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
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
But still new. I'm like that. YMMV.
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
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.
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.
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 &
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