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


2 responses to “Priming and Painting the Rockwell Unisaw”

  1. Mark Ratermann says:

    Thanks for the great comments. I have my Dads old Rockwell Unisaw from 1976 and it has developed some rust, wet wood cutting being the biggest issue leaving nice wet sawdust to be in contact with painted steel. Saw bases look identical.

  2. Mark Ratermann says:

    I forgot to mention, I use Rustoleum damp proof red primer on most everything. It is the most tenacious out of a can primer I have found.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *