space is a factor then thats what you need,but if you
have room I would prferseperate tools as the set up
time with the shopsmith is a killer.
revolving work bench for mounting 3 work bench tools...I've
looked at that 3-way bench a number of times, but still
have not come to a conclusion on it. It's a great space
saver, but there are a few things to consider.
1) Will your power tools fit on it? The size it will
handle is limited by the space when you swing it around.
I also suspect there is a weight limit.
2). How will it work to have only one tool available
at a time? Each time you need a different tool, you
have to clean off any odds and ends you have on the
bench, unplug the tool you are using, turn the bench,
plug in the tool you want, get out the accessories you
need, etc. Also, what if you have a procedure that requires
going back and forth between two or three tools?
don't own one, but did several years of looking into
the Shopsmith, even though I already have a table saw
and sanding station (two of the 5 tools in SS).
Positives--good quality machine---have
never heard of any complaints over poor design/workmanship.
--good aftermarket support/parts. --compact---takes
up the space of a wood lathe. --have heard good comments
about the lathe, drill press and the horzontal boring
(the lathe and drill press were why I was looking).
Negatives---PRICE--$3,000 new---down to
used prices for 30-40 year old machines of 500-600 (of
course, that translates into good resale). --If you
want a good table saw, this isn't it--two main problems
are that you have to add all these table extensions
to support your work and then, if you want to change
the blade height, you have to move all the tables---also,
for bevel cuts, you have to angle the table. ---set
up time of each machine--a friend of mine, who owns
one says it takes a lot of time changing between tools,
which means you really have to plan ahead. However,
I think there may be a learning curve, in that the people
who demonstrate the SS, at fairs, etc., use each of
the five tools (set-up and some sort of cuts) within
a 15 min. demonstration.
Bottom line---if you simply have no room
for even two or three of the five tools of the SS, and
can afford the cost, it's a fair compromise. However,
if you can stretch your space a bit, individual tools
will have better features and the total price may not
even be as high. If you had just a little room, I'd
say get a good table saw and a used SS---that would
be a decent shop.
have had a Mark 5 since around 1980. At the time I was
looking for a machine to do compound miters. Early in
my search someone introduced me to the SS and I discounted
it on the basis that mufti-purpose machines are a compromise
and not accurate enough. Since I could not find anything
else I looked at the SS again and decided to buy one.
Ever since then I am constantly reminded how good the
machine is. The book is a gold mine of ideas and everything
I have asked the machine to do it has done extremely
well. You are limited only by your imagination!
- John Hunter
I believe the ShopSmith is a machine for the serious
woodworker. Before someone jumps up and shouts that
I know nothing about what I am saying, please hear me
out. For six years, my wife and I owned and operated
a small cabinet shop. We had eight employees when we
closed the door on the business. That crew worked with
three Mark Vs and not once did we fail to meet our production
schedule. There was also a ten-inch table saw for ruff
cutting wood for planing. We had the ShopSmith bandsaw
and jig saw too. There were three scroll saws and various
size and shaped belt sanders. This was a full functioning
wood shop that cut an average of 4000 board feet of
pine a month. Changing from one option to another never
took over thirty seconds and the precision and accuracy
were never match by anything we found. Like someone
said, you have to learn to use the ShopSmith and when
you do, you will never look at anything else. Three
machines running an average of eighteen hours a day,
six days a week can not be wrong.
I have had my Shopsmith for about 15 years and have
done some good work with it, but recently I have wanted
to buy some extra accessories for it and have e-mailed
the company twice looking for one of their outlets in
Canada. A couple of months have gone by and I still
haven't heard from them…pretty disappointing.
- Len Kaspick
think the lathe / drill based combination is a little
bit flawed, most other combo machines are based on the
saw. In the case of the ShopSmith, the saw is one of
the weaker links in the system, I think you would be
able to get the majority of woodworkers to say the saw
is the core power tool of the shop; in my opinion the
ShopSmith is a flawed concept due to that issue. That
does not mean you cannot do woodworking with it though.
It might be worth your time to search various forums
for more specific user info in forum archives.
Shop Smith and Total Shop are quality units. Their niche
in the market is primarily for the small shop. If you've
the space dedicated machinary is the way to go, hands
have been a Shopsmith owner for about 16 years now and
the tool is not over rated as one of the inputs stated
(see above). The problem is that you have to learn
to use the Shopsmith. The breakdown and setup are easy
and there is no more calibration than I find with my
other floor machines. You have to learn to group your
jobs into like jobs, do you ripping first, than your
other cutting jobs. Make all of the like pieces at one
time than go to the next piece. I generally do not make
only one of an item, I make two or three or more.
I have a Delta table saw, the Delta 6" joiner, a shop
planer, but the main tool I use is the Shopsmith unless
I'm cutting large panels.
I like to think about the old master craftsmen who made
wonderful old furniture with only the crudest of hand
tools. We learn to work to our ability; the tool only
makes it faster.
you're looking at Shopsmith, also take a good look at
the SuperShop. Its built a lot better, has variable
speeds of 32 RPM to 7200 RPM without the funky attachment
that ShopSmith requires (at least they did when I was
looking at them 2 yrs ago). The Super Shop is also a
lot heavier machine (it weighs 600 lbs). Since buying
mine I've expanded my shop and have ALL of the tools
(table saw, jointer, band saw, etc.), but I've kept
the Super Shop because I really like to use it as a
drill press because the variable speed is so easy to
set. I also still use the band saw (it has a 1/4" blade)
for fine work and leave my big (22" throat) band saw
for "rough" work.
- Bruce McCormick
bought a Shopsmith. It's OK for some things. The lathe
is nice. But I was pretty embarrassed when a friend
from work brought a board over that he wanted me to
cut in half and we found that, because the table tilts,
the end of the board hit the floor before we could get
the middle of the board near the blade. We ended up
having to jack up one end of the Shopsmith to keep the
board from hitting the floor. A pretty stupid idea.
I recently checked the price of a new Shopsmith, $2700.
I could set up the majority of a shop with some nice
machines for that price. Skip the Shopsmith and it's
high priced accessories.
- David Williams
consider a Shopsmith or Totalshop. It used to be a nice
multi-station tool to help solve space problems. I think
if I was living in an apartment this diehard would have
one in a bedroom or livingroom if I was single.
I purchased a Mark V two years ago. It has done just
fine by me. I don't have space for a full workshop full
of stand-alone pieces. That was reason number 1 for
getting the SS - space. Sure it would be nice to have
a bigger table saw - but I don't have the room. With
the SS, I have your tools in my confined tool shed.
The SS gets rolled out to my open air patio where I
make my sawdust. If you buy because you need it, the
SS will be right for you. If you buy it thinking it
has the most luxurious of each of the tools on the market
you will make a mistake.
Each of the setups creates a good quality tool. I would
put the drill press, and jointer up against anything.
The rest of the setups all do what I need them to do,
AND - if you are all that concerned about the few minutes/seconds
it takes to change from one tool to the next, you don't
have the patience for woodworking in the first place.
Pick another hobby.
I'd buy the individual tools if you have room. Shopsmith
is a good tool, but the table size on the saw leaves
something to be desired. You might also get discouraged
at having to tear down and setup constantly. Approximate
new tool prices for quality tools, Table saw $600, jointer
$500, drill press $400, portable planer $350. If you
felt you had to have a lathe, the Jet
Mini Lathe is $329.
I own a Shopsmith 510. Personally, I'd opt for spending
the money on individual machines. The Shopsmith is OK
if your only planning to build the crafty things. Only
big concern I have with mine is having to continually
tweak things to keep everything square. ShopSmiths are
greatly overrated so far as I'm concerned. Just take
a look on one of their catalogs. Prices are out of this
world. The table on mine is plenty large enough with
the extensions but is cast aluminum and puts black marks
on your work unless you clean and wax it every so often.
purchased my Shopsmith about 12 years ago. The thing
is built like a tank. I have used it to build a house
full of furniture and it still has the original belt
on it. I think it is a great tool to learn woodworking
on as I did. With all the things you can do with it,
it's like a multipurpose jig. I see a lot of articles
in magazines on building jig's for a project but most
of the time I can skip that step because I can tilt
the table or chuck a router bit on it to do the same
thing. Shopsmith has great customer service when needed.
Don't think of them as a big company that makes 1,000
different tools. They are very much a small company
and everyone that works for them knows that Mark 5 inside
- Dave Lehnert
I started woodworking about 5 years ago, I bought a
new Shopsmith Mark V. It's really a great machine for
what it claims to be...that is, a multiple purpose,
compact tool; very well made and dependable. I found
it's main weakness to be the table saw function...it's
fine for small pieces but becomes very cumbersome when
compared to contractor style table saws when used for
larger ones. I soon got a Delta table saw, and wound
up using the Shopsmith mostly as a drill press, and
disk sander. If your workshop space is limited and you
understand how some of the Shopsmith tool setups can
be tedious and time consuming, by all means buy it.
It really is a terrific product.
- steve felger
bought my Shopsmith Mark V in 1980 and have had very
little problem with it. In my humble opinion, I think
it's a fine machine. My basement space is only 10' by
26' so the Mark V fits right in. I've spent many enjoyable
hours on the V making things for friends and relatives.