shopsmith

Any shopsmith users out there? I'm interested in purchasing one (used) and was wondering if there is anything I should look out for? Do they retain dimensional accuracy well? Do they hold their accuracy over time? How much of a pain in the butt is tool changeover? Anything I should consider when looking to purchase one? Any help would be appreciated. My main reason for purchasing one is due to limited space for my shop. Thanks, -Derek
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote in

I own one, that is currently not being used.
After exiling both of the automobiles from the former garage, I have room for most of the tools I really want to use.
If you plan your work, and make sure you do each piece according to that plan, the Shopsmith methods and procedures will work. I managed to build some nice pieces along the learning path.
But I don't work well that way. I'm much too creative for that. Or too undisciplined. The jury is still out.
There is supposed to be an active forum for Shopsmith users on Yahoo Groups.
Patriarch
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

This is a fairly common question; you will find lots of answers if you try a Google search on this group. The usual consensus is that a Shopsmith works well in limited space if you are patient and plan your cuts so as to reduce the need to repeat settings. Stand alone tools are preferable. Buy used, save big. Accuracy in terms of runout is fine. Alignment settings are easily checked, and once aligned tend to hold position for years. Cutting to an exact dimension depends on your ability to measure as the fence has no scale. Biggest drawback as a table saw is the smallish surface, followed by tilt table (not blade). A thin kerf Forrest WWII is a good match for the 1 1/8hp motor and inspired me to build some rather nice furniture. Very good as a drill press, though slower speeds for metal would be nice. Very good as drum and disc sander. The table size and adjustability is a real plus for the drill and sander modes. Decent lathe. A used Shopsmith should run and change speeds quietly, the arbor should have no noticeable play. Accessories are pricey. Mine came (used) with a 4" jointer - I found it difficult to get a straight edge on anything longer than 36" due to the rather short bed. Fifteen years after buying mine I found it necessary to build a bigger shop (with attached house) so I would have room for a cabinet saw. I've added a radial arm saw and 8" jointer, but I still use the Shopsmith in some mode for everything I build. I'm kind of looking at drill presses, but I may be in the looking mode for years. Tool changeover is simple, but can be tedious if you need to change modes several times to make a particular part. But if you do not have room for several standalone machines, you can do things with a Shopsmith that you could never do otherwise. My frustration with my old 8'x10' shop was mostly due to the lack of room to work - I spent most of my time moving things back and forth. My Shopsmith made woodworking possible in the limited space I had, and continues to be the very useful today.
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The Shopsmith is a fine tool that requires you to work a little differently than you would with all stand alone tools. The tablesaw function is weak, but improved in the model 510 or 520. The used market is rather weak if you are willing to wait around for something semi-local as shipping can be costly. A couple of years ago I was wanting to upgrade my model 500 to a 510 or 520. As usual for Shopsmith, the company is quite proud of this upgrade and priced it accordingly (i.e. abot $800 for the 500 to 510 upgrade). I found a 1994 model 510 with a jointer, bandsaw. strip sander, dust-collector and lots of blades, bits, lathe tools saning disks and belts, etc. for $1,250. Just for good measure the lady threw in a downdraft sanding table, a dewalt 5" ROS, some other misc. tools and a bunch of wooden wheels and plugs for free. I sold my 1982 model 500 with its bandsaw and jointer and some blades, bits and lathe tools for about the same amount. Thus gaining the upgrade for free plus a dust collector, strip sander, the dewalt ROS, downdraft table, etc. for free. I got a great deal. The guy I sold my older one to got a good deal. BTW there are lots of these things from the 1950s still being used with virtually all parts still available from Shopsmith.
Check out the ssusers group on yahoogroups.com. It is fairly active with about 1400 members currently.
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I have one for sale with just about every gadget that you can fit on one. But local pickup only - where are you? I'm in NY, Westchester county.
Although the base unit is a replacement for the original, the jointer is about fifty years old and still works well. Changeover isn't a big deal, but you only want to do one transform per project. Saw to drill press to lathe to bandsaw is ok, but if you have to do that five times a day, you're going to be irritated.
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