Unisaws...Are the Old Ones "Better" than the New Ones?

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I talked to that point when I answered this to begin with.
For some folks, the costs, and risks, of buying used are not equal.
IF there were a low risk, reasonable cost source of used gear, then many more folks would use it. Not every one is retired, with lots of tire- kicking time, and unlimited resources to use, in order to buy experienced gear. And some, many, live in old tool hell, or so they like to imagine.
The ability to buy a solid, clean, new tool, from a trusted dealer, at a fair price, is an option that many, including me, have taken. It's easier. quicker, and, from a time perspective, cheaper by far.
But life differs for everyone. That's why there are so many choices out there.
Patriarch
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Too_Many_Tools wrote:

I bought a General 650. <G>
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What you're asking, _may be_ the wrong question.
Sure, a well-kept, older saw _may be_ a 'better' saw, if you can find one, at a reasonable price, in a reasonable location, in a reasonable time frame, for your needs.
But how much time are you going to spend in the search? And is the search part of the fun of your hobby? For some folks it is, and that's just fine. It wasn't for me, so I slid some plastic across the counter at a local dealer 4 or 5 years ago, and they put a new saw in my truck, after checking to see that it had arrived in a happy condition.
And I've been happy with it since then.
Are there better saws out there? Yes, I saw a really nice Altendorf last weekend, and almost every Powermatic I've seen looks pretty sweet. A few of the older Unisaws are pretty rough, but most look like they still do the job, after a hard life.
Were I buying today, the saw I'd buy would most likely be something other than a Unisaw, though. Current uproar in the company has made for a lot of uncertainty. Probably a Powermatic, or one of the Canadian Generals...
But still new. I'm like that. YMMV.
Patriarch
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"Too_Many_Tools"

IMHO - Either one. My fathers Unisaw is an older and mine is newer. They both work great. I would buy the one that checks out the best. Look for broken or chipped corners. This may indicate it was dropped. Take a 24" straight edge and check the table for flatness. Run each and listen for bearing noise. Run the trunion from stop to stop (up and down and tilt) and feel for backlash and effort. Take a dial indicator and check for arbor runout. (Use a new or known flat blade.) Finally check the motor for heat generation and noise, listen carefully at startup and feel for full speed vibration.
If none of the above is possible, buy the one taht makes you feel good.
Dave
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Thanks for the responses so far....
I am considering a couple of Unisaw with the cast iron dust cover on the side and with the smaller motors...any opinions on these?
TMT
Too_Many_Tools wrote:

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Too_Many_Tools wrote:

That goose egg motor cover is tough to find. Seen them, just the cover, going for between $200 and $300 on ebay. Not sure what you mean by "smaller motor," but if it is the 1 HP IR "bullet style" motor, power shouldn't be an issue unless you're going to put it in a heavy use commercial environment. That motor is a heck of a lot more powerful than a 1 HP motor you would find on a newer saw.
If the rest of the saw is in good shape, and the price is right, I would go for it.
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Too_Many_Tools wrote:

The mechanical working of the saw hasn't changed much if all since it was first manufactured in 1939ish.
The older saws have heavier cabinets and cast iron bases.
The older saws have 1750 motors. Newer are about 2x that. Fewer revolutions means less wear & tear on the motor.
The older saws are cheaper, but used. The good news is that cast iron & steel clean up pretty well.
A biesemeyer fence is $300 and fits both.
I think the older are a better deal. But like a few have said, it takes some time to find a decent one and some work to get it all nice & shiney
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