Way back when I use to look in the back of the popular mechanics at the ad’s for the shopsmith and something compelled me want one, even as a kid. Maybe it was from playing with erector sets and the like but the idea of have a machine I could make into other machines fascinated me.
Life seem far less then fair when they stopped making the shopsmith, after all I had never had a chance to buy one… sure we had a shop in the basement but after leaving home I only had a few hand tools of my own. After being in the army and using the gi bill for some education I actually got to the point of having enough money to start a shop of my own. Got a rockwell table saw a bandsaw, a few other tools then started looking at the newspaper ads for a used shopsmith…. Everyone of them were gone before I even called!
Then there they were! Ad’s for new ones again! So in 1976 I got a brand new one that I ordered out of the back of a magazine… without ever having seen one for real.
It was all that I had imagined and soon I parted with the rockwell and well the rest is history. Over the years shopsmith would come out with upgrades and I would upgrade but when the 510 version came out I passed on it, same with the 520.
With retirement coming up I saved some money to update my shop. After retiring I revisited what I wanted to do and then upgraded to the 520. I then rationed that with a 20 plus year old machine at some point something was going to go wrong sooner or later. That is when I found a basket case 510 for cheap on ebay. As it turned out it wasn’t as bad off as the previous owner(s) had though… they had abused it but not to the point that it needed a lot of money to get it working again. I debated about leaving it as a 510 but after having the 520 to use I was less then happy with the 510. And again it seemed reasonable to upgrade it to a 520 so I did. Now I have a lot of parts to exchange, and still no major problems… but I’m ready if and when they come.
I am extremely happy with the 520 and it was like changing to a new table saw. But some how I missed the old 500 and all that we had made together. I missed the jigs I had assembled in my collection… I even missed the smaller table for some jobs. I mean after working with a tool for so many years is natural right????
Added to that is the fact I have three grown children and hope to pass on a shopsmith to each of them it should be no surprise that I have been thinking of adding a third machine. That fact is I already had a lot of left over 500 parts so the biggest need was for a headstock.
So along came this spring and I was looking for something as a special gift for one of my brothers. He is a woodworker but has never experienced a shopsmith. He has also been into restoring old cars and was a machinest by trade. I figured a old shopsmith 10er was the perfect gift as what he needs in his shop is a wood lathe. Found one and did the minimum amount of work on it to make it usable and safe. Packed it up in my van as parts and delivered it the 400 miles a bit late for his birthday but that didn’t mean much as we unpacked and assemble the machine. So in small way that was my third machine… now passed on to a deserving brother.
Then there came today. Well today I over spent my budget but got a headstock, that will pretty much complete my desires to have another 500 to use and to have a third machine to pass on. Yep now all that is left is to re-adjust my budget by removing some other things I thought I was going to buy this year….
The worst of this is after having the 10er for a while I’ve fallen in love with it too. I’m already thinking I really need one of those in my all ready full garage…..
So how many is too many? Perhaps I should check my medical plan to see if they cover mental health issues Or am I just a normal shopsmith owner??
-- Knight of the Shopsmith