March 16, 2014

Restored Rockwell Unisaw

The completed restoration of my 1977 Rockwell International 34-461 Unisaw

Over the course of two months I completely disassembled, cleaned, primed, painted, and replaced the bearings of a 1977 Rockwell Unisaw bringing it back to a like new condition.

Below you can see the restored Unisaw in all of it’s glory ready for another 30 years of service. Before pictures can be seen here.

Refurbished 1977 Rockwell International Unisaw
Rockwell Unisaw - Front, top, and side

3 Horsepower, 230 volt, single phase motor with brand new bearings.
Rockwell Unisaw - Front, top, and side

Right-tilt configuration
Rockwell Unisaw - motor

Low voltage motor starter and control recessed into the rear of the cabinet.
Rockwell Unisaw - side and back

LED lights and white painted interior for increased visibility.
Rockwell Unisaw - Trunnion and motor

~Nathan

February 6, 2014

Polishing Knobs For Unisaw

My process for polishing the locking knobs for my Rockwell Unisaw restoration.

Tonight I started polished one of the Unisaw’s three locking knobs. I used a 6″ 1/2 hp buffer equipped with a Spiral sewn buffing wheel and a Loose Cotton buffing wheel.

The buffing process is simple. Use a Brown polishing compound on the Spiral Sewn buffing wheel to get the initial clean buffed look. Then follow up with the softer Loose Cotton buffing wheel with the smoother Dark Gray polishing compound. I spent about 10 minutes polishing this knob between the two wheels and compounds.

I a very please with the results.

Before Polishing

Unisaw Dust Door Knob

After Polishing

Unisaw Dust Door Knob Polished

~Nathan

February 5, 2014

Priming and Painting the Rockwell Unisaw

When deciding on what I wanted the finish of my Unisaw to be it was evident that a perfectly smooth factor like finish was not going to be worth the effort. Multiple layers of paint would be needed along with sanding using 300-600 grit sand paper to smooth out imperfections that had been incurred in this saw 37 years of life.

To avoid the frustration that my perfectionism would bring to trying to achieve such a finish I decided to go for a textured look. I wanted what some people call an orange peel look or eggshell. While there are paints like Rustoleum’s “Hammered” product that claim to deliver such a look, I was displeased with their results.

After testing many products and application methods, I landed on using a technique I read about on OWWM.org where you under-power an HVLP sprayer to create texture. The overall paint process to create the texture and have a finished surface was simple. First spray your “texture” layer of primer. Followed by a layer of primer applied evenly over the entire surface (no this does not neutralize your texture). Then apply your final layer(s) of paint for color.

Closeup of textured paint results.

Unisaw Textured Paint Closeup

Creating a textured surface with Rustoleum primer

Creating the textured primer layer is simple but time consuming. Choose a thick primer product, I chose Rustoleum’s primer which I believe is an enamel. Then, without thinning the primer, spray the primer through an HVLP gun at a low enough pressure to create splatter. To achieve the specific texture I wanted I ran my HVLP gun at 22 PSI. Locking in the texture you desire will will take a bit of tweaking and playing around with your spray gun, but once it is setup it is incredible easy to get a consistent texture. The one downside, and this may be gun specific, is that this application method is VERY slow due to the low pressure of the gun.

Rockwell Unisaw Restoration Progress

Unisaw exterior primed using texturing technique.
Unisaw Outside Primed
Unisaw interior painted white for increased visibility inside the cabinet once assembled.
Unisaw Inside Painted
Unisaw base painted.
Unisaw Base Painted

~Nathan

January 30, 2014

Restoring a 1977 Rockwell (Delta) 34-461 Unisaw

My journey restoring a 1977 Rockwell International (Delta) 34-461 Unisaw

Backstory

Early in January I stumbled upon a great deal on a Rockwell International (Delta) Unisaw from the 70’s on Craigslist. Knowing that a Unisaw is a timeless classic table saw, its age of 37 years old did not matter. All it meant was a little elbow grease was going to be needed to have the table saw running like it did when it left the factory.

Thanks to the good folks at OWWM.org and VintageMachinery.org, I was able to identify that the Unisaw was built in 1977 in Tupelo, MS plus learn a ton of other information that is proving to be critical to the restoration process. Owwm.org and VintageMachinery.org are both essential resources for tool restoration. The depth and breadth of knowledge available is amazing!

Game plan

My game plan is to completely disassemble, clean, paint, and rebuild the saw in preparation for another 30 years of service. I am also replacing the arbor bearings and will likely replace the motor bearings too.

Visual Guide of Progress

Condition at time of purchase.
Unisaw-As Purchased
Unisaw-As Purchased
Unisaw-As Purchased
Unisaw-As Purchased

Detailed pictures before starting the restoration.
Unisaw Pre Restoration
Unisaw Pre Restoration
Unisaw Pre Restoration
Unisaw Pre Restoration
Unisaw Pre Restoration

Cabinet cleaned with Mineral Spirits to remove contact cement all over it.
Unisaw Cabinet Cleaned
Unisaw Cabinet Cleaned

Internal castings after Soda blasting, new arbor bearings, and painting with Rust-Oleum Machine Grey paint.
Unisaw Castings Painted

Custom mounted electrical control box recessed into the cabinet.
unisaw-starter-box-inside-cabinet-overall
unisaw-starter-box-outside-close
unisaw-starter-box-outside-with-cover

Inside of cabinet primed
Unisaw inside of cabinet primed
Unisaw inside of cabinet primed
Unisaw inside of cabinet primed

Exterior of cabinet with holes filled and ready for final sanding before priming. This is where I am at with the project as of today.
Unisaw Cabinet Ready For Final Sanding
Unisaw Cabinet Ready For Final Sanding
Unisaw Cabinet Ready For Final Sanding

~Nathan