Unisaw or PM 66?

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Forum topic by DylanC posted 06-22-2014 02:52 PM 1378 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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191 posts in 2094 days

06-22-2014 02:52 PM

I currently own a 34-806 Unisaw…1980s vintage. I have an opportunity to bid on a 1990s PM 66. Serial number 966980.

Main differences:

Unisaw…......................PM 66
5 hp, 3 phase …...........???
Right tilt…....................left tilt
Biesmeyer Fence…........stock fence
Right & Left ext. table…none

I plan on taking a look at it either way. If the 66 is a better saw, how much is it worth?

-- Dylan C ...Seems like all ever I make is sawdust...

15 replies so far

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3841 posts in 1913 days

#1 posted 06-22-2014 03:18 PM

The 66 was my dream saw, but I wound up buying a Unisaw for reasons I can’t exactly remember. I’d still prefer the 66, but the price would have a big impact on whether I would switch. Prices vary, but I generally consider the Unisaw to be a $1000 saw (+/-), and I personally would give another $300-$500 to get a 66. But that’s just me, and like prices…the opinions will vary.

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

View buildingmonkey's profile


242 posts in 967 days

#2 posted 06-22-2014 03:59 PM

I prefer left tilt, you don’t say what fence each has, which one is 3 phase or both? The 66 might be slightly better, but the old Uni is a good saw. If you have room, maybe you need both?

-- Jim from Kansas

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2387 posts in 2966 days

#3 posted 06-22-2014 06:00 PM

When u say the 66 has a stock fence, Powermatic uses a t square clone of the bies called the accufence. The 66 is generally speaking the better saw in my opinion. I have owned both. Too much is not known about the 66 to give a great opinion. I would typically give at auction between 100 to 600 for a 66 depending on age and condition of the saw. Missing extension wings hurt value some. Most spare parts can be found for the 66 or uni on ebay.

-- .

View DylanC's profile


191 posts in 2094 days

#4 posted 06-22-2014 06:16 PM

Here is a pic or two of the Powermatic…going to take a look at it tomorrow. Based on another pic I’ve seen, I believe the 66 is also a 3-phase motor.

-- Dylan C ...Seems like all ever I make is sawdust...

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2387 posts in 2966 days

#5 posted 06-22-2014 08:01 PM

I would stay no more than 400 myself. I have not been a fan of the old style pipe fence.

-- .

View lwllms's profile


555 posts in 2701 days

#6 posted 06-22-2014 11:27 PM

I think Powermatic’s old fence is probably the best fence I’ve used. I want accuracy from a fence and I want a direct measurement from the blade to the fence. Light pressure on the lower fence knob allows very fine movement using the fine adjustment knob while keeping the fence parallel to the blade. When I want accuracy I measure everything with the same rule and you can’t do that on a Biesemeyer style fence and fine adjustment is hit or miss. I can make a test cut, measure the result and adjust the old style Powermatic fence in thousandths when needed. I found the Biesemeyer style fence too sloppy for my work. If someone has only used Delta’s old jet-lock fence I can understand why they wouldn’t like the older fences.

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2387 posts in 2966 days

#7 posted 06-22-2014 11:45 PM

I had an old style pipe fence off os an older pm66 and we hated that fence. My bies and accufence are both extremely accurate, always dead on with no slop. As far as being to within thousandths of an inch, wood has more movement than that. I can be accurate to 1/32” using our bies and accufence. Accuracy to 1/32” is all that would be needed in woodworking.

-- .

View TheFridge's profile


5676 posts in 905 days

#8 posted 06-22-2014 11:47 PM

If you could get the pm66 set up for what you’d get for the unisaw id say do it. Left tilt and it’s a powermatic.

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

View unbob's profile


692 posts in 1323 days

#9 posted 06-23-2014 02:07 AM

It would depend on what one is doing, and the accuracy adjusted for it. Getting things more accurate then needed is a huge waste of time, not getting the needed accuracy can be even more of a waste of time. My example”a not so good photo” is a speaker cabinet for musical instruments. This one is one of my own, though I am building similar ones for another company. The construction is box jointed, with mitered facing. The box joint slots are 1/4” and 12” length. The slots must be better then .001”indexed to each other or the sides will not go together, just a .001” error will cause a .024” out of index at the end, that looks bad and will not pass. The box pictured does not have it, but I add wrap around inlays of ebony, snakewood and other woods on some boxes. If I am adding 1/8” ebony inlay, I route the slot, then must make the inlay wood at most .002” smaller the width of the slot. I cut the inlay woods using a rip sled that has a board that comes down supporting both the cut off and the piece being cut, or the thin cut-off strip will shatter. I do that on a very carefully tuned 12-14” Delta saw, using a 7 1/4” super thin kerf blade. I use a Biesmeyer fence to guide the sled. I can adjust the Bies fence to .001” easily by using a dial indicator, with hands on both sides of the “T”, using both thumbs slightly pushing back and forth on the ends of the “T”. I also use indicators on the rip sled itself. Not as hard as it sounds-it does pay. Wood certainly drifts out of true in a short amount of time, the key for me is to cut the main box parts accurately, then quickly put it together. It may fit together now, but probably will not tomorrow. Once together, the box joints hold it true, they are very strong when epoxied. I have tried this work on a contractors saw, it didnt work out very well, though I do cut the box joints on one. There is also inside structure that must fit tight, or the speaker box can rattle from vibration-that I do with a well tuned Radial saw. Just another view of working with wood.

On the left tilt, or right tilt, if one wants to used a sliding table attachment, the right tilt, I think is better. I have both types.

View AnonymousRequest's profile


861 posts in 968 days

#10 posted 06-23-2014 02:23 AM

Nice looking saw, I agree with Jerry about fences. I was searching for a Powermatic when I eventually bought my Uni. They seem to be rare in my area for some reason and go quick when they’re for sale.

View Rick M.'s profile

Rick M.

7697 posts in 1799 days

#11 posted 06-23-2014 06:00 AM

As it sits the 66 is not a better saw, put some money into it and you’ll have something equivalent to the Uni. But unless something is wrong with your Delta you’ll just be spending money for the sake of spending money.


View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2795 days

#12 posted 06-23-2014 09:21 AM

It depends on how you define “better”. I’d take a Biese fence any day over a jetlock fence. I’d take single phase over 3 phase. I do prefer left tilt. I like the paint on the PM too…. It all depends on your situation and preferences.

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

View ,'s profile


2387 posts in 2966 days

#13 posted 06-23-2014 11:47 AM

Wonder if OP even won the bid on the PM66?

-- .

View DylanC's profile


191 posts in 2094 days

#14 posted 06-23-2014 10:39 PM

Haven’t bid yet and probably won’t. Current high bidder is at $480. Going to save that money to bid on a drill press and/or band saw also for sale. Interesting that a Model 36-714 Unisaw being sold by the same seller isn’t even half that high.

-- Dylan C ...Seems like all ever I make is sawdust...

View DylanC's profile


191 posts in 2094 days

#15 posted 06-25-2014 01:07 AM

This saw ended up selling for $910…somebody must be trying to complete a set. The Unisaw went for $305. See below for a few other items and their prices…

Two Ryobi DB80 benchtop drill presses, $180 and $300.

Powermatic 1150 Drill press, $380

Old Rockwell Delta DP, $230

Six Powermatic Model 95 20” Scroll Saws, $51-$105

Old Rockwell Delta band saw, $205

And the tool I REALLY wanted but didn’t even bid half of what it finally sold for…
A Powermatic 141 Band Saw, $1000

Some of this stuff went for WAY more than I would’ve believed it was worth…what do you guys think?

-- Dylan C ...Seems like all ever I make is sawdust...

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