Delta vs. Rockwell Unisaws

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Forum topic by Joel J posted 10-14-2013 10:39 AM 2232 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Joel J

48 posts in 1939 days

10-14-2013 10:39 AM

I have been considering buying a used Unisaw…..I’ve wanted one for many years. I have seen both Rockwell and Delta. Can someone please explain the differences and make a recommendation on which brand would be the best choice? Some of the ones i have been looking at have either the original unisaw fence or the later unifence on them. Thanks.

-- Joel, Denver, CO

6 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

4987 posts in 2493 days

#1 posted 10-14-2013 12:43 PM

Don’t fret over the label. Rockwell bought the Delta company somewhere in the mid 40’s and later renamed the Delta tools Delta/Rockwell. In almost every way, consider them the same in terms of quality. Here's another link with some info.

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

View cabmaker's profile


1731 posts in 2809 days

#2 posted 10-15-2013 02:19 AM

they are identical, I have had both.

View Loren's profile


10401 posts in 3648 days

#3 posted 10-15-2013 03:06 AM

Unifence is nice. Way better design than the old Jet-lock fences.

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 2513 days

#4 posted 10-15-2013 10:05 AM

Hmmm I just learned something, I’d never heard of Unisaw until I googled and researched what it was, Delta and Rockwell must have split at some point? Today Rockwell is just another HF knockoff, they aren’t what they used to be, Delta on the other hand seems to be still holding up to it’s name and value.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3462 days

#5 posted 10-15-2013 02:21 PM

Be aware that Delta Manufacturing went through what I refer to as “value engineering” in the early to mid 70’s. By that they began using lighter materials and cutting corners on manufacturing. If you are looking for a good saw try and find one made in the late 40’s to late 60’s. The casting quality is much better and materials used were far superior to the 70’s machines. One way to tell the difference is the badge applied to the machines. Rockwell changed it to a “peace” sign, its black on a silver background. I would shy away from those machines. However, that being said there are a few good machines from that era. I had an early 60’s unisaw that was great. I sold it in favor of a larger machine. Also, be aware that many of the unisaws were 3 phase. DO NOT let 3 phase scare you away froma good saw. The motor can be run on regular household power with the addition of a VFD, variable frequency drive. The VFD will convert household, single phase input to 3ph output and much cheaper than trying to find an aftermarket motor. The unisaws have a very unique motor mount and a replacement motor will run about 2-3X what a VFD will cost.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View bigblockyeti's profile


5121 posts in 1721 days

#6 posted 10-15-2013 04:39 PM

Mine is from the early 90’s, made in USA, with the newer Unifence. We had an early 80’s saw in the millwork shop I used to work in and they were mechanically identical, only a few aesthetic differences and a three phase motor in the one in at work. I’ve worked on a few of the earlier ones and the lower horsepower machines, while they work well, won’t keep up with the newer ones, especially if you’re doing a lot of thick stock ripping. The older motors aren’t sealed as the newer TEFC motors are and as a result subject to sawdust creating problems by getting into the motor. The key is getting one that has little if any rust below the table, it can create such a headache making everything work smoothly if it’s not clean under there.

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