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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    626

    Default New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    So a while ago I posted a deal or no deal question about a 1944 Unisaw I was looking at. I ended up buying it for $600 - it was complete with a 1HP bullet 1phase motor, cast iron goose egg, fence, guard, original manuals, etc.

    http://www.juliantracy.com/1944%20Unisaw/

    The guy's father had "restored" it about 20 years ago, so although it was dusty, it wasn't rusty crusty.

    So after just a bit of looking, I found a Jet contractor's saw purchase that had a decent (Exacta Home) fence with table, legs and mobile base and bought it to adapt to the Unisaw.

    A little bit of spray paint and some time and Whala! Instant Unisaw ready to use. The Jet purchase strip and flip cost me a grand total of $50 after I sold off the bare saw and other stuff (in one sale to a C'lister I should add...)

    Also got with the Jet purchase a 50 tooth Delta industrial blade that seems to be as sharp as new - not even a bit of chipout on Melamine.

    Figured with the fence, base, rails, table and legs and blade - I got about $450 worth of stuff. Currently set up with about 37" of Rip on the right side. Might add about 8" to the left and a few inches to the right to get better capacity with a new chunk of steel rail.

    Total price $650.

    Did the orbital sander process on the Unisaw's top and it's not perfect, but it's pretty darn clean. Let's just say I'm not worried too much about a little mark or scratch here or there...
    (started with 80 grit, than 100, 120, 150, 180, 220, 320... with a Festool 5" orbital sander)

    Kindfof cool owning a pc of history...

    Julian
    Last edited by JulianTracy; 09-22-2010 at 09:08 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    The People's Republic of Minnesota
    Posts
    1,189

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Nothing quite like old iron. That saw will out last both you and I with a minimum of upkeep. Make sure you find a place to store a push stick withing reach.
    there is ALWAYS a better way waiting to be discovered-
    yfc

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    1,566

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Julian,

    Great saw! They don't make them like that anymore.

    Can you add a Biesemeyer snap-in splitter? I have one on my Unisaw and love it.

    If not, try to improvise a riving knife to minimize the chance of kickback. Trust me, it's not something to play around with.

    Ditto- Ottoman's advice on a push stick.

    Now, make some sawdust!
    Joe Adams
    Deep Creek Builders, Inc.
    Houston, Texas

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Always use a push stick of some kind...

    My first plan is to fabricate an overhead blade guard, mainly for dust collection and possibly tie it into a y-dust fitting going to a yet un-cut cabinet dust port.

    I plan on making a run of blade inserts and figure I'll incorporate some built-in splitters that mount to the blade inserts.

    This setup is in my basement, so dust collection is very important. I've got a single 650cfm dust collector that will be dedicated to it as well as an overhead Jet ambient air cleaner dust collector.

    JT

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    1,566

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Sounds like it will be a nice set up. Safety first!

    Please update us with more pictures when you get done.

    Once again, that's a cool saw.
    Joe Adams
    Deep Creek Builders, Inc.
    Houston, Texas

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    South of Boston
    Posts
    798

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Julian,

    That looks great. All you have to do now is get a new scale for the fence and you're in business.

    How did you clean the top? Is it just dry sanding of did you use something else on it?

    I've cleaned up my machines with an orbital sander as well, but run it on a film of WD-40. The top gets smooth but it still has stains. Then I wax it up and it looks decend and works great.

    Just wondering how you got yours to look brand new.

    Bob

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Just dry-sanded it. Went through about 3-4 pcs of each grit, especially the finer ones. With the Festool, it was a dust-free process with no residue left. Followed up with a coat of paste wax on the top.

    I've done a few that way - here's a Jet tablesaw top.

    JT
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by JulianTracy; 09-23-2010 at 09:15 PM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Posts
    1,566

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Quote Originally Posted by JulianTracy View Post
    Followed up with a coat of paste wax on the top.
    I can highly recommend Boeshield T-9. It's the best corrosion protection I've found.
    Joe Adams
    Deep Creek Builders, Inc.
    Houston, Texas

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Last night I made a few zero-clearance inserts and incorporated a built in splitter.

    Cheap and simple - I think these are a much more $$$ reasonable solution than $160 on a commercially made item.

    Not hard at all to make, though next time, due to the number of steps, I'd probably make 5-10 of them as it's just as easy as making two of them.

    The splitter is glued into the blade kerf at the end and has a taper on it to guide the wood centered. First time I've ever made my own blade inserts, it's a cool project.

    I was a little unsure as to how to deal with trying too get them initially cut, as the Unisaw's blade when lowered is only a 1/16" below the table surface. Online, the prevailing advice is to use a dado blade to hollow it out.

    But I found it was much simpler to adhere the blank insert to the top of the factory insert with double foam tape and than clamp a long pc. of wood over it on the front and back rails and simpler raise the blade into it while it's taped to the OE insert.

    Next step is to put a routertable insert into the extension table.

    I was hesitating, because of having to deal with building a fence, and also, because only 2 feet away I have a fully outfitted 3Hp Jessem routertable setup with full dust collection. But I also have a router table insert with a Bosch router that I use in my Bosch 4100 saw and as long as I have it, it might as well be parked in this Unisaw when not in use on a jobsite. And having two router tables can be very handy.

    So I figured I'll skip on the fence altogther and simply make this router table extension only for piloted edge router bits - no fence needed.

    And for dust collection, I'll simply make a simply dust hood that can clamp or screw to the router insert surface.

    Julian

    Julian
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, Washington
    Posts
    13,029

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Those look really good, Julian, I should probably make some.

    All this time and I have never used a splitter on any saw, and never felt like I wanted or needed one. Actually there is one on my little Dewalt saw, but I rarely use that one and it seems mostly in the way. Mainly I just run razor sharp blades and pay strict attention to whether the board is releasing tension during the cut. If the kerf is trying to close or the board is starting to curl I adjust accordingly.

    Re sanding the saw table, I have had a couple of occasions to take machine tables for grinding. I bought a large bandsaw that had probably been sitting 20 years in a damp warehouse, the table was a crusty brown/black color. When I got it back it was a beautiful, with the swirl marks from the grinding head. When I quit making cabinets full time I sold the saw and a couple of other pieces to someone who set up shop a few blocks away. Within about six months there was a big fire in her shop. It destroyed the building but I remember going by and seeing the saw standing there all by itself on the slab, out in the rain.
    Bailer Hill Construction, Inc. - Friday Harbor, WA
    Website - Facebook

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    I've never used one either. My Bosch 4000 saw was never used with it's guard for the 8 years I owned it.

    The guard system on the 4100 is supposed to be much better, but I haven't used it yet.
    I will though soon, get it out and about and see what I think. I'll probably strip it down and simply use it with the riving knife by itself.

    With my Unisaw, I'm just trying to take the time to set it up right.

    The splitter/insert idea is from the book "Table saw Magic" by Jim Toplin.

    Julian

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Central New Jersey
    Posts
    785

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Hi
    Great project
    Here are a few suggestions.
    When making the inserts, if the blade is too close to the bottom of the blank, use a smaller blade to make the first cut to get part way through, Then change the 10" blade you want to use and continue the cut. Make sure the blank is held in place with a long board clamped at both sides of the table.
    To make the insert prefectly be level with the table top, use sheet metal screws where the insert rests on the pads that support the insert. That way you can screw them in or out to make it perfectly flush.

    As for a guard, I bought the guard and related parts for a Bosch 4100 series saw and I am working to adapt them to the old Uni Saw I have. Last year I took off part of my finger with a Dewalt 745 while not using a guard. It was the old style guard that was a pain. The accident was total stupidity on my part, but now I use the new style guards whenever I cut with the table saws and they work very well.

    Thanks
    Rich

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Greenville, SC
    Posts
    363

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    Quote Originally Posted by JulianTracy View Post
    But I also have a router table insert with a Bosch router that I use in my Bosch 4100 saw and as long as I have it, it might as well be parked in this Unisaw when not in use on a jobsite.

    Julian, any chance you could post some pics of the router set up for the Bosch 4100. I have one and have thought about putting a routter table insert in it, I would like to see your design.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    These pics have been around the ballpark before. And I cannot take credit for the original idea, I got that from someone else's pics on Breaktime years ago.

    Basically, the router top is supported by two simple Oak 1x2's , each with a slight rabbit on the short edges to properly align the surface on the top with the Bosch tabletop.

    Each also has opposing angled cuts on the short ends to allow them to be rotated into place parallel with the tablesaw miter slot.

    Than the router top slips in between the main tabletop and the extension wing and the wing is closed and locked to help hold it in.

    The Benchdog router fence is a great addition. it just fits to allow for it's clamps to fit the Bosch's front to back distance.

    Julian
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by JulianTracy; 09-28-2010 at 06:10 PM.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    626

    Default Re: New (to me) vintage Unisaw setup

    For the 4100, you'll have to make a slight notch in the side to allow clearance for the table lock safety tab.

    Julian

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