Unisaw restoration project: good idea or money pit?

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com ( snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com) wrote in message (Heath Roberts) wrote:

course. I

Yeah, the demand for old single-phase motors definitely seems to have outpaced supply. I had hoped someone here would know where I could find one--without that happening, I probably won't buy the saw. There's always the phase-conversion option, but that's a pretty expensive way to go.

Well, it's always the sort of thing that would catch my eye, but I haven't really looked locally for an old Unisaw. I'll have to make an effort over the next couple of months.
Thanks for the advice, Heath
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The very fact that no one wants three-phase motors makes phase convertors dirt cheap. Get an old, large 3-phase motor and a pile of capacitors. Do some reading, make some calculations, throw everything in a bag and shake it and you've got a convertor. Well, maybe not quite like that, but it is easy. You can get a motor for scrap value and the rest of the parts for a few bucks. Then start collecting underpriced industrial machinery.
GTO(John)
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snipped-for-privacy@mindspring.com says...

Decent starting point. Does the saw run?

I thought so too with mine. Most of the challenge was just getting the time to do everything the way I wanted to. My 1949 Unisaur was a runner from the start. The guy who had it before me was using it almost daily. Only bad thing about it was the patriotic paint job, so I decided to tear her down.

This is probably one of the tasks that will take the least time. I was able to blast all of the parts except for the cabinet at a DIY blast center. I had the cabinet blasted by one of the workers in the back. Took all of 2 hours total to get everything done. I was fortunate enough to have a friend who works for a body shop, and he offered to paint the saw for me. Took about another week, since he was doing it in his spare time. But he used automotive primer and the paint job is outstanding. Almost too good - I was kinda afraid to put anything on the saw!

This is good news. And makes the $350 asking price more palatable.

I've seen Unisaw tables sell on eBay for $100ish, and extension wings go for $50ish each. But they don't pop up very often. You may be better off finding a sad bastard saw, scavenging the top, and selling the other parts on eBay. A good arbor bracket will sell for $100 used.

If you go rotary, you won't lose much. I purchased a 5HP rotary kit from eBay for $59. Toss in an enclosure and some outlets/connectors, and you've got the guts for less than a C note. You should be able to find a 5HP motor dirt cheap, maybe even free if you scrounge around (or have a friend with one collecting dust).

Agreed. Well worth the price of admission.

Overall, I spent about $1000 on my saw. I rebuilt the bullet motor for $200, spent another $100 on blasting and paint, $40 for arbor bearings, and $150 for a used Bies style fence. I still need a goose egg cover, and will someday shell out the $200 for it. For now, it just ain't all that important.
Considering the price of new machines, I think I have a hell of a deal and a pretty cool piece of machinery that one of my grandfather's friends may have used. Besides, I was able to sell my Jet contractors saw for $700 with the extras.

I'd vote to buy the saw, but realize that Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your saw. If you work on it regularly and have most of the tools to do the work, you could easily get her going in a couple of weeks. If not, it may take a couple of months.

Good luck with your hunt. I'd post an ad on OWWM and Woodweb. You may get a couple of bites. Don't forget eBay - just make sure you search for more than just "Delta" (you had to be there...).
--
Regards,

Rick

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