Old Unisaw

I want to upgrade from an old 1978 craftsman to a cabinet saw. I was at Skarie in Baltimore today checking out their used stuff and found an old powermatic model 66 (2 hp 3hase) and an old 1950ish delta unisaw. The unisaw had a 1.5 hp 230 volt single phase motor (huge) that had been recently rebuilt in 03. The manual that was with the saw indicated Delta Milwaukee Machine tools, PM-1501 Revised:6-17-54. I was able to cut with it, very stable, much better than my craftsman. They want $695 for it. Thing is once you add a 50" biesmeyer and the table board your at $1202 verus $1800 for a new unisaw 3 hp. The salesman indicated that the power would be 'close' old 1.5 versus modern 3 hp. I dunno, 50% more $$ for the new one (+ 5year warrenty)- worth it? Is he right about the power comparison? The powermatic is an old 'green' one, they want $795 for that. What other issues will I run into with an 'old' saw.
Any advise would be appreciated.
KB
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Considering the way business is done these days, I always buy according to warranty. If the "old" saws come with the same warranty as the new ones, then buy the cheaper ones. If not, then it is, "buyer beware." Lower price, usually means lower quality".
kb wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 16 Jun 2004 17:57:36 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@lycos.com (kb) wrote:

the old motor will probably be roughly equivalent to 2HP or so in today'y inflated horseshi c^c^c^ power market.
I put a biesemeyer fence on my powermatic 65 for something like $150 by buying the fence from biesemeyer's scratch_n_dent webpage and making my own rails from locally purchsed steel.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'd go with a new one. You might be able to get it cheaper if you wait for a woodworking show.
Rob

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 16 Jun 2004 17:57:36 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@lycos.com (kb) wrote:

About 15 years ago, while living in LaLaLand I bought an early 50's Unisaw. Rebuilt it, reground the top, put in a NEW 3 hp motor, pulleys etc. Even added a 50" Beismeyer and an HTC Rolling base. It probably cost me as much as a new one by the time it was done. But it was a truly amazing saw. I would cut everything, wheel it out to the driveway for cutting plywood, even stood on it (when unplugged) to change lightbulbs. In 5 years, it never went out of true. You could leave a cup of water on it and I would barely vibrate. It was so quite that you could have a normal conversation while it was running (but not cutting).
Unfortuneately, before I moved to Chicago, I sold it. I thought that I'd find another in the great "Rust Belt." I haven't yet.
If it has a cast iron base, and weighs a lot, I'd buy it over a new one. Any day.
If it still works after 50 years, who needs a warranty?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
kb wrote:

sigh...
A savings of six hunnert by my calculator. Try this. Take the $1800 for a new saw and buy the old saw. Buy the after market fence. Take the savings and seal it in an envelope for use later when you have to "fix" the old saw. When that day doesn't arrive, break the seal on the envelope and have some fun with that money. I would go for a Porter-Cable 3 horsie router and a (insert name of router lift here) router lift. Way better than Roger Cliffe's old used up shaper in my humble opinion. :-)
Oh, and there is the issue with depreciation. With the old saw you can turn around in 5 seconds, 5 minutes, 5 hours, 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, 5 years or 5 decades and sell it for what you have in it. With the new saw you'll have to discount it ($600ish) the minute it's through the dealer's door.
In my sick little mind I look at it like this. Buying the new saw denies you the savings at the front end *and* penalizes you any savings at the rear end.
Oh! An one other thing, you can buy a Biesemeyer off the Biesemeyer site that's scratch 'n dent and save some money. The table boards? You're a wooddorker, build them yourself. It is possible to fit the saw out right and not break the one thou mark. But then again, we're only talking a couple hunnert and it's good to go now. It's your call really.

The older motors were/are Repulsion/Induction (R/I). These motors had/have a higher torque than the cap start motors of today. I'm no motor man but most that are will tell you that these motors compare favorably. Some say better.
I do know this. My Unisaw is fitted up with a "less than 1 horse" R/I and I've yet to have it bog down.

If you go with the new, you'll definitely need the warranty. There seems to be more problems (broke trunnions) than there should be with them lately.
Now, the 50's vintage machine, it's survived all this time and hasn't broke yet (or if it did it was so long ago you don't know about it/it was fixed way back then) so warranty isn't a big an issue as with the new machine. Wear and tear on a Unisaw is not an issue. No really, it ain't.
On the 50's machine the only thing that pops into my mind that might be an issue is the teeth on the blade raising rack. If they have 50% of their cast iron you're good to go for another 50 plus years. Actually more considering you'll probably not use it that much to cause any great deal of wear.
There are all the other things like run the saw and seeing that it performs as advertised.

The old motor has enough power for what you want it for.

There is the one part they don't tell you about and that's this thing that happens shortly after you get it home and are playing with it. You will look about your shop and begin to wonder what/which of your other machines you can replace with something vintage.
No really. I've seen it all to often.

Advise (advice in wreckspeak) is worth what you pay for it.
Now comes the real question. Are you worthy of this saw?
UA100
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
UA100 responds:

snip of great reasoning
What he said. In this case, if the saw hasn't been abused, it's a better bet than a new one.
As far as the old P'matic goes, $795 depends on condition, but figure in the price of a 3 HP single phase Baldor (what the new ones come with). It is probably worth it, too.
Charlie Self "If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to." Dorothy Parker
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 16 Jun 2004 17:57:36 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@lycos.com (kb) wrote:

Try $1500. That's what I paid a few weeks ago at WoodWorkers Supply. Your choice of Biesemeyer or Unifence, mobile base, free shipping. If you're a new customer, you can get an additional 10% off, I'm told.
As far as your original proposition goes, tough call. You have to spend money on either one. Both are great saws. I don't think you would go wrong in either case.
- - LRod
Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
Shamelessly whoring my website since 1999
http://www.woodbutcher.net
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If you spoke to Mr. dunn , then anything he tells you can take to the bank. He inspects the old machines before skarrie takes them in trade or buys them. You can bargain for a lower price too. have fun
Len

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

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Talk to Leneave Machinery, Charlotte, NC about their cabinet saw. They have them made to order and claim them to be very good. I have their planer and am pleased. I'd look very carefully at all the bearings, screws, and sliding surfaces, to be sure nothing is loose. Wilson

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

Related Threads

    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.