Shopsmith - Good or Bad? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 23 Old 05-22-2008, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
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Shopsmith - Good or Bad?

What are everyone's thoughts on a Shopsmith? Personally, I like the idea but I had one once and didn't like the lack of accuracy or the lack of power. Not to mention you had to really plan your work so that you weren't spending all your time changing over to different set ups. But I guess if you're limited on space, they're the best option.

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post #2 of 23 Old 05-22-2008, 04:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by TS3660 View Post
What are everyone's thoughts on a Shopsmith? Personally, I like the idea but I had one once and didn't like the lack of accuracy or the lack of power. Not to mention you had to really plan your work so that you weren't spending all your time changing over to different set ups. But I guess if you're limited on space, they're the best option.
I have one now a Mark V and have had it for a long time. But now that I am into my new woodshop I can't wait until I get a much better table saw. I agree with what is said about the lack of power,accuracy and planning each move before going on to the next task. Not sure what I am going to buy but any suggestions would be appreciated
Dennis Mitchell
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post #3 of 23 Old 05-22-2008, 04:38 PM
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Dennis, if you're looking to buy a new cabinet saw, as always I'll strongly suggest that you take a look at the Steel City saws. Yes, they are relatively new to the market, but they are NOT clones of Delta, Jet, PM, etc. The company wanted woodworkers to help design their saws, and it shows. As far as I'm concerned, they are the best on the market, and we have a '93 vintage Unisaw!!

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post #4 of 23 Old 05-22-2008, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by TS3660 View Post
What are everyone's thoughts on a Shopsmith? Personally, I like the idea but I had one once and didn't like the lack of accuracy or the lack of power. Not to mention you had to really plan your work so that you weren't spending all your time changing over to different set ups. But I guess if you're limited on space, they're the best option.
Bud I have to agree with you on this....I remember as a high school kid, a guy brought a Shopsmith in to our Industrial Arts shop to demonstrate all the things we as young woodworkers could learn to do....it wasn't a sales pitch. Then I saw a similar deal in a local mall during an arts and crafts fair some years later. Both times, I remember thinking, "but, if you keep moving this thing around," and, "wow, that thing sure looks cheesy and light-weight...."

Nowadays, I have discovered that every time one of my bench-top or portable machines gets moved, it loses a bunch of accuracy. Nothing can be counted on to remain square and true. The fence on my Delta table saw that rode on a portable base, my Delta portable miter, my bench top planer, even the blade guides on my band saw....I was always having to adjust to make things right.

So, that lesson being learned is why I've gone the route that I have---spending significant cash, time, labor and effort in setting up a shop with cabinet-style machines. That way, once I'm all up and running, I shouldn't have to worry about losing any accuracy except through normal use.

Shopsmith? Never in a million years.

regards,
smitty
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-26-2008, 09:26 AM
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I've been a ShopSmith owner for about 27 years and it still has a place in my shop, but it does have it's drawbacks. Of course, every tool fails to satisfy in one respect or another, so I've learned what to expect from my 'Smith and what doesn't work.

My shop now has much more room and many more tools, but when I bought the SS it was my only power tool and I used it in a little room eight by ten feet small. It was the only power tool that would give me the features, flexibility and usefulness in that little room. I never called it a shop. It was too small to be dignified with the title "shop".

Having said the above I hasten to add, only my nice big cabinet saw gets turned on a many times as the SS. It still stands in it's place in my shop and I wouldn't like to do without it. Most of the time it's configured as a sanding center with a 12 inch disc on the front and the 6x48 belt sander on the left end and a drum sander on the outboard side of that. But at a moment's notice it becomes the best woodworking drillpress I ever had with a huge range of speed control, and when I need one, it becomes a good speed controlled lathe. I never use it as a table saw for all the good observations made by others.

Now, just let me add one more observation about this tool. ShopSmith has the worst customer support I've ever encountered. I value the tool for what it can do for me, but I will never, ever again call on them to help me with any technical issues. They have a bad attitude and are not helpful at all.

So that's where I stand. I still like my SS.

Best regards,
Don

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post #6 of 23 Old 06-08-2008, 05:12 PM
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Another point of view

Hi All;

I too have a Shopsmith Mark 5, which I bought well over twenty years ago. I also bought separate stands and power stations required to reduce the amount of set up time. My initial investment was over $5,000. as I recall. It was my initial venture into cabinet work on a professional basis.

As a construction company owner we used the jointer and pro planner which permitted shop accuracy on job sites. On large, high end renovations this was incredibly helpful, as we were making custom moldings and millwork on a regular basis.

This was prior to starting a professional cabinet shop.

I now have stationary equipment for pretty much all the machines the Shopsmith provided, except a full sized lathe.

I have to say the Shopsmith is an accurate machine, and we made some beautiful projects with it.

While set up time is somewhat of a pain in the neck, it served its purpose well.

I would recommend one if space were a problem, but for production work, it's just not practical.

I hope this helps;
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post #7 of 23 Old 06-09-2008, 02:42 AM
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A woodworker should have a thickness planer/joiner/crosscut saw/table saw/band saw/drill press/router/drill/chissels/sharpening stones/block plane/pad sander/clamps/layout tools/jigs/templates/...If you have all this...and know how to use them...you can build what ever else you need!

Never... I mean always... never mind Rick
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post #8 of 23 Old 06-12-2008, 02:41 PM
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Wow, I just checked out the Shopsmith website...
I think I want one .

I think that guy could sell nuts to a squirrel, though.

http://www.shopsmith.com/markvsite/
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post #9 of 23 Old 09-28-2008, 12:50 PM
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I have the first model shopsmith made the ER10 and it is well made and accurate. I bought it when I was in my early twenties and needed many tools and had a very limited budget. In my opinion the shopsmith is not a good choice because of it's table saw. When you need to make a bevel cut on the table saw you have to tilt the table not the blade. The only time someone should consider a shopsmith is if they have a very small space to work in and a lot of free time for set up. For the price of a new shopsmith its not worth it's short comings. I have not seen the newest model but I'm pretty sure the table saw table still tilts not the blade am I wrong?
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post #10 of 23 Old 09-28-2008, 01:12 PM
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I agree with most of the previous posts. Have had a Shopsmith, done some projects using it, but anytime you combine tools to perform more than one task, you sacrifice accuracy big time! The "table saw" sits too high, is too small, and is too easily "tweaked". It is a good idea in theory, but inadequate in execution.

Mike O
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post #11 of 23 Old 09-30-2008, 06:51 PM
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I would agree with what has been said, it seems to be a lot of time setting up and taking down. I prefer machines that are built to do one thing not a combination of things. Another brand that I would also consider for stationary tools would be General Canada, stick with the Canadian models as the cast iron is considered the best on the market. The General International (owned by the same company but made off shore) is of high quality but the cast iron is not as superior. They also hold their value really well and are very accurate. Several of their products including the Table saw, mortiser, and jointer have had high ratings in several woodworking magazines.

Good Luck
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post #12 of 23 Old 09-30-2008, 07:22 PM
 
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Another brand that I would also consider for stationary tools would be General Canada, stick with the Canadian models as the cast iron is considered the best on the market. The General International (owned by the same company but made off shore) is of high quality but the cast iron is not as superior.
+1 on the General Canada tools. I have been using a Shopsmith MK-V (with all the toys including a Powerstation and stand alone Pro-Planer) for about 15 years and recently bought a General 650R cabinet TS, the new model with the riving knife and I can't imagine ever having to upgrade it for the rest of my life

J.R.
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post #13 of 23 Old 08-06-2017, 06:16 PM
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Upgraded to the new power pro head. Worked for a while then the controller just stopped working. I've been calling SS for almost a month now. They say they will do something but never do. When I call back I'm put on hold for 15 to 20 min. sometimes and when I get a person they state nothing has been done yet but they will but nothing happens. Monday I'm calling and not letting them go until I talk to a manager.

A month is a long time to go without most of my workshop due to poor support after spending thousands of dollars for an upgrade.
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post #14 of 23 Old 02-05-2018, 09:38 AM
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Thumbs down

I have had a shopsmith for 36 years and have really enjoyed it. you do need to plan your work but that has never been an issue. It has done everything I have wanted it to, from turning pens to making furniture. Recently the motor started to go out, so I ordered the new power pro. It was ordered in Nov 27 for a refurbished unit. I was initially waas told i would receive it Dec 15. That came and went. Then i was told it would be Jan 8th, that has come and gone. I was then told probably 2 more weeks. It's now Feb 5 and no sign of it being shipped or built. Called last Friday and was automatically put on hold for over 15 min with no answer. They are still sending me advertisements on email to buy things but I am begining to wonder if they are having financial problems again. As of right now I would be hesitate to order anything from them. I had ordered an upgrade from my mark V and did get it. but that was a month or so before my motor died. Just would use caution and make sure. Might also mention I put the same exact same review up on their website twice but they never posted it. Apparently they do not tolerate any negative feedback.
Dave in MS
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post #15 of 23 Old 02-27-2018, 09:06 PM
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I too think they might be having financial problems. I ordered a new Mark 7 in mid-December and didn't receive it until mid-February. The first thing I noticed when reading the assembly instructions was that the retractable casters were not included are an option. So I ordered the retractable casters and was told they would not be shipped until mid-May. That would be 5 months from the time I ordered the machine before I would have a FULLY functional machine. I was told that the distributor they buy from quit making the parts. If the truth was known the distributor was probably not paid and cut them off. Why else would it take 3 months to buy the parts to make retractable casters. They are not rocket science and the parts could be bought in many industrial supply houses.

Calling them is another frustrating experience, as you are put on hold for a very long time listening to what I call funeral music. They really don't seem to care what their customers think.

Needless to say I am very disappointed in Shop Smith and I haven't even assembled my machine yet.

George in FL
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post #16 of 23 Old 02-27-2018, 11:19 PM
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I can see if a person is cramped for space the shopsmith would be handy. I just didn't like the concept of changing attachments every time you wanted to do something different. I bought the bandsaw attachment in the mid 1980's and use it a lot. Instead of buying the actual shopsmith I just bought a stand for it. It's been a great machine. It's never needed any repair of any kind.
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post #17 of 23 Old 03-06-2018, 12:18 AM
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My brother has the SS that our Dad bought many years ago. Even when it was new I did not think much of the TS feature. The two best things it has going for it as far as I am concerned is the twin post drill press and the lathe. I have no reason to want one in my shop.

Norman
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post #18 of 23 Old 03-06-2018, 07:09 AM
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The answer to your question is that Shopsmith is both good and bad. Mostly depends upon the user's experience and subjective opinion.

George
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post #19 of 23 Old 04-16-2018, 01:21 PM
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Shopsmith has no service on the machine. I ordered parts back on 3-5-2018 and still on back order. The parts I ordered was for the new power pro not something 40 years old. So I say if you want to wait for a part you need and if you don't care if you have to let a project set , I'm going on 8 weeks now, still no parts thing about getting a shopsmith. I had a SS for some 35 years and never had anything like this. I have told people in the past it was a good machine but now I would tell people that ask me I would tell them a machine good but no service.

Last edited by bearbear1; 04-16-2018 at 01:26 PM.
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post #20 of 23 Old 02-08-2019, 04:26 PM
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I was thinking of getting one of these that i saw on craigslist super cheap. I really just want it for the lathe function. I've been looking for a lathe for what feel like forever now and the only ones I see on craigslist are either tiny bench top models or those massive industrial metal lathes for a small fortune, lol

Is the lathe function any good on these? I'd like to turn bowls eventually.

Thanks,

Bill

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