I thought it would be easy to find the time to knock out a blog piece every now & then, but I was mistaken. Maybe if I were a faster typist…then again, maybe not. Life (in this case, the holidays & re-building a couple of Shopsmiths…that’s sort of a holiday for me, too) just got in the way. But,
Here goes. I’ve been going through in my head exactly how I should approach this, and since it’s been an ever-changing thing, I’m going to keep the format somewhat free flowing & just let it evolve as it will.
I’m approaching this not with the purpose of trying to convince separate tool guys to get rid of their stuff & go Shopsmith, but rather to show those with Shopsmiths some ideas they may not have thought of, and show any separate toolies, who might tune in why also having a Smith in the shop may make sense.
Almost all of us could use another power tool, right? To my way of thinking, It might as well be a Shopsmith.
Now, I’m not advocating you go out & spend up for a new machine. (you certainly can if you want to) I couldn’t afford to do that. My newest machine is 25 years old (a 510). I just paid $300 for it & it came with a bandsaw & about $300 worth of high end lathe tools. Probably my best find so far, but I’ve paid anywhere from $75 -200 for older Mark 5’s. My point is; you don’t have to spend thousands, or even many hundreds. They’re out there. (I hope to get to tips on buying a used machine in the future.)
Sorry, rambling, again. A Mk 5 or 10er takes up a space roughly 72” x 24” in the shop, so it can easily sit in a corner as an extra tool, and I’m going to ask that you remember that as I mention a tool or reason for it to sit in the corner of your shop, keep in the back of your mind the fact that beyond a particular thing I mention, there’s at least a half dozen other purposes it can fill out of that same space. Just consider it bonus stuff. (The stuff of future blogs)
Okay, Here’s the first one. I’m not going in the order of what I think is important, just in the order of what I think of first, or maybe of what I just used it for. I’ll start out with the dedicated dado saw.
This is a pic of one of my 10er’s that I keep set up with a stacked dado blade set in it. (and yes, I know the blade slot is too big, I used this table insert for the picture because the zero clearance one I used for the project was tossed out…time to make a new one) This particular set up is to make box joints. It’s set at 3/8” width. The neat thing about a Smith is that you can get as many blade arbors as you want. I have a second arbor with another dado set at 3/4” for other dado/shelf work. It takes about one minute to swap. No re-stacking the blades or messing with widths.
Here’s a couple of pics of the box joint jig.
Here’s my first try at a box using box joints. (seemed like the right joint to use) The dado was also used to cut rabbets in the bottom of the box. The lid edges were done with an overhead shaper…Shopsmith, but more on that some other time. Remember what I said about the bonus stuff from the tool in the corner.
I suppose a question might come up as to just how often one would use a dado set up, so why have a dedicated one? I actually didn’t start out with the idea of having it this way. I set it up for a project and, since I have 4 active Smiths in my shop, I left it that way upon its completion. What I found was that I used it fairly often, so I made up another arbor/blade set in the other size I’d used, and find that it saves me time & effort to keep it that way.
Well, that’s it for the first reason. Not very exciting by itself, but I hope you’ll find it to be useful. I hope that as I do more of these, and you take the info collectively, you’ll see why I feel the way I do. Looking at just the one use, or each individual chapter of this blog, might not be very convincing. Hopefully, you’ll be patient with me & let this unfold. I was truly delighted with the response to the introduction.
I hope you stay. -SST
-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you