My wife Barb says I’m pretty territorial about guarding my workshop space. She jokes that I pee in the corners to warn other wolves and miscreants not to touch anything. Most of the space in the house is shared but I jealously guard and fuss over that small patch of earth. Which brings me to my dilemma? I have this circa 1949 Delta Unisaw. Compared to my first table saw, the Delta with its heavy cast iron top is an aircraft carrier. It does a fine job at what it was designed for. Ripping and crosscutting wood when repetition and horsepower are the order of the day.
I want to say up front that I work a lot with hand tools but I’m not a purist. I tend to gravitate to using the best tool available to do a job. As my skill develops I am finding that hand tools are often the best tool. But I don’t have some religious belief that hand tools are somehow holy and power tools are at the root of the decline of western civilization. The last few years I have noticed that my Unisaw was getting more duty as an assembly table and less as a saw. Then last summer I was on a tight deadline to finish some props for my DVD on designing moldings. I had a section of crown moulding with a large cove that I opted to use my Unisaw to excavate. Cove cutting on a table saw I find a tad nerve racking and my heart sunk when noises like a blown chain saw motor erupted from below the saw cabinet. What a time for the bearings to fail on the spindle. A friend let me use his saw to finish the moulding and I vowed to repair the Unisaw later when time allowed.
So it sat pushed off to the side (across the line into the non-sacred part of the basement) for the past nine months. I did plenty of woodworking, just couldn’t seem to find time to hoist the 180# top off the cabinet and bother with the repair. There were a couple of times it would have come in handy but I was actually surprised how few and how easy it was to use another method. Luckily I didn’t need anything requiring lots of repetition or horsepower which is what it excels at. Last week I strapped a hoist over the I beam that supports the house, and lifted the top off. Turned out to be an easy fix, the key had worked free securing the main pulley to the motor. I took the time while it was apart to give everything a good cleaning and lube and had it back in shining order in an afternoon.
I docked the USS Unisaw up in its normal spot just off the end of my workbench. Then it happened. I realized it no longer belonged there. I don’t want or need this big iron thing to work around. That space was so handy to pull a pair of low saw horses in and out. So I did something I never thought I would come to. I pulled that wonderful old saw over the line into the non woodworking area. I’m not ready to part with it yet and besides it might kill me hauling all that weight up the stairs. Yet my work with one off furniture making is going in a different direction. Are any of you finding this to be true?
George R. Walker