View Full Version : Shopsmith?
06-19-2008, 01:53 PM
I was wondering if anyone owns or has used a Shopsmith?
Here is their website: www.shopsmith.com
06-19-2008, 02:01 PM
I had one back when I was starting out - paid a hundred bucks for it but it didn't turn out to be useful as the thing was so LIGHT-duty. Motors, capacities, structure, accesories...everything made for a wood-hobby scale. I tried to save money and space and all I did was lose money and space by not using it. It collected dust in the corner, all folded-up until I sold it for 75 bucks. Maybe it could be cool for prototyping, maquettes, models - but its not a hard worker. Possibly better than nothing...but not much.
06-19-2008, 02:06 PM
i used to work with a pewtersmith who had one, and it was a realy usefull everyday tool, but we were working on a small light scale, used it for cuting turning and sanding wood and pewter. wich it did very well .
like all tools you need to fit the tool to the job,
I think the Shopsmith is a bad idea for anyone who desires to do wood working with any degree of accuracy, volume, or complexity beyond say one bird house. Production, or even multiples that need to be identical are not really possible because you have to jump back and forth between machines and can't leave good setups set up. Use of jigs is made difficult. And the hassle of changing everything will drive you nuts. You can now buy cheap Chinese separates of adequate quality that will sever you better. Or buy used separates at yard sales. If space is a problem there are table top versions of everything that will be more useful. Anything but a Shopsmith. It will make you hate it.
06-19-2008, 11:06 PM
I may be a lone voice here, but I have a ShopSmith model 10ER (circa 1952), and I have used it for thirty years with pleasure as it allows me to do things that I otherwise have no space or budget for in my studio. It is NOT my only stationary powertool -- but I use it for a number of things in the studio. I have couple of bench grinders, a couple of radial arm saws, a band saw, a couple of small drill presses, and a small thickness-planer; so I use the Shopsmith primarily as a disc sander, horizontal boring tool, a lathe, and as a small table saw (all of which change-out fairly quickly in the same horizontal format for the tool orientation). I also have the ShopSmith jointer attachment and the jig/scroll saw attachment, but cannot really recommend them. I must add that I also have access to a nice large 14-inch-blade table saw at school, which I very much prefer to use when ripping lengths of molding, etc.
The ShopSmith is a jack-of-all-trades tool that allows you to do a number of one-off things adequately-well in a tight space or on a tight budget, but is not suited for production anything. The switch-over time from one to another tool-orientation is such that it will spur-you-on to purchasing other better-suited tools for specific operations when you have the leeway in your budget or shop-space. Given that my studio is (and in all likelihood always will be) a converted one-car garage, the ShopSmith is an invaluable addition to my set-up that takes-up a minimal amount of space (it is on locking casters) and allows me several tools that I infrequently (but DO sometimes) need for my work.
If you have a large shop space and an equally-large budget the ShopSmith is not for you, but if you are like me and quite modest in your needs and flexible in your working methods the multi-purpose tool might be quite an asset. I must admit that for a number of years I was partners with someone who owned a much more recent version of the ShopSmith (perhaps only twenty years old), and used it often enough in our shared-shop-space (not my studio) that I found that I actually prefer to work with my older and somewhat-more-primitive model for almost all operations.
06-20-2008, 01:37 AM
IF YOU ARE LIMITED IN SPACE, NOT IN A HURRY, OR DOING ONE PROJECT AT A TIME ITS OK. PERSONALLY NEVER BUY TOOLS WITH MULTIPLE USES, SET UP IS TIME CONSUMING AND BECOMES BORING. ON STANDARD TABLE SAWS YOU CAN MAKE ALL KINDS OF JIGS ,TEMPLATES, AND SLEDS TO MAKE THINGS MORE ACCURATE AND EFFICIENT.
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