Redesigned Unisaw 10-in. Cabinet Saw - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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Redesigned Unisaw 10-in. Cabinet Saw

Delta - Redesigned Unisaw 10-in. Cabinet Saw

Delta has introduced a completely new Unisaw model

$2,900 (3-hp motor and 36-in. rip fence) (As of 9/1/2009)

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Editor's Review: Unisaw Cabinet Saw

by Tom Begnal

review date: September 1, 2009

The Delta Unisaw, a 10-in. cabinet saw, was introduced more than 70 years ago. Many woodworkers would argue that for most of those seven decades, it was the gold standard against which all other cabinet saws were judged. Over that time, the Unisaw remained essentially the same. Now, perhaps prompted by a 2008 regulation from Underwriters Laboratories (UL) that requires manufacturers to include a riving knife on all new saws by 2014, Delta has introduced a completely new model. I recently had a chance to use the new saw in the Fine Woodworking workshop. It became immediately clear that this is not your father’s Unisaw.

For starters, Delta made things more convenient by putting the blade-tilt crank on the front, alongside the blade-elevation crank. You no longer have to reach around to the side of the machine to tilt the blade. They also made the tilt scale easy to read. In addition, the two crank systems moved with a smoothness that reminded me of a good metal-working machine.

The new Unisaw also has a wonderful riving-knife system that uses just one knife to do the job of two. That's possible because the knife can be locked in either of two positions. In the low position, it works as a low-profile (shark fin) knife, allowing you to make non-through cuts, like slots or grooves. In the high position, it's a high-profile knife that accepts a blade cover and anti-kickback pawls. Delta made it especially easy to lock or unlock the knife. One hand pulls a lever at the front of the cabinet while the other hand raises or lowers the knife. There is no need to remove the throat plate.


World-class riving knife. Delta has created an extremely convenient riving-knife system. To raise, lower, or remove the riving knife, you simply release a front lever with one hand and position the riving knife with the other.


With the riving knife in the raised (high-profile) position, it’s easy to snap on the anti-kickback pawls and blade cover

Using a testing-quality straightedge and feeler gauges, I checked the table for flatness. On average it was under 0.001 in., an excellent number. The cast-iron extension tables were almost as flat. Measured with a dial indicator, the arbor-flange runout was 0.0005 in. With the blade at 90º to the table, the blade-to-miter- gauge runout was 0.004 in. across a 7-1/2-in. length. When the blade was tilted to 45º, the blade-to-miter-gauge runout measured 0.003 in. across 6-1/2 in. All are very good numbers.

A standard Biesemeyer rip fence is sturdy, slides easily, and locks with little effort. The saw has a decent miter gauge that repeatedly returned to 90º. Also standard is a storage drawer that mounts under the side table. The 3-hp, 230-volt motor had no trouble ripping and crosscutting 1-3/4-in.-thick maple. A 5-hp motor is an option.

It was hard to find anything wrong with the new Unisaw. OK, dust collection was only average. Expect to pay about $2,900 for the saw with a 3-hp motor and a 36-in. rip fence. The same saw with a 52-in. rip fence costs about $3,000. For information, go to

*Editor's Note: Updated 8/09. The Unisaw was introduced in 1938, 71 years ago and not 40, as originally stated in the article.

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Editor Test Results:

Table Flatness Excellent (On average under 0.001 in.)
Parallel Test N/A
Arbor Runout 0.0005 in (Measured with a dial indicator)
Noise Level N/A

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer Delta
Manufacturer's Web Site
Manufacturer's Phone Number 800-223-7278
Max. Rip Capacity 36 in. right of blade; 13-1/2 in. left of blade
Dust Collection Bi-level dust extraction
Fence 36 in. Biesemeyer rip fence (52-in. rip fence also available)
Horsepower 3-hp motor (5-hp motor also available)
Amps N/A
Volts 230-volt motor
Table Size Size of cast-iron top (with wings only): 31 in. x 40 in.; Size with Biesemeyer table, wing & laminate board: 31 in. x 66 in.
Blade Size 10-in. diameter
Blade Tilt N/A

After using a saw stop industrial for about a year now, I just sold the SS and bought the 5 hp version of the Delta. Wow, what a difference! I know this I going to create a bit of a stir in the SS lovers community. I was one too. I spent a pile of money on the machine and it took a year for my disappointment to catch up. Frankly, I found the SS to be a complete pain in the rear to use daily. Sure it made an adequate cut but among other annoying attributes, for anyone who regularly uses a dado blade I got tired of constantly changing blade and cart, bade and cart, blade and cart, blade and cart. Yep, I had a trip. Bade meets aluminum jig. No fingers involved. My hands were no where near the blade. Normally this wouldn't pose any particular problem except for Saw Stop. $170.00 for a new blade and cart and two days downtime waiting for the cart (not in stock) and I was back cutting again. Oh yeah the machine won't run without the cart installed. I found the electronics of the saw to be particularly inconvenient enough to get rid of it and purchase a real saw. I'm now of the mindset that the best safety device is planted firmly between my ears. I have been using the delta for about two months now and in every way what a breath of fresh air. The delta is significantly less expensive than the SS Industrial. It's table is larger with a few inches more space in front of the blade and this makes a noticeable difference in stability for larger pieces. The additional distance to the front of the blade allows me to use a larger sled for wide panels and still keep it balanced on the table. The true beismeyer fence is a pleasure to use as well. The fence on the SS had a tendency to be a little finicky and move when tightened. The Unisaw is significantly quieter and heavier than the SS. Vibration was very good on the SS but is non existent on the unisaw. A penny balances on its side through multiple start stop cycles without falling over. The handles for both tilt and height operate smoothly and the tilt gauge is actually accurate and functional. Further the gears inside the saw are enclosed to prevent dust contamination. The front panel release for the riving knife and dual height adjustment is a nice touch. For all the inconvenience of the saw stop, the delta reflects the opposite approach. Everything about this saw makes it a pleasure to use. The throat plate is larger for blade changes. There is a blade lock so a single wrench does the trick. The table storage is a nice addition as well. I could go on but I'll summarize by saying the delta unisaw will be the last saw you'll ever need to buy. It's a fine machine that was thoughtfully designed and a pleasure to use. If you actually feel that you're incapable of keeping your fingers away from the blade then by all means buy a saw stop. IF however you want a dream machine that makes a perfect cut and offers numerous convenient features you'll use every day, the Delta is hands down the saw of choice. I loooove my Delta.

I own a cabinet shop where we have several saws in different brands. I am used to using quality saws and bought the new Unisaw for my shop at home. I have not been disappointed - my only regret is that I do not get out into my shop enough. Setup was easy (not my first time) and when I checked the blade to the saw groove the setting from the factory was less than .002"! Now if I can just get a winter without a lot of snow like last year, so I can spend more time in the shop.

I am trying to figure out why one would offer a review of a tool which they do not even use let alone own? I have had my new saw since May of 2009 and have had the opportunity of running various hardwood's through the blade a number of hours on a daily basis. The model I bought is the 3 h.p. 52" Model. It comes off the truck in five cartons. The assembly instructions are not the clearest. I think the problem with my owners manual is that I had one of the first saws shipped, this would explain some of my pages being separate from the Owners Manual there were a few pages that were just photocopies. I have to say the setup is typical of other saws I have assembled in the past. It should not be to hard for the average person. My saw had a few bugs that I understand have now being worked out. I was shipped two Left wings, and had to exchange one for a Right side wing. Other than drive time exchanging parts the set up took about four hrs. It is a two man job to set up safely. Adjustments to the saw only involved setting the wings and tables to level as well as dialing in fence. As far as the overall finish of the saw for the most part is top notch. I feel a little more attention should have been paid to the cant on the front of the saw, the saw table has a different size cant as that on the two wings. After taking the skin off of a couple of knuckles, I brought a file into the game. There is no longer a sharp spot where the wings meet the table. The saw is very quite, with no vibration. The saw has handled everything I have asked it to do with no signs of being under powered. I do a variety of woodworking, not just making cabinets. I take care of whatever walks in the door, so the demands on my saw can be a challenge. I guess the bottom line is would I purchase another one, the answer is a definite Yes. I would highly recommend this saw! As for customer service, in the beginning there were a few bumps, but they were all resolved rather quickly. And to my satisfaction, according to my wife that is a tough thing to do.

I own this saw and couldn't be happier. I bought it with the 52" table and am glad I did. Great assembly and layout area. Great for ripping sheet goods. The extra inches in front of the throat plate make the saw safer and more flexible to use. Very smooth, very powerful, very precise. Having both blade controls on the front of the saw simplifies making changes with the same arm motion. This is what actually sold me on the saw. The bearings were so smooth and precise-feeling, I bought it on the spot (after a year of research :) ) The fence is incredible: smooth, accurate and easy to hook your fingers over to keep them safe. The face is very smooth and no dimples or irregularities. Set up took me about 5 hours. I had to make minor adjustments to the cast iron wings (about a 1/32 off between edges and middle). I tightened up the middle, and used a clamp to draw the end into position and tightened the bolt. Pretty easy, just time-consuming. It's heavy and comes on its own pallet + 5 other boxes. I rented a truck with a lift gate to transport it. I had a friend help me move the 400+ lb main crate and then seat it on the mobile base. Assembled it's about 660 lbs. Quiet, powerful motor. I have really enjoyed using this saw. If you have the space and the funds, it will be a joy for you to operate.

Yes, I own the saw - bought it a month ago after reading information from other sources - key people who I would trust in their judgement (experts in the field of wood). This saw is everything that I expected when I bought it - Well made, reorganized to fit the woodworker and his/her wishes making a dream machine. I would recommend this machine to anyone

First saw I have ever actually used the blade protection features! Plenty of power, very smooth operation, love the larger table in front of the blade.

I am disappointed. There are already 10 reviews prior to mine and only ONE reviewer actually owns the tool. I hope the Fine Woodworking site managers remove ALL of these "reviews" from people who DON'T OWN THE PRODUCT. I gave it One Star to balance out all of the good star ratings from people who don't own the saw. There should be a "no rating" option if this is how people are going to use the reviews section. If you want to debate the new Delta Unisaw and the Saw Stop, please use the forums. I am interested in buying this saw and was excited to see 10 reviews. There is NOTHING here but opinion from people who don't own the saw and some who want to tout the Saw Stop saw. I don't want someone who doesn't even own the saw telling me to pay for American built quality. I want someone who has ponied up the $3k to tell me to pay for American quality. Dean2, before you tell me to spend my $3k on this saw and it's "American" quality, why don't you!!!!! I don't want uninformed opinions in reviews, that is what the forums are for. (Sorry to end a sentence in a preposition). PLEASE, REVIEWS ONLY HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can not believe how many people think the saw stop is so great. I have pushed more than 15,000 board feet of lumber through a Delta saw without even a minor scratch. The saw stop is not going to keep an idiot from cutting off a finger. Smart work practices do that. So a saw stop will protect a hot dog. Big deal. Will it protect your hand when you slip and your finger goes into the blade while cutting a board?? Delta has a great product, so it's $3000, small price to pay to stay American and better than the Chinese junk!!

It it isnt broke....Why change a perfectly fine design? Unisaw practically made Delta.Its the one tool they make that gets great reviews. WHY MESS WITH THAT?? pretty balsy if you ask me. Maby could have spent that research and development into a motor brake,or saw stop like technology. My x5 doesnt even have a arbor lock?? and it wasnt a cheap saw. LOL 50 60 70 yrs of the same design, and they go and change it,in the worst way they could have. Im sure you will see sales drop big time. cut your losses and work in a stop technology to the existing design. It will cost alot now, but youd be the only 2 companies doing it. And sawstop isnt doing too bad right now.

Dear Delta, I think that you have done a nice job of redesigning the uni-saw. The members above that have complaints, I'm sure that they would find something wrong even if you gave it to them for free. In my opinion you do not need stopping technology, somehow we got along for 40 years without it. if you know what you are doing and work carefully, you can get a lot of work done and not get injured. I know all about it only taking one time to have a serious injury, I also know about people getting killed in car accidents, but I still drive to work. As far as dust collection goes, there is going to be dust! You can't make a cut in wood without creating it. Put on a mask. Invest in a quality dust collector. With the vacuum on and the saw off, remove the plate once in a while and blow some air in there to clean it out. Your saw shouldn't be expected to be dust free. And the cost is a deal for a small well built saw. $3000.00 is a week and a half of shop rate for one man. Big deal, it will make you a hundred times that money in the years that the saw will provide you service. If you stop to think about what it costs to redesign and engineer a new machine, you will realize that the cost is not out of line. They need to make a profit too. After all isn't that what you're doing. I think that the Delta is a great saw for the money.

Good job Delta, a nice "re-work" of a time tested machine. Would have rated it "5" if the re-work included technology that would warrant a name change to "Uni-Stop".

Wouldn't buy any saw without Saw Stop Technology.

Looks good with some interesting features but seems to be a bit pricey.

I've had the 5 hp version of this saw for about a month now. Setup was a breeze- especially nice were the allen bolts added to the table wings to help level the surface. It was a nice change from having to use metal shims, etc. Setting the 0 and 45 degree stops is also easy, and accomplished from the front of the saw with an allen wrench. Table flatness was excellent, vibration and noise is low and it has plenty of power. Dust collection is so-so. I believe this is because of the added opening in the throat plate needed to accommodate the riving knife. I am planning on making a zero tolerance plate, which should solve the problem. One thing I am going to change is the location of the on-off switch. I find myself hitting the large "off" button as I push work through the saw. I know that you want to have the switch easily assessable, but its too far forward in my opinion. Other than these minor points, this is an awesome saw!

I currently own a Platinum edition Unisaw, and I love it. However, Delta completely missed to boat on this one by not including the Saw Stop technology. Delta had the perfect opportunity with this redesign and blew it. If I were to buy a new saw, I would buy the Saw Stop, regardless of the price.

It's unfair for me to post a critique of this machine since I do not own or use this particular model. Yet I'm concerned of the comment in the review highlighting the less than perfect dust collection. Whether in a private shop or professional environment the hazards associated with natural and composite materials is not unknown. My stand is that it is less than suitable and shows a complete lack of care for Delta's customers to place a machine onto the market that doesn't adequately account for this. I'm sure the machine meets or possibly exceeds government standards, any company can do that, but on such an important issue maybe meeting the standards isn't enough.

It doesn't have a motor brake (like European Saws) and it doesn't stop when you touch the moving blade (like a SawStop). If I was going to purchase a new 3HP saw for $3K; I would want more.

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