Shopsmith Lathe help

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Forum topic by pashley posted 11-11-2008 04:40 PM 9868 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1044 posts in 3837 days

11-11-2008 04:40 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shopsmith

I’m trying to set up a shopsmith I was given (and which I restored), a model 500, to work as a lathe.

I’ve never done any lathe work, so I really don’t know what is required.

These two pictures show you what I have in terms of centers (i think they are called):

I THINK you need some sort of “faceplate” on the headstock end? I maybe have the wrong piece in there now?

I bought this tool rest off ebay:

but it is too small. The mounting shaft is 1” across. The receptacle on my SS is 1.25” across: obviously, I need to swap that out.

I guess what I am asking is, what am I missing? I know I need the actual turning tools. I’ve seen a set of 5 I can get on eBay made by SS.

But what I’m talking about is in terms of faceplates, centers, tool rests, and so on.

I don’t see myself doing bowls or pens – pretty much spindle work of some sort (table legs, columns).

I’d appreciate any help!!

-- Have a blessed day!

7 replies so far

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 3898 days

#1 posted 11-11-2008 07:05 PM

The lathe banjo you show is not for a Shopsmith, the first two pictures show the correct setup for spindle turning, you would need a faceplate for bowl turning. Shopsmith sells an upgraded banjo that weighs 35 lbs that I recommend for serious turning, you can slow find the correct version of the one you have on eBay or from Shopsmith directly. Shopsmith also has a support forum when you can find specific help at

-- Paul, Beaverton OR,

View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 3837 days

#2 posted 11-11-2008 07:44 PM

“Banjo”? That’s what i call the tool rest?

-- Have a blessed day!

View Grumpy's profile


24275 posts in 3971 days

#3 posted 11-12-2008 03:56 AM

Patrick, Paul has given you some good advice. An adjustable chuck, Depending on the headstock morse taper fitting (if it has one), will come in handy for bowls. Some of these chucks (like the Nova) have the ability to attach a faceplates. Besides your chisels (I would recommend high speed steel) you will need inside & outside calipers for a start. For sharpening your chisels use a white stone on your grinder (less heat generated). You can sharpen your own by hand but it is best to use a jig, these can be hand made or purchased.
There are some good blogs (perhaps forum topics) on this subjuct. It would be worth a search on the LJ site. Good luck. Don’t forget the basic rule ‘if it vibrates slow it down’.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Napaman's profile


5526 posts in 4197 days

#4 posted 11-12-2008 06:40 AM

patrick…i wish i had time tonight to go through my manual and see what else you need…I just used my SS Lathe today…and it looks like you have what you need, sans the tool rest…there is not much more…

I am a novice—-have turned about 7 pens and today just attempted my first two wine stoppers which was fun…

I do have the entire SS manual—-which if you want i can photocopy the lathe section and send it to you…let me know…but give me a couple days…

I would also recommend the SS website which has two items of interest:

1) blow up parts “maps” or diagrams which you could use to see what you need…
2) lots of videos—-with the advantage—-they are using the SS…so you get to see the set-up and its aimed at beginners…and its all free…

good luck…i am still a beginner but loving it…


-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 3837 days

#5 posted 11-12-2008 02:31 PM

Thanks, Napaman, I think I understand what I need now. I’ve been to the SS website as well, and was able to find the parts too. Thanks again!

-- Have a blessed day!

View 8iowa's profile


1581 posts in 3881 days

#6 posted 11-14-2008 03:08 AM

Shopsmith does indeed have an amazing assortment of lathe accessories, which includes both Nova and Oneway chucks, the 35 lb Universal Tool Rest, a wide assortment of turning chisels, a lathe duplicator, two sizes of faceplates, a Ringmaster, and lots of smaller items. With a 16” swing and the optional Speed Reducer you can mount and turn massive pieces. This is truly a lathe system that you can grow with.

That said, with your desire to start by turning spindles, you already have the Lathe Drive Center and the Lathe Cup Center. Your cup center is a “dead” center. I would recommend that you order the Lathe Live Center which incorporates a ball bearing and eliminates the friction generated by wood spinning in a dead center. Your Lathe Tool Rest appears to be for the older Shopsmith 10ER which began production in 1950. You need to obtain the Lathe Tool Rest for the MKV 500. They are available from Shopsmith, and often pop up on eBay. If you can’t find one I have an extra one that I will send you.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View pashley's profile


1044 posts in 3837 days

#7 posted 11-14-2008 03:39 AM

Thanks, 8iowa, I was able to get the correct tool rest off ebay for….99ยข !!!! (plus $10 shipping)
I like the live center idea, I should get one.

-- Have a blessed day!

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