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Worthwhile to "upgrade" from contractor saw to 1.5hp cabinet saw?

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Forum topic by GrantA posted 03-01-2018 08:45 PM 4022 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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GrantA

763 posts in 1613 days


03-01-2018 08:45 PM

I’ve got a craftsman 113 saw now and it cuts great with some shortcomings – 5/4+ hardwood makes it struggle (I could try a thin kerf rip blade, currently using a full kerf marathon for ripping) and it is a chore to tilt the blade to 45, I just haven’t wanted to do a full tear down but that should be fixable.
Mine has a T2 fence.
I’ve got an opportunity to buy a kinda rusty but supposedly in good working order right tilt unisaw for $400 but it’s got a 1.5hp motor. It has a Vega fence.

I know it’s largely a personal decision I’m just wondering if the 1.5 motor on the cabinet saw is a major downside. I’ve been working a lot more with 2”+ antique heart pine which has been pushing my saw to the limit. My gut says keep what I’ve got till I find (or decide to buy new) a 3hp saw
What say my fellow lumberjocks?

Here are pictures


22 replies so far

View Kelster58's profile

Kelster58

670 posts in 745 days


#1 posted 03-01-2018 09:00 PM

I replaced my Craftsman saw with a 5 HP Grizzly cabinet saw. Big difference….......Don’t think I could go back. I would wait to get the 3 HP saw. Your $400 gets you 1/4 of the way to a new Grizzly G1023RLWX with a router table wing.

-- K. Stone “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” ― Benjamin Franklin

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MrUnix

7053 posts in 2404 days


#2 posted 03-01-2018 09:03 PM

That Unisaw should already be in your garage. Go there with $400 and offer $300 due to appearance and complain about the motor size. It’s been out there for two weeks now, so they might be a bit motivated. Don’t feel bad if you wind up giving him the whole $395 though :)

Cheers,
Brad

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

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TheFridge

10765 posts in 1691 days


#3 posted 03-01-2018 09:19 PM

Definitely

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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Andybb

1524 posts in 809 days


#4 posted 03-01-2018 09:22 PM


That Unisaw should already be in your garage. Go there with $400 and offer $300 due to appearance and complain about the motor size. It s been out there for two weeks now, so they might be a bit motivated. Don t feel bad if you wind up giving him the whole $395 though :)

Cheers,
Brad

- MrUnix

+1
Do it NOW, then read this!

-- Andy - Seattle USA

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GrantA

763 posts in 1613 days


#5 posted 03-01-2018 09:24 PM

Haha yep Brad are you nearby too?I’m in Thomasville GA

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Andre

2230 posts in 2011 days


#6 posted 03-01-2018 09:25 PM

I have the hybrid version of that saw, 1.75 hp. and really like it! Mine is newer and had never been completely assembled so was like new condition. I usually run a full kerf Dimitar 10” 24tpi rip FT blade which cuts 2” maple.
Sharp blade a properly aligned fence makes big difference.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View Imakenicefirewood's profile

Imakenicefirewood

77 posts in 1562 days


#7 posted 03-01-2018 09:38 PM

Don’t worry about the motor only being rated at 1.5 hp. It will have more power than you will likely need. At some point they changed how motors are rated. That’s why you can buy a shop-vac with a 5hp motor.

I have an older version (1952 model) with the old one hp bullet motor, and have yet to work it harder than it is willing to work. I recently cut some old heart pine that was 8/4” and it handled it just fine.

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

5290 posts in 1926 days


#8 posted 03-01-2018 10:08 PM

Get it! You will thank yourself and in the unlikely event that 1.5hp does prove to be less than you want, you can sell the single phase 1.5hp motor and likely buy a 3hp, 3 phase Unisaw motor and a VFD with the proceeds.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

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GrantA

763 posts in 1613 days


#9 posted 03-01-2018 10:10 PM



Get it! You will thank yourself and in the unlikely event that 1.5hp does prove to be less than you want, you can sell the single phase 1.5hp motor and likely buy a 3hp, 3 phase Unisaw motor and a VFD with the proceeds.

- bigblockyeti


Haha I only have 2 VFDs (2hp 2×72 belt grinder and a 13×60 southbend lathe) in my little 20×24 shop now, what’s one more :-)

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knotscott

8154 posts in 3581 days


#10 posted 03-01-2018 11:36 PM

The Unisaw is a considerably more robust saw with much better long term potential.

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

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

2897 posts in 2230 days


#11 posted 03-02-2018 02:43 AM

The Unisaw is a great tool. That is a good price. If you get it, I can fix you up with a riving knife. (See thread “Riving Knife for Unisaw”). $150 with one knife (thin kerf or full kerf) + $13.50 shipping. Also, Shark Guard has a manually adjusted riving knife for that saw that looks quite good.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

1732 posts in 779 days


#12 posted 03-02-2018 07:48 PM

I’m the voice of dissent when it come to Unisaws, and especially their older ones with sub level HP motors. You will hear a lot of people who haven’t used many saws go on about their 1 hp, 1.5 hp Uni’s were as powerful as a “modern day” 3 hp. I lived through all of that, and at the same time Powermatic in 1960 made a PM 65 with a 3 Hp motor that would eat a Uni’s lunch all day, and all night long. In 66 they started making the PM 66, same thing. General, Walker Turner, Bridgeport, and quite a few others made quality TS’s back then, and NONE of them except Delta put a mousy 1.5hp motor on them. Finally way into the 80’s Delta seeing they didn’t make many inroads into heavy use pro shops with their underwhelmed motors made a 3HP saw, pretty much too late. Plenty of home users for them, they sold them as a camparo saw to what the pros used, and against a Craftsman it was an ok saw. Ripping a pine 2×4 you can easily stall a 1.5hp Uni, same as you can a Craftsman 1.5hp

Point is, if you use the correct blade for the job. IOW a 24 tooth flat grind rip blade for RIPPING, and a 60 tooth High Alternate Top Bevel (Hi-ATB) blade for crosscut, a plywood blade for ply. MDF, etc. and a dado when you need one, and throw away that multi use “combo” blade. Then you need to allow whatever saw you are using to actually do it’s work, no pushing, shoving, you need a feed rate consistent with how the blade is cutting, but if you slow it down you will start to like your Craftsman more, and maybe all you need is a fence upgrade to be happy.

If you want to go cab saw, and expect to be able to throw wood at it, and it cut it without stalling get a 3hp saw. The footprint won’t vary enough to matter, unless you surround it with a sea of tables. It will cost more, because it is more saw.

Save up. buy a saw that will be your last one.

-- Think safe, be safe

View MrUnix's profile (online now)

MrUnix

7053 posts in 2404 days


#13 posted 03-02-2018 09:23 PM

You will hear a lot of people who haven’t used many saws go on about their 1 hp, 1.5 hp Uni’s were as powerful as a “modern day” 3 hp.

There is a pretty significant difference between a repulsion/induction motor and what is being sold today, not only in terms of power but also weight (ie: amount of iron and copper used). Also, the older Unisaws sold without a motor – they were an option that you got to pick, and had to install yourself. In 1950 for example, they only offered a 1 or 1.5hp motor. But in real terms of horsepower, they could actually provide more than what they were rated for. A 1hp R/I motor could produce up to 2.75hp peak, where a capacitor start induction motor would stall at just a hair over 2hp. Just saying. The motor in the Unisaw in question appears to be a TEFC variety.

Cheers,
Brad

PS: I have a 1/2hp R/I motor from 1937 that weights in at 80 pounds!

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

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

5290 posts in 1926 days


#14 posted 03-02-2018 09:30 PM

I had (just sold it) a pre-1941 Unisaw with a 1hp repulsion/induction motor that weighed ~10lbs. more than the 3hp Marathon motor in my mid-90’s Unisaw and had torque that wouldn’t quit. Kinda like comparing a 365hp Ford Focus RS to a Kenworth with a 365hp CAT C-12. My 2000(?) Unisaw also has a 3hp non-descriptive motor that is just another evolution of making the saw just a hair cheaper over time despite very similar performance characteristics that of the Marathon motor powered saw.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

1732 posts in 779 days


#15 posted 03-02-2018 09:49 PM

Just saying either of those motors could be easily stalled with a BORG 2×4 of pine on a rip cut. No problem actually, especially if you are use to using a 3hp saw.

-- Think safe, be safe

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