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Thread: Saw a Shopsmith Demo

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Mebane, NC, USA.

    Saw a Shopsmith Demo

    Lowes had a shopsmith demo going on Friday. Impressive machine, but it is pricey. I am also not sure where the salesguy got the prices from that he was quoting for standalone tools. I could put a decent shop together for a lot less than the cost of that Shopsmith.

  2. #2
    I caught a Shopsmith demo at a Lowes last October. It's pretty impressive how well the guy doinw the demo knows the machine. I agree with you on the price.

    About a year and a half ago, I was given a Shopsmith that had only one board run through it, then sat in a garage for 15 years. Seeing as I already had most of the tools it provided (except the lathe) I gave it to my Dad. It works well for him because he doesn't have any space in his garage. He can pull it out to use it, then pack it up against the wall when he's done.

    My grandfather also has a Shopsmith, and he swears by it. I think some of the Shopsmith owners are nearly as zealous as us BT3 owners!

    Life's too short to play an ordinary guitar: Tundra Man Custom Guitars

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Plymouth (Minneapolis), MN, USA.
    I've drooled over the shopsmith in the past, since I don't have room for lots of dedicated tools. But I've decided it's not for me.

    First of all, the table saw is kind of a joke. At the very least, one would need a dedicated table saw along with the shopsmith.

    The "disc sander" really isn't a dedicated tool -- you can get attacments for that for a table saw.

    I'm not sure how good the lathe is, but it appears to be OK.

    Drill press -- seems to do ok at that too.

    Horizontal boring machine -- cool, but how often do you need one?

    You can get the bandsaw (for more $$$$'s) but it seems no better than a good benchtop bandsaw, but a lot more dough.

    The dealbreaker, though, is the setup/teardown time. The guy in the demo tries to downplay that, and does all the conversions while he's talking, which helps pass the time. But I do enough "setup" just getting the BT3k ready to go (possibly switching blades, configuring the fence and/or SMT the way I want, perhaps attaching my router and the router fences, etc. The last thing I need is to be spending 5-10 minutes changing my "table saw" into a drill press.

    If the thing sold for $650, with band saw, I might be interested. But not for the $$$$$$'s it sells for.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Sanford, FL, USA.
    Even though I do not own a shopsmith, I do visit this website for tips and free plans. Just have to improvise on the instructions as they are written for a Shopsmith.
    George AKA Rounder

    "Amarillo Slim, the greatist proposition gambler of all time held to his father's maxim; You can shear a sheep many times, but you can skin him only once."

  5. #5
    If you want one for 650.00 just look in the classifieds. they come up quite often and they go cheap...for all the above mentioned reasons.....things that do everything, do nothing well!

  6. #6
    I got a free one some years ago it was in pieces and rusted. With some TLC I got it back to working conditions. I use the disc sander, Lathe and drill press/boring machine. When I found out how much the thing is worth new I was shocked. It is a good tool but I would not pay more than 200-300 for it and that is pushing it.
    \"No Idea is a good idea until it is your idea\" -me

  7. #7
    quote:Originally posted by crokett

    Lowes had a shopsmith demo going on Friday. Impressive machine, but it is pricey. I am also not sure where the salesguy got the prices from that he was quoting for standalone tools. I could put a decent shop together for a lot less than the cost of that Shopsmith.
    I had one and the machine with a bandsaw was almost $3,000 and that was discounted. I was very disappointed with it, especially the table saw. They gave me 90 days to play with it and then I sent it back. It cost me about $320.00 to ship it back. I then went to Home Depot and they were closing out the Emerson stationary ( grey color ) tools and I got a 3612TS,BSaw,TPlaner,Jointer,Sliding CMS,DPress and Drum Sander for less than $2300. I have been happy with the performance of each of these tools. Ken
    Ken aka "mater"

    " People may doubt what you say but they will never doubt what you do "

    Ken's Den

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Portland, or.
    I bought a shopsmith from my boss at work for $100.I used it about three times(i agree the tablesaw needs help)it sat in the corner of my shop for a while.Then one day when i was strolling through HD i saw the BT HMMMMMMM that looks like a nice table saw.Put a add in the paper and sold the shopsmith for $325 and went out the same day and got the BT..

  9. #9
    I have a ShopSmith Mark V Model 500 (the base model) that my dad bought in 1980. He gave it to me a few years back, because he decided that his Craftsman RAS was sufficient for anything he'd need to do.

    The reason I bought my BT3100 is because the table for the table saw setup is very poor. From the looks of it, they've improved it considerably in the 20+ years since mine was built, but I couldn't justify the $900 to upgrade to the current model 520 tables and fence versus the $299-10%=$270 for the BT3100.

    I still have it and use it for:[list=1][*]Veritcal Drill Press (very good)[*]Disc sander (pretty good)[*]Lathe (very good, but I've never used another lathe, so I have nothing to judge against)[*]11" Bandsaw (OK -- kinda small, but does what I need it to)[*]Drum sander (OK for a non-oscillating sander)</ol id="1">I also have the parts to use it as an overhead router, but the setup scares me, so I don't suspect it'll ever see use as a router. I haven't had the need to use the horizontal boring setup, but I can see where it'd be useful, and would probably do the job just fine.

    Nutshell: If you can get one for cheap ($0-$600), and are short on space, it's a viable option for a drill press, lathe and disc sander. I use mine most as drill press.

    The real cool thing about it is that I have a variable speed drill press (no belts to move!) and you have to pay a good amount to get a dedicated unit. I think the same thing goes for the lathe.


    BOFH excuse #360: Your parity check is overdrawn and you're out of cache.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Anamosa, Iowa, USA.
    I've had a Mark V since the late 70's. I worked for me because we were moving a lot, and usually had very little space for woodworking tools. The one really true statement they make, is it does not take any more room than a bicycle. I have done a lot of home repair/misc stuff with it and paid for it making 2x4's in to little block houses that my wife would stencil "WELCOME" on and sell at craft shows, for a lot more than I would of paid for them.

    The table saw is poor at best, and scary at times (bevel cutting on a tilting table saw, one side of the cut is falling into the blade). The variable speed drill press and lathe are the best features. There have been times the horizontal boring saved an huge amount of time by not having to try and rig up some sort of jig. If you don't make all of your cuts for a setup at the same time, it takes a long time to go back. Like anything else though it is the user that makes the project, not the tool. Now that I have the BT, I'll keep it around for the good parts, but will probably nerver mount a saw blade on it again.


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