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Forum topic by b2rtch posted 05-10-2012 10:05 AM 3826 views 0 times favorited 67 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4861 posts in 3071 days

05-10-2012 10:05 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

So I got this Unisaw yesterday.
Having heard of these saws for several years , as well as of Powermatic, I was expecting something very special but for me it is not.
To tell you the truth I am disappointed.
What makes a Unisaw or Powermaric “better” than a new Grizzly?
Is this all about nostalgia, like some people try to tell me that Harley Davidson are great bikes and that a 1955 Chevy Bel-Air is wonderful car?
(I realize that many things in life are a matter of personal preferences. I happen to prefer Japanese bikes and cars rather American made ones. I prefer technology rather than image, except for the very new American made cars which I believe are much better made than they used to be made and are more”Japanese” and “European” than they used to be).
Is just because it is old? (People in the US seems to prefer “old things” rather than “new things”).
Or is because it is “made in the USA”?
The truth is that this saw is very crudely made, that the color of the paint, in my opinion is ugly and it does not have what I would like to have in a “new” saw: riving knife, a good fence and good dust collection.
I already ordered a fence and a riving knife for it, I also would like to order a router table extension.
Dust collection is another issue.(I am more and more allergic to wood dust, just walking in my shop in the morning makes me sneeze even before I do anything)
When done I shall have close to $1000.00 in this saw and it still will be an “old” saw with, at best, a not very effective dust collection, so why not just buy a brand new Grizzly ( my first choice)?
Sorry, I should be exited about owning a Unisaw and I am not., I am disappointed
The only thing in this saw that excites me is the 3HP motor which is as big as some 5 HP motor that we use at work, this thing is massive. Is it better for that? Probably not, new motor are certainly more efficient.
I am already thinking that I made a mistake and that I should have buy a “new” saw.
Do I miss something?
Is it something wrong with me?
Please tell me.

-- Bert

67 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3398 days

#1 posted 05-10-2012 10:32 AM

For the needs of a hobbyist, I basically agree with you. Having never owned a Unisaw, I can only speculate….I’ve seen the pics of the guts and have read that they’re over built for heavy continuous use, and high precision. A new Grizzly should provide plenty of both for you, but I’d guess that the bearings, machining, etc., aren’t quite to the same level as a Uni. If I were running my saw hard on a regular basis, I’m not sure I’d want to push the Griz as hard as a Uni, but I’m sure there are many testimonies that’d say the Griz up to the task. A new Griz would offer shinier paint, modern design (fence, DC, riving knife), warranty, etc., so it really boils down to preference….probably similar to old hand planes vs new handplanes. (Ironically, the old planes scream loudly to me, but not so much with old saws). In fairness, there are several different eras of Unisaw, so those differences vary depending on what you got…..which is one reason I’m bugging you for pics!

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

View ShipWreck's profile


557 posts in 3775 days

#2 posted 05-10-2012 11:00 AM

Bert, You bought a 7 year old “Uni” for $500.00. The price alone makes it a pretty good deal if the saw is complete. You can always resell it, but you wont buy another saw of the same quality unless you find a “honey deal” some wheres. Dont let the ugly paint paint throw you off. The “UNI” is a very well made machine. You were smart to order a riving knife for it, but what was wrong with the original fence?

View Mike's profile


60 posts in 2232 days

#3 posted 05-10-2012 11:11 AM

Aren’t Grizzly tools made in China? I know next to nothing about Grizzly Tools, so I’m speaking from the gut only here. I’m in the market for a jointer and keep looking at the Grizzly line because they look rugged, and the price is low….but the price is too low. Nothing comes free, and you ALWAYS get what you pay for. I’m at the point that if something is made in China, I want nothing to do with it. Their steels are inferior, their workmanship is very poor, and I’ve been burned on Chinese garbage for the last time. Sure, it’s very hard when buying something to avoid China…but I try every time I make a purchase. So, I think you made the right choice but for all I know your new saw is Chinese lol. I think after a few years time, after a bunch of projects your new saw will have a special place in your heart. The paint may not be pretty and shiney, but a saw isn’t meant to be pretty…it’s meant to perform with precision and power. I bet yours performs very well for many, many years.

View helluvawreck's profile


31348 posts in 2889 days

#4 posted 05-10-2012 11:17 AM

After you use a PM TS or Unisaw in a production situation for 20 years, day in day out, sometimes with 24 hour shifts you might come to realize what the difference is. Before we got our first molder we had 7 PM shapers and we ran the guts out of them but they never quit. We didn’t baby them nor did we worry over them too much. I’m sure that some of the others might have different opinions, but seriously, this has been our experience. When we first got started we use to make inexpensive leg tables for the mobile home trade and we got full flatbeds of particle board in and all we had to bust it up with for the first 8 years was a unisaw and a radial arm saw. I’m partial to PM.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3071 days

#5 posted 05-10-2012 11:40 AM

This is not my saw, I did not take pictures, but it is identical to mine, except that mine has the bottom door on and it has a short table extension on each side.

Did any one of you made a cover over the motor and installed an effective dust collection for this model of Unisaw?
I know that to make a cover would not be difficult.
Is a motor cover available from Delta? (I need to call them)
As for dust collection I would need to make a bottom and a shroud around the blade and to somehow to install a 4” inch connection.
This also should not be too difficult to make but did someone already made it?

About the fence, it seems to be very crude, it is the fence with tow chromed pipes and the fence itself has like a rack and pinion adjuster. It does not terribly easy to use nor accurate.
I ordered this fence on Amazon last night:
as well a paddle switch and a Shark riving knife

I am still hesitating about the router table extension.
I like the Grizzly :

I ma also thinking about building one but the last one I built did not turn out too good. I think it may be easier and better to just buy one.

-- Bert

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2715 days

#6 posted 05-10-2012 11:45 AM

Then buy a Grizzly, brother.
And cross your fingers.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3398 days

#7 posted 05-10-2012 11:48 AM

mjfnh – Some Griz tools are made in China, some in Taiwan, some in Italy and other places. There was a time when the cast iron on a Unisaw came from China, and the motors were sourced from Brazil and were assembled in the US…not sure where they’re sourcing parts from now, but Delta is now owned by a Taiwanese company called Chang Type, LTD, and the saws are supposedly made in South Carolina.

I don’t believe you ”always get what you pay for”....spending more improves your odds, but sometimes you just pay more. I’ve paid as little as $64 (shipped) for a new Forrest WWII 40T blade….I didn’t get less than the folks who paid $110. Knowledge and timing are key. A good portion of Grizzly’s lower pricing comes from selling directly as opposed to through a dealer network….you definitely don’t get dealer support or dealer setup, but you don’t pay their cut either. Some of the savings are due to volume pricing…I don’t know what the numbers are but Grizzly has gotten pretty large and they sell a lot of tools. It’s wise to evaluate each tool on it’s own merit, because no manufacturer makes the best of anything, and Grizzly has a few I’d question. I can’t say that a Grizzly G1023RL or G0690 are as good as a Unisaw, but they’re a good value for hobbyists and light commercial use, and are very well regarded by their owners.

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

View enurdat1's profile


100 posts in 2269 days

#8 posted 05-10-2012 11:54 AM

Bert, I got my Uni about 5 yrs ago after 10+ yrs of using a bench top Skil. It was a huge jump for me and I have been pleased ever since. That being said, there was no mystical music in the background, or angels dancing the first time I cranked it up either. I have had the opportunity to use a PM 66 for a few weeks and enjoyed it as well. Was one better than the other? Not that I noticed. For me, the best one is what I have, or is within the realm of possibility for me. Get it set up, add some extensions, fence, a quality blade, and tune it in then make some dust. See how you feel about it then. I agree with ShipWreck, you can get your money out of it. Just my 0.02

-- It is what it is...

View helluvawreck's profile


31348 posts in 2889 days

#9 posted 05-10-2012 12:04 PM

Bert, that’s not as old as our unisaw was. We first went into business in 1968. We bought our saw new but we lost the first business about 1984 so it wasn’t quite 20 years but never gave us a problem. We started our second business in 1985, I think. We bought a new PM and still have it. That saw in the pic is missing the two side wings. I’m not familiar with the new Deltas anymore. But I bought a new PM for myself about 5 years ago. I’m partial to PM and I think that they are a little heavier saw. You seem to see a lot more PM’s in industrial plants but you also see a lot of old unisaws. They’re both in a lot of cabinet shops, also. I guess I’m just partial to them. We got a Grizzly when we bought out the machinery of a small mill work company a year or so ago that their bank foreclosed on. It just doesn’t seem like as heavy a saw. You can buy a decent PM saw in industrial auctions for 500 to 1250 depending on how lucky you are.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View dhazelton's profile


2771 posts in 2319 days

#10 posted 05-10-2012 12:23 PM

If you want your $500 back I’ll be happy to take it off your hands. : )

View Scot's profile


344 posts in 3418 days

#11 posted 05-10-2012 12:50 PM

I’m trying to figure out what you mean by crudely made. You bought a used saw for $500 vs a used one for $1200 that from the pics appeared to be in immaculate condition.

The machining on the Unisaws and PM’s is second to none. They are built very heavy, weight on any stationary woodworking tool is what you want for stability and reduced vibration.

The saw you bought is what I look for for restoration and resale.
As far as dust collection goes,on the earlier model unisaws (or table saws in general ) dust collection was not a major design consideration. That being said, this saw was better than most saws on the market for dust collection at the time.

First off if the pics represent the saw you bought, you need a motor cover, $80 on ebay.
Next, look closely at the base on the back side, you should see a rectangular knock out plate, some of these were screwed on but most were stamped in with break away tabs so that they would somewhat easily break loose to remove the plate, this is where the 4” dust collection adapter goes, two styles are available, one points straight out from the saw, the other discharges to the side.

One thing all cabinet saws have in common is that they are “Air Hogs” when it comes to dust collection,some more than others, that said I used the 2 HP Harbor Freight DC with a cyclone separator for years with no problems ( my brother has it in his shop now still going strong). Anything less than 2 HP just doesn’t seem to do well on a cabinet saw.

Do not plug all the holes in the cabinet (like the louvers on the door or where the shafts penetrate the cabinet) this helps the air flow through the cabinet. If the air can’t move, neither can the dust.

Since you have allergy problems I would recommend an over the table gaurde that has DC capabilities.

As for the color, crap, it’s your’s, paint it any color you want !

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3071 days

#12 posted 05-10-2012 12:52 PM

dhazelton, for you the shipping would be cost prohibitive.
If I found someone local,I might do ti.

-- Bert

View b2rtch's profile


4861 posts in 3071 days

#13 posted 05-10-2012 12:55 PM

Scot thank you for all the information.

-- Bert

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3335 days

#14 posted 05-10-2012 01:01 PM

I work with a lot of machinery at work and though I have an appreciation of the older solid as a tank machines, like the old Oliver saws, I like the features now found standard on newer equipment and the newer saws.

I looked on CL at first for a bit when I thought about getting a new tablesaw, but realized like in car shopping I wanted a brand new saw for me and my shop that came with all the things I wanted like blade shroud dust collection, riving knife, and it needed to be of solid construction as well.

Since you now have the saw and are already investing in the improvements that new ones have you might as well fix it up the way you would have wanted a new one. If it indeed runs and cuts well it should continue to do so for years to come. Hopefully you’ll still be ahead of what a new saw would have cost you.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3503 days

#15 posted 05-10-2012 01:04 PM

Bert, I think knotscott is correct. Often you will find that the older Delta and PM saws have much better machining than Griz. Long ago before I bought my PM, I was looking at the Griz and called a few people that I got from Griz as references. They all said the same thing. The Griz works great, but the Delta and PM have much better welds, and machining if that makes a difference to you. I was going to buy an older Delta but then started to look at older PMs and ended up going that way. My PM 66 is a 1988 model and it runs like new. The fence is accurate and it cuts hardwood like butter. I have no regrets. I think if you spend $500 for a used saw that might have cost $2000 new, you could expect to have to buy a few parts, I know I had to buy the riving knife for mine, and I paid $1650 for the saw used.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

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