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.