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


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 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