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 4905 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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35 posts in 1568 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.

5 replies so far

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

5781 posts in 2119 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


4524 posts in 1765 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


124 posts in 1580 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


58 posts in 1568 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


859 posts in 2009 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...

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