Piping Up #2: What to do when the machines break

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Blog entry by sylinen posted 06-12-2014 07:37 PM 1269 reads 0 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: What to do with the accumulating scraps Part 2 of Piping Up series Part 3: When all else fails, chisel »

I love my Shopsmith|I hate my Shopsmith. It’s a couplet familiar to any owner of that beguiling piece of machinery. When they work, they’re a great tool. When they break, they’re rather annoying. My Shopsmith’s particular failing is in the alignment of its pulley sheaves. They tend to become misaligned at high speed, which is no great issue when I’m using the table saw. But, when I need to slow it down the sheaves don’t mesh and I end up pushing out the thrust bearing. Quite annoying. I thought I’d fixed this gremlin the last time I took it apart, but alas no.

The pipe making started well. I had some leftover cherry from when I made some table legs which would make a nice stummel, and for the stem I had some 4/4 jatoba scraps. I cut the cherry to length in table saw mode, and cut one end at an angle to tilt the stem up towards the mouth. This is where the problems started.

I have the bandsaw accessory for the Shopsmith, and in order to use it safely you have to turn the speed down to around 800rpm. For reference, you use the table saw at about 2400rpm. Unfortunately, this is where those misaligned pulley sheaves reared their ugly heads. I couldn’t get the speed low enough, so I decided to cross my fingers and run the bandsaw faster than recommended. I’d done it before, and while it makes an almighty shriek and dulls the blade, you can make short cuts.

I managed to get the stummel pretty well shaped, although the bowl ended up being more ovoid than I’d intended. While I’m foolish enough to run a bandsaw at 2x recommended speed, I’m not crazy enough to try to use a lathe at that speed. At this point I kissed goodbye any dreams of a perfectly symmetrical and beautifully rounded stem. Oh well, I doubt hobbits would have worried much.

 photo 3c061468-608d-4877-9fa3-9273d3a87f8d_zpsb6bca3f0.jpg

4 comments so far

View NormG's profile


6283 posts in 3208 days

#1 posted 06-13-2014 04:32 AM

Well you have great progress on the pipe and I am sure it will turn out just fine

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View stefang's profile


16144 posts in 3538 days

#2 posted 06-13-2014 10:31 AM

Looks like a wonderful opportunity for revising your design a little.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View shipwright's profile


8166 posts in 3002 days

#3 posted 06-13-2014 03:01 PM

May I suggest the you post post your problem on the ShopSmith forum? There is a wealth of knowledge there and absolutely certainly someone will be able to sort it out for you.
I’m a SS guy as well although I spend a lot more time loving it than hating it.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View sylinen's profile


13 posts in 1940 days

#4 posted 06-13-2014 05:28 PM

I’m fairly sure the problem is a worn keyway in the floating sheave, but fixing it isn’t a high budget priority at the moment. Part of the joy of inheriting tools from your grandfather.

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