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Forum topic by Mark Davisson posted 02-28-2013 11:21 PM 1486 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3311 days

02-28-2013 11:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shopsmith

I feel like these are always available on Craigslist, but I really don’t know anything about them.

To those of you with Shopsmith experience, what’s the story? Are/were they any good?

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

11 replies so far

View shipwright's profile


7979 posts in 2792 days

#1 posted 03-01-2013 12:55 AM

I have a fully equipped 30×40 shop at home in Canada and a garage that needs to be clear every night at my winter place in AZ. Enter ShopSmith. I can make almost anything in Az that I can at home.

Check out this blog. It’s all about how a SS can work for you on a small budget in a small space.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View toolie's profile


2121 posts in 2622 days

#2 posted 03-01-2013 12:56 AM

i was similarly intrigued by these till i saw one in a local thrift store. small tables and a myriad of moving parts sold me on the idea that it wasn’t for me.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Ayoung's profile


5 posts in 1911 days

#3 posted 03-01-2013 01:09 AM

I have used one, it was sort of like a swiss army knife. it did the job of a knife, but was more bulky and difficult to use than a dedicated knife.

View FourEyes45's profile


13 posts in 2147 days

#4 posted 03-01-2013 01:43 AM

I had a SS for a few mos. It was a pain to use…1 HP was not enough to cut 2 1/2” oak…sold it and got a Still Ciry cab. 3Hp Gosh what a differance…a pleasure to use…love it.

-- Have a safe and Bless Day----Walt

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3311 days

#5 posted 03-01-2013 02:13 AM

I’ve always had the impression that the things are well-built and probably perform as advertised, but that they would be a pain to convert from one tool to another, then back again. But I’m just a hobbyist and am trying to plan for retirement.

My wife and I built a vacation/retirement home a couple of years ago to which we will move in 6 or 7 years. Unfortunately we didn’t include much room for a shop, so my story is a little like yours, Paul.

Question: do things stay square through the process of transforming from one tool to another – specifically, does the TS remain true?

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View runswithscissors's profile


2750 posts in 2019 days

#6 posted 03-01-2013 05:02 AM

The weak aspect of those tools has always seemed to me to be the TS. It’s tiny and doesn’t look very robust sitting up there on its two posts. If you were only going to saw small stuff, and weren’t too concerned about precision, I guess they’d be okay.

Experienced Shop S. might address the above remarks. (Hate to use the initials, which today could create confusion with Saw Stop. Imagine your disappointment if you responded to a CL ad for a SS for only $500, and found yourself facing . . . the other tool.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View Dakkar's profile


323 posts in 1921 days

#7 posted 03-01-2013 05:16 AM

Most people I’ve heard from who have them use them mostly for one purpose—like as a lathe or a drill press. It does have variable speed control, which sounds appealing. I haven’t run across much enthusiasm for Shopsmith at this forum, though I see a couple of folks in the review section seem to like it for particular purposes: Reviews: Shopsmith @ Lumberjocks

View shipwright's profile


7979 posts in 2792 days

#8 posted 03-01-2013 05:25 AM

Yes, they stay square, They are precision built tools. Most criticism of them tends to come from people who haven’t had one or had a beat up example.
As for the table saw size, The older (pre’80’s) ones had a very small table but when the 510 came out that changed. How wide is your table saw? (sorry I can only offer a link to the photo)
Transformations are very quick and easy once you get used to them.
Bottom line is I think for what they are, they are a real bargain on the used market.
If you want LOTS more information and answers, drop in on the ShopSmith forum.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3302 days

#9 posted 03-01-2013 05:49 AM

I owned a ShopSmith many years ago and found it to be very versatile and accurate. I was able to make many fine projects with it and didn’t have any problems with the transition set up from one tool to another…
Now I have a large shop with many dedicated stationary tools that do a fantastic job…but I did buy another used ShopSmith about a year ago. The newer models have increased horsepower and improved features…plus a whole lot of new accessories… I use it primarily for the horizontal drilling and also use it with my buffing system.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3546 posts in 2245 days

#10 posted 03-01-2013 01:58 PM

I have a Shopsmith Mark V, and although I leave it in the disc sander ready position, I use the lathe, drill press and optional band saw quite often. I use my Craftsman TS for table saw operations, but I do use the Shopsmith’s table saw for the tilting table to make certain angle cuts. The machine is very stable and accurate. My motor is only a 1HP, but the newer ones have slightly larger motors (I think 1-1/2HP). I recommend the Shopsmith for a small shop.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Gunney's profile


14 posts in 2025 days

#11 posted 03-01-2013 02:31 PM

I bought one in 1984 that I still have. At the time, I only had a tiny amount of space for a shop and also a very limited budget, so it was that or nothing. It takes a little getting used to, but after that, fairly quick and easy to change between operations and reasonably accurate and sturdy. Now that I have a larger shop with stationary dedicated machine tools, I still use the ShopSmith for a disc sander, horizontal drill press and lathe.

-- Patrick, Mobile, AL

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