How about this news? Delta is introducing a new version of its flagship table saw, the Unisaw. That’s probably not such big news since at Delta’s big AWFS event last July in Las Vegas an early prototype was shown (click here for videos from the show). But here’s the real news: This saw is to be built in the United States. Could we be looking at a turning point in woodworking machinery? Could this be the beginning of a swing back to “good ole US of A” manufacturing?
The saw isn’t just to be assembled in the States; the plans are to build it here, too. Delta’s updating a plant in Jackson, Tenn., for the Unisaw, and some parts, such as castings, are coming in from Wisconsin.
There’s not much more information to tell as of yet, but I can tell you that the controls for raising and tilting the blade are on the front of the saw. And when officials showed the prototype in Las Vegas in 2007, the controls were digital. I’m not sure if that feature will remain on the final version, but it would certainly be a change from the standard. Also, I’ve been told the new saw will have a look similar to the new Delta dust collector design, a bit higher price point (which is to be expected when you upgrade the trunnions to be beefier), and, of course, a riving knife.
I wonder why are we seeing this move back to U.S. manufacturing. Maybe this is due to higher oil prices? How’s that, you ask? It once cost $3,000 to bring a container over from China. Today that number is closer to $8,000 (depending on where oil prices are when you read this). If you can squeeze around 75 table saws into a container, that adds about $65 to each saw. This is one example. There must be more.
In the coming months more information will come from Delta. I hope there’s a working prototype at the IWF show in Atlanta come August. I know I’ll be looking at the Porter Cable/Delta booth for sure.
How about it? Is “Made in America” an important part of your purchasing decisions (aside from price and quality)? Leave a comment and let us know.