what is everyones opinion on a shopsmith

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i thought about getting a shopsmith anyone have suggestions or opinions on them?
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OK if you are short on space. Not nearly as handy as separate tools. On many projects you bounce from drill press to bandsaw to tablesaw. Do you want to have to switch back a setup just to drill one hole?
Maybe you have two projects going at the same time in different stages. You cut some wood, drill some holes, the do a glue up. Now you want to bandsaw something on the other project but you still have drilling to do on the first. Do you wait? Do you change setups again?
Just my opinion, they have a place but not in my shop. Ralph Engerman
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figured out why. It is too much to constantly change the machine over to another function, one after the other in order to get one project done. The band saw attachment is to small, the table saw attachment is too small as well. Everything in the work of changing it becomes redundant and rediculous when anyone would far rather drift over to a stationary machine and turn it on and use it as needed. I think it would be a pain the butt, frankly.
Personaly, I am setting up to do "neander" woodwork on a classic bench, and the only stationary electrical tool I will use is a small drill press on another work area. For a "table saw" I will make my own sawing box that uses a large backsaw, it will have 1/2" handled screw clamping going into two sides. it will also have stilts on the bottom to fit into the benches dog holes for stability. <G>
Alex
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I have to admit that comments such as these from people who have not owned or substantively used a Shopsmith are funny. There are a few former Shopsmith owners in this group and their gripes about the machine are valid - for them. There are also satisfied Shopsmith owners in this group that know that the changeover agrument isn't really valid for hobbyists and that you have setup time with any machine - just different. For example, I can change from a plywood blade to a rip blade on my Shopsmith in about 30 seconds or less. I can keep my dado set on an arbor tweaked to an exact size and switch it on and off at will and never have to reset it. I do not know any hobbyists that have a horizontal boring capability, few that have a variable speed bandsaw without a buch of pulley fiddling, or 12" disk sanders with full sized tables and fences. On the other hand, some changeovers are a little more inconvienient. The saw to drillpress is one of those. TRhus I own a little 8" benchtop DP that does most of my day-to-day drilling needs. But when I need a REALLY good drillpress to swing a big bit or do really precise work you can't beat the Shopsmith in DP mode for woodworking (it is not slow enough for heavy-duty metal work unless you buy the low speed attachment which drops it down to 100 RPM). It has its good points and bad points. If you have space to spare to dedicate to your wood shop, I would get stand alone tools. Otherwise I would look for a good used Shopsmith (hey, they have been in production since about 1953 and there are a LOT of them out there and they are built to last and still supported by the company). You may want to check out the ssusers group on yahoogroups.
Dave Hall
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1. Do not buy a new one. They frequently turn up used at prices less than half the new price. 2. If possible, attend a SS demo/class before purchasing. Class schedules are on the SS web site. 3. Check out some of the online resources including the SS web site at www.shopsmith.com, the SS users group at www.ssug.org, and any available yahoo groups. 4. See if you can find the book 'Woodworking for Everyone' at your library or a used bookstore. It is essentialy a SS manual and how to. Read it carefully paying particular attention to swapping between devices. 5. Look at the cost of the add on equipment and parts at the SS web site. Unless you can find used parts or add ons, you'll be paying those prices. 6. Think about your own working style. If you can plan a project to the extent that you are working like a production line (doing all cuts, then all sanding, then all drilling), the SS may be for you. If you can't do that, you may become frustrated. 7. If you are not space limited, compare the price of a SS to reasonable quality stand alone tools.
I bought a used SS about 12 years ago for less than $400.00. Here is a summary of my experience (note that I am 5'6" tall - this fact will make sense later):
1. Table Saw - I found the tilting table very annoying. Anything crosscut on a bevel had to be clamped solidly to the mitre gauge. For shallow rips, the table is quite high (the table moves, not the blade). In fact, after watching a kickback go past at chest height on me I gave up using it as a saw.
2. Disk Sander - Relatively OK.
3. Horizontal Boring - Never had the need.
4. Drill Press - Pretty good, but a stand alone drill press would have taken less space and after #1 I now have a separate saw.
5. Lathe - I learned to turn on it. Problem was that even for me the spindle height was too low and I usually ended a turning session with back pain.
At present I use it as a drill press and have a stand alone lathe mounted on the SS ways. The SS retractble casters on the stand allow me to move the lathe around until I can get the shop sorted out and build that permanent lathe stand - real soon now. When I get my act together the SS will go and I'll use the proceeds to buy a decent drill press.
All said, I'd buy it again. It is space saving and it did let me find out what I *really* wanted to do for comparatively little cost.
If you do nothing else, do more research first.
LD
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A friend of mine had one for many years..... he churned out some wonderful projects including many with tambour doors. He felt the machine was very nice but in no way did it replace individual machines. Set up for an operation and realize that you need to back track to do some previous operation to more stock..... Those that love their ShopSmiths are much better at organization than I am....

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I've never owned one, but here are a couple of items I have read:
I recall an article in a WW mag in which a guy who makes chairs used the SS as a drill press. He said that people would laugh when they saw it in his shop, but because it had two rails that were separated rather than one post, it was the best choice for drilling into chair legs - the pieces fit between the two rails nicely.
I have heard that ripping a sheet of ply is dangerous because the table is small and too high.
I have used a stand-along horiz boring mach to do some doweling and that feature looks nice on the SS, but I have no idea how it would work in practice. It is one of the questions I would ask of an experienced SS user.
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Yeah, that would work!

Given the other limitations of the SS and the price, you're better off with the boring machine.

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On Sun, 31 Oct 2004 04:38:44 GMT, Lobby Dosser

It's hard to get excited about boring machines.
Barry
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calmly ranted:

I've always preferred discrete machinery so I can do a production run successively through them after setting each one up for its function. If you have one machine, you'll be spending a lot more time tearing it down and setting up another function. And when one discrete machine breaks, the rest continue to work. If they're all in one housing, you're SOL.
--
"Given the low level of competence among politicians,
every American should become a Libertarian."
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wrote:

First of all, if you can afford one (good used one is well over $1,000) and don't have space for a table saw, sander, etc., they're very good... the quality is excellent and they last forever... very well built and easy to work on... good support on the web from SS and SS users groups..
the saw is fantastic for small, detailed projects due to it tilting and the saw arbor being attached to the drill press quill, so that you can make small adjustments... it is NOT good or safe IMO for anything bigger than maybe 2'x3' sheets... Even using both tables and a rolling stand, I never felt good about cutting sheets on it... a skill saw and guides were safer and faster..
The drill press is wonderful, the lathe is very good, but I'm 6'2 and was tempted to use it sitting down.. I used to do most of my drilling with it in the lathe position..
The 12" disk sander is a great way to destroy a lot of wood until you develop a gentle touch and learn to use it on the back, so you can still use the saw.. You get really tired of swapping blades, bits, disks, etc. and changing the setup, but with limited space, it's a good trade off..
The router is good for what it comes with.. straight bits.. I use it for a lot of edge routing, but I wouldn't recommend that to a new user..
Now that I have room/time/some times bucks for more tools, I find that not using the SS for a saw lets me have it set up as a drill press-router most of the time, which is very handy.. I still use it for cutting picture frames and things like that, because it does such a great job at compound miters..
Post or email any question, I'll help all I can..
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I've never owned one, but they seem to come up for sale in the local classified ads quite frequently. Much moreso that any other piece of equipment with the exception of the Craftsman radial arm saw. You can draw your own conclusion, if any, from that. The conclusion I draw is that people have them, don't like them, and want to get rid of them.
todd
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they 1) moved up, 2) gave up or 3) passed away.
The Shopsmith is NOT a piece for people aspiring to be the next David Marks. It WAS a tool that Norm used, before Delta, many years ago.
I made 6 or 8 complex projects on my Shopsmith, before moving up. I wish I had paid used price for the system, rather than new, but we learn.
The Shopsmith is still here. The earlier suggestion about paying for a day's training session is a good one. The suggestion about buying used, should you decide that it is for you, is also excellent.
The important questions to ask are not 'Can it do X?', but rather 'Show me how it does X, please.' Then evaluate what YOU want to do.
Patriarch
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Are you woodworking in a closet? If so, they'll make do. NONE of the operations are the equal of a medium priced stand-alone tool, and, as noted, the primary tool, the tablesaw, is underpowered, inconvenient and unsafe for much over jewelry boxes.
Other than that, I use a vertical clamping jig on the DP for line boring, any saw can take a sanding disk, and the lathe is a back-breaker unless you jack it up.

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Gee, whish I had had that "expert advice" before I built two shops, several kitchens, dozens of cabinets of various shapes, sizes and types, and innumerable other things with mine.
Did you try to build anything bigger with yours?
--
MikeG
Heirloom Woods
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Yep, that's why I now have standalones!
You can make do or make hay as you please, me for full-size.
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wrote:

I've done tons with a Ryobi 10", but would rather have had something more solid, less of a hobby tool. I'd not mind a Shopsmith at all, but can't afford all of the attachments. Convenience can be an issue for some who prefer to move from tool to tool in a well set up large shop. The Shopsmith is possibly a best buy for a smaller shop. From what I've seen, tool and production, it's not a toy. It's not industrial, but not too many hobby woodworkers need that heavy sort of equipment. A few Tim the Toolman types might want more power, but that's not common. If one fell off a truck nearby, I wouldn't shove it on the front lawn with a "FREE" sign.
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Gee I wonder why my Shopsmith (over 55 years old) is still going strong and use it most days. Too bad we didn't have your evaluation then, we might have bought individual tools that would be gone by now.
says...

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On Tue, 2 Nov 2004 13:04:32 -0500, "Charles Callaghan"

Try reading a little more carefully. I was not referring to my own preference. See below. "some" does not mean "myself". The main point was the convenience for the small area shop. Personally I'd love one; could have had my FIL's when he passed on ...with all the attachments, but didn't speak up. That's what I meant when I said I'd not put it out on the front lawn. It's called dry humour.
Jeesh!

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says...

doors, and shelves to go with everything.
What I hated was changing the infeed and outfeed rollers with every change in the depth of cut. I hated trying to do a miter, with the table tilted. A crosscut sled helped, when the blade was vertical, but was useless otherwise.
It p#ssed me off that every dimension was different than the pieces I could buy at the home center, or at the tool store. That everything that came with it was some custom size, or worked differently. That processes with the Shopsmith were different than were taught elsewhere.
And that, if every single possible thing that could come loose weren't tightened and rechecked for measurement, every time a cut needed to be made, something would slip, and ruin a piece of material, or push it out of square, or scare me spitless....
Eventually, I quit using the thing. I don't have the time or patience for the SS saw. My wife said, just buy what I want. Life's too short. So I kicked the kid's Mustang out into the street, built a shed for the gardening crap, called the electrician to bring in 220v, and bought a Unisaw LT Limited Edition, almost two years ago.
I imagine you could cut dovetails with dental floss, and scrape flawless surfaces with broken dishware. This hobby, though, for me, is supposed to be fun. Using the SS wasn't. YMMV.
Patriarch
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