shopsmith as a lathe

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Forum topic by michael crawford posted 04-01-2011 03:01 PM 2573 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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michael crawford

19 posts in 2455 days

04-01-2011 03:01 PM

ive got an old shopsmith that is collecting dust at the back of my workshop. id like to use it for one purpose: as a lathe.
with that being said, i cannot seem to get it working as such.

i called shopsmith so i could get a reprint of the owners manual (i inherited this tool with my shop), and they wanted 30 bucks for a photocopied version. just not worth it to me.

on the setup i currently have, i have a normal headstock with a spike and teeth. on the tailstock, i just have a fixed spike.

the problem is that when i go to put my workpiece in the machine, its either too loose for the headstock teeth to bite and turn the wood, or too tight to allow the machine to spin my stock, and tripping ,y breaker.

is there anything i can do without dumping money into this tool?


4 replies so far

View saddletramp's profile


999 posts in 2057 days

#1 posted 04-01-2011 03:26 PM

Get a live tail stock.

-- ♫♪♪♫♫ Saddletramp, saddletramp, I'm as free as the breeze and I ride where I please, saddletramp ♪♪♪♫♪ ...... Bob W....NW Michigan (Traverse City area)

View Don Butler's profile

Don Butler

1081 posts in 2814 days

#2 posted 04-01-2011 03:33 PM

Use wax on the tail stock end and adjust the pressure with the quill feed.

-- No trees were damaged in posting this message, but thousands of electrons were seriously inconvenienced.

View 8iowa's profile


1540 posts in 3180 days

#3 posted 04-01-2011 03:39 PM

First off, my advice is to join the Shopsmith forum. ( ) You will find lots of friendly helpful advice there as it appears that you may have several problems.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View sras's profile


4363 posts in 2548 days

#4 posted 04-01-2011 03:39 PM

I have the same set up and have turned lots of things – from rolling pins to bed posts.

One thing I do is drill a 1/8” hole for the points of the centers on each end. On the end with the head stock I also make cuts to give the spikes something to bite into. I have made the cuts with a hand saw, band saw or even a chisel – what ever works. I also tap the live center into the piece to make sure it is engaged to the work piece.

I have also tried adding some candle wax to the fixed end to keep the friction down – generally only when doing larger pieces that take more time.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

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