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We received our new Delta Unisaw this afternoon. The boxes are unpacked, and I’ve watched some of both Scott Phillips’ and Unisaw Product Manager Michael Boie’s presentations on the included DVD.

If you’re interested in this new table saw design, you’ve probably sifted through most of the information that’s been written about it. It’s exciting for us to finally get the machine in house so we can get a first-hand look at it.

So far, I can say that I have never turned handles to raise or lower a blade, or to control blade tilt, that work as smoothly as the ones on this saw.

Also, being the snoop that I am, I pulled the table saw top loose from the base , after I checked for run out (and found the measurement dead on). I wanted to get a closer look at the machine’s guts. Easier said than done. Once the four bolts were out, the top lifted, but I would have had to remove other parts to have the top come free. Oh well; I’ll save that for down the road. There’s no sense in dismantling a machine before we get it plugged in and running.

Lucky for me that reversing the process was just as simple! The Unisaw has a small pin located at the back center of the cabinet. Just hook that pin in the appropriate spot in the top, then finger-tighten the four bolts before checking and setting the top according to the blade. When all was set, I snugged down the bolts. It was easy.

One of Delta’s most unadorned but fascinating redesigns was with the arbor nut and washer , this is now a single unit instead of the two pieces we’re used to seeing. When you turn the nut loose from the arbor, the unit stays in place so you can reposition your hand and pull the nut out instead of dropping it into the saw. It’s a little thing that makes life in the shop better. I’ll have more details during the next few days as I actually make some cuts. Stay tuned.

The complete review will appear in the August 2009 issue of Popular Woodworking.

– Glen D. Huey

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Showing 6 comments
  • Danny H.

    I’ve been a professional woodworker/cabinet maker for over 20 years and have owned and operated at least 5 different cabinet grade saws, including a panel saw. This saw is by far the best cabinet grade saw I’ve ever used. It went together very nicely, per manual instructions, and all parts and pieces are well made and nicely milled .It’s so very nice to have all the upgraded features on this saw, that none in the US market had before. The first time I went to install the blade, I shouted for joy with the ease and speed of installation, because of the arbor lock. It was always a struggle having to wedge a piece of wood behind the blade to loosen and tighten the arbor nut on the older cabinet saws. The addition of a riving knife was long overdue, and as you know is now required by law. Delta took it to another level with their quick release feature, that works fantastically. The saw is easier to turn off with their large red off button and is designed so as not to be able to turn on accidentally when leaning over the saw. The miter gauge that comes with this saw is the best stock one I’ve seen on any saw, although I’m currently using my Incra fence. I also liked that it came with an actual 220 cord and plug. Most 220 volt tools don’t come with a plug and you have to supply one yourself. The cord was a little short in length but that was managed by the purchase of a 6 ft 220 extension cord that can only be found on Amazon for about $8.00. You won’t be able to make one for that price yourself, unless you have the plug and cord laying around your shop. The Beisemeyer fence has always been a better fence than the old Delta Unifence, so it is good to see that upgrade as well. The only complaint I have about that is the quality of the lamination isn’t as good as my old Beisemeyer. The edge treatment on the fence laminations wasn’t quite centered and their faces were a little wavy in places,probably not enough to effect an accurate cut, but it didn’t matter to me because I took one face off and replaced it with an 80/20 aluminum bar( found here on Amazon), with slots for hold downs. The magnet, that comes installed in the fence handle, is very convenient in holding it up in the unlocked position when adjusting the fence along the guide bar. I had to alter the one on my old Powermatic 66 to get it to stay up. And of course having the tilt wheel up front is much more user friendly. The upgraded tilt scale is also a nice innovation and is accurate and easy to read. This saw even comes with a combination blade that actually cuts as well as my Forrest Woodworker II. The dust collection set up is much better than any other saw I’ve had as it catches dust directly from the blade housing as well as any spill over from inside the cabinet.The side table wasn’t as flat as I’d like it to be, which I took apart and reworked to meet my exacting standards , but it was probably good enough to meet most peoples expectations. The edge banding wasn’t put on properly either, so I redid that. Hey I’m a cabinet maker, so it was no big deal. The quality of the laminate they used on the top of the table is very good as it’s almost a 1/16″ thick solid, so should hold up well for many many years. All in all Delta really did their homework and listened.Delta really did need to do these upgrades to stay a head of the competition. They were overdue and I think it’s too bad that the Saw Stop gets all the attention because of their safety blade retraction feature, because this Delta has some really nice user friendly features that it doesn’t have. Even if I hadn’t won this saw in a random drawing contest, I’d buy it over the Saw Stop because of these innovative features. In my opinion a better saw !

  • David Cockey

    The nut with captured washer has been available for Unisaws as an accesory. I purchased one for our right-tilt Unisaw about 8 years ago. It is very convienent, and I wouldn’t want to go back to separate nut and washer.

  • glen

    I received a message from an engineer at Black & Decker this afternoon. He suggested that I inform readers that the saw is calibrated before and after the saw’s top is added to the base. And that by removing the top, those factory settings might be compromised. He suggested that it would be prudent for most woodworkers to not remove the top just to get a look inside. I would have to agree. Please think twice before doing so. If you’re set on a good look inside the saw, contact me and I’ll see what photos can be supplied from the group in Jackson.


  • Mike Lingenfelter

    I’ve been looking to upgrade to a cabinet saw, and the new Unisaw was on my list to research. This last weekend I was at a Woodworking Show in Seattle. They had the new Unisaw there. I must have spent an hour playing around with it and talking to the rep form Delta. I was very impressed. I liked the 2 handles being on the front of of the saw. I agree, the movement of the handles were smooooooth. There might be one in shop, in the not too distant future :).

  • Glen

    The piece that kept me from rummaging through the interior of the saw was the handle for the release of the riving knife that’s located front and center of the saw. In the photo above, you can see the handle directly above the speedometer-style angle gauge. That same piece also prevented me from removing that gauge. As I said, I like to snoop around tools.


  • Chris Friesen

    Just curious…what was still attached to the top after removing the four bolts?

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