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  1. #1
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    Default delta unisaw

    Note: I posted this question over at CBN too, but I know the audience is not completely overlapped, and wanted to solicit as many opinions as possible...thanks

    Question. I have picked out a new table saw, a delta contractors saw with an extension table ( Delta 36-431 on amazon.com). Total cost is around $850 brand new. Probably will do most of what I want, but I do have an interest in doing some furniture and/or cabinet work down the road (which this would probably be OK for).

    In my local paper there are a few Delta-unisaws for sale, and my understanding is they are very, very good saws that normally sell for $2k or more...

    Question is, assuming these are in decent shape, which the ad says they are, for about $150 more I could step into a delta unisaw....should I?

    One of them is "52inch fence, 3hp, single phase" in "good" condition and the other one is "3hp, right tilt, biesmeyer fence, mobile base & ext table & blades - like new.

    I know the unisaws are pretty big (and heavy). Portability is not an issue for me (besides the initial setup).

    What would you guys do?

    PS: Single phase is what I want, right? That does mean regular circuitry, correct?


  2. #2
    Banned RonL's Avatar
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    Default Re: delta unisaw

    EJB

    Single phase is what you want unless you intend to put the saw in an industrial location that has three phase electricity. A three horsepower unisaw will run on a twenty amp 240 volt circuit. The saws are heavy ( over 400 pounds ). They have massive trunnions that hold their settings once set. There are mobile bases that allow you to move the saws, but in my opinion a unisaw should be given its own space with plenty of room around it to maneuver. There is something comforting about a solid machine that does its job well. The difference is with a lighter contractors saw you can feel movement and deflection. With the unisaw it is solid. If you get the unisaw take the time to set it up properly once it is in position. Also, be careful. The more powerful motors can be less forgiving with a pinched board.

    RonL

  3. #3
    Veteran Member gsganzer's Avatar
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    Default Re: delta unisaw

    If you have the extra cash, go for the unisaw. There's nothing worse then wishing you went with a better tool after dropping some hard earned cash.

    I have the Delta contractors saw (approx. $800) and it is a cabinet grade saw (although on the lower end). I wired it for 220. It also has a long enough arbor for a stacked dado. If you're doing occasional cabinet work it should be fine. It would also free up some cash, if you're on a budget, for some of the other tools you need like a plate joiner etc. If you're doing cabinet work, you'll also need a jointer. I don't care what table saw you use, for cabinet quality you need to run your boards through a jointer for optimum fit and finish. The list of tools goes on and on. If we only had bigger wallets.

    I agree with taking the time to set it up properly. Although mine was pretty close "out of the box", I still spent about 4 hours putting it together and tweaking it just perfect.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: delta unisaw

    I can't tell you what to do... only what I'd do. I'd get the unisaw. The high school shop had one and it was a hoss. It would handle anything we threw at it. The cast iron table all the way across was nice too.

    That being said, I have an older delta contractor's saw and it's great for 99% of what I need, but $150 extra for a unisaw makes the choice easy.

  5. #5
    Super Member _RaT_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: delta unisaw

    I have a right tilt Unisaw, 3 HP, Unifence and 6 foot table. The saw uses 3 matched belts to drive the blade. You cannot stop the blade easily. A 4X4 oak post and a decent blade is no match for the saw. The contractors saw will slow down as I have much experience with it as well. The two are hard to compare except that they do the same thing. One is ultra smooth, the other is pretty decent. Steel tables vs cast iron. The new Unisaws are offered in left tilt which in some ways makes more sense. It's easier to cut 45's on plywood for example. If mobility is not a concern, the Unisaw offers all and more then the contactors saw. In shear weight, the saw stays put, power, there is little comparision, accuracy, that depends on the person, longevity, the Unisaw will not wear out with your use. Mine is a 1976 vintage and is like new. We paid about $1600 with the Unifence, the Bissemeyer is as good or better. The Unisaw is 240V only. Rat.

    P.S. I actually use my little Bosch portable now more then my Unisaw. The Unisaw comes out for really important stuff.

  6. #6

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    Default Re: delta unisaw

    I've got a unisaw. Won't go back. Everything else feels like a toy. Worth the money.

  7. #7
    Super Member _RaT_'s Avatar
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    Default Re: delta unisaw

    I agree, but it's portability is terrible. The newer left tilting Unisaw was probably an answer to another very well made saw, the Powermatic which has been a left tilt for, well, forever.

    I stand corrected on the Delta contractor saw, the table is cast iron and now you can get the extensions in cast iron as well. I stated it was stamped steel and meant that the extensions were stamped steel. Nothing wrong with that but it always seems to have at least one part that rides low and another high where it butts the cast iron table.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member jimg's Avatar
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    Default Re: delta unisaw

    I think either would be OK. I ran a furniture and cabinetmaking business for several yrs using a contractor's saw. It worked well and only needed occassional tuning. It was also easy to move it around the shop when necessary. When I sold it to make room for the PM66 it was easy to breakdown and move out the door.

    If the unisaw in the ad is a newer model Id want to know exactly how it was used and maintained. Ive used a few of the newer ones in an commercial setting and they were unreliable. A certain shop where I worked had 4 tablesaws two of which were newer unisaws. They wer e broken alot and very expensive to fix. Oddly the Jet 'beater' tablesaw never broke...although it wasnt particularly easy to tune and it wouldnt stay tuned.
    jimg

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