Shop Smith #1: -Day one

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Blog entry by htl posted 01-16-2016 02:10 AM 1008 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Shop Smith series Part 2: Where did you get you first look at a shop smith? »

This is a long story about getting a used Shop Smith.

Been getting back into wood working the last year and an working out of my 2 car garage.
I really only have half because the lawnmower and motor cycle take up quite a bit a room.
Been using a small Dewalt contractors saw which I love for it’s great fence system.
My drill press, and two sanders are HF with the Sears 12” band saw.
I’m just making very small toy parts so don’t need or want any thing bigger.

All this said we come to a used Shop Smith which I will be picking up tomorrow, YES!!!

Building my last project the Toys and Joys excavator I really needed to do a lot of drilling and some fancy drilling at that.
Drilling out a 1/4” hole in a 6” long 1/2” dowel for the hydraulics can be quite interesting work.
Just a couple a degrees off and it’s out the side, plus if it isn’t dead center it just doesn’t look right.
I got it done after trying three different jigs.
All the jigs could make one but not consistently.
But I finely figured out a way.
The whole time in the back of my mind I’m thinking if I just had my trusty old Shop Smith it would be a snap.

I have been halfheartedly looking for one on Craigslist for a while but just didn’t want to pay $500 for one at that time, now I’m not saying their not worth it cause they for!

Now to the tale of the shop Smith find.
[Turns out it was 1981 not 1977] Up date on bad memory.
Years ago 1977 or so any mall you went in would be having a Shop Smith demo and being a lover of wood working and at the time helping build Harris Dam as a carpenter, them demos would really put the fire in to you for a work shop.
So I finally got up the nerve and signed the doted lone on one.
Traded a motor cycle I had for a small 10’ by 10’ barn and started making toys and the like with my brand new Shop Smith.
I built just about all the toys in the shop smith books.
Trains planes, steam boats, cranes,air planes.
Even started a cabinet shop.
But I’m getting ahead of my self, what really got me to bite the bullet was a friend bought one before me and had it in his room still in the box.
It’s funny but I had to twist his arm to let me help him get it out of the box and put together.
So I had the fun and joy of opening and putting one together even before I got mine.

Five years later he was helping me in my work shop building things for Apple Bees and the like, and the sad thing is that saw of his was still in his room gathering dust. lol

Now you say what has this got to do with buying a used Shop Smith???
Well yesterday I got on the list and there was a SS for sale for $225.
It was in an area where my friend used to live he’s since lived in Alaska and now is in South America.
So I call to check it out and it’s the very same saw I put together nearly 40 years ago, now how cool is that!
So tomorrow I’m driving 120 miles to pick up a used shop smith I helped put together.
And know for a fact it wasn’t used for the first ten years of it’s life.
The man that has it I knew as a young boy down the street from where my friend lived.

And here’s a link on how great the ss is as a drill press, which is the main reason I want it and for some small lathe work.

Tomorrow I get a shop smith to play with and bring back to it’s old shiny self. Yahoo!!!

-- There's a hundred ways to do anything, alot depends on the tools at hand.

12 comments so far

View Dutchy's profile


1976 posts in 1591 days

#1 posted 01-16-2016 08:26 AM

A very nice and particularly story Bruce. Glad to hear you fond such a beautiful machine for such little money. Well done sir. I never have seen a shop smith in real life. But on LJ I many times read about him. I hope you will will have fun making him shining again.

-- My englisch is bad but how is your dutch?

View helluvawreck's profile


22700 posts in 2290 days

#2 posted 01-16-2016 01:17 PM

It sounds like you got a good deal. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

8106 posts in 2852 days

#3 posted 01-16-2016 03:30 PM

Concrats, Bruce!
I’m a happy user of two ‘Smiths.
Woodsmith published a plan that I modified for a neat drill pres aux. table. Might be able to find it on their site.
Here’s a link to the Official Shopsmith forum. Lot’s a knowledgeable folks who have done total rebuilds of their machines. Might be worth your while to visit that site.
Have fun!!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View ralbuck's profile


1807 posts in 1689 days

#4 posted 01-16-2016 06:19 PM


-- just rjR

View htl's profile


2038 posts in 582 days

#5 posted 01-16-2016 09:53 PM

Turned out to be a 270 mile ride to get a ss that is a bit rusty but with a little tender loving care it will work like new.
Turns out it has really never even been used maybe turned on 20 times and I did the first 5 40 years ago.
Around 1977.
So there’s no wear and tare just what sitting in a room for 40 years will do to a ss.
I’ll be needing a drill chuck and a 5/8 and 1/2 auger and will be on the look out for other parts.
Didn’t come with the casters but I’m thinking about cutting the legs down so I can use it in a sitting position.
The only time I won’t be using it as a drill press is when I dado something cause my dewalt saw is the cheap one that can’t use the full set of knives.
So all and all an really pleased with this find.
I just got in so no rusty pictures yet.
First thing I want to do is get it oiled up derusted and waxed any tips or warnings about a ss that has been setting for so long would be appreciated.
It runs just fine but as I said don’t want to do much till I get some oil in the needed places.
I should add that this is my third ss.

-- There's a hundred ways to do anything, alot depends on the tools at hand.

View htl's profile


2038 posts in 582 days

#6 posted 01-16-2016 11:28 PM

Turns out the dates in my head don’t tally with the date on the ss. it’s a 1981 dec so it’s a lot newer than I remember.
Hey I can’t remember what I did yesterday let alone 1981. lol
I’m really cool with that.

-- There's a hundred ways to do anything, alot depends on the tools at hand.

View NormG's profile


5434 posts in 2427 days

#7 posted 01-17-2016 04:02 AM

You just never know what you will run into. Congrats and have a great time with the SS

-- Norman

View htl's profile


2038 posts in 582 days

#8 posted 01-18-2016 03:03 PM

Just a note on how easy it is to drill out the hole in a dowel with the shop smith.
Lock the fence then lock the miter and drill.
Of coarse everything must be set up square first.
I think I’m in trouble I’m getting back in to Shop Smith mod. lol

-- There's a hundred ways to do anything, alot depends on the tools at hand.

View wmgworks's profile


193 posts in 408 days

#9 posted 01-19-2016 05:34 PM

I love stories like that! What a great find, man. Good luck with it

-- Butchering wood since 2015

View htl's profile


2038 posts in 582 days

#10 posted 01-19-2016 06:29 PM

I need to go out and clean it up has quite a bit a rust but as long as it works it’s a start and something to play with.

I sold two small doll houses I made for $125 and traded a Dewalt 3h router for it.
Wasn’t going to use the router so I’ve really got nothing in it but a 270 mile ride and got to see the old neighborhood while I was at it.
So a win me thinks. LOL
Thanks NornG and wmgworks for checking out the post and commenting.

-- There's a hundred ways to do anything, alot depends on the tools at hand.

View CraftyCantrell's profile


36 posts in 112 days

#11 posted 07-19-2016 08:41 PM

That is a fantastic story! Such a small world that you just happened to find the machine you helped put together so many years before!!

-- Adam,

View htl's profile


2038 posts in 582 days

#12 posted 07-19-2016 09:26 PM

I thought you might find that interesting . LOL

-- There's a hundred ways to do anything, alot depends on the tools at hand.

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