Floating main table (520)

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Blog entry by reible posted 10-30-2009 12:53 AM 2315 reads 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

While this exercise was conducted on a 520 system it should also work with any of the shopsmith systems that make use of the connecting tube system.

This experiment is to see how a main table would work as a floating main table. What is a floating main table you ask? In its simplest terms it is a main table with the trunnions and below removed. What advantages might that offer? Well I assume that is why you are reading this so lets get started with the project.

I have been thinking of this project for some time now. However I wasn’t able to do much with it due to not having a spare 505/510/520 table to work with. The one system I have was a basket case machine which I got working but the table top was not as nice as it could be. Mis-use of previous owner(s) has sort of bugged me so when I had the opportunity to get a used table in much better condition I got it. This then left me with a spare table. I am missing the necessary 520 rails but I wanted to see how well this worked before spending the $$ to get them.

I think the best way to proceed is with the use of pictures. Here is a shot with it mounted to the right.

When mounted to the left side it would look like this.

Due to the design of the table mounting it on the right will limit the depth of cut to about 2-1/2”. This of course can be changed if you don’t mind removing some of the underside of the floating main table. I would not do this if you think you would want to return it to a regular table again in the future.

The two table will need the support of either the support legs or the use of an extension table but will afford you with a minimum width of 35-14”. By position it farther from the main table you can increase this dimension.

I have checked the alignment of the miter slots and they seem to be fine. The setup shown slides like butter and might get you to think about making a very wide sled??

By using the “extension table brackets” that shopsmith sells the table will also mount in front of or behind the main table. I have a picture of it in both places and as you can see the added depth you get when using a sled. The added depth is the same as when you use floating tables at about 52-1/2” of support.

As can be seen the system can be adjusted so the sled will slide in the miter slots on both tables. It takes a few minutes to set up but it seems to be on a path I want to continue working on.

Hope this inspires some of you to see how much opportunities us shopsmith owner have in the way we use our tool of choice.


-- Knight of the Shopsmith

6 comments so far

View gagewestern's profile


308 posts in 3379 days

#1 posted 10-30-2009 01:06 AM

way to think outside the box

-- gagewestern

View a1Jim's profile


117128 posts in 3606 days

#2 posted 10-30-2009 01:32 AM

Unique Idea

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3176 days

#3 posted 10-30-2009 03:11 AM

I think that, by definition, ShopSmith owners tend to think differently.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3458 days

#4 posted 10-30-2009 01:17 PM

I am not sure what you mean by that, bunkie but I am sure it is a compliment.

Ed, I do believe you have something there. It certainly enlarges the work surface and at the same time provides additional miter tracks that will be very useful as hold downs and the like. This will also be great for use with the sliding cross cut sled and the Incra accessories.

I’ll be watching closely for further developments.

-- Making Sawdust Safely

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3176 days

#5 posted 10-30-2009 01:40 PM


Yes, I did mean it as a compliment. As a longtime ShopSmith owner and member of the Yahoo SSUsers list, I’ve seen an awful lot of clever, non-traditional thinking from ShopSmith owners.

Ed, that’s a prime example of this. This weekend I’ll see if I can shoot some photos of my dirt-simple yet highly effective outfeed table. I’m rather proud of it.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View reible's profile


34 posts in 3790 days

#6 posted 10-31-2009 03:20 AM

Hi Bunkie,

I personally would love to see what you came up with. I have no objection to the free exchange of ideas to make our woodworking experience the best it can be. Our sometime maligned shopsmith obsession really plays on how we think different then other folks. It is simply a matter of some of us get it and some of us don’t.

Dusty2 is quite the experimenter too and he has a version of this that makes use of the floating tables and a miter channel mounted via an angle piece to the floating table… He and I often exchange ideas via the web and memberships at both the ssug and shopsmith forums. I too am a member on the yahoo site but mostly post to the other two. If you haven’t checked them out you might want to.

-- Knight of the Shopsmith

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