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Forum topic by knoting posted 03-19-2012 01:07 PM 2805 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View knoting's profile


7 posts in 2483 days

03-19-2012 01:07 PM

hey guys need little advise on a used shopsmith mark v looking to buy for 450.00 i have a habour freight 3/4 hp lathe just starting out in wood woorking but already need something with a bit more power is shop smith any good and is this price a deal don;t know when it was build looks pretty good condition has a bunch of attachements drill press ts- so on thanks for any tips . i recently bought a rigid ts that a1jims reconmemded and that turned out great could not have gotten better saw for the price i was looking for so hope to get some help on this one also you all have good advise and a lot more experience that i do so thanks for any help

22 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5105 posts in 4135 days

#1 posted 03-19-2012 01:31 PM

SS equipment is very well made, but….....there’s a lot of take apart, reassemble when using all the components. I have a BS and a jointer that sit on a power stand. Gotta tke the saw head off the stand to use the jointer, readjust the belts, etc.
The variable speed feature of the main unit is a plus when used as a lathe or drill press. There can be some issues with older units. Belts, dirty sheaves, bearings, etc.. Parts are expensive. Look carefully.
The table saw feature SUCKS.


View ddockstader's profile


158 posts in 3436 days

#2 posted 03-19-2012 02:26 PM

For full disclosure, I own 2 Shopsmiths and lead my woodworking club’s Shopsmith special interest group, so I may be a little biased. I do not own a table saw and I will agree with Bill that it’s not the world’s best table saw. Cutting full sheets of plywood can be a challenge. Still I manage to make a lot of sawdust with them and since I mostly cut oak, maple, ash, walnut, etc., it hasn’t been an issue. Changing tools can take a little time, but usually it is not onerous. Your deal sounds OK, depending on the age and condition of the machine. Shopsmith had a number of iterations and their power runs from 3/4 to 1 1/8 HP, so a newer machine is obviously better. Also, if there are any additional tools, like the band saw, joiner, or scroll saw, that could make a difference. If you have any questions, just PM me and we can discuss them.

View RandyM68's profile


693 posts in 2493 days

#3 posted 03-19-2012 02:41 PM

I love to watch the guy demonstrate these at the mall. He can do everything so fast that it is amazing. It’s all a set up to get you to buy one. The guys does the same demonstration every time, and it’s geared to make it look good. They skirt around the problem issues, and highlight the pluses. I still think it’s a great idea, but a machine that converts into five others makes a lot of compromises. If you only have room for one machine, and you aren’t in a big hurry, or want perfect accuracy, they’ll do. You might be able to find one cheaper though. A lot of people got sucked in by the demo, got one at home, and realized it was a pain in the ass. Some of them have barely been used. On second thought, if you already have a good table saw, I wouldn’t even bother. You can probably find a used industrial grade drill press and a bigger lathe for about the same money.

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10983 posts in 3603 days

#4 posted 03-19-2012 03:22 PM

As with any other tool, in order to expand it’s capabilities some workarounds are necessary. I’ve owned and used my Shopsmith for over 30 years and have pretty much eliminated the negatives of it’s idiosyncrasies. I love mine. I’m not a turner, so the lathe functions are not a concern to me, but most users really enjoy it’s lathe functions. As a drill press and horizontal borer, it’s great. Add the disk sanding function and the table saw and it does almost anything I need. I should add that I also have the band saw and, planers, jointers and a belt sander are optional add ons.

-- 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 shipwright's profile


8132 posts in 2973 days

#5 posted 03-19-2012 04:21 PM

Have a look at this blog , particularly part 2. I have a fully equipped shop at home in Canada but when I come to AZ for the winter my shop is all ShopSmith. I can make anything with my SS shop that I can at home with thousands of dollars worth of tools. I don’t find it all that inconvenient, you just do a little more planning ahead.

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

View IrreverentJack's profile


727 posts in 3018 days

#6 posted 03-19-2012 04:24 PM

Having grown up around old Gravely tractors I understand that multi-function machines can sometimes excel in one or two tasks. I’ve never been interested in looking at a Shopsmith until I started reading this. IMO Shipwright has made every old Shopsmith more valuable by building his thickness sander and describing how he uses the disk sander in his projects. Using one as the drive/base for a thickness sander would biggest reason to get one for me. -Jack

^By the way. Thanks for that blog Paul. -Jack

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 3953 days

#7 posted 03-19-2012 04:31 PM

I also have had mine for 30 years and love it, a lot depends on the model a 30 year old model was a 500 and as a tablesaw it had many issues. I have a Powerpro 520 which I would compare to 2HP or under tablesaw. It is impossible from the information provided to tell what you might be looking at. As for a lathe that is the function I use most but again there are several different versions of the the Shopsmith lathe (differences are the banjos). Mine can go between 200 RPM to way too far to turn (10,000 RPM) and reverses all with digital controls. No matter what version Shopsmith Mark V it is there is a 4 hour or less and $ upgrade to what I have.

THere is also excellent customer support and a very active users group where you can get answers to any question except is $450 a good price. Replacement parts are available for any machine made in the last 60 years or so.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR,

View Don Niermann  's profile

Don Niermann

219 posts in 4147 days

#8 posted 03-19-2012 04:50 PM

I have a TS, RAS, and a Shopsmith. I believe if the Shopsmith is set up correctly it is a very accurate machine. I use all 3 depending on the situation.Depending on the age and use it is a good deal.

-- WOOD/DON ( has the right to ones opinion but not the right to ones own facts...)

View chickenguru's profile


45 posts in 3169 days

#9 posted 03-19-2012 07:44 PM

I have the Shopsmith 500 with a bandsaw and a jointer. I use it for horizontal bore seeing how I cant use in drill press mode cause ceiling is too low ( 126 yr old house),sander ,bandsaw and jointer and most favorite a lathe but recently had a problem with a 10”x 5” ruffed out oak bowl blank. It shook all over the place and turned out I had to make it smaller too solve the problem. I looked for a speed reducer on ebay and kijji with no luck. Shopsmith has 1 dealer in Canada and he’s got some ordered but says there back ordered or no parts so could be a month or 2 before they come in plus its $328 CAD. The new Banjo is $ 248. I know i’ll keep the Shopsmith for long spindle work plus the other uses I like but I think i’ll save my money on those two upgrades and buy a Delta 46-460 or something similar.

Sorry to go into detal but seeing how you are talking about it for a lathe I thought I would share my thoughts.

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 3953 days

#10 posted 03-19-2012 08:41 PM

I expect the Delta will shake just as much if not more at the same speed, it does have the advantage of going down to 250 RPM, to do that with a Shopsmith requires either the PowerPro headstock or speed reducer. Still the speed reducer plus the the universal tool rest package (the banjo and three tool rests) is about $200 US less than the Delta and you would still have to add an array of tool rests.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR,

View knoting's profile


7 posts in 2483 days

#11 posted 03-19-2012 10:13 PM

hey guys thanks for all the responses think i might take the plunge hope these pic will open kind of new to forums and downloading or uploading things again thanks to all that commented it sure is nice to get this quality of help and friendly response again looking it more as a lathe than anything else

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 3953 days

#12 posted 03-19-2012 11:02 PM

It looks like a model 500 and I hope there are a lot more parts then what is shown in the picture.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR,

View Milo's profile


869 posts in 3494 days

#13 posted 03-19-2012 11:05 PM

Ditto what Paul said. Last SS I bought (I have had 2), included a bandsaw, and paid $400.00

I do NOT use the tablesaw feature. It scares me. Then again, I haven’t tried the new tables.

Good luck!

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

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 3953 days

#14 posted 03-19-2012 11:25 PM

I did not mean to comment on the price or lack of special purpose tools (like the bandsaw). But there are dozens of standard accessories that are required to even use the machine and I don’t see any in the pucture.

As for the suitability as a tablesaw, the 500 was used as a tablesaw for close to 20 years before the upgraded tables were made available. But it was also the cause of all the bad things people say about the Shopsmith as a tablesaw. Like Milo I would not use a 500 as a tablesaw, but I don’t have to I have upgraded it to a 520/PowerPro.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR,

View jumbojack's profile


1685 posts in 2799 days

#15 posted 03-20-2012 12:06 AM

I have had a Shopsmith for about 10 years. It is the 500. I play with it every day. To those who poo poo the table saw….meh. Yeah it takes a little longer to set up a cut but I am not a production oriented worker. I just like making stuff. I love switching to other tools on the SS, it is almost automatic for me now. Kinda like the guys you see demonstrating them….effortless. I have a standalone planer and jointer and NO bandsaw. I gotta get one, someday. I have often thought about getting a standalone TS but just can’t justify the purchase. Check my stuff out it is all SS made.
Oh and happy birthday to me. I have been a LJ for a year today.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

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