It's finally happened. No, I'm not talking about the possibility of an African American holding the highest office in the land. Or about the idea of a woman being second in line for that same position. I am not referring to the astonishing collapse and subsequent bailout of the nations largest mortgage brokers. Or even about the shocking plunge the stock market is taking. No, I'm talking about something really earth shaking ... the re-design, after almost 70 years of virtual sameness, of the industry standard benchmark against which all other's must be measured, the most often imitated woodworking machine ever created, the ubiquitous Unisaw.
Oh, I know ... over the years the Uni has seen a lot of changes. Like the name of the manufacturer. Delta. Rockwell. Delta-Rockwell. Rockwell-Delta. Who could keep track?
And the shade of the gray paint. The handwheels ... plated or painted? Oh, and don't forget the most significant change ... the fence. From the old style tubular way setup to the Unifence to the Biesemeyer clone, back to the Unifence and then the option of either one. And sure the electricals have been changed over the years too. But, for the most part the Uni has remained the same. The cabinet has kept its instantly identifiable shape and the inner workings have changed so little that most parts from 30-year-old saws will fit in new ones. But not anymore. The Unisaw has finally been given a makeover.
I have not had a chance to try this "new" Uni though I can't really image a shocking difference in how it cuts wood. But there are some interesting new features. A riving knife for one. And a completely redesigned trunnion that puts the tilt wheel on the front right next to the elevation wheel so that they look like two huge round eyes staring at you. Bigger table, a tool-free arbor lock and a one-piece washer and blade nut. Better dust-collection with two ports pulling from the cabinet and blade at the same time and a handy storage drawer under the extension table. And, in keeping with the significance of this event, Delta has announced that this new Uni will be a true "All American", made right here in the good old USA.
So, it would seem that no, nothing is really sacred anymore. It will remain to be seen how this new Uni holds up to the rep of its predecessor. Only time will tell. We will have to wait and see if the dozens of Unisaw imitators redesign their machines to ape the new Uni and if they do, if how long it will take. In the meantime, I think I'll stick with my "old" Uni, a '68 model with a 3-phase, 5-hp motor and a "modern" Unifence. Unless, of course Delta might want to send me a "new" one to "review" ... Oh, and by the way, don't stand right under those flying pigs ...