So, when I told my wife that I was buying a really old table saw, when I already had the top of the line “last table saw I’ll ever need to buy” table saw already sitting in the shop, she avoided eye contact with me for a month. Every passionate woodworker knows that the early model Delta Unisaws are legendary workhorses and the grandfather of all modern-day saws. I just had to have one.
Delta introduced the world’s first tilting-arbor cabinet saw in 1939 with its fully-enclosed steel cabinet and polished cast iron top. Leading the industry for decades, the 1960s and 1970s brought the Powermatic Model 66 table saw into a neck-and-neck position with the Unisaw, boasting the heaviest trunnion assembly (table saw guts) and virtually vibration-free operation. Nowadays, the Unisaw and Powermatic models are still market leaders but most tool hounds would agree that each brand’s no-nonsense, 600-pound-plus models from a lifetime ago are often preferred over today’s state-0f-the-art models.
We have both in the shop! A vintage Delta Unisaw and a 1990s Powermatic Model 66. The two rival beasts coexist side by side creating one long cast iron work surface and infinite creative possibilities. We researched our Unisaw’s serial number and learned that it was made in September of 1941, three months before the bombing of Pearl Harbor! Pretty amazing. The woodworker I bought it from said I was now just the fourth owner of this 75-year-old industry icon. I couldn’t be more proud.