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Now HERE'S a drill press for woodworking

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Review by bkhop posted 2268 days ago 12721 views 1 time favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Now HERE'S a drill press for woodworking No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Here’s my review of the Shopsmith Mark V in drill press “mode”. I am convinced it is one of the only truly designed-for-woodworking drill presses on the market. Go take a look at drill presses on the market today… they’re all equipped with a beautiful dinner plate sized table. -Which isn’t worth beans for woodworking… want proof? How many guys have built their own “aftermarket” table to fix the problem? How many places offer pre-built drill press table kits as “upgrades”? Original equipment on most every drill press I’ve seen has very little surface area, no fence, etc. Keep in mind, then, everything in this review is STANDARD equipment with the Shopsmith Mark V unless specifically mentioned otherwise.

some of the pic’s show better detail if you clicK into them

Let’s start with the table. Photobucket
The first thing that should be mentioned is that the table is on two posts – not one, like any other drill press. The table in the picture is the Mark V Model 520 table. It measures 17 1 1/2” x 22” – now that’s a decent size for a drill press table! The table, as part of the Shopsmith “system”, indexes frontward and backward (this would be the “up/down” travel in the tablesaw mode.)Photobucket
This is very helpful, as you can imagine. Coupled, then, with the fence, you’ve got an unbeatable system, right from the get-go. (Now, what I’ve got in my photos is a Model 520, remember, which is different than some of the older models. With the T-tracks in my fence… one on either ‘face’, two on top… I can use all sorts of jigs, hold-downs, etc. Super handy.) Photobucket
What you see in the track on the top of the fence in several photos is a pair of “stops” - these are additional accessories. BUT – back to the table! The table travels backward and forward, and for the really fine adjustments, a collar is available as an optional accessory. (In the photos, you will see I have added a vernier tape to mine – this allows me to dial in a 1/128” frontward/backward adjustment.) How’s that for accuracy?Photobucket
The table also tilts – want to drill a pocket hole? Knock yourself out. (Yes, the Kreg jig has its place, but the Shopsmith can do some of those operations a whole lot quicker and with more accuracy.) Want to drill into the side of a dowel? Same operation – you’re making a “V” block with the fence/table.Photobucket
Depth stop is built right in – dial the depth what you want, lock it; just a quick spin of the depth stop. Depth stop up to 4 1/4”.Photobucket
And, finally, one of the things that is almost overlooked because it is so “central” to the whole Shopsmith system is the variable speed. Just dial in the correct speed for the bits you are using. Photobucket
No more belt/pulley systems to have to change out – or, in many cases, try to “make-do” with whatever setting you’re on just so you don’t have to mess with the belts and pulleys. Now you can actually use the bits the way they’re intended to be used… easily. Dial down to 700 RPMs – if you need even slower speeds for, say, a clock face (those really big forstners!) you can get an optional speed-reducer accessory (I don’t have mine in the pictures) that’ll get you down to 100 RPMs!!

With all of this said, you could also use the Mark V as a drill press in the horizontal mode. This would be what is called, oddly enough, a horizontal drill press! You’re not likely to see too many horizontal drill presses in smaller workshops because they are a one-trick pony of sorts and the space (and cost) requirements just wouldn’t merit having one. Well, on the Mark V, you get a horizontal drill press. (I cringe when I think about some of the pretty scary setups folks have come up with trying to drill into the end of a post – think bunk bed posts, as an example). No problem on the Shopsmith… just lay the machine down horizontally and you’re in business with a height-adjustable table, miter gauge, etc. The miter gauge locks into the miter slot at any location and becomes your “fence” like in this picture:
Photobucket
-This, by the way, is how I drill all of the pens I turn on the lathe.

So, there you have it. My review of the Shopsmith Mark V drill press. I think it is one of the best out there – though it’ll never get reviewed by a magazine doing an honest review of drill presses. I have my guesses as to why.
-Oh, and being USA designed and USA built ain’t too shabby either.

-- † Hops †




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bkhop

68 posts in 2664 days



26 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2419 days


#1 posted 2268 days ago

This is a nice review. You indeed do have a nice drill press and table with this tool.

Thanks for the post.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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GMman

3902 posts in 2295 days


#2 posted 2267 days ago

That is what you call a drill press

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 2483 days


#3 posted 2267 days ago

Sure opened my eyes to looking into a Shopsmith again.
Thanks,
John Gray

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3808 posts in 2619 days


#4 posted 2267 days ago

I wish I had your tme.
With time , anything is possible.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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bkhop

68 posts in 2664 days


#5 posted 2267 days ago

I wish I had your tme.

Directed to me? If so, I’ve got the same amount of time you do. And I’m confused by your statement and its intent.

-- † Hops †

View Don Niermann  's profile

Don Niermann

207 posts in 2569 days


#6 posted 2267 days ago

I don’t know what time is such a concern. I am in my shop to relax and enjoy. A few min to set up is no big deal unless you are i n business of woodworking. I have a Shopsmith and use it for everything but a tablesaw because of the dust collection problem. Its a very accurate piece of equipment. Keep it up

-- WOOD/DON (...one has the right to ones opinion but not the right to ones own facts...)

View Karson's profile

Karson

34853 posts in 2998 days


#7 posted 2267 days ago

Great tool. Nice review. Thanks for the info.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

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Chris

1867 posts in 2588 days


#8 posted 2267 days ago

That’s sure is a lot of functionality in one package; not to mention it’s other uses… I’ve not had any personal experience with the ShopSmith.

Thanks for the review!

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View bkhop's profile

bkhop

68 posts in 2664 days


#9 posted 2267 days ago

If the previous post about “time” was a “dig” using the tired old whipping boy of the change-overs of a Shopsmith, then that is completely absurd. This whole review proves over and over the time SAVINGS. You want to talk about time? http://www.forums.woodnet.net/ubbthreads/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=3663152&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=
Tell me how those solutions (albeit beautifully crafted) are possibly saving any time when what you’re looking at above is ready to go on day one? Not only that, but has been the basic concept since the Shopsmith 10 Models from the late ‘40s!! -And not to mention that even with these after-the-purchase upgrades – and some do offer a great deal more functionality – they still aren’t approaching the functionality of the Shopsmith’s drill press mode.

I’m sure I’ll get eaten alive for that comment, but that’s okay. I’m not a Shopsmith nutball, but I do think they have their place. Yes, I’ve got a lot of Shopsmith tools in my shop – but they all have to earn their keep. I’ll be writing more reviews in the future to illustrate why certain tools are in my shop. I don’t keep ANY tool in the limited amount of space I have unless it does what it does very well. (That, and just because Norm uses it doesn’t make it the best option for MY shop… )

-- † Hops †

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Napaman

5315 posts in 2674 days


#10 posted 2267 days ago

glad that my shopsmith will save me time from needing to build any of those custom tables…i love my shopsmith…and the drill press is pretty darn great!!!

very nice review Hops!!!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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Bob #2

3808 posts in 2619 days


#11 posted 2267 days ago

Hops, I didn’t want to argue with you or quarrel.

My observations re the Shopsmith are from my own experiences I’ve had over the last 40 years of building wood products and talking from with previous owners.

I am happy for you that you are happy.

I personally feel that the time factor and several other issues make this tool rather limited from my perspective.
And, as this is a forum, I am entitled to my opinion even if it does not parallel your own.

FWIW , your depiction of the use of your drill press for pocket screws is showing a very odd placement of the pockets as they most generally enter the end of a board (style) and the screws engage the “rail” portion.

Regards

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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bkhop

68 posts in 2664 days


#12 posted 2267 days ago

FWIW , your depiction of the use of your drill press for pocket screws is showing a very odd placement of the pockets as they most generally enter the end of a board (style) and the screws engage the “rail” portion.

Uhhmmm, it was a quick setup for a quick photo to give a general, quick idea. I’ll replace the photo with a more precise one showing exact placement.

By the way, Bob, not to “quarrel” (I’m not sure why we’re so petrified anymore of good old-fashioned debate, but anyway…) have you owned and used a Shopsmith?

-- † Hops †

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Bob #2

3808 posts in 2619 days


#13 posted 2267 days ago

Yes I owned a 500 series in the 1970’s. Since that experience I have accumulated a series of dedicated machines that I can move back and forth with without loosing my setup each time.

I found that with a large project having to make all the same cuts at the same time or set and reset the machine several times for each set a deterrent to my progress.
The saw and table was inadequate for my needs and the fence at the time was just awful.

That’s all I can remember right now.

Oh yes they were quite pricey.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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bkhop

68 posts in 2664 days


#14 posted 2267 days ago

(Though we should really put this discussion in a different review of the Mark V itself, this will do since I don’t have time to write up a separate review right now.)

First, that you have even used a Shopsmith Mark V makes your comments worthwhile. There’s a lot of guys running around saying, “Shopsmiths suck, don’t buy a Shopsmith.” Asked when they last used a Shopsmith… “Well, I’ve never really used one.” Uhh, yeah. Right.

Now, regarding the Model 500. It was “okay” – and to be perfectly frank, was, in my opinion in a lot of ways, a step DOWN from the old 10s and 10ERs. With that said, it is still the basic foundation of the 520 – which is light years ahead of the 500! The expandable tables, the rail system (locking front and rear fence), etc. are much, much improved even from the 510 model.

As far as the dedicated machines in your shop, that’s fine by me. Not everyone, though, has a shop that big. To fit that many machines into a small space, the Shopsmith fits the bill for a lot of folks. Are some things on a smaller scale? Yes… and that’s the point, isn’t it? But by the same token, I think some of their tools are better than other “dedicated” tools on the market… when you look at them honestly for what they offer. I think if some of the tool reviewers (and so many follow-the-pack consumers) would not see the name “Shopsmith” on a certain tool, and judge it on its abilities and quality of build, they’d recommend (or purchase) it in a heartbeat. But, alas, Shopsmith is an easy target. Which I find a bit interesting, too, since they are really one of the very few remaining US-made power tools.

Now, with regard to your not losing your setup each time, that is a valid point. It DOES require further planning and thinking through your project on a Shopsmith to “group” things together into similar operations. Or, yes, you’ll be endlessly (and needlessly) changing back and forth between operations. But, then again, planning and thinking through a project isn’t all bad either. ; ) To prove that I’m not a “Shopsmith fanboy” – take a look at my workshop page. My main tablesaw is NOT my Shopsmith. The tablesaw function is decent, but it is limited for what I want to do. That doesn’t make the whole Shopsmith bad, though. -But, man, is it awfully nice to have the luxury of TWO tablesaws in my shop!
Oh, about the Model 500 fence – I would absolutely agree. It was not NEAR the fence on the current 520 model. It was a mediocre fence at best.

Re: price – yes, they are pricey. -Which, originally, was supposed to be one of the Shopsmith’s selling points… that it was cheaper than a shop full of dedicated machines. I don’t think that has been the case for a while. Why? Well, for one, it is American made. That costs more. Two, they’re built to last. How many woodworking tools from the 1950s do you see show up on eBay or craigslist that people snap up in a heartbeat? Not many… because 1) they’re sitting in a junk heap somewhere, 2) you can’t get parts for them anymore, 3) even if you COULD get parts, would you even WANT to fix it?! +++The fact that a ton of Shopsmiths show up on eBay (or wherever) is not what I would call a BAD thing – it is a testament to the build quality and longevity of the machine.
A lot of guys are using their grandfathers’ Shopsmiths which they have then upgraded with the latest, newest Mark V 520 model hardware. That’s got to say something!

+++For a good laugh, give Sears a call sometime with a part number for a 1953 Craftsman tablesaw. Give Shopsmith, Inc. a call with a part number for a 1953 Mark V. They’ll have it shipped out immediately.

-- † Hops †

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Bob #2

3808 posts in 2619 days


#15 posted 2267 days ago

”+++For a good laugh, give Sears a call sometime with a part number for a 1953 Craftsman tablesaw. Give Shopsmith, Inc. a call with a part number for a 1953 Mark V. They’ll have it shipped out immediately.

—† Hops †”

Sears is a girls underwear store. <g>

For me, woodworking is important enough in my life to dedicate a stand alone building for my tools.
I completely understand the need for a compact unit for the many folks using the basement or garage for double duty.

I had originally commented only on the addtional time that I had to spend converiting the machine for various tasks and the incipient danger of getting my measurements mixed up as my job(s) progressed.
I am sure one can discpline oneself to set up routines for milling parts but in my reality that only rarely happens.

Good luck with your Shopsmith.

Bob

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

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