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.
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
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.
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.
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,
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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