Shopsmith Restoration #3: Unpacking - Terrible Condition

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Blog entry by PG_Zac posted 02-17-2010 01:27 PM 5407 reads 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: The Treasure Trove Part 3 of Shopsmith Restoration series Part 4: We have identified the machine »

This morning I unpacked my new toys and can confirm that I have one Shopsmith mk 5, and one Master Shop. They are both in very sad condition, and I will be concentrating my efforts on restoring the Shopsmith and relegating the Master Shop to being the “spares” supply wherever possible.


The load waiting to be unpacked.


As you can see, there is rust everywhere

Even the Aluminium is seriously corroded

At least one of the main castings is broken

I can see that this is going to be a long and difficult restoration process, but I’m sure it will all be worth it in the end. I have been trying to manipulate my budget to buy a drill press followed by a table saw, with a lathe somewhere down near the bottom of the priority list – this way I get all 3.

Many of the accessories are missing, but at least I have the table saw and the lathe tail stock

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

13 comments so far

View KMJohnson's profile


165 posts in 3046 days

#1 posted 02-17-2010 01:29 PM

Lotsa work.

-- Let's do it in the wood pile!

View John Steffen's profile

John Steffen

218 posts in 3080 days

#2 posted 02-17-2010 02:32 PM

Wow! Was it kept outside? Best of luck in the restoration.

-- Big John's Woodshed - Farmington, IL

View deeman's profile


379 posts in 3106 days

#3 posted 02-17-2010 04:40 PM

I have bought parts on E-Bay for repairs on my MK V. They have worked out quite well. You just have to be patient and keep checking. The parts you need will eventually show up. I have two MK V One I bought new in 1986 and one I bought at a yard sale for $100. It was made in 1970. Both work very well. Good luck on your restoration.

-- Dennis Trenton Ohio And life is worth the living just because He lives!

View PG_Zac's profile


368 posts in 3414 days

#4 posted 02-17-2010 06:41 PM

Thanks for the good wishes guys.

John – They weren’t outside, but almost as bad. They were in a “shed” with two open sides in a very humid city for at least two years.

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4220 days

#5 posted 02-18-2010 01:28 AM

I would suggest that you spend your time & money on the real Shopsmith & scrounge any compatible parts off the other but not bother to restore it, since there is no support for that tool. The “smith” you have is from the 1950’s, but one of my Mark 5’s is that vintage & I’ve restored several others like it. The result is a very serviceable tool that will give you years of reliable use. Feel free to PM me if you need any help when you get into the project. I might be able to save you some time & frustration. -SST

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View oldwoodman's profile


137 posts in 3423 days

#6 posted 02-18-2010 06:51 AM

Would it be possible for some American/European Shopsmith owners with extra, unwanted parts to donate them to PG-Zac to facilitate his restoration project? I have a few duplicate parts that I would be willing to donate. I just do not know what the shipping costs would be, or even if it would be worth it.

Would the shipping costs be prohibitive for such a venture?

I think it would be cool to have an international ShopSmith restoration.

View PG_Zac's profile


368 posts in 3414 days

#7 posted 02-18-2010 10:00 AM

SST – Yeah I definitely won’t be spending much time fixing the Taiwanese clone. At most, I’ll just prevent further deterioration and keep it on hand for spares when needed. Thanks for your offer of help – I’m sure I’ll need it somewhere along the line.

You say this is a 50’s machine – How do you tell for sure? I want to buy an owner’s manual, but I believe there are several models with different manuals.

oldwoodman – That’s a very generous offer, thanks. Any missing parts that I need to buy would have to be shipped whether I buy parts from the manufacturer or eBay, so the shipping cost is a fact of my life and won’t prevent a purchase, although it may delay it a while. I intend to replace only missing parts or parts that are beyond repair rather than parts that are difficult to repair.

All assistance is greatly appreciated

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4220 days

#8 posted 02-18-2010 11:12 PM

Regarding the age of the machine, go to the site & click on Mark 5 and then on serial #’s. If I could ever figure how to do a link, I would. I think there’s also a place there where you can download a manual at that site. if not, go to it’s a good resource.

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3610 days

#9 posted 02-18-2010 11:28 PM

I can never understand the fascination TODAY with this old fashioned technology.We live in a world (mainly thanks to the Chinese) where setting up a shop is relatively within the budget of most people who have a home.Now obviously we can go to the stars when it comes to spending if we so wish.But this kind of tool is OK I suppose if you are pushed for space where everything fits in one machine and is very versatile and I could see a real use for it in abygone age say just after the war for example.Today I see very little scope for this, and even if this one of yours were in reasonable condition (which it’s clearly not) I would still seriously question a need for this type of machine .I wish you good luck but if you intend using this watch your health is more important than saving a few bucks this is dangerously in need of second thoughts, if and when when, it comes to using it sorry I am just trying to be honest.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View PurpLev's profile


8536 posts in 3673 days

#10 posted 02-18-2010 11:33 PM

lots of potential. it’ll take some work,but I think it’s worth it!

looking forward to seeing the progress :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4220 days

#11 posted 02-19-2010 02:39 AM

I’m a little puzzled by Scotsman’s “old fashioned technology” comment. Now, mind you, I’m not faulting anyone for their opinion, because the Shopsmith idea has always been subject to spirited discussion, but I’m wondering how a variable speed drill press, lathe, horizontal borer, and movable disk sander can be considered old fashioned technology. (I’ll leave out the table saw not because I don’t use it, but because it probably is a weak point to some with the tilt table design)
The only thing that’s old fashioned, I suppose, is that these tools (with reasonable care)routinely last 50 years or more. I don’t think many tools today will do that.
I’ve restored many old Shopsmiths, and other than rust cleanup on machines stored in crappy areas, about all the mechanicals needed was cleaning, lube and an occasional set of bearings.
As to safety issues, Blade guards are available if they’ve been lost, and if a safety on/off switch is desired, it’s easily & cheaply added.
These are not “throwaway” machines. Maybe that’s why I’m always supportive of restorations (yes even on separate old machines), but especially on Shopsmiths…because I’m an admitted “smith” junkie.

By the way, I do know some paint codes if you plan to go with an original look.

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3172 days

#12 posted 02-19-2010 02:57 AM


I could certainly go back to all the typical pro-ShopSmith arguments. But I won’t. You questioned the need. I think that misses an important point which is that want has a lot to do with it. The Mark V has a really lovable quality. I don’t know how else to explain it. Why restore a Mark V? Why not? It’s more useful than, say, a vintage car. It’s an example from another age when things were made to be maintained and repaired. I certainly think that merits the love and attention of those who appreciate its clever design and solid execution.

Back when I was a younger man, I worked in a TV repair shop. There was a particular brand of TV that was a joy to repair. It was well-made, designed to be easily serviced and had great support (service manuals and parts). They weren’t cheap, but they represented something important, a commitment to a long service life. Of all the consumer products available today, the Mark V stands out as a survivor of that time. To some of us that’s a very powerful attraction.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View PG_Zac's profile


368 posts in 3414 days

#13 posted 02-19-2010 09:38 AM

I have read that Shopsmiths have an avid following, and that opinions of these machines can be widely divided. In a way I am pleased to see it firsthand as it gives me a more personal insight into the pros and cons of the effort I am embarking on. I value all comments on and responses to my posts (like I think most active members do) because this helps me improve my skills and widen my idea base.

Alistair – Thanks for your comments. I’m usually very tuned-in to safety risks of using any machine, and I’ll take your gentle warning seriously. Don’t apologise for being honest, it’s good to see that there are still people around who are both honest and who can disagree without offending.

SST – I haven’t yet decided on staying with the original colour scheme, but I’ll keep it mind for when I make that decision, Thanks.

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

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