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Rebuild => 1947 Delta Unisaw


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#1 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted January 09, 2012 - 10:41 PM

Well, I have been scarce as of late and thought I would share a project I just finished up last week. This table saw belonged to a good friend who moved away. He kept one of his saws like this, but this one needed motor work, so he gave it to me. If you know woodworking tools, this is one of the most sought after saws on the market. Delta produced this exact saw from 1939 to 2008 with very little changes at all. Mine is a 1947 saw with all the right parts.

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Now for the purist, they will cringe that I did not have the rare 110v bullet motor rebuilt. But, the motor is un-touched, and was not damaged or was the saw modified in my rebuild. (More on this later) What makes this saw very special is that in 65 years, the cabinet was not chopped up for the replacement motor or had holes drilled in it. A cast iron motor cover came with the saw, and the original fence and switch was still there. The only flaw, is the saw once had a power feeder bolted through the table top. :wallbanging:

My first challenge was the motor. At $90.00 to $400 and up to have the motor repaired IF you can find someone who even knows what a repulsion induction motor IS... well, you can buy running saws for $500 all day long! The only motor that is sld to fit requires the cabinet to be hacked apart to clear the longer motor. This would be dumb to do on many fronts, but most of all... I have that rare cast iron motor cover!

My solution? I stole the 1hp motor from my 1950's era Craftsman saw. This was a nice strong motor and would be a nice starting point. I then made bracket's from templates of the original motor.

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A strap of steel was welded between these in order to allow me to ratchet strap the motor in place. This was done to rotate and position the motor so it had clearance in all positions. I almost had to make a new wire junction box, the only position to clear, did so by 1/8"!

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With the brackets made and welded on, everything was in running order. Now to make it look as good as it cuts. The cabinet was stripped to bare steel and primed. I did not tear the saw all apart as it was rather clean and worked smooth.

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And then painted in a gray... Massey Ferguson gray of course! :D

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With that done, all the little bits and pieced were done as well. The switch cover was masked off and painted (LOTS of time here!) and the small hand knobs were powder-coated in a textured black.

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Here you can see that super rare cast iron cover that is so sought after.

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And then the table top was sandblasted and painted. I know you really don't see it... but it would bug me!

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And who knows... you MIGHT just look up like this!

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Then came the fence... The rails were very rusted, and had to be sanded and polished. I started with a 4.5" grinder and a wire wheel while working up to 600grit and compound.

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The fence itself was stripped, painted and a wood edge attached wit T-Nuts
(PS: the missing hand wheel was in the works of polish and paint, it's not missing)

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Lastly, I made a mildly fancy miter gauge backer with some t-track I had laying around.

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Not shown, but I did make a new zero clearance insert with set screw adjusters. The only thing left is to build a nice rolling base to set it on for good. The saw has been tested with a nickle, dime, and penny sitting on edge while the saw was started, sawed through a piece of walnut, and shut down. They never fell over! :worshippy1:

Anyway, I thought someone might just like to watch this in one nice fell swoop!

#2 dstaggs OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2012 - 12:17 AM

Nice Job

#3 MH81 ONLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2012 - 02:34 AM

There was a lot of love and effort in that saw. Beautiful job restoring it to it's former glory.

And the color is a great choice too (everything looks good in Massey colors) :thumbs:

Thanks for sharing.

#4 mjodrey OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2012 - 05:11 AM

Wow,that turned out really nice.

#5 KennyP OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2012 - 05:18 AM

Great job on the saw. If I had room, I'd love to have a saw like that.

#6 IamSherwood OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2012 - 06:38 AM

Well, that's neat. Nice job. Nothing beats old iron.
Is it going to get a MF decal somewhere? Maybe on the bottom of the table?

#7 Tinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2012 - 09:00 AM

Nice job on the rebuild. I have an old Craftsman with a cast iron table that I hope to restore someday. It is still working but buried under stuff right now.

#8 JDBrian OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2012 - 11:05 AM

Thats sweet. Nice job on the refurbishing. All that weight makes a saw really stable when you have to cut something heavy. That should last you a long time.

#9 tiretrx OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2012 - 12:39 PM

Looks great! You've refurbed other shop tools in the past, right? The Unisaw is legendary. I've used my brother's a number of times, it's very well made and performs really well. I have an older Powermatic 66 in my shop.........another stalwart performer.

Thanks for the pics!

#10 cookiemonster OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2012 - 01:37 PM

That is a keeper.
Looks like your shop is crowded. You can store that one in my garage.... wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

#11 caseguy OFFLINE  

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Posted January 10, 2012 - 06:59 PM

Great job on the restoration! We had a Delta unisaw in my High School shop when I was a kid. The first trade school I attended had one also! It's disappointing to use inferior (read virtually everything else) tools. I do have an older Craftsman table saw that's fairly well built and sturdy with a cast iron deck, but the leg assembly isn't great. Maybe someday it will have some room of it's own and I can take it off of the rickety stand. You did a fantastic job bringing back a legendary machine! Thanks for sharing!

#12 powerking56 OFFLINE  

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Posted January 11, 2012 - 06:51 AM

Wonderful piece of equipment, they are simply the best!! A super job of refurbishing it as well, looks great, should last another 50+ years.

#13 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted January 11, 2012 - 09:07 AM

Thanks guys... I knew you would like it. Like others have said, this is an amazing saw... Everything about it is just solid! The huge hand wheels to raise the blade glide effortlessly to bring the blade up and tilt. There is NO play at all in the gears to raise and lower, and the center lock knob will not let the saw move an millimeter.

It was asked about other tools, and yes... tool restoration is my other hobby. I am tearing down a 1950's 12" Parks planer right now. This planer is also a bit of a legend and well sought after. I have the original motor, belt guard, and factory stand as well. If you notice, this is a Craftsman badged Parks planer. If you look really close, you will see the four holes for the Parks tag around the Craftsman one. Imagine someone trying to pull that off today! It was also very rare for the Craftsman ones to be loaded up with the stand and belt guard, so this is more of a treat. I am planning to paint this one a royal blue. I hear that Craftsman did paint some of these in blue, and I want something other than gray in the shop!

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Here are some more photos: Parks Planner

#14 IamSherwood OFFLINE  

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Posted January 11, 2012 - 09:23 AM

Here's an old 4" Delta Rockwell jointer hanging on the wall in my shop, that you should restore.

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#15 FirefyterEmt OFFLINE  

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Posted January 12, 2012 - 06:37 AM

Nice little unit, not easy to find them that complete... Looks like you have the original Delta motor and switch rod as well, nice score! From the tagging , that is about a 1960's joiner. I have to admit, that is the only wood working tool in my shop that is china junk. I have a 6" "Toolcraft" joiner that was given to me by the guy I got the saw from. Honestly, I would like to get rid of it, but that one he left here if I wanted to "use" it... However, he moved to Georgia.




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