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Judging an old Unisaw by its pictures. What to look for before I make the 2 hour drive to buy?

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Forum topic by jaminjames posted 04-18-2017 03:52 PM 4578 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jaminjames

21 posts in 247 days


04-18-2017 03:52 PM

Pics of the saw: https://imgur.com/gallery/mWkuX

Seller has Rockwell Unisaw for sale about 2 hours from me. He offered to take some video of it running and send me some detailed pics. Not sure he’s willing to remove the table though.

Is there any thing I could instruct him to do in a video that would give me good idea about the condition of bearings?

The saw can be wired for 115 or 230. I don’t have 230, though a buddy will do it for a 12 pack, if everything is straight ahead. Won’t know that until he can have a chance to swing by and check it out. How hard will it be to rewire this for 115 if it’s going to be a headache to run 230? And will it perform as well?

He’s asking $475. He’s also open to offers. Is this a decent price or should I offer something lower? The fence is nice, it has a knee power cut off switch that needs to be wired in, and sits on a dolly.

Thanks a bunch!!

SUPER EXCITING UPDATE FROM OP!!!

Sorry, not really. Yesterday I offered him $375 for the saw. He accepted, so I was pretty set on it. But then I checked my email and there was such a HUGE range of opinions on buying this saw. I also am on the Reddit woodworking forum, and the same over there. Responses ranged from “wouldn’t touch it for free” to “Why on earth are you haggling??? Get over there and buy that saw!”

I got back in touch with the seller and explained some of my reservations. I have to be in his city for work on Friday anyway, so I’m gonna swing by his house when I’m done and give the saw a good once over. At this point, something is going to REALLY have to impress me for me to buy it. However, if it does, I’ll go down on Monday with my buddy and his trailer and pick it up.

The idea of restoring an old saw seems really appealing. A little daunting cause I know nothing about it, but appealing none the less. However, I’m thinking of passing this one by. The main reason being something a lot of you have brought up, the safety issue. I’ve worked here and there on simple projects on my dads old Craftsman table saw, but never spent a ton of time on it. At the very least, I think a riving knife is something I should be looking for a in saw.

Which kind of puts me back where I started, seriously considering the Grizzly G0715P. It’s a lesser saw than a Unisaw, but at the end of the day, I probably wont be able to tell at this point in my hobby career. Also, when I figure in the cost of the restore, (parts, tools I need but don’t own, paint and paint supplies, a few trips to the ER for crushed digits, the time factor, gas, etc) and also the cost of having a buddy wiring the garage for 220v (which most have pointed out would be a good idea because even at 110v, this saw is really pushing it) I’m not that far off the cost of the Grizzly. There’s a showroom a few hours from my house, so I can skip shipping.

And now to really complicate things, There’s an estate sale on Thursday that has a Grizzly 1023SL. Looks brand new. It’s over priced at $1000, but if it doesn’t sell the first day (which clearly it wont), it comes down to $750 the second day, $650 the third day and $500 the fourth day. It’ll never get that low because I’ve been told there’s been a lot of calls on it, but I may be able to nab it for $650-$750. Again, I’m back at not having a riving knife, but that’s a lot of saw, and if I wasn’t restoring it, the trade off may be worth it.

One last thing before I go… anyone used the 36-714 Unisaw hybrid? There’s one for sale somewhat near me for $700. It looks like it just came off the showroom floor. Has lots of extras: Delta dado set, Betterley Tru-Cut Blade insert system, craftsman molding head, miter fence with adjustable stops, OEM cutoff table (not sure if they all came with this). Has the Delta Unifence. I realize the price is high, but the condition is superb and some decent extras. The seller has said he is FIRM. How would this saw compare with the Grizzly hybrids?

Thanks everyone for all your input. I’ll keep you posted on what happens over the next few days.

EDIT: any thoughts on the Sharkguard system? Could this be a good safety feature for the saws that don’t come with the riving knife?


40 replies so far

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

989 posts in 432 days


#1 posted 04-18-2017 04:13 PM

I thought a cabinet saw Unisaw including is supposed to come with 3Hp motor otherwise it is a hybrid.

View jaminjames's profile

jaminjames

21 posts in 247 days


#2 posted 04-18-2017 04:29 PM


I thought a cabinet saw Unisaw including is supposed to come with 3Hp motor otherwise it is a hybrid.

- Carloz

It is 3hp. I know the tag says 2. Maybe in 1957 they figured it differently? Or maybe I’m wrong. As far as I know, horsepower is based off of the watts of the motor. Watts = amps x volts. So 230×9.4 = 2162 watts. 746 watts to 1hp. So 2146 / 746 = 2.9hp

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7789 posts in 3216 days


#3 posted 04-18-2017 05:17 PM



It is 3hp. I know the tag says 2. Maybe in 1957 they figured it differently? Or maybe I m wrong. As far as I know, horsepower is based off of the watts of the motor. Watts = amps x volts. So 230×9.4 = 2162 watts. 746 watts to 1hp. So 2146 / 746 = 2.9hp

- jaminjames

2hp. You omitted the efficiency factors….multiply by a rule of thumb factor of ~ 0.6 to 0.7, and you’ll get close to 2hp as stated on the motor plate. Pay your buddy the 12-pack and get 220v. The amp draw on 120v is pretty high for most standard circuits. The saw looks a little rough, but comes with a really nice fence, and a fairly hefty 2hp motor….the guts are those of an industrial cabinet saw for sure. Should clean up nicely, so if it runs well, I think it’s worth close to that price. Could always offer $400, and go from there.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View jaminjames's profile

jaminjames

21 posts in 247 days


#4 posted 04-18-2017 06:02 PM


2hp. You omitted the efficiency factors….multiply by a rule of thumb factor of ~ 0.6 to 0.7, and you ll get close to 2hp as stated on the motor plate. Pay your buddy the 12-pack and get 220v. The amp draw on 120v is pretty high for most standard circuits. The saw looks a little rough, but comes with a really nice fence, and a fairly hefty 2hp motor….the guts are those of an industrial cabinet saw for sure. Should clean up nicely, so if it runs well, I think it s worth close to that price. Could always offer $400, and go from there.

- knotscott

Okay awesome, thats good to know. I was simply basing that off of some quick googling, I’m obviously not an electrician!

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4771 posts in 2333 days


#5 posted 04-18-2017 08:13 PM

I would think carefully about driving 2 hours to look at that saw for $475. You’ll have some work getting that ready to go. Just my opinion, but I think I’d wait for others to appear.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View DirtyMike's profile

DirtyMike

637 posts in 742 days


#6 posted 04-18-2017 08:46 PM

That is not worth the drive.

View MrUnix's profile (online now)

MrUnix

6021 posts in 2039 days


#7 posted 04-18-2017 08:58 PM

What kind of fence is on that saw? It’s a nice old Delta that has the cast iron plinth and would clean up well. It’s hard to tell what might be missing from the picture, but the dust door and motor cover are not shown, and I don’t see a miter gauge or splitter/guard, so that stuff will need to be sourced after purchase (more bucks!) and an extension table will need to be made for it (those fence rails don’t like hanging out there by themselves). Does have a mobile base though, so that is a plus. You can use the neglected condition and missing stuff to negotiate a lower price. I love surface rust – it can drastically lower a selling price, and is pretty trivial to clean off.

And Scott is correct about wiring it up for 240v… 18+ amps on a 120v circuit is kind of pushing it. As for wanting to know the condition of the bearings (both motor and arbor) – forget about it – just consider them toast and needing to be replaced regardless. It’s an old machine, and I doubt they have ever been changed – so it’s cheap insurance. Easy to do and not very expensive, and will let you know for sure they are in good shape. Those are about the only maintenance item on those saws, other than normal cleaning, waxing and periodiotic lubrication of the moving bits. If it runs, and you can tilt/raise/lower the blade, it most likely is fine. They are built like tanks and can take a lot of abuse. Just take a peek under the hood when you see it in person – and look for broken or obviously damaged stuff that may not be apparent in the photos.

And be prepared to walk away if you see anything you don’t like… it may be a few hours out of your life, but at least it will give you a better indication of what to look for when the next one shows up (if you do pass on it).

Cheers,
Brad

PS: Those Unisaws sold with motors ranging from 1/2hp on up… there are plenty out there that will happily run on 120v.

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View DrDirt's profile

DrDirt

4414 posts in 3582 days


#8 posted 04-18-2017 09:02 PM

200 tops.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Loren's profile

Loren

9643 posts in 3488 days


#9 posted 04-18-2017 09:20 PM

That’s a 2hp motor. It will run on 115v but
there’s a real difference that extra horse makes
in a 3hp table saw.

Fence is worth maybe $200 and the rails are on
the long side, probably 52”... great if you need
the capacity but a space hog.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7789 posts in 3216 days


#10 posted 04-18-2017 09:24 PM



What kind of fence is on that saw?

- MrUnix

From what I can see it looks like a Vega. ~ $300-$350 new.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

989 posts in 432 days


#11 posted 04-18-2017 09:46 PM


It is 3hp. I know the tag says 2. Maybe in 1957 they figured it differently? Or maybe I m wrong. As far as I know, horsepower is based off of the watts of the motor. Watts = amps x volts. So 230×9.4 = 2162 watts. 746 watts to 1hp. So 2146 / 746 = 2.9hp
- jaminjames

I like your logic :-) Now when I need sell something for more that it worth I know how to persuade the buyer it is a better product than it it.
If the label clearly says 2 HP I can apply some shady math to prove it is 5HP :-)

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7665 posts in 2754 days


#12 posted 04-18-2017 09:54 PM

IMO, after you show up from a 2-hour EACH-way drive, you are now bent over the sawhorse and in the receiving position (not good). Personally, the seller should have never known how far away you are.

Questions to consider:
  • Why is it now in this condition?
  • What happened to the former extension table on the right?
  • From reading your other forums and posts, I would think it unwise to purchase such a “fixer-upper”, being such a novice as you openly admit. IMO, don’t drink the Kool-Aid about how great things used to be crap. At this point you don’t have the experience, nor expertise, to be considering re-habbing an antique TS. Personally, I think you could burn out on WW-ing by starting this way.
  • Consider working with dimensional lumber until you can eventually afford a decent new TS. The wood costs more, but the “hardware” costs/needs are very much cheaper. Just sayin’...

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

View Carloz's profile

Carloz

989 posts in 432 days


#13 posted 04-18-2017 10:34 PM

Can I interfere again.


IMO, after you show up from a 2-hour EACH-way drive, you are now bent over the sawhorse and in the receiving position (not good). Personally, the seller should have never known how far away you are.

Questions to consider:
  • Why is it now in this condition?
  • What happened to the former extension table on the right?
  • From reading your other forums and posts, I would think it unwise to purchase such a “fixer-upper”, being such a novice as you openly admit. IMO, don t drink the Kool-Aid about how great things used to be crap. At this point you don t have the experience, nor expertise, to be considering re-habbing an antique TS. Personally, I think you could burn out on WW-ing by starting this way.
  • Consider working with dimensional lumber until you can eventually afford a decent new TS. The wood costs more, but the “hardware” costs/needs are very much cheaper. Just sayin …

- HorizontalMike

I find the post condescending and mostly not true. If OP decides ww is not for him he can sell the saw with no money loss. Try iw with decent new TS If the saw runs OK as the seller claims, there is very little to be done to it to start working with it. And how does working with dimensional lumber helps you if you do not have a table saw ?

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

1731 posts in 1869 days


#14 posted 04-19-2017 12:28 AM

I agree with Mike about the 2 hour drive and being burned out from rehabbing machinery. When I drove 2 hours to pick up my 15” Jet planer, I made sure the person understood I had only $100 in my wallet, not $101. He could of easily jacked the price up on a whim knowing I came all that way for it. But I lucked out and the guy was honest.
Rehabbing machinery takes it’s toll if you are not a fanatic like me :) I have tore apart that Jet planer done to individual nuts & bolts due to rust and wanting to put new bearings everywhere. Same for my Delta Unisaw and 8” jointer. I have not done anything to my PM66 (yet!) as it seems to be 100% perfect as is. But I came close a couple times to giving up. It takes time, patience, money, specialized tools, etc. Not everyone has the knack for it. So Mike is right about being burned out about rehabbing and having the seller be aware he has something that someone would drive 4 hours total to come claim. I think he is wrong about the Kool-Aid antique how great used to be TS crap. But what do you expect, it’s Mike :)
Due to the drive time and gas, I would weasel him down to the $300 range and take as is (motor or bearing problems or not). Folks like to hear “will take it as is” and cash.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter

View HorizontalMike's profile

HorizontalMike

7665 posts in 2754 days


#15 posted 04-19-2017 12:44 PM

Yup Carloz and Holbs, it is “wrong” for me to have and/or clearly state an opinion, yet it is fine for you two to express your JUDGEMENTs (not just an opinion).

Just to clarify, I am cutting and pasting in order to make things more understandable:

ME: ”... IMO, don t drink the Kool-Aid about how great things used to be crap…”

CARLOZ: ”...I find the post condescending and mostly not true…”

HOLBS: ”...I think he is wrong about the Kool-Aid antique how great used to be TS crap. But what do you expect, it’s Mike :)...”

The ONLY one of us to state an opinion, was I. NOTICE that “IMO” stands for “In My Opinion”, and that was lacking in each of your statements. BTW, I forgive both of you, but do practice your grammar in the future, lest you needlessly irritate a fellow LJ.

;-)

As an example, I am an avid collector of hand planes and can quantify the rise and fall, and again rise of hand plane quality over the past (~130yr in my case). In no case have I been able to find “only” a decrease in quality in any field/product, be it hand tools, power tools, telephones, automobiles, airplanes, biology, physics, safety equipment, etc. Products who fail to increase quality, are discontinued or replaced in the marketplace by competitors.

The creation of quality is is not constrained to any specific time frame from the past, as it has been suggested. Truth be told, quality increases over time, in the long term. The bottom line for the OP, is the trade off of time&labor over cost&convenience. And a bargain in one person’s view is not necessarily the same “bargain” in another WW-r’s view. Just trying to save the OP some grief as he gets deeper into this hobby/activity.

-- HorizontalMike -- "Woodpeckers understand..."

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