Jet versus Delta or my unisaw after 6 months


I thought I'd jot down a quick comparison between my experiences with my new Unisaw and my old Jet hybrid. These are purely my personal opinions and are not part of any "evaluation criteria experiment". But instead I know I enjoy reading other peoples experiences and find value in doing so and thought you guys might profit from mine.
I purchased my left tilt 3hp 50" biesmeyer equipped saw about 6 months ago. Previously I had a Jet hybrid saw (JWCS-10), that I believe was discontinued when the super-saw was released. In general the Jet was a great saw. It was a 2 hp cabinet saw with the trunnions mounted like a contractor saw. The highlight of the saw was the 30" HTC made Xacta fence, which was the "home" version. The saw was powerful, accurate and provided me with 3 years of great service. But the woodworking marketing bug had bit me hard and I wanted a Unisaw. The opportunity came up for me to sell the Jet at the same price I paid for it, so I bit the hook.
The Unisaw is definitely a superior saw overall. It's more powerful, quieter, and smoother in operation. The Jet blade elevation was its sore point. It required a lot of force to overcome the weight of the motor to raise the blade, which made it really difficult to tweak in that last little bit of elevation like when trying to get half lap joints perfect. And the nature of a contractor type saw placed the elevation wheel up tight against the bottom of the table not leaving much room for your hand. The Unisaw in comparison is like butter. Smooth as silk and nearly effortless. The hand wheels are correctly sized and positioned. The Jet also did not have great dust collection. Compared to an open bottom contractor saw it was superior but after using the Unisaw for the last couple of months its obvious the Delta dust pan design is much more effective.
As I mentioned the Jet saw had a Xacta fence, which I appreciated. I know the war of the fences is like religion, and everybody thinks theirs is the best. But here goes anyway. The Delta beismeyer commercial fence is very stout, and deflection will never be an issue. But to create that strength comes a lot of steel and the associated weight. Removing the fence from the saw is a bit of a chore. Overcoming the weight is one problem but it's aggravated further because if the lock lever is all the way up it binds on the fence preventing it from being lifted. Instead it has to be just off fully disengaged to allow the fence to be pulled straight up and off, which means you have to hold the lever in one of your hands and use your other arm to overcome the weight of the fence. The second annoying side effect of the additional weight is fine adjustment of the fence. You know that tap, tap, tap on the side to tweak in that last 32nd of an inch. Where you tap on the biesmeyer is important because if you tap in the middle of the fence it won't track parallel to the blade. You find this out when you move the lever to lock and the fence will square up and move. So if you are lining up the fence to a witness mark on your work piece, upon lock down it will move. So you have to unlock again and tap, tap, tap on the other side and play a game of over compensating oscillation. The solution to that problem becomes learned behavior after a couple of months. I taught myself that I need to tap only a couple of times and lock down to see how I'm doing, rather than over shooting. In contrast the Xacta fence is smaller and lighter, and as a bonus had a micro-adjust wheel that made it a snap to dial in that last little bit. Tapping on the side didn't have the same effect the jet home fence, it seems to track very close to parallel even when disengaged, so locking down often didn't result in fence movement at all. And removing a fence that is 10 lbs versus what feels like double that is a blessing as well. I also found the HDPE face of the fence a bit superior. Yes, when I first got the jet the face of the fence was not 100 percent flat, but after an exercise of shimming with strips of paper and a machined straight edge I never had to do it again. And the HDPE is such low friction the work pieces glide down it. The Biesmeyer also required some shimming, the face of the fence jutted in over a 1/16 of an inch where it was not supported by the steel box at the end. The plywood backing of the biesmeyer makes it easier to clamp feather-boards and auxiliary fences but not significantly.
The other place the Unisaw overshadows the jet is precision. Out of the box the blade was parallel to the miter slot and the bevel stops were 0 and 45 exactly. The jet needed tweaking, and seemed to go out after a couple of months (just a few thousands). And getting the jet sucked back into tolerance was an inexact science. Tightening the bolts on the underside of the table for the trunnions always made it move out of true as you tightened. So it was trial and error 5 times over. Also the Unisaw shines on the nickel test. I finally got the jet to perform the nickel test after loading it with 60 lbs of sand below the dust pan. Vibration was never a real problem but just not the same as the delta which doesn't move when the power is applied or removed.
Well those are the high points from my experience. Safe to say the guy that has my jet got a fine machine. And now I have the Unisaw that I couldn't live without. Both are more than adequate for my hobby/part-time side business.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I went from a 80's vintage Craftsman contractor's saw to a 3HP Unisaw. Imagine MY satisfaction with the Unisaw! The only component not up to my expectations is the Bies. fence. It's not as straight as it should be, but I can live with it. I really appreciate how few revs it takes to raise/lower the blade, compared to the Sears.
Dave
Mark wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've never had a Bies, and folks swear by them so they must be good, but when I bought my unisaw it was a "White" edition leftover from when they started the "Platinum" edition and the retailer wanted to move it, and it came with the Unifence. I can say that the Unifence, being predominantly extruded aluminum, is a lot lighter, very easy to adjust and calibrate, and for the serious home shop, plenty stout, no deflection, etc. I am glad I got it. In a more demanding environment, production shop type, maybe the stouter Bies would be preferable.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I got the Unisaw, left tilt; 3H.P with 50" table....I opted for the Unigard....I love the way it retracts to use as a stop block when making multiple cuts of the same length. Sure has it over my old Sears contractor saw. Using a Forrest Woodworker II blade....runs n cuts smooth. I cut a lotta wood with it before getting it sharpened, only way i knew it needed sharpening was when I had to start sanding the cuts......worth the money. I,m also using the "Unigard" with the saw....works okay...love the splitter; has saved me a couple times. . Just wish it had a dust collector on top like the "Brett" to catch the lil left overs on top. But my regular dust collector thats hooked on the Unisaw gets 98%....pretty good. Brother-in-law has a Jet saw, he put a router in the table with a Incra Jig. Not ready to cut a hole in my Unisaw table yet, but it would save space.....

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.