Tool Test – The New Delta Unisaw

There’s been so much written about Delta’s new Unisaw that it’s difficult not to repeat the information for a second or third time. But many of the design changes are significant enough to point out once again.

The most noticeable changes are right up front. Both the height-adjustment and angle-bevel cranks are located on the front of the saw. The crescent opening on the older Unisaw that allowed the height-adjustment handle to move as the bevel angle was changed is gone. Both cranks are fixed.

But that’s not the entire story. Never have we operated a saw with adjustments as easy to turn as these. The motion is as smooth as good ice cream on a summer day. And when you lock the handles, they are locked tight. Also, there’s no backlash in the setup.

Another great feature located front and center is the bevel dial. Delta says the angle is correct within one-quarter of a degree. We say it’s never been so easy to set an accurate bevel cut. This is a big improvement.

A big change compared to the older model is the addition of a riving knife. If you are a woodworker who doesn’t use the splitter and anti-kickback pawls on your saw because the setup is cumbersome – and certain jobs couldn’t be completed with them in place – you will certainly enjoy the riving knife.

During our testing period, we found no reason to remove this safety device. It’s simple to lower the knife when making a non-through cut and it’s equally easy to re-position the knife to add the see-through blade guard and pawls. Any knife adjustment is done via a front handle.

The Biesemeyer fence is a new design, too. The handle locks down with an extra click to assure users it is latched. When you lift the handle to release its hold, a magnet grabs the handle and holds it upright as you make adjustments. Both of these changes are details, but add to the overall experience.

Our saw arrived in near-perfect adjustment. Fit and finish were first rate. There were no major changes to make and the assembly went as instructed.

Unisaw
Delta 800-223-7278
          or deltaportercable.com
Street price:
¦ 3 horsepower with 52″ fence ¦ $3,000
¦ 3 horsepower with 36″ fence ¦ $2,874
¦ 5 horsepower with 52″ fence ¦ $3,199
For more information, go to pwfreeinfo.com

Operating the saw is what you would expect from a top-tier machine. The saw is solid and does not shake during startup or while running. Cuts are simple to make and easy to see. The accuracy and smoothness of the cut are better than with the older model. However, there is one area of concern.

If you operate your current saw without dust collection (or if it’s undersized), you’ll have issues with this saw. Due to its blade shroud, the Unisaw requires dust collection above 650 cubic feet per minute (cfm) at the saw. To meet the requirement, you’ll need at least a 1-1/2 horsepower collector or about 1,200 cfm. Without collection, a visible plume of dust exits from behind the blade. Overall, the new Unisaw is a much better table saw. After six years of research, design and production Delta has re-invented and improved its flagship table saw. PW

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About Glen D. Huey

Glen Huey is managing editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, an accomplished period furniture maker and author of numerous woodworking books and videos (as well as magazine articles).

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