Does your Unisaw squeak? Mine does, er, ah, did.
I've had a special edition Delta Unisaw for about 10 years.....nice saw,
really nice saw.
However, in the last year, it has developed a squeak when lowering the
blade. While lowering, the squeak initially occurred when the blade was
almost all the way down.....and then it now begins when the blade is halfway
I vacuumed out the saw, blew it out with compressed air, and oiled it in
ever conceivable place with graphite, silicone spray, wax, and even some
3-in-1 oil. The squeak was still there. I removed the table (that's one
heavy sucker) and did further cleaning, blowing, and lubricating.....still
squeaking. Then I finally located the source of the squeak.
Bottom line (and it may sound as if I'm crazy): The squeak occurs when the
set-screw of the lowering wheel that holds the key in place is tightened.
If I loosen this set-screw, the squeak is nearly gone. My only conclusion
is that this set-screw is somehow deforming the shaft and causing it to
squeak as the shaft rotates. This seemed reasonable to me since the squeak
was synchronous with the position of the lowering wheel....that is, it
squeaked when the handle on the lowering wheel was always at the 4:00
position for instance.
Has anyone else experienced this type of squeak?
Yep, my limited edition (rolls eyes) Unisaw does it too (mine's also about
10 years old, made with the heavy chrome hand wheels, not long before Delta
started thinking they needed to cut costs), but I think you may be
misdiagnosing the source of the problem. If you look at the rear end of the
shaft that raises/lowers the blade, you'll see there's a collar on the
shaft, fixed with a set screw, and that collar rides right up against the
face of the rear trunnion assembly. I believe that's where the squeak is
coming from. Compressed air probably wouldn't get any dust out of there,
and it may simply be the metal-on-metal contact that's doing it. Or, with
my saw I've always had the impression that it's actually the minute
vibration (vibration isn't the right word, I can't think of it, but I think
ya know what I mean) of the collar contacting the trunnion, and the
vibration resonating in the shaft.
I think if you were to loosen that collar and put a dab o' lube on the back
side of it, the squeak would disappear. Then again, you coulda done like me
and not worried about it. :)
On Wed, 26 Oct 2005 22:54:04 -0500, "Mike Fairleigh"
(mine's also about
???? That limited edition had chrome handwheels that were normally
painted black. Handwheels were heavy cast zinc. Current handwheels
are painted Cast iron with a better handle and pin. Both cost about
the same although the chrome plating was an expensive adder.
The Unisaw Design did not change for the worse from the point of that
limited edition. The perception that Delta tried to cut cost is
certainly true in the chase to the far east for many products, however
the Unisaw was spared that fate during that time frame. But in the
future, who knows. Buy now.
but I think you may be
I don't recall ever seeing a Unisaw that had these same hand wheels in
black. They have an entirely different profile than any other wheels I've
seen on any generation or model of Unisaw. Not that it matters either way,
but I do like these.
Better? I think not. I wouldn't trade the handles for those on any other
Sorry, but I think extension wings that seem almost to be sharpened at the
corners, and blow molded motor covers, constitute changes for the worse - at
least where the tradition of the brand's quality are concerned. Note, I'm a
huge Delta fan and have a shop full of it, but I'm no Kool-Aid drinker.
On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 12:40:28 -0500, "Mike Fairleigh"
Trust me they were. Nothing wrong with that. The chrome was part of
the changes made for that particular limited edition. The same wheel
was painted for non limited edition units of that time frame.
Eye of the beholder. Glad you like them. I've got both, give slight
preference to the new ones on the X5 units that have machined steel
handles on the cast iron wheels. Don't look as nice but I think they
feel better. and the lock knobs are more ergonomically friendly that
those triangles that used to show up all over the place. The
evolution was round knurled to Delta triangles, to the current two
blade unit. Actually,I always liked the round ones the best.
When the extension wings were changed to the sharp corner they were
increased in size by two inches, from 8" to 10". I would say that was
an improvement. The squaring of the corners was to make a clean fit
to the extension table rather than having a radius gap. The wings
became universal in that they would fit on either side and you could
add multiple wings to either side if you so chose because they were
milled on both sides rather than leaving the cast draft on the
outboard side. I would call that better.
The double wall blow molded cover was part of a cabinet change that
increased the factories ability to get statistically improved blade
alignment (hard to explain, it's complicated) to the slots. certainly
better. but the real benefit came with the dust collection
improvements from the motor cover and the cabinet dust chute changes.
Dust collection is currently better than any past Unisaw series.
Not trying to pick a fight, you have a fine saw that will last
through multiple generations and if B & D doesn't mess it up you will
be able to get parts for it for multiple generations. I'm bothered
when generalities hit the group about the saws not being as good as
they were. You're messing with my legacy. I'm retired now but, I ran
the factory that made your's and made the current through summer of
by the way, my ten year old saw squeaks too on elevation crank (down,
not up) and I don't know what causes it.
As I have no current affiliation all opinions are mine and mine alone
and I do not represent Delta or their past or present parent
Enjoy your saw for a long time.
On Thu, 27 Oct 2005 15:46:09 -0700, Fly-by-Night CC
A saw made during the Christmas season! Always good, most folks in a
great mood. Lots of stress, though. Y2K coming up waiting for the
gremlins to come out and get us (as you know, never happened).
Consolidation with Porter Cable imminent. That gremlin did get us.
Biesemeyer behind, not enough fences to go with the saws.
I can tell you it was a good one, or it would have never been put on
the truck. I hope you enjoy your saw for a long time too.
I'll give you that one, Frank. The triangles look nice but aren't too
hand-friendly. I'd probably prefer round ones as well if I had them. I
don't dislike the triangles enough to replace them, though.
I have a radiused wing on the left and a square wing on the right to mate
cleanly with the extension table. I see no improvement in having a square
wing on the left side, waiting for someone to impale himself on it, for the
sake of 2 additional inches that are rarely used. How many people bolt
additional (more than one per side) cast iron wings onto their saws? As I
see it this was nothing more than a cost cutting move on Delta's part.
'Course, I was never much fer yer books & stuff, but I'd be interested in
hearing the explanation of how a plastic motor cover influences blade
Not sure how it could be better than mine. I have the rectangular-to-5"
Delta fitting on my saw, and it gets just about everything. I never have
any reason to clean it out.
I'm not trying to pick a fight either, but I think you're looking at things
from the perspective of a plant manager, while I'm looking at them from the
perspective of a user and someone who holds the Unisaw and Delta brand
history in high regard (I'm not saying you don't, as I suspect you do as
I've cited very specific reasons why I think cost cutting has taken its toll
on the brand. As to Delta tools other than the Unisaw, I think it takes
even less effort to find examples of cost cutting and how it has effected
Then I have a very high degree of respect for you, and gratitude for doing
your part to continue the Unisaw legacy. And I realize design changes
aren't the responsibility of the plant manager. As far as your legacy, my
comments are based on the fact that I don't want the Unisaw to eventually
succomb to the same fate as so many other once-highly regarded tools -
under-engineered parts, poor quality control, elimination of "unnecessary"
parts (radiused wings), etc. By the way, my entire cast iron top had to be
replaced when new because it was so badly warped. My Unifence rail had to
be replaced 4 times before they finally sent one that was straight.
On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 23:39:16 -0500, "Mike Fairleigh"
Not to answer for Frank, but read the statement carefully, "... molded
cover was a part of a cabinet change ..." I suspect that the engineering
changes for the cabinet may have been initiated with one objective to
improve blade alignment. In the process of the re-design, other changes,
some of which were cost saving measures were also incorporated, the blow
molded cover probably being one of those, thus, it became "part of a
cabinet change that improved blade alignment". Like you, I see no way by
which the use of a less rigid piece could in any way improve blade
alignment. Scratch that, the only way I can see such a change making a
difference would imply things about the remainder of the cabinet design
that would imply some extreme "value engineering" not in line with the
perception of this particular piece of equipment and its order in the
perceived quality of build food chain.
That said, if they improved the mounting of the cover vs. the 1995 model
that I have which is a real pain when used with the 52" table, there may be
some added value there.
After I added that to my saw, I've had little difficulty with dust
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
On Sat, 29 Oct 2005 23:39:16 -0500, "Mike Fairleigh"
Actually cost more. More material, more machining. The concession to
cost, if you want to call it that, was to make it universal so that
there would only have to be one cast pattern to maintain and one
manufacturing process to set up. Also made inventory control much
more effective. but the net cost was still more.And I think everyone
has ten inch wings now.
Read again, has to do with the cabinet changes. The motor cover was
redesigned because of the larger opening created by the cabinet
changes. Simply put the changes in the cabinet resulted in a
statistical improvement to the plane of the top plate which is a
critical dimension to holding blade alignment (blade alignment is set
during assembly as close to zero as possible at 90 degrees and then
has a tolerance to 45 degrees). Many factors control it. The plane
of the top plate is a critical one and because your are dealing with
formed and welded metal, achieving tolerance range improvements is
difficult. To measureably improve the final tolerance was a
breakthrough. And many like the new motor cover. I do. But I had
nothing against the old one. Just after ways to make the machine
I know yours works very well, however in the spirit of continuous
improvement, anything can be better. turning the chute 90 degrees
parallel to the blade rotation, cantilevering the chute wings and
providing a collector port as standard equipment were anticipated to
be better and it tested better.
Keep in mind, I'm also a user, and a fairly particular one. And
you're right I think it is still the best brand possible, particularly
in the industrial line.
Thank you and actually, they were. The domestic factory used to be
more or less independent and had the ability to make improvements to
the product. The improvements mentioned above, the improvements to
the 14" band saw with quick blade release and adjustment, more HP,
angle draft settings, improved dust collection, etc. and many other
product improvements were factory led iniatives.
It has been my experience that when you have dedicated people who both
make the product and use the product, responsible for improving the
product, the best and most functional design and quality improvements
come out. That's what I had. And it was them, not me. I was just
As far as your legacy, my
By the way, my entire cast iron top had to be
Sorry to hear that. The tables got checked for flatness four times
during the process. sampled at reciept, individually at rough mill,
final grind, and final assembly. In my entire career with many random
observations I've never observed a step being skipped. And I made it
a point to quietly observe. Guide rails sent directly to the
distribution center, don't know what the procedure was there. My
apologies for your troubles. Hope you were treated fairly and quickly
in the recovery.
Frank Boettcher (in email@example.com) said:
| It has been my experience that when you have dedicated people who
| both make the product and use the product, responsible for
| improving the product, the best and most functional design and
| quality improvements come out. That's what I had. And it was them,
| not me. I was just their cheerleader.
Thanks. Methinks you did it well. My Unisaw was bought new in 1975 and
has seen a fair amount of use. It's weathered blizzards and floods
better than the buildings that've housed it - and it's still going
strong. I've never owned (or used) any other table saw, so I stay mum
when people start off comparing different brands and models.
There's a bit of pocking around the bottom of the base from the floods
of '93 - and last year I finally did replace the aging, brittle power
cord. The saw never did have a motor cover but I've never particularly
missed having one.
I replaced the original (tubular) rails with longer, then replaced the
longer rails and original fence with a long-railed Incra fence. It
seems to work well but I keep the originals polished and oiled "just
in case". The Uniguard won't cohabit with the Incra rails so it hangs
on the shop wall, also "just in case".
No squeaks, rattles, or groans. Works just like it did on its first
day: push the green button and it makes a soft lispy hissing sound.
Cuts clean and true every time - still.
You did well. All of you.
DeSoto, Iowa USA
Motor covers are a good idea,their inclusion as standard equipment
primarily driven by OSHA and UL.
Hey, save that jetlock fence, those long rails, and the special
mounting spacers and machine screws. There are some contractors in
Texas who love those things and you would probably be able to sell
them any time you wanted to.
Thanx for your feedback. The squeak is definitely in and around that collar
you mentioned.....I figured that out when I had the saw apart. I removed
the collar, blew the area clean, cleaned the collar, lubricated it, and
re-installed it. It doesn't squeak as long as I don't tighten the set-screw
securing the key that keeps that "chrome" handle/wheel fixed to the shaft.
I don't seem to see any set-screw for the collar on my saw....there are two
long screws at the 3:00 and 9:00 positions that hold the collar around the
shaft. By the way, the function of this collar is to lock the blade and
keep it from being able to move up or down....that part works well.
My solution is to not tighten that set-screw for the chrome wheel too much,
tolerate the very minor squeak that still exists, and continue to make
What is interesting is the number of people who responded with similar
squeaks. Even the salesman from whom I purchased the Unisaw said he had a
squeak on his Unisaw....and he was going to go home and see if it is similar
to my squeak. I haven't heard back from him yet.
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