I am looking at a contractor saw and focusing on the following two models
and was hoping to get some insight
Delta x5 Contractor saw with 1 cast iron extension 30 inch Unifence - $749
Delta 36-981 contractor saw (new model 4/2006)-left tilt with 2 cast iron
extension wings and 30 inch Commercial Biesemeyer fence -$789
which is better- the x5 saw which I assume is mostly the same saw as the
regular contractor saw with some parts made in the US and only 1 cast iron
extension wing or the newer 36-981 (not x5 brand) but
with the left tilt and 2 cast iron wings but made overseas?
If you check with stocking distributors you may be able to locate a right
tilt saw MADE IN AMERICA. . . I got one about 6 months ago . . .
A lot of the larger distributor like Circle Saw stocked up on them . . .
Also th X5 has a five year warranty . . .
X5 consists of extended warranty and some BS gift deals.
If you like the non-X5 saw, get that one, and no, there
is no difference except for configuration.
The 50" fence is a much better deal if you gave the room.
Kevin Coleman wrote:
The x5 is really a dressed up version of the 36-444. This saw has been
around for quite some time now. In fact, if you look at the parts list, the
only real differences are the fence and the handles.
The whole thing is made in the USA (one of the last such to be sure).
The new 36-981 series seem to be Chinese or Taiwanese.
Per Delta & Circle saw . . . not all X5's are American made . . . Only those
made before a certain date . . this is why I would check with some large
local distributors . . . . ie . . . Circle Saw in Houston, TX . . .
On Sun, 9 Apr 2006 17:25:00 -0700, "Kevin Coleman"
If you are talking about the 36-505X The US content is in the high
ninties (percent) and includes the motor. And once they are gone,
they are gone. No more are being made. That would be my choice.
or the newer 36-981 (not x5 brand) but
The last American made contractor saw was was completed mid year 2004.
You might notice that Delta does not have that unit listed on their X5
page on the web site anymore, however, I'm sure that there are still
some units in dealer stock.
On the issue of right tilt unit availability, I'm not sure, but if so
it will be an import.
I think the market will dictate. If there is significant demand for
left tilt contractors saws and very low demand for right tilt, I think
the market in general (all brands) will let the right tilt die.
Any comparisons I did would be several years old. The older Delta US
made models were very consistent from the mid eighty's on with very
good quality on all the contractor models. But as mentioned the last
unit came off the assembly line mid '04.
It is my opinion that the Chinese made units (anyone's) do not compare
however I've not compared the Delta import units to any other brand of
Chinese import contractor model. Delta's future really depends on
their ability to put out a comparably favorable product and to
maintain the customer service and longevity of service parts which are
several factors that set them apart in the first place. From comments
I've heard on this forum (certainly not a statistically relevant
sample, but important) they have hit a bump or two. Time will tell.
I've also gone through a five year initiative sourcing cast and
machined grey iron components in China. Those that believe that there
is not a statistically relevant difference in the machining
tolerances, the hardness ranges and the overall quality between the
domestic castings and Chinese foundries are kidding themselves.
However, it is my opinion that there will soon be no choice in the
And you may find a used market for 34-444s and 36-441s and their
various dreriviatives for a long time to come as people upgrade to
Left tilts are currently favored. You may not notice any difference
unless you make a lot of bevel cuts in which case the left tilt will
be a little more convenient to use safely for that purpose ( my only
shop injury came from a kickback when late at night I made that last
cut and didn't change the fence over on a right tilt). I've used both
and in my mind they are interchangeable.
On Wed, 12 Apr 2006 08:08:10 -0500, Frank Boettcher
First, thanks for all of the good (but somewhat sad) info Frank!
Were these being manufactured by Delta or contracted out to another
I'm on my third Delta US made contractor's saw since about 1980 and
the guy I work with has been through about that many in the same time.
We wear them out just as much from moving from job to job as from
working wear and tear. I have a restored UniSaw at the house but we
have to be able to break down and move the jobsite saws. That about
eliminates all the cabinet saws so the Contractor's model is about the
best quality saw that we can still manhandle.
Over the years we've seen the subtle changes (some for better) but
basically the saw has been the same. Anyway, as old and crotchety as
we are getting, it's going to be hard to make a change.
BTW, I've always wondered why they didn't come up with a way to keep
the pitch off the gears.:-)
A sad fact I'd say.
I guess we should keep the parts from the two retired saws we still
have. Maybe we can extend the life of the two on the job.
I most cases I would agree.
I've been cutting trim on these saws for a very long time and always
use the table saw to cut door and window trim. I cut both miters
from the left side of the blade. With the smaller casings I always
tilt the blade almost 1 degree (to the right) to keep things closed on
the face. I guess I can do the same thing from the other side of
the blade but it'll take me another 25 years to get used to it.
A left tilt is going to change my life!:-)
Always by Delta, Always in the same plant. Delta did not have any
domestic Contract plants except for Lindquist Machine who made (and
still may, I'm not sure) the very high end industrial drill presses.
The RT40 is contracted to Invicta in Brazil who also used to make the
big planers and the DJ 15 and 20.
I have a pre x5 delta contractor's saw with a big "made in america"
sicker on it. The steel body isn't square, some of the plastic knobs
feel cheesy, and the rail for the unifence had a couple drilled holes
instead of a machined T-slot like the instruction maual showed. It
took me two hours to attach the fence instead of the five minutes it
should have been. It's been an ok saw. And I hate to say it, but if I
were spending that much money again, I would get the grizzly cabinet
saw for about the same price. Comparing my g0490 to a dj-20 is a real
I mean to attach just the rail to the table. From the manual, you
loosly attach the bolts to the table, then slide the rail on to the
t-track in the rail, then tighen. Great! Instead, I had to use this
stupid cardboard thing and *tape* the nuts to the end of it, then slide
them down the inside of the now-covered t-slot and hold them in place
lined up with the hole they drilled with my first hand, then hold the
rail in position with my two other hands, then attach the bolt with my
fourth hand. They saved a nickel on tool wear and it cost me two hours
of my life. All for more money. Thanks guys. Why am I buying
american again? Better quality? no. Better service? maybe from the
store, but not from delta. Cheaper? definitly not. I might also add
that the old design was completely adjustable. The new design was not
adjustable at all.
You got the old design my friend. That design hasn't been produced in
maybe six or seven years. If your package model number calls for the
new design rail then someone made a mistake (dealer or Delta) and gave
you the wrong component. Or maybe the dealer sold you an old unifence
with a newer model saw. If you think that is the case, you should
take issue if you are not satisfied with it.
And for your info, the old design guide rail actually cost more to
make, (has to do with the fact that it was a porthole extrusion die)
but Delta added the flip stops to the new design as a new feature so
no more money was made on the package.
I got it maybe five years ago from berland's house of tools. I guess
I was comparing the old design to an older design. Or maybe the manual
was newer than my rail?
Anyway, it sounds like you thought I just bought the saw. Sorry for
That is the case. What you describe in the manual is for the current
version. How you describe you attached it is for the old version.
The newer version is easier to install which was one of the goals when
making the change.
Just for your future use or files, you should call customer service
and have them send you the right manual and parts list. or download
it from the site.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.