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Monthly Archives: November 2017

I have finally assembled my new Unisaw.  Compared to my old Craftsman Contractor saw the Delta Unisaw is a BEAST!  I brought it home on the back of my Pickup truck and had to unload it myself.  The saw weighs in at over 600 pounds so I will let you imagine how I got it off the pickup truck.  The first thing I did was inventory the main components; remember I bought this at bargain hut so the Biesemeyer fence, extension wing legs and all the hardware to put it together is missing.  I ordered the 78-919BT2 Biesemeyer fence on Amazon which came with everything I was missing.  The fence box arrived in horrible shape but the contents where in perfect condition.  I also bought the 50-257 Mobile base because I do occasionally have to move the saw.  I can tell you the Mobile base makes moving the 600+ pound saw a breeze, literally one hand operation.

I began with the mobile base.  It was pretty straight forward and easy to assemble.  Getting the saw from the pallet on to the mobile station is another challenge.  I literally used brute force and some gentle persuasion and got it on the mobile base.  Once on the base it was easy to move to a better location for assembly.  I then moved on to inventory the parts from the Unisaw and the Biesemeyer instruction manual.  Most of the assembly  assembly instructions are in the Fence manual.  The inventory revealed that extra bolts, nuts, and washers are included in the kit.

Once I had all the hardware I began the step by step instructions from the manual.  They were fairly easy to follow with photos to assist in visually coordinating the process.  The cast iron extension wings were first.  This was quite a task especially as an one man job.  The wings are very heavy so I had to incorporate ingenuity using outfeed supports to help hold the wings up while I bolted the wings on.  The hard or difficult part with the extension wings is leveling them with the actual tabletop.  This took a couple of hours using a Veritas Aluminum straight edge, socket wrench, and allen wrench for the set screws.  I found the trick to getting them level is to coordinate tightening the main bolts with adjusting the set screws.  It was trial and error but I finally got it to about .0015 inches across the whole table and both extensions.  Is this amount of accuracy necessary, I guess it is since I went there?

Once the Wings are installed you start using the Biesemeyer fence manual for the rest of the major assembly.  I can tell you the rails are very heavy and once again I had to use my feed supports to assist.  One tip I can relay to you is the rail support / angle iron that supports the rail tube for the fence T-square needs to be adjusted about an 1/8 to 1/4″ higher from the leveler point.  The kit includes a metal leveling / positioning jig that places the angle iron square and level to the tabletop.  What I learned is this setting is too low and the fence drags on the table on the close end of the fence near the T-square which keeps it from gliding on the UHMW glide bearings on the bottom of the fence.  To keep from having to disassemble the guide tube and extension table I raised the guide tube using the extra 1/4″ inch washers sandwiched between the angle iron and guide tube threaded on the screws that hold the tube to the rail.  The washers are about 1/8″ thick.  This brought the fence just right and glides nicely along the rail tube.  I did have to plane a little off the bottom of the fence faces to allow contact of the front UHMW glide bearings and prevent fence faces from dragging on the top.

The fence was square to the miter slot and the miter slot was square to the saw blade.  I think deflection on the saw blade to miter slot was about .0001 of an inch.  I checked using a dial gauge attached to a jig that slides along the slot.  The fence was about .001 off but for me that is fairly accurate over 31 inches.  I did have to adjust the Angle indicator on the saw.  At zero degrees it was reading 1 or 2 degrees.  at 45 degrees it read 43.  This requires removing the protective window on the angle indicator and making adjustments inside.  It would be nice if the dial indicator allowed the indicator backing to turn from a bezel on the exterior to dial it in like a machinist dial indicator; that is petty complaint and just a thought.

Once I had everything together and dialed in I moved the saw to its location in my shop.  I checked to make sure the blade was tight.  I adjusted the throat plate to be level.  I adjusted the riving knife to the full up position.  The riving knife is pretty easy and nice to work with.  There is a lever in the front of the cabinet just under the table.  The lever allows the riving knife locking mechanism to disengage to move the riving knife up and down in height or completely remove it.  You do not have to remove the riving knife when using a dado set just completely lower it.  The kickback pawls and blade guard can be added or removed easily with one hand but the riving knife must be in the full up position.  A 5″ dust port is built in and the saw comes with a 5 inch to 4 inch reducer.  The blade has a shroud with a hose connected to it and the cabinet has a chute that is angled towards the dust port so what the shroud doesn’t get falls down the chute to the dust port.  I haven’t done a lot of cutting yet but it seems to be fairly effective for collecting dust.

I am ready to test this saw’s capabilities.  I grabbed some 8/4 oak left over from a door project.   I lined up my fence and checked the distance in comparison to the hairline indicator on the rail tape and made a quick adjustment to the hairline indicator.  I turned on the saw and was surprised at the instantaneous power.  The saw runs smooth as silk and is very quite.  I can actually have a conversation without excessively raising my voice.   Please remember I am comparing this to my old saw.  I moved the 8/4 oak through the blade with effortless movement.  The Full kerf blade cut the wood like a hot knife though butter without any sign of strain.  I could hear the angels sing, fireworks exploding, see more clearly and vibrant and float on air; it was that wonderful.

Now let me breakdown my pros and cons:

Pros:
Adjustment wheels in front
Power and accuracy
Riving Knife adjustment
Easy one hand blade guard and pawl removal and mounting
Out of the box accuracy
Dust collection
Built in USA
Ultra smooth and quiet

Cons:
Lack of Fence fine adjustment knob / tuner
No additional options / add-ons such as router table extensions or outfeed extensions
Too many alterations in fence and rail install

Overall I am very pleased with the the Delta Unisaw 36-L552.  It provides the power, stability and accuracy I wanted and needed.  The cabinet is solid the table is extremely flat and just makes me smile everytime I see it.  Most of all I paid over 50% less from retail price and it was actually built this year according to the manufacturers ID plate.  I will install a router table insert and build a routing fence jig that fits over my Biesemeyer fence.  I do not have a router table and find myself needing one quite often so that will be my first modification to the this saw.  If you have any questions or comments please leave a comment below.
 

 

I have been comptemplating  for several months over a new table saw.  I have had a Craftsman Contractor Saw for 20 years and it has served me well.  When I was building a new exterior entrance door for my father-in-law the old craftsman just wasn’t up to ripping 8/4 White Oak.  This of course is not the first time I have experienced this problem over the last 20 years and every time I tell myself I am going to upgrade. Well, I finally did.

I researched, read countless articles, watched numerous videos and parused hundreds of pages of woodworking forums and came to the conclusion that most cabinet saws perform pretty much the same.  They have differences in features but for the most part they all seem to have the same quality of build, performance and reputation.  I thought I was going to go the SawStop route but I really liked the Powermatic P2000 with the rout-r-lift built in the extension table which would give me a permanent solution to a router table and save space at the same time.  I decided on the Delta 36-352 in the end .  I went with the Delta because I like the trunion wheels in the front.  I couldn’t find anyone who didn’t like their Delta and it is made in the USA.

I did not get the Delta 36-352 instead I bought the 36-552 and I got it on an extreme discount and this is how it happened.  I have been talking about a new table saw at work for weeks if not months and told the guys at work I decided on the Delta and was getting ready to pull the trigger.  I came to work on a Monday and one of the guys told me that a store called Bargain Hunt which is next door to a Harbor Freight, had a Delta Table saw on discount.  He showed me pictures and when I saw the model was a 36-L552 and the low price my adrenaline spiked and all the things that go with the spike occurred.  The price tag was $1649 which is over a $1000 off the retail price.

One of the reasons I haven’t pulled the trigger on a new saw is money.  Though I have been putting money away for a $3000 saw, after taxes, this golden opportunity was just too good to pass up.  On Thursday I finally made the decision to get that saw.  The store did not open until 10:00 and I couldn’t keep my mouth shut about the saw.  A Co-Worker next to me told me I should check to see if they offer a military discount or check and see if they are offering a Veteran’s Day Discount.  So I went online and sure enough found a 25% off coupon for Friday-Sunday Veteran’s Day weekend.  The only problem with the coupon, it wasn’t good until Friday.  I live about 35 Miles from the store and did not want to drive 70 miles round trip on my day off so called and asked the store manager if they would honor the coupon a day early.  It took about 10 minutes to get an answer.  While I was on hold I was planning my trip to Bargain Hunt for Veteran’s day.  When the Manager came on the phone and said they would honor the coupon I hung up grabbed my coat and left for Bargain Hunt on an early lunch.

When I got there the saw had a sold sign posted in anticipation of my sale.  To bring this story to a close; the saw was retail everywhere for $2749 it was on sale for $1649 and with 25% off and taxes I paid $1354 that is 51% off retail price!  I knew I had to buy this saw; everything lined up perfectly.  I decided on getting a Delta 36-L352 and made that known to others.  Then I was presented with a grand opportunity by a coworker who just so happened walked into Bargain Hunt that same weekend and remembered my saw conversations.  Then I was granted a 25% discount 1 day early.  God was looking out for me.  He knew I was going to buy a saw and lined it all up for me even though I do not deserve it.  This will probably be the last Table I will ever need.  I had the Craftsman for about 20 years and I am sure this saw will take me well past 20 years.  Hopefully I will still be healthy, active, strong and still have my wits to fully exploit this gift to its fullest.

It’s been over a year since I have posted anything.  Life kind of gets in the way; work, family and projects keep most of my time occupied.  I have decided to take things more seriously with my blog / webpage.  Since my last post I have built several projects, taken several business trips and mowed the lawn more times than I care to.  I have also aged another year.  I love working with my hands building things and solving problems.  I want to share my experience in the shop and handyman type of work.  I want to showcase my mistakes and triumphs so others may learn from them.

There are hundreds if not thousands of YouTube channels dedicated to the fine art of woodworking and DIY.  I am going to throw myself into this.  These are not just channels but a community of like minded people, many of which collaborate and fellowship.  Some have huge subscription bases and make a living from their channels, patrons, web storefronts and commissions.  I appreciate the woodworking videographer, vloggers and webmasters out there because they all provide knowledge and experiences that have assisted me in my growth as a woodworker and a DIYer.  I have also been inspired and motivated to move forward in my venture of sharing.

Over the next 3 to 5 years I hope to have a shop built separate from my house; learn some new skills such as welding, electrician, plumbing and automotive mechanics.  Retire a second time and work for myself.  This plan sounds ambitious and it is, but I may only have 20 to 30 more years, maybe more, in this body and I want to have more time for my wife, children and myself.  I won’t work full-time but pick up jobs and commissions that I am interested in and to do enough business to pay for and enjoy travel and adventure with my family.

I hope to post 2 to 3 times a week on this page.  I have some builds coming up and shop updates.  Until then thanks.