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Any Shopsmith feedback?

Old 10-03-2007, 09:50 AM
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Default Any Shopsmith feedback?

I am going to be starting to equip a home shop in a few months. I have a few stationary power tools, (a crummy tablesaw and a decent little drill press) but am interested in a few more.

Have any of you guys used the Shopsmith? Is it worth the hassle and money?
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:19 AM
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Default RE: Any Shopsmith feedback?

Gringo, I have one. I would not recommend it. They are a comromise to dedicated tools in everyway (except lathe use). My hobby is buiding period furniture. I have a FULL shop of standard equipment for that. I would suggest you buy from Grizzly if you are trying to save money... their stuff is cheap and OK. If you decide to go with Shopsmith buy a used one. My major objection is the "working height" of the tablesaw.
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Old 10-03-2007, 07:42 PM
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Default RE: Any Shopsmith feedback?

FWIW I inherited a 1954 Shopsmith Mark V from my dad last year (a "Greenie" for those of you who know older SSs). Still works like a charm, and it has been very handy for some boat projects.

The nice thing about it is that I can still get ANY part or accessory that I need or want for this 53 y.o. machine, and their accessory/parts operation is really top drawer.

It's great for how I use it (small onesie-twosie projects), and it doesn't take up much space when not in use....BUT.....if I was doing production woodwork I'd choose the separate tools. I would also NOT buy a new unit; there are too many used ones for sale. I'd like to have either the scroll saw or band saw, but I can buy a "Harbor Freight" or other inexpensive scroll saw for a fraction of what the Shopsmith attachment would cost (and it would meet my needs).

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Old 10-03-2007, 08:09 PM
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Default RE: Any Shopsmith feedback?

I have an old 50's model that my Dad gave me years ago. It does a lot of things good but nothing great. It is good if space is a problem. If you have space, go for the dedicated machines you need. I have mine set up as a Lathe and it stays that way.

I turn some Predator calls in the Winter when I get bored.
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Old 10-04-2007, 11:57 AM
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Default RE: Any Shopsmith feedback?

Shorty, that one is REAL old - prior to 1953 when the Mark V was introduced.
I believe it's known as a Model 10ER. That is only the second one I've ever seen other than in SS documentation.
Ironically, the other one was also used exclusively as a lathe.
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Old 10-04-2007, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: Any Shopsmith feedback?

Thanks for the feedback. So I should just buy a lathe, bandsaw, new tablesaw, and maybe a thickness planer...

I havent decided on which would be more useful, a table saw or a radial arm, but am leaning toward a table saw. The one I got is a cheapie and wont last long down here. I think I spend more time ripping than cross cutting, and cross cutting on a table saw is easier than ripping on a radial arm...
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Old 10-05-2007, 12:28 PM
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Default RE: Any Shopsmith feedback?

Gringo,
most certainly at least a 10" table saw vs. radial arm. You can buy a cheap 10" miter saw for less than $100. It will serve you better than the radial arm saw. My second purchase after buying the tablesaw would be to buy a GOOD after market fence and some blades from Forrest. These two purchases will do the most to improve the quality and appearence of your work. Bandsaw and planer are next. Buy extra blades for each. While you are at it, buy lots and lots of clamps.... you never have enough. Clamps are the most used tools in my shop..

First thing you need to do after you set up the equipment is to clean them well. I use denatured alcohol. Put a HEAVY coat of automotive PASTE wax on all the table surfices and buff well. Do this often, and your tools will never rust. Wax will not affect your materials.

Just a tip... but I put a blop of spray paint on all of my tools... that way when the neighbors borrow them... I know what tools are mine. Also, put castors on all of your cabinet tools. You will be glad you did.

This new workshop of yours has me fired up now than I have seen pictures.
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Old 10-05-2007, 01:04 PM
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Oh you mean the photos on the TCI thread....It's hard to get the entire workshop in one photo. Here's a couple to explain a bit better.
The area set aside for workshop is from that column on the left all the way to the wall. You can just see the light from one of the garage doors hidden behind the column. There will be a utility sink there next to the garage door. Its set so that prevailing winds will blow sawdust etc right out the open door:

Plenty of outlets, and I put them at bench height, not next to the floor. The 4x8 sheets in a stack give you the scale.

Here's another view:

I have everything from the center of the doors, and the column, over.

I plan to put the 'mechanical' side of the shop to the windward side. That lets me pull a vehicle directly in, and open the hood ( bonnet here) and be steps from wrenches, etc. The woodworking side will be to leeward, so that sawdust goes out the door and doesnt get blown over oily and greasy type tools. We sized the shop for the largest vehicle we would ever think of owning ( Suburban) so we have room to actually put three normal vehicles inside if needed, each with a garage door of its own. Its been years since I had a good shop, and I am really looking forward to laying this one out. You need a good shop in this place. I even had the electricians run a 220 volt line in for me, just in case I ever need one.

I definitely want a lathe, again. Some of the tropical wood down here is absolutely beautiful grain, and hard.
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Old 10-05-2007, 03:02 PM
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Default RE: Any Shopsmith feedback?

Great Pics,
I know you feel like you have a lot of room. But, I think you will definetly want to place the stationery tools on casters. Putting the table saw on 220v. would be great. Can't wait to see it finished. I can tell a lot of thought is going into the shop.

My shop floor is painted with epoxy. One of the best things ever! Easy clean up and the sawdust is easy to blow or sweep.
BTW... be careful turning some of the exotic wood... need to make sure it is not toxic... may do more than make your nose bleed! You seem to be a fellow with more than his share of common sense, I am sure this warning is not needed..
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Old 10-06-2007, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Any Shopsmith feedback?

MY shop is an amalgam of tool brands, old, old, old Craftsman table saw, I wish my old table saw would blow up so I could buy a real nifty new Delta 3 hp 10” Unisaw table saw with a Biesmeyer fence. (About $2.200.00)

Old Delta drill press, works great. Old Craftsman 5 hp compresser. De Walt compound miter saw. ¾ hp Black & Decker Grinder. Cheap, made in China Steel cutting band saw (works great on wood also) and a huge assortment of hand power tools accumulated over many years.

The tool I wish I still had was my 1937 Excelsior flat belt driven drill press which I had to leave in California because it weighed over a ton, really enjoyed using that old machine and listening to the old flat belts go Whappa, Whappa, Whappa. also had to leave my 12X36 lathe.

Shopsmith just too much hassle changing tools and below par quality in my opinion.

If I were building a new shop I would equip it almost exclusively from a “Delta“ catalog, great machinery.



Ray, Tennessee 2180DLX Carolina Skiff 90HP Honda




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Old 10-10-2007, 02:54 PM
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Default RE: Any Shopsmith feedback?

My brother in law sold his as he decided it was too much hassle and not worth the set up time. A 10" table saw will be the heart of your shop, so buy the best you can afford. With a quality miter bar, you will be all set for cross cutting or mitering. If its a good saw it should already have a good fence with it. Buy an aftermarket when you have extra money. My unifence works as well as others and it came with the saw. The other two must haves, if you are into serious stuff is an edge jointer and thickness planer. With those three items you can make just about anything. Ok, later on buy a sliding compound miter saw and a good router. Clamps. When you think you have enough, go buy more.

langski

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Old 10-10-2007, 03:23 PM
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My last shop.....I had a ten inch table saw, a ten inch radial arm, a thickness planer, an edge jointer, a fourteen inch band saw, a free standing drill press, a lathe, a router, belt and vibrating sanders, maybe two dozen Pony and Jorgesen bar clamps, c-clamps, a good variable speed jig saw, numerous circular saws, complete set Forstner bits, european style bench with bench clamps both ends, japanese hand saws, dovetail jigs, antique spokeshaves, block planes, jack planes, I used Saandvik scrapers for finishing. etc. etc. etc. I built a lot of furniture. I designed in secret compartments with hidden latches. I built a lot in red oak, maple, cherry. I turned bowls, legs, lamps. I hand-cut dovetails, mortise and tenon, etc. I built entire pieces with a lot of joinery and no metal screws or hinges of any kind. A hunt table with hand made wooden hinges. Book cases, dressers, love seats, end tables, lamps, ... I carved scallop shells and stars into table aprons with wood chisels. I did a lot of Shaker inspired designs. My initials and date were carved into the undersides of everything I was proud of. I have none of it.

The judge gave her "the contents of the house". I didnt walk away with so much as a flat carpenters pencil.

Now, I can build up a new shop entirely from the ground up. All new stuff, and its going to be sweet.

Living well is the best revenge.
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Old 10-10-2007, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Any Shopsmith feedback?

i would add a compound chop saw and a good compressor to that list....and a bosch jig saw (an amazing tool) and a random orbital sander......and you should get some fish tailed gouges....a great carving tool..........and when you are done make sure to sent a few nice shots to the ex


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Old 10-10-2007, 03:43 PM
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Nah, I am so far beyond her now she wouldnt believe it. Let sleeping pigs lie.
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Old 10-10-2007, 04:34 PM
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all righty then.............well we'll all see it....which might be a fun thread.......show your shop
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:57 PM
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Gringo,

I misunderstood. Most guys I know who got Shopsmiths (they are popular) got them when they were starting out, which is why I see a lot of them for sale. They either lose interest or grow beyond them. With your experience I couldn't see you using it beyond the wood turning application. Outfitting a whole shop sounds like fun. I envy the space you have and the natural light.

langski
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:20 PM
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I have always owned a cheap jig saw and never thought twice about it. Well, that was until I used my buddies porta cable and went out and purchase one the next day. I'm not even sure how I ever used my old one. So don't go cheap on the tools that you need the best performance out of.
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Old 10-11-2007, 02:04 PM
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I am pretty happy with the portable jig saw I have now, its a Freud FJ85. But I have been thru a lot of brands. Table saw was Delta, so was the lathe. Lots of Ryobi, Makita. A few Grizzly brands, the band saw and drill press. Jointer was Buffalo, and actually it was pretty solid. Lots of Craftsman stuff, of course. I use the basic DeWalt cordless stuff. Love the drill, hate the circular saw. I never can get the hang of a circular saw with the blade on the left. Got a Makita circ saw, and also a SkilSaw el cheapo. Just picked up a DeWalt belt sander couple weeks ago. I am kind of limited as to brands down here. Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt are pretty common. Bought a DeWalt cordless recip saw just because it uses the same 18 volt battery as the DeWalt stuff. Those batteries are 100 bucks each here, just makes sense to standardize. DeWalt stuff feels cheap, but I have actually had pretty good luck with it.
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:41 AM
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Gringo - 10/11/2007 2:04 PM

I am pretty happy with the portable jig saw I have now, its a Freud FJ85. But I have been thru a lot of brands. Table saw was Delta, so was the lathe. Lots of Ryobi, Makita. A few Grizzly brands, the band saw and drill press. Jointer was Buffalo, and actually it was pretty solid. Lots of Craftsman stuff, of course. I use the basic DeWalt cordless stuff. Love the drill, hate the circular saw. I never can get the hang of a circular saw with the blade on the left. Got a Makita circ saw, and also a SkilSaw el cheapo. Just picked up a DeWalt belt sander couple weeks ago. I am kind of limited as to brands down here. Makita, Milwaukee, and DeWalt are pretty common. Bought a DeWalt cordless recip saw just because it uses the same 18 volt battery as the DeWalt stuff. Those batteries are 100 bucks each here, just makes sense to standardize. DeWalt stuff feels cheap, but I have actually had pretty good luck with it.
I like Dewalt cordless drills but their price tag is very high. I can buy a craftmans 14.9 volt on sale for $49.00 with 2 batteries which is a third of the price of a Dewalt. Dewalt may last a little longer but I can buy 3 of the Craftman drills for the price of the Dewalt. If you just look for then to go on sale at Sears you can't beat their price and I have had good luck with their corless drills. I have gone through 2 in about 10 to 12 years and its the batteries that finally die.
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:55 AM
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I like Craftsman. I like the Sears no-questions replacement policy. And its good stuff, if you weed out the cheap brands they been also selling alongside the good stuff the past few years.

But there is no Sears store in this nation, so that takes a lot of the incentive out of it for me. And from what I have seen, stuff doesnt last long enough in this environment to worry about it wearing out.
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