Shop Smith Mark 5 or 6 / Is this a good bargain all in one tool?

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Forum topic by stevef22 posted 07-11-2010 06:07 PM 10478 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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35 posts in 3056 days

07-11-2010 06:07 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shopsmith shop smith

Hello everyone. I am new to woodworking. I have asked a couple of questions regarding what major tools should I first invest in… I have found about 5 different listing for the Shop Smith Mark 5 and Mark 6 units on craigslist. They range anywhere from $550 – $1200 dollars.

1. Are these good units to combine a joiner, band-saw, planer, table saw?

2. I noticed some say they do include a jointer, other ads did not mention a jointer. Are these systems modular. ie. Did they sell the Shop Smith Mark 5/6 with different addons? What addons are the best?

3. Is this a good tool for cabinet building (first big project I want to tackle) or am I better off buying separate tools?

I already have a Rigid 10” table saw, Dewalt portable 12” planer, Some cheapo Wood carving tools I bought at Harbor Freight ( a cheapo hardware and tools business here in San Antonio ) Cordless drill, Craftsman Radial Arm Saw, 4X 36” Clamps, 4X 24” Clamps, A 5” vise. Two large workbenches with pegboard on the back.

Shopsmith(s) For sale locally. See any good ones?

Some reviews I have already seen.

8 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10989 posts in 3606 days

#1 posted 07-11-2010 09:35 PM

Nick Engler’s review, in the ones that you posted, says it all.
My MK V has served me well through building or remodeling 5 houses and many, many cabinet jobs.
I have a stand alone jointer and planer. The Shopsmith ones are too small for me.
Their band saw is one great machine. Not real large capacity but very well engineered.
BTW, the one on craigslist that I would consider is the one in Schertz for $1350. A little high, but it has the bandsaw. A steal at $1000.
Good luck.

-- 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 richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3252 days

#2 posted 07-12-2010 02:33 AM

I began with a ShopSmith many years ago and I remain a fan today, despite the fact that I now only use the ShopSmith for a few functions.

The base unit provides you with a lathe, table saw, drill press, horizontal boring machine and disk sander. Other functions are available as add on accessories. This includes bandsaw, belt sander, scroll saw, jointer, planer and strip sander.

In my opinion, the ShopSmith does a reasonably good job of everything except table saw. Also, the jointer is too small and the motor is not strong enough to run a planer well.

However, you get a reasonably good lathe, a good drill press and a great horizontal boring machine. The band saw is great, but small. The belt sander is great. The scroll sander and the strip sander are also very good.

It is a great way to start, especially if you already have a table saw.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Cousinwill's profile


131 posts in 3068 days

#3 posted 07-12-2010 05:32 AM

I have a shopsmith and must say the quality is second to none. I inherited mine from my father-in-law about 6 years ago. He bought it new in 1963. It is still going strong, how many other woodworking machines last that long ? I have the bandsaw, sander, and jointer. My only complainant is the size to the table on the model 500 (which I have). Shopsmith makes a larger table but I haven’t spent the money to upgrade yet.

-- William from the oldest town in Texas

View Florida_Jim's profile


83 posts in 3055 days

#4 posted 07-12-2010 08:28 PM

The Shopsmith is a unique tool. Its prime virtue is it doesn’t take up much space. I bought mine in 1973, when I was in the Navy. It made four moves across country. My current shop is only 200 square feet, so I’m spatially challenged. My Shopsmith is ideal for me. I can live with changing from one mod to another, I’m retired, and don’t rush through a job.
My advice is go and look through the Shopsmith site, especially the “Sawdust sessions”.
Here’s a link:

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3497 days

#5 posted 07-12-2010 11:54 PM

I think a Shopsmith is a must have. I’ve owner two, and am using mine more and more as I go along. Plus you can get them CHEAP if you patient. Parts are EVERYWHERE. Or at least on eBay!

Remember, buy on Craigslist, sell on eBay! ;-)

-- Beer, Beer, Thank God for Beer. It's my way of keeping my mind fresh and clear...

View BosunBill's profile


1 post in 1448 days

#6 posted 12-03-2014 03:42 AM

MY FIRST BLOG/POST sorry didn’t mean to yell. I have a shopsmith 5. The motor still purrs but I have no idea how to put it togeather and put it to use. Saint Augustine FL. Anybody near by?

View shipwright's profile


8133 posts in 2975 days

#7 posted 12-03-2014 04:26 AM

I have a big shop at home in Canada with about $20,000 worth of stand alone tools. At my winter place in Az. I have a ShopSmith Mark V 510 with jointer, bandsaw, planer and belt sander “special purpose tools”. (These are add on tools that drop into place on the SS and are powered by the SS headstock.)
I can make anything in the Az shop that I can at home. Really, no BS.
I did a blog on the way my Az shop works here. If you are interested in what a SS based shop can do check it out.

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

View bandit571's profile


21563 posts in 2861 days

#8 posted 12-03-2014 05:00 AM

One store in Sidney, OH has a complete SS for $350 IF you in the area. All materials for it, too. About three box loads of extras.

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

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