I've been putting stuff together for years (I wouldn't exactly call it
woodworking, just 1 step above nailing 2X4s together). Retirement is
closing in and I'm looking to spend some more time generating sawdust.
As my only available work space is the two car garage, I need some
tools that can be rolled in and out of the parking area. Saw a
ShopSmith today at Loews, I'd heard of them but the first I'd seen
Are they any good for a beginner/intermediate woodworker? Or am I
better off spend the 3K on separate tools?
Personally, and this is just my opinion....I'd opt for the separate tools.
My father-in-law has a ShopSmith and spends more time converting the tool
from one tool to another and setting up than he does woodworking. Even a
solid collection of bench top tools seems to me to be as capable and doesn't
require all the change time. The flip side is that ShopSmith has been in
business for quite a while, so they must be doing something right or they'd
have long disappeared. Good luck with whatever you decide....the key is to
: There's also "Super Shop" made by Smithy http://www.smithy.com /
A third option, if space is a really big issue, is a European combination
machine, like a Rojek, Hammer, Felder, Robland, or any of several other
makers. Space is at a high premium in European woodworking shops (even
commercial ones), and manufacturers in Germany, Belgium, and Poland have
put a lot of thought and effort into designing lines of really excellent
-- Andy Barss
I think separate tools is better so you don't have to change back and forth
just to make one small operation. Today, for an instance, I wanted to cut a
curve on the edge of a b racket. With my bandsaw, it took about one minute
to tension the blade and make the cut. With a SS, how long would it take to
You can buy mobile bases for big tools, small tools can be put on a cabinet
If you decide to go with a SS, look in the local paper. I see a few for
sale every week. Makes me wonder why so many compared to other tools.
I leave either the bandsaw or jointer semi-permanently mounted on my shopsmith
along with the table saw setup.
Changeover is a matter of sliding the power head over, reducing the speed, and
connecting it. 30 sec max.
I've had both single purpose tools and a Shopsmith for 25 years. Probably the
best single purpose tools to have are a table saw and planer. My Shopsmith
takes care of everything else.
I'm also (sorta) retired and have a lot of time but I prefer separate tools.
YMMV. It all depends on your objective. If you just want to stay busy and
don't mind -- or even enjoy -- the setup time, maybe the Shop Smith is for
you. Personally, I prefer results and the less time I spend in setup and
adjustment, the more work I can get done.
By buying used machines, you can assemble a much more capable shop than what
you'd pay for a new Shop Smith.
I'm particularly not fond of the table saw). IIRC, it has a VERY small
table (won't easily handle large work pieces, jigs, etc.) and, rather than
the blade tilting, the table tilts. As much as I use my table saw -- and
for the types of cuts I make -- a contractor saw much better suits my needs.
The only Shop Smith capability I would like to have is horizontal boring.
But I can do that by installing a chuck on my grinder motor and making a
sliding clamping table.
If you have the workshop space, go for the separate tools. If you
don't, then the Shopsmith makes sense. I don't have the space and have
owned a Mark V for 20 years. Yes, it has shortcomings, particularly
the small table in the tablesaw configuration, and the time spent
changing between configs.
On Sun, 16 Jan 2005 13:46:33 -0600, email@example.com wrote:
snipped-for-privacy@TAKEOUTmindspring.com wrote in
Yes, you can fit extensions, roller stands, etc., for the table saw. The
problem is one of fundamental design, however. Raising and lowering the
cutting depth is raising and lowering the table, relative to the fixed
drive height on the motor arbor, requiring that everything move up and
down. And readjusting the roller stands.
And tilting the 'blade' is really tilting the table. The first project
with that setup had a seriously high pucker factor, as well as a limited
The whole concept is like a multitool you would carry on your belt. Few of
the tools are excellent, but they all function to some degree or another.
I did a bathroom remodel, with three cabinets, two drawers and a mirror, on
my Shopsmith, so I gave it a fair chance. Then I started buying real
Of course, I was able to evict my son's Mustang from the garage along the
'88 5.0, with the 5 speed sitting in the garden next to the tomatoes.
The car went to a good home. My son got to go to college, 1000 miles from
home. A fair exchange, as far as everyone was concerned.
firstname.lastname@example.org wrote in news:huclu0p89m7nuniu7pjsqtofsu6gik1ute@
You could make a current Shopsmith owner an offer of $1000, and make him
very happy. Lots of folks who bought Shopsmiths either don't pursue the
hobby, move up to better tools, or leave mortality behind.
It's not a terrible tool. Just not worth the money. As I found out about
$2500 too late.
I'll affirm Patriarch's comment. If you offer me $1000 I'll sell you
mine. It is going on ebay shortly anyway since I've upgraded to a PM 66
and various other separate machines. My Shopsmith is the older model 500
from the late 70's. It is in excellent condition, includes everything
that came with it including the manuals. I also have the bandsaw with a
set of 4 virtually new Timberwolf blades.
I recently bought (for my brother) a 1987 model 500 Shopsmith. It was
apparent that it had not been used for more than 15 minutes as most
parts were not even opened and there was virtually no sawdust or other
signs of use. It came with an unopened bandsaw, and unopened jointer,
an unopened beltsander and an unopened lathe duplicator, along with
most of the needed blades and bits. All of this cost me $650 plus about
$150 for the few needed parts that had somehow been lost over the
years. I previously bought for myself a 1992 model 510 with bandsaw,
jointer, strip sander, dust collector and lots of extras for $1,250,
all in great condition. The point is that there are good used deals out
there on Shopsmiths if you have the time and willingness to keep an eye
out. $1,000 for a model 500 without any major add-on tools is way high
IMHO. There are some semi-reasonable deals on Ebay, but shipping tends
to jack the price substantially even if the seller will ship. That is
why you see so many Shopsmiths being parted out on ebay. You might,
however, see one on ebay close enough to pick up.
Gee Dave, rain on my parade why don't you! Just kidding. I wouldn't
pay $1000 for the one I have either, but I would take that for it.
Actually, I'd take $650 for it if I'm in a good mood and you wouldn't
have to buy anything. I'll even throw in the custom plywood 'expander'
I made for the small table. But, the only extras are the bandsaw (with
four almost new Timberwolf blades - one is still in the package) and the
molding head with two sets of cutters. It still looks virtually new and
works perfectly. If anyone (especially in Atlanta) is looking for a
Shopsmith deal, feel free to email me.
Dave Hall wrote:
If it were in Pittsburgh I might take a look. The things I had to buy for my
brother's Shopsmith were things that had apparently been left behind in a move
some years past and included stuff like the fence (another indicator that the
Shopsmith hadn't been used much), the drill chuck, all instructions, lathe
drive center, etc.
$650 with a bandsaw isn't a bad deal for you folks down Atlanta way ;)
I have had mine about 8 years. Sure , I paid too much but it has good
factory support and it encourages you to set things up properly. Most
people using a table saw use the same blade at the same speed for
Most people who leaarn to use them, love them.
BTW, I seldom turn out anything longer than 4 feet.
On Sun, 16 Jan 2005 22:49:03 -0600, Patriarch
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