Can anyone tell me about this Shop Smith tool?

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Forum topic by ShaneMcG posted 12-05-2014 03:44 PM 1162 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 692 days

12-05-2014 03:44 PM

Hi all, I am Shane, a stark noob here and to woodworking in general. i have been searching locally for a used wood lathe and a few other things to get started. I ran across a used Shop Smith locally that the current owner inherited. He has no idea what model it is, but says it has the accessories to turn it into other tools. Can anyone tell me what it is, I’ve googled but didn’t find anything decent other than stuff about new models.

i will attach images at the bottom. Mostly I am wondering what model it is and if there are any known issues i need to be aware of. It rather looks like an image I found online of a shop smith that said it was a 51 model. I don’t care if its old, as long as it will work for me. It’s very cheap, but the guy says its worth 3k which throws flags for me since he is asking under $200. If its worth 3k why sell it so cheap if you know what I mean. He says its just in his way and he wants it gone. Any help appreciated.

12 replies so far

View woodsmithshop's profile


1250 posts in 2969 days

#1 posted 12-05-2014 04:04 PM

if the motor still runs it is worth the $200, especially if it has other accessories with it, depending on what other tools come with it, it may be worth it even if the motor does not run, you can always buy a new motor. I bought one about 30 years ago, a model similar to what you show here, with band-saw,and jointer, I gave around $1800 for it . so I would say what you show here is worth what the fellow is asking, you may have to spend a little more on it to bring it up to the point where it works good. it is a good tool to start out with, as you learn you can always add stand alone tools to your shop.

-- Smitty!!!

View JoeinGa's profile


7383 posts in 1430 days

#2 posted 12-05-2014 04:13 PM

For 200 bucks I’d grab that thing up in a New York minute! In about a hundred mile radius from me, most folks want $700 or $800 for ShopSmiths.

Same goes for table saws. You guys that find these PM66s and Unisaws for just a few hundred kill me.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View Deycart's profile


444 posts in 1681 days

#3 posted 12-05-2014 08:25 PM

I would be weary of the motor. Make sure you can change the speed smoothly and all the adjustments are not frozen. These things are a pain to rebuild (rebuilt mine). There is a variable speed pulley system on the inside that requires a bit of maintenance that most users neglect. 200 is about 150 below the going rate in my area for one missing most of the accessories. You can get replacement ones on ebay for 20-100 each depending on what is missing.

Personally it makes a terrible table saw in comparison to an average saw. The fact that is can be used as a huge drill press and lathe more than make up for that. The band saw is also pretty good.

View ChefHDAN's profile


798 posts in 2273 days

#4 posted 12-05-2014 08:38 PM

Welcome to LJ

My father in law had one and the one thing that was always a PITA was that you had to reconfigure the tool between each process, you couldn’t rip a board and take it over to the band saw etc.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5839 posts in 3009 days

#5 posted 12-05-2014 09:33 PM

They are very popular in the United States.they never are to be seen here in the uk.It’s quite an old idea these days but.I really do think you could have lots of fun and get your money easily back when you eventually give up or move up.I do know quite a few people who swear by them and they do some good work,I am not a big fan of multi task machinery but these were very well designed, and thought out, in the days when they were very popular.I’d say jump in before he changes his mind you really cannot go very wrong with this purchase best wishes and have a lot of great fun with it.It is in my opinion a good future investment for that kind of money .Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View ShaneMcG's profile


2 posts in 692 days

#6 posted 12-05-2014 10:28 PM

thanks for the details guys, I’m trying to track the seller down again, haven’t been able to reach him today.

View ddockstader's profile


151 posts in 2685 days

#7 posted 12-06-2014 06:03 AM

As an owner of 2 ShopSmiths, both bought used, besides checking the motor (which is always a good thing to check) turn it on and make sure it can run all the way through the speeds. Usually the motor will run, but without the speed control (which generally takes a licking if someone tries to change speed WITHOUT the motor running) it really isn’t a good deal That’s a 500 model and they come with a 12” sanding disk, upper and lower blade guards, lathe drive center and a bunch of small parts – none of which appear in the picture but they should be included. You can still check out the ShopSmith website if you want to learn more. If the motor works and the speed control moves through the full range, $200 is a good deal. If not, you may want to negotiate the price. There are plenty of parts available on eBay and a couple of good folks who can overhaul the headstock, speed control and all, for a reasonable price.

View emart's profile


416 posts in 2051 days

#8 posted 12-06-2014 11:27 AM

They can be very useful if you are just starting out though it is a hassle changing the functions on the machine. shop smiths have been around for about 60 years or more. that one looks like it is from the 60s-70s. they can do most shop functions at a limited capacity though personally I prefer to have separate machines because if that thing breaks down you have no power tools at all versus if one of many power tools break down the rest will still work fine

-- tools are only as good as the hands that hold them

View Florida_Jim's profile


83 posts in 2301 days

#9 posted 12-06-2014 01:49 PM

What you have is a model 500 MK5.
I’ve had that same model for over 35 years. It has given me great service. Mine has been upgraded several times to its current “510” configuration.
I bought mine when I was in the Navy. It gave me a power tool workshop that could be easily moved when I was transferred. In fact the shopsmith made three trips across country.
There are parts available, either from the factory, or on the ”bay”.
There is also a shopsmith forum that has a lot of good info.
Good luck on your quest.

View Gentile's profile


245 posts in 1242 days

#10 posted 12-06-2014 03:21 PM

Do the washer and dryer run off the machine? :-)
I saw a local CL ad for one with just the lathe attachments, $150.00. I was tempted…
Otherwise I’ve seen them, up to $1500.00.
Re-configuring for different functions is the only hassle I’m familiar with these.

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View Gentile's profile


245 posts in 1242 days

#11 posted 12-06-2014 04:06 PM

Here it is-The price went down…

-- "I cut it twice and it's still too short"

View tnwood's profile


248 posts in 2510 days

#12 posted 12-06-2014 05:50 PM

There is a Shopsmith users forum that can tell you the model and so on. I have a Model 510 that I bought new in the mid-80s. As others have said, forget the table saw function or be very, very careful. I now have a complete shop and use mine as a drill press and infrequently as a lathe. I works pretty well as a drill press (especially horizontally) and only fair as a lathe. It is worth $200 if the motor and motor speed controls function properly but if not, walk away. They can be bought pretty cheaply in most areas. The ones you see for more than a $1000 rarely sell for that price unless you find a needy buyer.

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