Considering picking up a used shopsmith..... crazy?

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Forum topic by jaydubya posted 10-09-2011 06:16 PM 4073 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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183 posts in 3010 days

10-09-2011 06:16 PM

Ive been looking to get a drill press but lately Ive been lookig at used shopsmith machines. Supposedly they make a great drill press and lathe, and you get a few other functions that might be useful. I have a table saw, so i wouldnt use that part of it. there are shopsmiths for sale somewhat locally to me for between 200-500 dollars

8 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5121 posts in 4158 days

#1 posted 10-09-2011 06:23 PM

I bought a Craftsman 1952 cast iron monster for $150.00. It is still as good as new (the new stuff sucks). I don’t know if I would buy a SS though I also have a Magna (forerunner to the SS) BS 11” that is a good machine.
There are lots of SSs in the $500.00 range. The older machines will need some TLC.


View MrRon's profile


5190 posts in 3442 days

#2 posted 10-09-2011 06:50 PM

The Shop Smith is one of the best multi-tools ever made. I had an old model 5E for years and it served me well. It was the only power tool I had so it did all the jobs needed around the house. I sold it for $100, bought it back later for $100 and finally parted with it for good for $100. Looking back, I wish I had kept it. I have all the tools one would ever want, but sometimes, there are jobs a SS excels at. I don’t know about the newer models, but the old 5E was a great machine. I also had a Saw Smith RAS. As a RAS, it didn’t have enough power, but as a variable speed overhead router, it worked great.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3507 days

#3 posted 10-09-2011 07:34 PM

I think it would be advantageous as a horizontal boring machine. I have put my drill press table parallel to the bit but it is difficult for this purpose. The Shop Smith seems to be a jack of all trades but a master of none.
I bought a shopsmith back around 1970 and found it quite useful for certain purposes and definitely was convenient for mobility when I needed to put it in my van and do some work out of my garage.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11061 posts in 3627 days

#4 posted 10-09-2011 07:40 PM

Mine is a 1975 model. I’ve used it regularly ever since 1975.
It’s an excellent DP, a superb horizontal borer, a nice disk sander, and a adequate but quirky table saw.
The only accessory I have is the band saw. It’s ok, but a little small.
My SS is set up with a Jointech Saw Train (Man, I wish they were a better run company…great products) and a Jointech router table. So it’s a real PITA to switch tables for some operations. But I survive.
I’d think that for the price range you mentioned, you should be able to find a nice one, probably a newer one than mine.

-- 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 Bertha's profile


13551 posts in 2891 days

#5 posted 10-09-2011 07:51 PM

I want one really bad and I know absolutely nothing about them;) It’s like an AirStream trailer. There must be something uniquely cool about them to justify the following. Get one!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View shipwright's profile


8165 posts in 2996 days

#6 posted 10-09-2011 07:55 PM

My whole shop in Az is ShopSmith and I can do almost everything that I can do in my “real” shop back home in Canada. However I also have a 1950 SS 10ER in Canada and just to show what can be done with one, I used it almost exclusively to make this project
Take a look

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

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3273 days

#7 posted 10-09-2011 08:02 PM

I began with a SS and I still have it. I only use it for 4-5 applications now. First, it is an excellent horizontal boring machine. You may ask, “why do I need a horizontal boring machine”. I’m surprised at how often this comes in handy. You will too.

The bandsaw on my SS is my second bandsaw. My 18” bandsaw is used primarily for resawing and the SS is used for more intricate work. The carter stabilizer works great on a SS bandsaw.

I consider the belt sander for my SS to be a very good and very valuable tool.

I also use the strip sander attachment with my SS.

My scroll saw is also a SS accessory but I virtually never do any scrolling.

I used to use it as my table saw but now I have a stand alone table saw. I never considered the SS a very good table saw.

I used to use the it as my lathe. It is an adequate lathe, but I am much happier with my stand alone lathe.

I used to use it as my drill press but I find getting in and out of drill press mode to be too awkward. For me, it was more than just lifting it up to vertical. I also had to reposition it on the floor to a different location to have access to the drill press table.

Based on the applications I use it for, I have no need for the long tubes. I plan to cut them down shorter so the SS takes up less room in my shop.

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

View SASmith               's profile


1850 posts in 3185 days

#8 posted 10-09-2011 08:05 PM

I have a few shopsmiths. I prefer the 10ERs. They make a great drill press. $200 would be at the top end of what I would pay for a 10er without a speed reducer. I have paid between $25 and $75 for the 3 that I have.
The mark V seem to sell for far more. I have 1 mark V and changing speeds is far easier on it but they seem very light weight compared to the old 10ER.

-- Scott Smith, Southern Illinois

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