I have decided to make the cabinets, I will be needing some thing better
than my contractor saw. I can buy a good delta rockwell unisaw for about
$800, or buy one of the new imports for a little more. Any input? I have
mostly metal working tools so the saw will have to live in the garage for
the project, and I will most likely sell the saw in the next 2 years. Here
is my shop
as you can see no working room for a table saw on the big stuff. I have
found 3 leeds on delta unisaws in the $800 range, now have the large fence
so I would need to add that not sure where best to buy that. Thanks for all
if by contractor's saw you mean plastic body universal motor aluminum
top benchtop machine then yes, you need better. if you mean iron top
belt drive open base induction motor, it can be made to do what you
you're a metalworker. you'll have no problem fabbing a set of rails
for a biesemeyer fence, which can be had for a good price from the
manufacturer's scratch-n-dent website:
There's an ad in the current "Woodshop News" for a company selling
factory refurbished Unisaws with 50" Bies fence for $1200. A 6 month
warranty is included.
I can't remember the name of the place, and the mag isn't here. <G>
Wander on over to Old Woodworking Machines ( http://www.owwm.com/ ) and take
a good look around. With your metal working experience I doubt there's
little you could not fix. From many different posts over the past couple of
years, $800 is a price for a saw in good to excellent condition - unless
you're located in upstate NY then $800 only buy's you a real beat up Uni.
But if you can get your hands on one with a good fence, either the Unifence
or a Biesemeyer - go for it. Either fence will work nicely. I had a
Unifence and really liked it but when I sold my Delta CS, I went with a Jet
cabinet saw and that came with a Bies like clone. Also a good fence, so
don't turn an otherwise good deal down. You could make a Bies like fence
yourself since it's made from off-the-shelf, rectangular steel tubing and
some L stock. Take a look at one and you'll be saying - piece of cake.
And yes, when you go to sell it, you'll most likely get your money back out
of it too. Be sure to advertise it here first though. I sold my Delta
34-444Z CS in a matter of hours right here.
Good decision to build your own. You'll curse the day you started making
them and then brag about them the rest of your life. Face it - you're gonna
screw up at least one door big time - so have a little extra wood on hand.
Save the mistake, nail it to the wall and say "Now that's behind me, I can
build the rest of them right".
If you already have a decent Delta (what model?) then just invest in a
couple of blades - 24-30 tooth rip and an 60-80 tooth cross-cut. Tune that
puppy up and you're good to go. You do not need a Unisaw to make cabinets.
If you're planning on cutting thru 3" thick hard maple then that 1.5hp motor
is not enough but for everything else - it will be fine. My Delta CS was a
fine tablesaw and the only reason I went to a 3hp saw was because I did have
some 3" thick hard maple to cut. Was making a French door set, windows and
another entry door for my niece's renovation so I did need more lead in the
Depending on the model, I (and others) have posted procedures on how to tune
a Delta CS. The models that have the dual trunnion bars in the
undercarriage. Add a good miter gauge like an Incra (www.incra.com ) and
you'll have a mean machine. I have both the 1000 and 2000 models of the
Incra miter gauges. The 2000 is the workhorse and I purchased extra fences
(18" 36" 54") and they're great. They sell other models but the 2000 is the
heavy duty one and works nicely when you're working with long panels etc.
So if you already have a good CS, get it tuned up, buy two blades and a
fence. Those are items you need even with a Uni (and they'll work on a Uni
also) so if you decide to upgrade latter you've not lost a dime. Oh yeah -
add a good splitter - but for the Delta CS you can make one that's as good
if not better than anything out there.
Three years ago when I went looking for a used Uni all I could find were
rusted out ones for $800 and $900 in Utica. Another in Syracuse was asking
$1200 for a used Uni in good shape. I bought a brand new, out of the box
Jet JTAS10 for $1300.
I opted for the JTAS as well. I cringe when some folks suggest "just buy
used" like it's an easy thing. That's great if you enjoy spending your
weekends combing garage sales and estate auctions. That's just not for me.
-Steve (in Notheastern NYS where the pick'n are probably even slimmer)
Looking at your metal machines you won't be happy working with an import
clone. I spent some time at the wheels of some machines of the vintage you
have in your shop. They have a nice feel to them. That being said, I got a
screaming deal on a new X5 uni last year. It's nice enough, but I yearn for
an older model. SWMBO would never allow that.
I have made all the cabinets in my house on a pair of C'men with C'man
fences. One saw is for ripping, with fence. The other is for crosscutting
and its fence is never used.
I agree with the posts saying just get your fence in shape. For what you
are doing, any fence that you can keep straight should be fine. I have to
tap one side of mine to make sure it seats square and I measure to the blade
for each rip, but I don't find either operation sufficient to make me spend
hundreds on a fence. Maybe someday I'll get more picky!
You'll be ripping rails, stiles, panels, and drawer faces, as well as some
inside odds and ends. I use all overlap doors and drawers, so none of these
pieces require high accuracy. Rip as much of your rail/stile stock as you
can at once to minimize setup time.
To tell the truth, I make most things a bit oversize, then trim down a bit
with the shaper when I do the edges. The effort to make doors come out
based on a spreadsheet and precision cuts is not warranted for my sort of
working for myself! I can easily set my shaper to take off 10-20 thou per
pass, then walk down to whatever finished size I want.
If you are prepared to spend money, a shaper would be a better place for it
BUT your milling machine is a fabulous shaper, if you'll just set up an
arbor to hold the cutters. You could also do edges with a router, but
there's nothing like a 5-5.5" diameter panel raiser for quick and clean door
work. The mill will be able to do panels in one pass, I expect. My 3HP
SECO shaper does most panels, including oak, in one pass at 10K RPM, but
sometimes I have to slow it down to about 5K for twisted grain hickory. I'm
sure you have all the blocks and hold downs to mount a workpiece on your
mill's table, but you might want to make some oak hold downs to reduce
dinging of the faces of workpieces.
BTW, I have measured the runout of my C'man arbors, including my well used
blades, and it's nearly nothing, always under 5 thou on a dial gage held
down by a magnet.
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