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Unisaw Purchase - Need info/help!

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Forum topic by Jamie posted 557 days ago 1173 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jamie

162 posts in 2417 days


557 days ago

First I want to apologize for being gone from Lumberjocks for so long. Had something happen in my life over the past few years. Now I’m back to start cutting some wood!

I have a chance to finally pick up a unisaw… model # 34-459 for around $500. It has a 3hp 3 phase motor, Biesemeyer fence and rails, small extension table. It’s actually in pretty good shape. The table and wings are true with no warping, pits, gouges, and amazingly no rust. No mods to saw at all so there’s no extra holes anywhere. Also the arbor bearings have been replaced within the past year and there’s no arbor run-out and the bearings seem strong, stable, and smooth. The Unisaw has always been my dream saw.

Knowing me, I’ll probably dismantle the whole thing and restore it inside and out… clean, lube, and fresh paint. May go for the greyish-blue/off-white combo. I’m not a purist so the color choices really don’t matter… I just can’t stand to have a saw that I’ve not went through with a fine tooth comb.

Hopefully someone can answer this. The questions I have is with the serial # is G-204820. First, I guess that tells me that it’s a Canadian made Unisaw in Guelph. Honestly that’s not a real deal breaker there, but maybe these were less quality. The second question is how do I read the serial to determine the date? I was told it was a 70’s model by the owner, but I am not sure… Anyone know how to decipher the G-#’s?

Also, would you buy it?

-- Jamie, Kentucky


17 replies so far

View Tomoose's profile

Tomoose

312 posts in 1976 days


#1 posted 557 days ago

I don’t have crazy Unisaw knowledge but I have seen from other posts that 3-phase power can be an issue in a residential environment. I guess 3-phase is usually only available in commercial locations and at home you would need a rather cosly phase converter. Just something to sort out before you pull the trigger on the new saw. I wish you the best of luck and i hope some of the Unisaw guys chime in for you. I have a lowly contactor saw, but one of these days…

Tom.

-- cut it twice and it's still too short...

View Jamie's profile

Jamie

162 posts in 2417 days


#2 posted 557 days ago

Thanks Tom. I have a 3hp 3450rpm single phase motor ready for it. I forgot to mention with the saw purchase, I also get the delta miter gauge, a motor adapter to use standard motors that don’t have the mounting ears that the originals do, and a extra cast iron base (Apparently this saw came with a steel one), and also the belts are pretty new.

I was looking at just picking up a Ridgid R4512 from HD, but this came along.. and I’m like a kid at a candy store!

-- Jamie, Kentucky

View Loren's profile

Loren

7265 posts in 2251 days


#3 posted 557 days ago

I do not think you can easily mount a standard motor to
a Unisaw. If you have a Unisaw motor or the skills to
modify the motor you have, then go for it.

Other than that it would not be too bad a buy… and
depending on local supply of used cabinet saws
it could be a bargain.

I build a 5 hp rotary phase converter from a used air
compressor motor and a panel I got off ebay for
about $130. I spent $100 on the motor because
I was in a hurry, but they can be got a lot cheaper.
Wiring was another issue, but the investment
in the phase converter was totally worth it and
I regret putting it off for so long.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Jamie's profile

Jamie

162 posts in 2417 days


#4 posted 557 days ago

Loren, That is what the motor adapter is for that i mentioned above that it comes with..

It's exactly like this

That’s why I am considering it, because I have the motor adapter and a 3hp 220 single phase motor…

BTW.. Local supply of cabinet saws.. They’re few and far between around here… :)

I am more concerned with the fact that it’s a Canadian model and trying to find out what year it was made. From what I read, the earlier 70’s models were pretty good, but as it got later in that decade, Rockwell got cheap and started skimping on parts. Just want to make sure this one is going to be worth it…

-- Jamie, Kentucky

View mbs's profile

mbs

1422 posts in 1543 days


#5 posted 557 days ago

You may want to call sawstop. I purchased a 3hp, 1 ph, motor from them and it was more reasonable than any other motor I could find. Not sure if the mounting brackets are the same.

-- Sorry the reply is so long. I didn't have time to write a short reply.

View Jamie's profile

Jamie

162 posts in 2417 days


#6 posted 557 days ago

I already have a motor for it ready and waiting… as I’ve already mentioned a couple of times, and the table saw comes with the ’’Motor Adapter’’ that you mount a standard motor to the Unisaw mounts… Come on guys… I know it’s late, but the questions I need answered don’t even concern motors at all.. Maybe I should have just said it came with a 3hp single phase motor.. hmmm.. :)

-- Jamie, Kentucky

View Cole Tallerman's profile

Cole Tallerman

389 posts in 788 days


#7 posted 557 days ago

post this on the OWWM site. You will know everything there is to know about that saw down to the person who was in charge that day! Seriously they know their unisaws.

View Jamie's profile

Jamie

162 posts in 2417 days


#8 posted 557 days ago

I think I will Cole! I was going to but thought I would ask here first.

-- Jamie, Kentucky

View Jamie's profile

Jamie

162 posts in 2417 days


#9 posted 557 days ago

Unfortunately it requires admin approval of an account.. :( Gonna have to wait till tomorrow!

-- Jamie, Kentucky

View Tomoose's profile

Tomoose

312 posts in 1976 days


#10 posted 557 days ago

Hey Jamie – sorry if i opened up a big can of worms for you with the whole 3-phase discussion. If you have a motor that will work it sounds like a decent deal to me. People around here list Unisaws and old Powermatic cabinet saws for upwards of $1200 routinely on Craigslist, but who knows what they ultimately sell for.

Tom

-- cut it twice and it's still too short...

View Jamie's profile

Jamie

162 posts in 2417 days


#11 posted 557 days ago

No prob Tom! I’ve been doing a lot of research on them, but can’t really find much info on the Canadian made ones in the 70’s. I just want to make sure that it’s comperable to the USA made Unisaws and it’s not going to be junk. It seems like a good deal to me too. especially coming with the biesemeyer, extension table, motor adapter, original insert plate and a few ZCI’s.. May end up being my only chance to pick up a saw like this..

I’m still waiting to get my account approved over at OWWM..

-- Jamie, Kentucky

View Jamie's profile

Jamie

162 posts in 2417 days


#12 posted 556 days ago

I’m going this afternoon to pick up the Unisaw! I’m pretty excited!

-- Jamie, Kentucky

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5371 posts in 1979 days


#13 posted 556 days ago

$500 sounds like a nice buy on a Unisaw with a Biese….especially since you have a single phase motor for it. You might be able to sell the 3-phase motor and get something for it…..probably not a lot, but something that you can put towards a nice blade or two.

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

View Jeff in Huntersville's profile

Jeff in Huntersville

398 posts in 1798 days


#14 posted 556 days ago

Don’t know why you seem to be trashing Canadian made. Factories in Canada making goods under the US name were set up by the US parent companies. It’s not now nor was it ever China.

View Jamie's profile

Jamie

162 posts in 2417 days


#15 posted 555 days ago

Who’s trashing Canadian Made? Wow.. Somebody wake up on the wrong side of the bed? Thanks for your extremely useful post. If you have nothing relevant to add to the topic, then why post? I have nothing against anything Canadian made. Actually, I just bought the ‘Canadian Made’ Unisaw earlier. Apparently during the late 70’s Rockwell International used less quality parts on their Unisaws.. It could have been USA made and I would have still asked, and I doubt anyone would have been… ‘Why are you trashing USA made?’...

If you had read the whole post Jeff, you would have seen that is what I was asking. Whether this saw I was going to buy was poorly made by Rockwell International. Really had absolutely nothing at all to do with it being made in Canada.

With that said.. I got my ‘Canadian Made’ Unisaw! Gonna start a Restoration on it so I’ll be documenting every step of the way like I did with the Delta T2-30 fence and the 1952 Craftsman tablesaw.

-- Jamie, Kentucky

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