Most of my friends aren't really into woodworking so they wouldn't
understand. I hope y'all will indulge me while I tell my tale.
After 14 years of cursing my Grizzly contractor's saw, I finally broke
down and ordered a real cabinet saw. I won't take you through all the
research I did, or all my reasons why, but I settled on a left tilt
"Factory Reconditioned" Unisaw with Beisemeyer fence. I felt like I
got a good deal from the only authorized dealer for factory
reconditioned Unisaws, Redmond Machinery in Hotlanta. I saved a few
bucks on shipping by picking it up at my local freight company.
One fine day back in December, I went to the freight company and had
them forklift the saw into the pickup. I had arranged for 3 friends
to help me get the crate out of the truck and into my shop. I was
glad 2 of them were large and muscular (I'm not). That sucker was
HEAVY. We took the crate apart, and there she sat. Not a scratch on
her. No evidence at all that it had ever been used at all.
Life intervened, and it was a couple of weeks before I had time to
start the assembly and setup process. That's when I found the
TRUNNION WAS BUSTED! Redmond Machinery never gave me any trouble at
all. They immediately said they'd ship me another saw. Didn't even
ask me if I dropped it (I didn't). When I mentioned how much trouble
it was getting it in the shop, they said they'd have the next one
delivered to my door by lift-gate truck and pick up the broken one at
the same time.
That was nice, but I still had to get the thing down 3 steps from my
shop and uphill across 50 feet of soggy grass. I tried a call to
Delta to see if they could send somebody out to fix it. I got quite a
lesson in Unisaws. Delta has had a problem with broken trunnions, and
has done extensive research to find the cause. They claim that in
almost every case, the shipper tipped the crate over. The cast iron
trunnion can't take the impact of the motor and arbor when it slams on
its side. I checked the crate, and sure enough, the slats were broken
where the saw bolted down to them. If the rear trunnion was broken,
they could ship me another one and talk me through the installation,
but since it was the front trunnion, it had to go back to the shop. I
elected to just take Redmond up on their offer of another saw.
I found that a Unisaw alone without the cast iron extensions and
without the shipping crate is managable on a 2-wheel dolly. I got the
thing back in the garage all by myself, and crated it back up in the
original crate which I had never gotten around to disposing of.
Bragged to my friends about my strength.
Like the corpse of Sam McGee, the thing mocked me for the next 3
weeks. I couldn't get rid of it. It seems Redmond sold me the very
last Reconditioned Unisaw they had. Christmas had wiped out their new
saws too; there simply was nothing to do but wait until Delta shipped
them more saws. I bugged them about 3 times a week to be sure they
didn't forget about me, but my only other option seemed to be to
cancel the order and buy another saw. That would have meant more
money and maybe more time. They began to promise me things to sweeten
the deal. First a premium blade. They don't sell Forrest blades, so
I settled for a Freud LM-74 Glue Line Rip Blade. Then they agreed to
throw in a disappearing splitter too.
Finally, the replacement saw arrived. It was still on the truck when
I saw the label on the crate - 5 HP Single Phase Unisaw. I'd ordered
a 3 HP! Quick call to Redmond. They gave me a choice, did I want to
keep the 5 HP saw or send it back? Don't throw me in that briar
patch. Yeah, I guess I'll just keep it, even if it means I'll have to
put in a 40 amp breaker and heavier wire.
At last, after several afternoons of tinkering, I got the 5 HP beast
wired in, set up, fully adjusted; ready to try it out. I have a dial
caliper with 0.01" graduations, but they are pretty far apart on the
dial, so I figure it's good to about 0.0025" anyway. I squared the
blade and the fence to the miter slots so I can't see any change in
the needle at all.
WOW! Nothing in my experience prepared me for what this thing will
do. The fence locks down perfectly parallel to the slots every single
time. I'll need a more accurate tool to measure the difference.
After a couple of adjustments, I set the hairline cursor on the fence
at 4 inches and ripped a piece. Then, just for fun, let's check the
width of the board with the dial caliper. Absolutely dead on 4
inches. That was lucky, lets try it again at 3 1/2. Dead on again
when measured with the dial caliper. I did it again and again to
convince myself it wasn't luck. I knew that the human eye can detect
minute differences in alignment of parallel lines, but this thing
seems to defy all logic.
I ripped a scrap of 6/4 cherry, just looking for a challenge. The
sound of the blade never even changed pitch; and the edge looks like
it's been sanded. I'll have to find something tougher if I want to
challenge it. I can't wait to put it to good use.
Friends, it's been a long road, but tonight, the smiles are worth the
miles. I haven't been more impressed with a machine since that Honda
Interceptor back in '83, but that's another story. Thanks for
Even an old blind hog finds an acorn every now and then.