The woodshop attracts some “new” tools

Last week I went to the Davis School District surplus sale hoping to find some cabinets for the shop. And what did I come home with?

1961 Delta Unisaw

1961 Delta Unisaw

How could I resist? If you are a car buff (I’m not!) its a Corvette — the standard of fine US manufacturing and engineering. If you are a woodworker, its the Delta Unisaw — the standard of fine US manufacturing and engineering. It needs new bearings, cleanup and a paint job, and then I’ll have a beautiful working classic in the shop.

The motor is the original manufactured by Doerr Electric. It is a 3-phase, 2 HP motor. Since I don’t have 3-phase in the shop, I didn’t really know where to start with the motor. Did it just have bad bearings as disclosed at the sale, or was it burned out? By posting on, I got a very generous offer from Shane Whitlock. He said, “Nice grab … I took a look at that one too and seriously considered it but decided to pass. I just got rid of one of my Uni’s so I don’t need to be picking up another. Definitely have the motor checked out, or I am not too far from ya, bring it over and we can tear into it.”

Sunday I drove up to Perry to meet Shane. Whoa! What a deal. Shane has a superior collection of restored vintage woodworking tools in his shop, and is constantly restoring woodworking equipment. I sure fell into a wealth of knowledge. We powered up the motor with 3-phase power he has available in his shop, and determined that the motor is fine, but bearings should be replaced. I’m planning to keep the motor and buy or build a 3-phase rotary converter for the shop. After success with this, who knows, another 3-phase machine could be in my future.

While I was touring Shane’s shop, he pointed out the 13″ Rockwell planer (1982) that he had restored, and offered it for sale. I hesitated, but said, “no … I have two planers”. The next day, I went back and bought that planer! It is more accurate (and much prettier) than the two planers I have, and the price was just too good!

13 inch Rockwell Planer (1982)

1982 13″ Rockwell Planer
As pictured it has a 120 V motor. As purchased, it has the original 230 V Rockwell motor.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 years ago

Hey those are some great looking tools Duane.
I enjoyed browsing through the shop photos … looks like it will be a great shop when you are all done.

10 years ago

Hello, Duane, I just talk with a friend who was specialized in elevators.

The 3 phase motor can often be (easely) modifed to be used with a special electrical outfit (you have to buy) , seen that on Ebay for 100€ +-.

The name escapes me at that time. I am sure you had the answer.

Interesting tools and nice lookking, your Dela and such…

You are right, better buy them before its too late !

Best regards,

Isaac OLEG