Delta Unisaw and Powermatic 66

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Forum topic by ddh posted 10-15-2010 04:40 AM 3402 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7 posts in 3017 days

10-15-2010 04:40 AM

Hello – I’m new to this forum and relatively new to woodworking but been a long time lurker just reading and learning from you all so thanks!

There are two table saws that I’m looking at in the NH area which I have found on CL which look promising. The person selling apparently buys used equipment, refurbishes and re-sells them.

The unisaw is a late 70s model from a one man custom shop with new bearings, belts, rewired and comes with a jet-lock fence. The asking price is $600.

The Powermatic 66 comes from a contractor in the area and has new bearings, belts, and motor. He has installed a new Delta 2hp 1 phase 220-volt motor and it comes with a Biesemeyer fence.

I’ve never had the privilege of working with either of these saws but have heard and read good reviews of both. Can anyone give me some pointers as to which on the surface looks like the better machine and what I should be looking for or questions that I should be asking when I see them in person?

Thanks in advance!

11 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8548 posts in 3884 days

#1 posted 10-15-2010 05:24 AM

Welcome to LJ!

Both saws will probably last forever, but based on those specific 2 sales, I’d go with the powermatic and the better fence. it also seems larger cabinet and heavier which will add stability and mean less vibration. see if he’s willing to negotiate the price, although even at 800 it’s a very good deal!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View ddh's profile


7 posts in 3017 days

#2 posted 10-15-2010 05:51 AM

Thanks for your thoughts and welcome! This place is an awesome forum for information… I hope to be a part of it for many years ahead!

Should I be concerned about the new motor installed in the PM66? What are some things I should be on the look out for (potential problem spots) when I see the units?

View wysong's profile


17 posts in 3057 days

#3 posted 10-15-2010 02:21 PM

Ive owned both , still have my 66
go with the PM 66

-- Hutch

View Sawkerf's profile


1730 posts in 3304 days

#4 posted 10-15-2010 03:31 PM

Possibly unimportant, but the Delta is a right tilt, and the Unisaw tilts left. Do you have a preference?

-- Adversity doesn't build reveals it.

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 3066 days

#5 posted 10-15-2010 06:20 PM

I would go for the PM66. But I would try to get him down on the price for only putting in a 2hp motor. Use it as leverage. The old tube style fences are a bear to keep square and not near as smooth as the Biesemeyer style fences. I also prefer a left tilt. Have used a right tilt in the past, just could not get used to it. No reason specifically, just set in my ways I guess.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

View TheDane's profile


5575 posts in 3899 days

#6 posted 10-15-2010 07:41 PM

I think I would go with the PM66 … the old Unisaw has a more powerful motor, but also has the older style fence. By the time you got done with upgrading the Unisaw, you’d be close to what he is asking for the PM66.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View popmandude's profile


109 posts in 3256 days

#7 posted 10-15-2010 09:58 PM

The clincher for me is the 3hp motor on the unisaw. Ripping any quantity of 8/4 hardwood will make that extra hp quite handy. The truth is both saws are built to last, an the debate between the two is an endless subject.

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3698 days

#8 posted 10-15-2010 10:22 PM

Being an owner of an older unisaw I am partial. If I were to upgrade, and I believe the PM66 is an upgrade, I would go with the 66. The trunnion assembly is heavier and more suited for a long days work. Now you have to remember, its kinda like the Ford VS Chevy argument. Some people will prefer the unisaw over the 66, but from what I have seen the 66 is a better built saw. If I were so inclined to look for another saw an older 66 or an Oliver 232 or 270 would be my only choices. My unisaw is 2hp, 3ph and I have no problem cutting 8/4 maple, walnut, etc. In most cases 2hp is plenty. I think the deciiding factor in the 2 saws you are considering are many. First being the rip fence. The older Jet Locks were good fences but the Bies is a much more accurate and user friendly fence.The trunnion is much heavier in the 66 but it does require a “C” frame motor.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View ddh's profile


7 posts in 3017 days

#9 posted 10-16-2010 04:13 AM

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts, awesome welcome and opinions! It is a bit of a toss-up… Hopefully one will hit me in the gut when I see them in person. The seller did tell me that the Biesemeyer fence on the PM66 was a bit “beat up” but didn’t really elaborate beyond that so we will have to see. Right or left tilt is not a big deal for me, though I do prefer left.

Not to start a whole other conversation but as I was telling my other half about going out to see these two saws over the weekend, she asks me if I’ve looked at the SawStop units which she has seen in some of the woodworking magazines that I have lying around! The SS contractor saw is already more than we can afford at this time, though seems like a solid unit from everything that I’ve read though would be great from a piece of mind standpoint for a relative newbie such as myself…

Anyways, hopefully I’ll get to see them in action in the next two days. Will post some pictures and give you guys some followup!

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3698 days

#10 posted 10-16-2010 04:39 AM

Don’t forget that one or both of the saws may be 3 phase. If so, there are a few options for you. The easiest, in my opinion, would be a VFD. It will convert single phase to 3 phase and is very cost effective. You can try and find a single phase motor, now remember the unisaw may have an oval motor opening. If so, you will need a motor specific for the saw, not any motor will fit. And finally a rotary converter, but they are expensive and you will need an electrician to wire it. The VFD is nice, they are inexpensive. I have 3 VFD’s, one for the table saw, drill press and one for a grinder. One of the nice features is infinite variable speed, which is great on the drill press.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View GaryL's profile


1099 posts in 3066 days

#11 posted 10-17-2010 10:23 PM

Your wife looks at your woodworking mags? That’s fantastic!!!!!! The more she gets into it, the better off you are.

-- Gary; Marysville, MI...Involve your children in your projects as much as possible, the return is priceless.

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