Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

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BigChip
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Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

Post by BigChip »

Hello. Have been fascinated by the Shopsmith for years but don't own one. I find myself in the need of a better table saw, and in my searching the classifieds I have run across a few Shopsmiths. One has the PowerPro upgrade but not many accessories. Another is a 510 but not PowerPro, but has some goodies with it. Both asking just a bit over $2k.

First of all I am not sure how much I should expect to spend on one... any opinions? (seems like there are a million for sale, so there should be bargains available).

Second, since my main need is for a table saw, I am not sure if I should just buy a dedicated table saw, or consider the ShopSmith. How good of a table saw is it?

I am NOT a fine furniture builder. I am a tinkerer, house fixer, plywood cutter, average guy. Basically I am a gorilla who is able to join pieces of wood together and occasionally do it reasonably well. :D

What say you, ShopSmithies?
edma194
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Re: Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

Post by edma194 »

BigChip wrote: Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:32 am I am NOT a fine furniture builder. I am a tinkerer, house fixer, plywood cutter, average guy. Basically I am a gorilla who is able to join pieces of wood together and occasionally do it reasonably well. :D
That's how I got started with a Shopsmith. I had a rather ordinary house that needed a work-over to boost it's value. My first Shopsmith was a 1954 Greenie that came with a joiner, all the standard components plus extra saw blades, arbors, and small add-ons. That machine made all the work I did a breeze. I put up natural wood molding and highlights all over the place, built an oak stair-rail that I will brag about and say was a huge selling point. The Shopsmith was invaluable for everything from basic 2x4 construction to cutting ceramic tiles.

As a table saw the Shopsmith has 1 big drawback, the blade does not tilt. Bevel cuts require the table to be tilted instead. That never held me back although occasionally it took a little extra time to work out the setup. Some people don't like the height of the table in table saw mode, several inches higher up than a typical table saw, but I find in most cases that's an advantage giving me a closer look and better control of the work piece. The machines you are looking at are more recent models with larger tables and fences giving you more flexibility as a table saw then many alternatives.

How much a machine will cost depends on your location and what it comes with. There's often some little part missing when you buy a used Shopsmith. If you're lucky it's just a knob or something else minor but it's a good idea to look at the catalog and all the standard pieces that should come with a Shopsmith. The real value of a Shopsmith is in the special purpose tools that can be added on. I consider the bandsaw to be the most valuable accessory. My second machine was a 510 with a bandsaw and I'm not sure how I lived before without one. I'm sure I've used that more than the table saw and keep it mounted almost all the time.
Ed from Rhode Island

Mark V 510 with PowerPro headstock, Mark V Greenie with 510 headstock, Mark V 500 in progress
Sawsmith 2000 Ultra, 10ER in progress, 10ER undetermined future
RFGuy
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Re: Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

Post by RFGuy »

BigChip wrote: Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:32 am Hello. Have been fascinated by the Shopsmith for years but don't own one. I find myself in the need of a better table saw, and in my searching the classifieds I have run across a few Shopsmiths. One has the PowerPro upgrade but not many accessories. Another is a 510 but not PowerPro, but has some goodies with it. Both asking just a bit over $2k.

First of all I am not sure how much I should expect to spend on one... any opinions? (seems like there are a million for sale, so there should be bargains available).

Second, since my main need is for a table saw, I am not sure if I should just buy a dedicated table saw, or consider the ShopSmith. How good of a table saw is it?

I am NOT a fine furniture builder. I am a tinkerer, house fixer, plywood cutter, average guy. Basically I am a gorilla who is able to join pieces of wood together and occasionally do it reasonably well. :D

What say you, ShopSmithies?
It may be helpful to know what kind of tablesaw you have now for comparison. Opinions on this vary widely. I would say that a Shopsmith Mark V (510/520), when properly tuned up, is kind of in the middle of the pack of available tablesaws. It is clearly better than many of the portable contractor tablesaws. However once you get to cabinet tablesaws you'll find quite a few of those are better than Shopsmith, but then you get what you pay for. There is always a better, more expensive tool out there. Prices for resale on Shopsmith equipment vary quite a bit depending on where you live. I wouldn't pay $2k for a used 510 with some goodies, but maybe that is just me (some places have this for $500-1000). As Ed mentioned bevels can be tricky on a Shopsmith because the table tilts rather than the blade. I never liked this so I choose to never do bevels on mine. However there are other forum members here who use it for this with good success regularly. You mentioned plywood and I have to say this is not my favorite to do on my Mark V either. Manhandling a full sheet of plywood on the smaller Mark V table by myself is not fun (even with lots of extension tables for support). Now that I own a tracksaw, it is the only way to cut plywood or other sheet goods. Personally I wouldn't cut plywood on anything but a tracksaw or a large cabinet saw - much safer. Lastly dust collection on a Mark V is good but not great. The lower saw guard is compromised because of having to support a tilting table so it leaks as a result. A good quality cabinet tablesaw has much better dust collection, below table at least. I am pointing out several negatives here, but just trying to give you my honest opinion on some pitfalls of using a Mark V as a tablesaw. Where the Mark V excels is in having a compact footprint which comes in handy for small shops like mine. In addition, it is a multi-tool so it can do so much more than be just a tablesaw. Do you have all of your other power tools covered in your shop - is that why you say you would only use it as a tablesaw? You have to think of a Shopsmith purchase as buying into a whole ecosystem. Yes you can do a lot with just a 510, but you can do so much more with a 510 with all of the accessories and SPT's that go with it.
📶RF Guy

Mark V 520 (Bought New '98) | 4" jointer | 6" beltsander | 12" planer | bandsaw | router table | speed reducer | univ. tool rest
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dusty
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Re: Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

Post by dusty »

When making comparisons, I think it is important to say that the Shopsmith is not a" Table Saw". Also, the Shopsmith was not designed to be a professional wood working tool. The Shopsmith is a multi-function tool for the home wood worker.

Way back when, I wanted a Delta Table Saw in the worst way. I would still like to have a big table on a big table saw like the one they use at "Wood Worker Source" here in Tucson But, if I had one of those in my shop I wouldn't have room for much else.

As it is, in my not huge two car garage I have two Mark V, Model 510/520s along with a Bandsaw, a Jointer, a Drill Press, a Disk Sander, a Belt Sander, a Lathe, a Horizontal Drill Press, a Planer and a Drum Sander. I'm pretty well equipped for any home workshop wood working task that might come along.

From time to time there is even some professional like projects that get done there.
"Making Sawdust Safely"
Dusty
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DLB
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Re: Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

Post by DLB »

BigChip wrote: Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:32 am Hello. Have been fascinated by the Shopsmith for years but don't own one. I find myself in the need of a better table saw, and in my searching the classifieds I have run across a few Shopsmiths. One has the PowerPro upgrade but not many accessories. Another is a 510 but not PowerPro, but has some goodies with it. Both asking just a bit over $2k.
Used prices always depend on where you are, but $2K for a 510 is a bit high unless it is extremely well accessorized. And it does not sound like you are currently looking for accessories. The PowerPro might be a better value, depending on which table system it comes with. For a 510 PowerPro that is not a bad price, for a 520 or Mark 7 it is a good price. But read up on the PowerPro and make sure it is for you before you go there. I love the PowerPro, but there are some considerations for someone with only one SS headstock.

I'm also a fan of the 520 for a portable table saw. Middle of the road absolutely if you include cabinet saws in the comparison, but as a portable I'd give it very high marks. My SS experience skipped over the 510 so I'm not knocking it either, just don't have that experience. I did not care for the 500 (and pre-500) as a table saw but like Ed I used one extensively and got by, but I'd rank it much lower in comparison to other portables.

- David
BigChip
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Re: Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

Post by BigChip »

Thanks for the replies.

I do already have a Grizzly Bandsaw, a good Router with full size table, a large Radial Arm saw, a couple chop saws, and many other tools.

My current table saw is a portable Ridgid that I bought cheap. It gets me by, but I am ready for something better. So that is the reason I am looking for a Table saw. I can't afford a cabinet saw (or the space for one) - I am currently looking at a Ridgid R4520. Price and the moveable base make it attractive.

Truth is I may be better off just getting the Table Saw - but the ShopSmith is so cool I had to ask!

EDITED: I have to say, another reason that I like a dedicated table saw is that I can easily do beveled rip cuts.
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chapmanruss
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Re: Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

Post by chapmanruss »

BigChip,

Welcome to the Shopsmith Forum.

You have already been given some excellent information on using the Shopsmith Mark V as a table saw so I won't repeat it except consider what RFGuy recommended. Use a TracSaw for cutting large panels down to size. That is good advice for anyone not using a Cabinet Table Saw. Something to consider while thinking about buying a Shopsmith Mark V or Mark 7, if that is the model that has the Power Pro Headstock, is all the other operations you can do with the Shopsmith. Remember the Shopsmith Mark V is a 5 in 1 tool that is a Table Saw, Drill Press, Horizontal Boring Machine, Disk Sander and Lathe. The Mark 7 adds two additional functions which are under table routing and shaping plus has a wider speed range. It can be a Drill Press both upright and laying down as a Horizontal Boring Machine. The Fence makes a great accessory for drilling along with the Miter which can lock in the track. You might be surprised at what you can do with the Disk Sander. Add a Conical Disk and/or a Drum Sander for even more sanding options. Do you see any Lathe work in your future? With a Shopsmith you will already have one.

Before making an offer on the Shopsmiths read up on what they should come with. It will help you avoid any surprises from finding out after the fact there were missing items. Check out the online catalog here on the website. At the link below is a document titled "Buying A Used Shopsmith". Is is the second from the left at the bottom of the page. It gives good information on things to consider when looking for a used Shopsmith tool.

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/ ... EpSUm9GMW8

Most of all you should be confident you are getting a good deal on your purchase.
Russ

Mark V completely upgraded to Mark 7
Mark V 520
All SPT's & 2 Power Stations
Model 10ER S/N R64000 first one I restored on bench w/ metal ends & retractable casters.
Has Speed Changer, 4E Jointer, Jig Saw with lamp, a complete set of original accessories & much more.
Model 10E S/N 1077 oldest one I have restored. 10E S/N 1033 & Mark 2 to be restored.
RFGuy
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Re: Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

Post by RFGuy »

Good feedback from everyone here on this thread. It should be pointed out that this is one advantage that you get with purchasing a Shopsmith. This forum is invaluable when it comes to repair advice, tool restorations, woodworking questions, etc. In addition to this forum, there are also a few active groups on Facebook for Shopsmith as well. These are assets for Shopsmith owners and you will be hard pressed to find another woodworking tool with as much support from other owners. Maybe this isn't a factor in your purchase decision, but it is a benefit worth considering. You already have a RAS (radial arm saw) and a couple of chop saws, so you are covered when it comes to crosscutting lumber. Soooo, you really only need a tablesaw for rip cuts potentially. IF this is the case then you have to seriously consider a tracksaw for this especially if you are cutting a lot of plywood. It seems kind of a waste to purchase a 510 and use it only for rip cuts and nothing else though. Another option is to use your bandsaw for rip cuts and some woodworkers prefer it to using a tablesaw. You already have a Grizzly bandsaw, but adding a 510 with a Shopsmith bandsaw gives you the option to dedicate the Grizzly bandsaw with a larger blade. Then the Shopsmith bandsaw can have a narrower blade for more intricate cuts. As Russ pointed out what about the lathe? Do you think you would ever get into woodturning? If so, with only a few inexpensive additional tools you can use the 510 for this. The horizontal boring is unique on the Shopsmith and it would be very expensive to have a similar function from other tools. Do you have a drill press already? Having these additional capabilities available in your workshop can be very compelling and the 510 would give it to you. Sadly though bevel cuts require a tilted table so if that is important to you then a fixed tablesaw may be your better bet.
📶RF Guy

Mark V 520 (Bought New '98) | 4" jointer | 6" beltsander | 12" planer | bandsaw | router table | speed reducer | univ. tool rest
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algale
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Re: Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

Post by algale »

When I bought my current home 21 years ago, I purchased a big Craftsman contractor saw with real cast iron top and wing and a 1.75 hp motor. It took me a while to figure out why it wouldn't cut straight or without burning. After spending almost as much on after market accessories, including alignment PALs, an excellent after market fence and a link belt to tame the vibration, and a Forest WWII blade, it was a pretty good saw!

There's only so much you can make with a table saw alone and so about a decade ago I bought a used 520 with a band saw. I really wanted to have the band saw, plus the lathe, drill press, and sanding disc features. I was certain I was NEVER going to use the 520 as a table saw and NEVER EVER going to attempt death-defying bevels on it.

Well, one day a project called for a bevel cut and I looked at my big old Craftsman table saw and there was a ton of stuff stacked on it and the Shopsmith table was clear. So I decided to give the Shopsmith a try. I was so pleased with it as a table saw, even on a bevel cut, that a few months later I sold off the aftermarket fence I had put on the Craftsman and then traded the Craftsman table saw for a Shopsmith belt sander.

I took quite a bath on my investment in the Craftsman. But I've never regretted the decision to ditch it and rely on the Shopsmith as my only table saw Yep, and bevel cutting takes a little getting used to. Yep, a track saw is better for breaking down sheet goods. But the 520 it is a darn good and highly precise table saw if you know how to use it.
Gale's Law: The bigger the woodworking project, the less the mistakes show in any photo taken far enough away to show the entire project!

BigChip
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Re: Hello - newb with SS questions - considering purchase

Post by BigChip »

Some VERY informational answers here. I suspected that ShopSmith OWNERS were as unique and dependable as the tool itself. Looks like I was right. One of the reasons for my attraction to the SS was that it seems to be an "out of the box" tool. And I am definitely an "out of the box" kind of guy.

I am aware of the lathe and other functions of the SS. While I had not cared about a lathe, I would if I had one. And a full-size drill press would be much better than my little benchtop press.
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