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To restore or not to restore

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Forum topic by Vii posted 517 days ago 733 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Vii

25 posts in 1188 days


517 days ago

Ok fellow jocks I need your help, I have been offered a 40s era Delta unisaw that needs to be restored, it’s missing the motor and the bottom door. That’s all the bad the good is the price it’s $100. The top looks good and the wings are there, all is there and looks good, but I’m still not sure what I’m getting my self into, any advice? How expensive is the motor? How hard are they to find? Anything else I should watch for? Please help


12 replies so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5001 posts in 2317 days


#1 posted 487 days ago

What shape is the rest of the saw? How much time and money will you spend before it is up and running?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Nicky's profile

Nicky

636 posts in 2696 days


#2 posted 487 days ago

View AlaskaGuy's profile

AlaskaGuy

568 posts in 914 days


#3 posted 487 days ago

If it has the original fence with the round bars you’re going to want to replace it also. I prefer the Delta uni-fence if you can find one.

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

View MNgary's profile

MNgary

235 posts in 1022 days


#4 posted 487 days ago

Unless you are “into restoring” and love to do restoring and then later taking pride in sharing your restoration . . .

Restoration takes a lot of time and the cost for parts is not always cheap. My advice, don’t do it to save money, but certainly do it for the love of restoration, per se, and the joys of your finished project.

-- I dream of the world where a duck can cross the road and no one asks why.

View toolie's profile

toolie

1724 posts in 1233 days


#5 posted 487 days ago

suggest reviewing the FAQ on this site:

http://www.sawcenter.com/

they are extremely knowledgeable about all things unisaw related. with no motor, a good 3hp leeson can be had for < $400 from:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/3-HP-Leeson-120728-Delta-UNISAW-Motor-3450-RPM-230V-Single-Phase-3-4-In-Shaft-/350687158471

figure another $100 for a good aftermarket miter gauge, $60 shipped for a good delta splitter from the sawcenrter or mike’s tools and ~ $200 for a delta t2 fence system and you’ll have an “old arn” unisaw. i refurbished a 3hp baldor motored unisaw that i got for $40 in gas money and sold it. i wanted to see what all the hoopla about old unisaws was about. i’ve seen and decided to keep my two contractor saws. but for ~$900, you will have a good RIGHT TILT cabinet saw that will last a long time. but as others have mentioned, parts can be hard to find and expensive. CLing parts will reduce that cost, but delta t2 fences and good motors might be hard to find on CL. good luck with your project.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2731 posts in 1848 days


#6 posted 487 days ago

A 40’s era unisaw might have a 1 or 1-1/2 hp motor, not the 3 hp on later saws. How many belts does it use? 1, 2 or 3? A smaller motor won’t cost as much as the 3 hp Baldor or Leeson.

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a1Jim

112002 posts in 2182 days


#7 posted 487 days ago

I know many folks like to restore old table saws and that’s cool but as a practical matter a newer saw is a much better dollar for dollar investment IMO

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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shampeon

1306 posts in 788 days


#8 posted 487 days ago

For one Benjamin, that’s pretty much a steal. Place a WTB on owwm’s classified forum, or just monitor it. Unisaw motors and parts pop up all the time. It’d be awfully hard to find a good new cabinet saw for $500, which is probably the max you’d put into this saw.

-- ian | "You can't stop what's coming. It ain't all waiting on you. That's vanity."

View toolie's profile

toolie

1724 posts in 1233 days


#9 posted 486 days ago

How many belts does it use? 1, 2 or 3?

to the best of my knowledge, didn’t all unisaws, regardless of the motor’s hp rating, use 3 belts? and isn’t the point of a cabinet saw to at least get a 3 hp motor? after all, aren’t all those hybrid and contractor saws, powered with 1 1/2 and 1 3/4 hp motors that users are admonished against buying in favor of “old arn” unisaws, similarly powered with morors < 2hp (he said, somewhat sarcastically)?

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

2731 posts in 1848 days


#10 posted 486 days ago

a1Jim, You are looking at a saw as an “investment” because you are in the woodworking business. Someone who is not in the business, may not see it as an investment. I would take an old Unisaw over a new saw as long as the parts were available and wouldn’t cost me a lot to repair. I had an opportunity to get a Unisaw years ago, but after figuring out how much it would cost to get it up and running, I decided to pass on it and bought a new saw that I still have and use almost every day.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112002 posts in 2182 days


#11 posted 486 days ago

Ron
Whether you are in business or a hobbyist, Table saws are investments. A saws use my differ according to user. Old saws have their appeal and for those interested can make a fun restoration project. Certainly Unisaw’s have a great reputation and so do model “T”Fords but you would not drive one to work everyday on the freeway . My point is if you spend $700 dollars to restore a 40’s table saw and you can buy a 80’s 5hp Powermatic for the same money why not have an upgraded saw with more power,larger table top and bigger and better fences. Some folks are happy with their $99 box store table saws because they fit their budget and are fine for the projects they make. The same is true for machines like old Delta’s (far far better than a $100 table saw) and they meet their owners budget and the projects they make, and if a person wants to have a tool from the 40s(or what ever)and enjoys rebuilding machinery it may be right for them. Having a beautifully restored old table saw that you restored is certainly a jewel in a home owners shop. I’m just viewing this from what I consider a very practical point of view, dollars invested versus a tools use without a lot of fuss like rebuilding the tool you buy and having a solid work horse to get the job done (totally unemotional)

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View Vii's profile

Vii

25 posts in 1188 days


#12 posted 483 days ago

Update, thanks for all the advice as always you guys rock. I ended up passing on the saw, I wanted to venture out and get it but I realized (thanks to my beautiful bride) that I have too many projects and that if I start saving now I can probably afford a new one by the time the projects are done (at least the ones I got so far. Again I thank everyone for all their input and advice

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