Shopsmith


adkinsjd
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What do folks generally think about shop smith machines? It seems most complaints are about the setup/changing between functions. I have a nice table saw and router, and i have a passable jointer and planar.

There always seems to be several of them on Craigslist at any given time which makes me a little hesitant... If they are always for sale, it makes me wonder if I would be happy with one. Is it worth picking one up for the lesser used tools (lathe, drill press, disk sander, etc)?

Is this a jack of all trades master of none?

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My dad had one 20 or so years ago. It seemed like it never really worked exactly right. If you already have a table saw, jointer and plainer I think this would eat up a huge chunk of real estate to use it just for the "lesser used items". The only real benefit you'd get from it would be the lathe, which if memory serves is not even close to great. There are much much better lathes to be had if that's what you're after. In my opinion you're hesitant for good reason, you have to wonder why so many people are trying to get rid of them.

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A Shopsmith from the 80s is currently what I use as the main hub of my shop, as I share the 2 car garage shop space with the two cars. It's nice to be able to pull it out and put it up, but it's a tough sale for table saw. The table is impossibly small, and I learned this week that the table does not accept the standard 3/4in miter gage runners. I have been unsuccessful on getting my very old jointer to work, but I do like the drill press, spindle sander and disk sander. It's actually pretty easy to change in between tools.

When I get more space for a shop, I will probably keep it and have it set up as a disk or spindle sander most of the time, but I cannot wait until I have the space for a proper table saw.

I really have no experience in turning, but I did set it up as a lathe. It seemed to work fine, but I wouldn't know what makes one lathe better than another.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Back around 1980, I bought an old Shopsmith 10ER, which is the orig. with a simple v belt drive.

Now I have all separate machines. I kept the SM, for use as a lathe, 12" disc sander, and for drilling holes in the end of long posts.

These old ones usually sell for $100 - $300. I paid $100 for mine. For someone starting out, with not a lot of money to spend, it can get you started on making sawdust, for low cash.

For, lets say, for $200, you get the following:

Table saw (it's not a great saw, but cuts wood)

Drill press

12" disc sander

Wood lathe

So for $200 or so, you can start woodworking, then as you get more cash to spend, you can buy better individual tools, and if you don't want to keep the SM, sell it for what you paid.

I only use the wood lathe on average, 1-2 times a year. Hardly enough to justify buying a separate one.

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I see you are in SW Ohio. Part of the reason you see a lot of them on Craigslists, is that their headquarters is located in Dayton, and I believe the machines are still manufactured there.

I don't have one personally, but everyone I have known to have owned one has been very happy with machine, and they are high quality machines.

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i have a 1950 shopsmith 10 er. great machine i honestly feel that if you can find a mark V for less than 500 bucks with all the basic tools its a great buy i nothing else than or a good starter lathe. i use my horizontal boring and lathe setups the most. i dont use the table saw because i already have one. plus one thing about these machines if you are thinking of replacing a whole shop full of tools is that each setup is a compromise to the other setups in some way. the functions work but will have some small thing you cant quite do. most of your turning needs will be met better than a midi lathe if you want to just get a taste eventually you will want a bigger more solid lathe. when i say solid i dont mean the machine is flimsy but that needs weight to keep larger projects from making the lathe do the lathe dance.

the 10 ER if you can find less than 200 with the speed changer snap it up the speed changer alone is worth 125 to a collector. the mark v has a differently designed power head so thats not the case.

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I am very limited for space and have had my mark v upgraded to a 510 since 1988. I have built my bedroom furniture, kitchen cabinets and much more with this machine. They are not for everyone, but being an experienced carpenter, cabinetmaker I have made do with this machine do to my space limtitations. All of my projects have come out perfect for my as well as my customers satisfaction. Sometimes its not so much the machine as it is the skills of the operator. I would highly recommend this machine but make sure I was explaining its limits to anyone looking at purchasing one. Checking their forums would certainly be a good place to start.

BHough56

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