825 Limited Edition, even though I didn’t need it. I did it to help him out, and I figured I’d keep one and sell the other on Craigslist. The two saws look nearly identical, except his 36-825 has a motor cover and dust port (which I like), along with chrome adjustment wheels, where mine does not. They are both 3HP single phase motors, have extension tables, etc.
Does anyone know if there is a significant difference between these two saws? Different more powerful motor? Less amp usage? What’s the difference between a model starting with the numbers 34 vs. 36 or ending in 802 vs 825? I believe mine was manufactured in Aug. of 1988 and his in Nov. of 1996, so his is obviously newer and a Limited Edition (whatever extras that means). Other than that, I’m at a loseā€¦ they seem so similar. Can you help, I don’t want to keep the wrong one, or sell the right one (if that is possible).

Thanks,

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.


23 replies so far

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MrUnix

4217 posts in 1661 days


#1 posted 04-10-2016 11:30 PM

They are functionally identical… besides the minor year to year changes (such as the motor cover change you noticed), the only difference between the ‘limited edition’ and a standard Unisaw was it came stock with a 52” Unifence, 50tooth ATB combination blade, chrome hand wheels and a ‘personalized’ insignia plaque on the front.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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SawyerRob

33 posts in 300 days


#2 posted 04-10-2016 11:32 PM

Well, IF one uses LESS amps it WILL also have LESS power…

Looking at the “motor tags” will tell you how many amps each draws…and is the only way to know the TRUE hp of any electric motor…

SR

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JK0702

131 posts in 1593 days


#3 posted 04-10-2016 11:37 PM

Brad,
Thanks for the input. Ironically, the LE saw has a 52” Beisemeyer fence. Maybe he upgraded.

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

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JK0702

131 posts in 1593 days


#4 posted 04-10-2016 11:38 PM

SR,
Thanks, I’ll check out the motor tag.

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

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MrUnix

4217 posts in 1661 days


#5 posted 04-10-2016 11:43 PM

Thanks for the input. Ironically, the LE saw has a 52” Beisemeyer fence. Maybe he upgraded.
- JK0702

Some people would consider that a downgrade :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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JK0702

131 posts in 1593 days


#6 posted 04-11-2016 12:05 AM

Brad,
I have a Unifence on my saw, so either way I’m covered. I’ve got one of each. Are you in the camp that prefers the unifence? If so, why?

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

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MrUnix

4217 posts in 1661 days


#7 posted 04-11-2016 12:23 AM

I like ‘em both.. just saying that there are a lot of people who prefer the Unifence over the Biesemeyer, and just as many feel the opposite. Me – Heck, I have a Jet-lock fence on mine, even though I have a 50” Commercial Biesemeyer fence and over-arm guard sitting in the corner of the shop feeling unloved :)

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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teejk02

423 posts in 587 days


#8 posted 04-11-2016 01:27 AM

What a dilemma to have…living in Amish country I can’t get my hands on 1 and you have 2. You said you liked the dust port so that might be the deciding factor. As for the fence, I think in that time period Delta had the Unifence and also owned the Bies. Customers had a choice and as I recall the price was the same.

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JK0702

131 posts in 1593 days


#9 posted 04-11-2016 02:35 AM

teejk02,
Being from Amish country, you can appreciate helping out a friend in need. I’m hopeful that I will find a buyer for one of the saws. I have the time to wait, where my friend didn’t. I’ve always wanted a Biesemeyer fence because of the double sided face. I’ve always had a face just to one side. Now that I have the Bies, I hope I like it because I’m probably going to let the unifence go with the saw that I sell. Hope I don’t regret it.

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

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teejk02

423 posts in 587 days


#10 posted 04-11-2016 03:11 AM



teejk02,
Being from Amish country, you can appreciate helping out a friend in need. I m hopeful that I will find a buyer for one of the saws. I have the time to wait, where my friend didn t. I ve always wanted a Biesemeyer fence because of the double sided face. I ve always had a face just to one side. Now that I have the Bies, I hope I like it because I m probably going to let the unifence go with the saw that I sell. Hope I don t regret it.

- JK0702

If he is a friend and is in need, I hope you paid him what it was worth (or more and pretended it was a fair price). As for the double sided face on the Bies, I guess if you have a router table on your table saw that would come in handy. Otherwise on the rare occasions where I have to move the fence to left of the blade it only takes a minute to switch the face. But guessing if you took a poll here on Unifence vs. Bies, Bies would probably win. I have never used one.

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JK0702

131 posts in 1593 days


#11 posted 04-11-2016 03:12 PM

Does anyone have a resource as to what the model numbers mean” 34 vs 36, 802 vs 825? I know there is such a list for the serial numbers. From what I’ve read in other forums, I’m thinking the last numbers are for how the saw is configured. Right tilt vs left tilt, Bies fence vs unifence, outfeed table included, etc. Anybody know anything definitively?

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

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MrUnix

4217 posts in 1661 days


#12 posted 04-11-2016 04:57 PM

The only resource for determining what a model number means is the catalogs… and it represents how it was shipped from the factory. The same saw can have multiple model/catalog numbers depending on left/right tilt, motor size, single or three phase, etc… For example, in 1946, the Unisaw was simply model #1450, but could be purchased as a catalog #34-405 which included the saw itself setup for 60hz service, extension wings, micro-set rip fence, combination blade, auto-set miter gauge and the motor pulley w/3 belts – but without a guard, splitter, motor or switch. The same setup configured for 25/50 cycle service was catalog #34-407.

As minor changes were made, the catalog numbers changed to reflect them… minor stuff like going from a 4 footed plinth to a solid cast iron one, solid dust door to a louvered one (or later on, no dust door at all), removal of the floor pan in the base, etc… In 1956, the Unisaw without guard, splitter, extension wings or motor was listed as a 34-450, and one with the guard, splitter and wings (but still without a motor) was the 34-451. But at that time, they also started to offer their ‘all inclusive’ catalog numbers for complete packages:

This continued on through the years – the saw itself was the same with just minor modifications, like using the locking bullets instead of wedges in the cranks, or very slight casting changes such as the arbor bracket where one section got slightly rounded over. Combined with the motor shipped, phase, fence and other options, some years offered a lot of different catalog numbers, but they were all essentially the same saw.

As for starting to use the 36 prefix in addition to the traditional 34, I have no idea why they did that. The 36 prefix was traditionally used for their contractor saw. They only started doing that very late in the Unisaws history after being sold to Pentair though, so maybe they were running out of 3 digit suffixes in the 34-xxx series, but who knows. It does make things a bit more confusing though.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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JK0702

131 posts in 1593 days


#13 posted 04-11-2016 05:52 PM

Brad,
Thanks for the education, very much appreciated. It’s nice someone knows this stuff and can pass it along to others. Would you also know the lineage of the Delta brand? You mentioned they were sold to Pentair, do you know what year that was? I’ve heard they were also bought by Black and Decker, but they only wanted the building so Delta is now in Taiwan. Do you know Delta’s evolution also? It would speak to how models differ over the years and maybe why the saws went from the blue gray color to the creamy white to the current gray color. I think they were the original blue gray up until about 2000, then they went to the creamy white color. Don’t know when they went to the darker gray, but maybe these changes came with new ownership or maybe they were just marketing tactics.
Thanks again

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

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MrUnix

4217 posts in 1661 days


#14 posted 04-11-2016 06:13 PM

Brad,
Thanks for the education, very much appreciated. It s nice someone knows this stuff and can pass it along to others. Would you also know the lineage of the Delta brand? You mentioned they were sold to Pentair, do you know what year that was? I ve heard they were also bought by Black and Decker, but they only wanted the building so Delta is now in Taiwan. Do you know Delta s evolution also? It would speak to how models differ over the years and maybe why the saws went from the blue gray color to the creamy white to the current gray color. I think they were the original blue gray up until about 2000, then they went to the creamy white color. Don t know when they went to the darker gray, but maybe these changes came with new ownership or maybe they were just marketing tactics.
Thanks again

- JK0702

Delta history can be found here, here, here and lots of other places. A good write-up how those changes screwed up parts availability can be found here.

In a nutshell, they were founded in 1919 as the Delta Speciality Company, then the Delta Manufacturing Company. Sold in 1939 to the Marshall Fields company, then to Timken Detroit Axle Company in 1942 (which was owned by Willard Rockwell). In 1945 it was purchased by Rockwell Manufacturing company and remained under Rockwell’s control until sold to Pentair in 1984 (becomes Delta International Machinery Co.). In 2005, it was sold to Black and Decker, who then sold it to Chang Type Industral Co. in 2011.

Paint color has always been varying shades of grey/blue-grey/green-grey except for the occasional marketing promotion (like the Anniversary edition), depending on what particular paint they had on hand at the time. Even within the same year of production, the color could be slightly different between otherwise identical machines.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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JK0702

131 posts in 1593 days


#15 posted 04-11-2016 06:58 PM

Great stuff, Brad. Thanks for the links

-- John - Huntington Beach, CA --- Growth occurs when we get out of our comfort zone.

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