Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

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chapmanruss
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Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

Post by chapmanruss »

Since doing the Shopsmith Model 10 What When and Where and limited getting out because of covid restrictions, I have been also thinking about some of the similar things as related to the Shopsmith Mark 5 and its beginnings. Their histories are intertwined but I will try to keep this more to the Mark 5. Just know that the basis for the Mark 5 came from the Model 10E and 10ER as they evolved so did the vision for the Mark 5.

I think some history here is important since unfortunately the Shopsmith website has their own history somewhat incorrect. Originally the tool was the Shopsmith Mark 5 not Mark V. Mark V was used later after Shopsmith Inc. was formed and the tool itself had Mark 5 on its vent/serial number plate until early 1980. The Mark 5 was introduced in March of 1954 by Magna Engineering Corporation the original makers of the Shopsmith tool. Since then, several companies have owned the Shopsmith/Magna tool line. More on that later.

The Mark 5 had been in conception, engineering and production for quite some time before its introduction. It was the next step in the 5 in 1 power tool for the average user. I’m sure I do not need to tell all of you how versatile the Shopsmith 5 in 1 tool is compared to stand alone tools. Many of the things learned through the evolution of the Model 10’s was incorporated into the Mark 5. Like the Model 10’s the Mark 5 was improving as feedback continued to point out problem areas. One thing has always stayed the same and that is improvements and upgrades will work on the first Mark 5 made through the current Mark V’s being made. An original Mark 5 made in 1954 can be upgraded to all of the changes needed to be a Mark V 520 or even a Mark 7 but of course in doing so it won’t look much like that original Mark 5 any longer.

Early changes to the Mark 5 were mostly in the Headstock itself. Two problems quickly showed up. One was solved by adding a clutch to the Drive Sleeve to help prevent breaking the Gilmer Belt. Another was the Idler Shaft and Eccentric Bushing not being held well enough in place so the Bearing Retainers were added to help hold the Idler Shaft Assembly in place in the Headstock casting. This was an easy addition that could be added to early Mark 5’s. Later screws were used to hold the Eccentric Bushing and Idler Shaft Bearings in the Headstock casting. The list of changes continued but I am not going to list them all here.

There are parts of the Mark 5 that have not changed noticeably like the Speed Control used even today on new Mark V 520’s. The Speed Control Assembly has had only slight changes whereas the complete drive train has had quite a few changes. The change from the Gilmer Drive to the Poly V Drive was a notable one along with the change from a ¾ HP Motor to the 1-1/8 HP Motor. Even with all the changes made over the years the designers and engineers have always made the changes able to be used on earlier made Shopsmiths.

A design feature of the Mark 5 included the ability to expand its capabilities from the beginning. The Base/Arm and Headrest ends of the bench included the mounting holes for not only the Extension Table but the redesigned now Model 620 Magna 4” Jointer and the new Model 610 Magna Jig Saw. Other Magna Add-a-Tools followed.

Did you notice I called the Jointer and Jig Saw Magna and not Shopsmith? Did you notice I called them Add-a-Tools not SPT’s (Single or Special Purpose Tool)? Originally only the 5 in 1 Tools, first the Model 10E and 10ER followed by the Mark 5 were the Shopsmith Tool. The others carried the Magna name which included the later releases of the Sprayer (compressor), the Belt Sander and the Band Saw. There were additional tools made by Magna that included a Table Saw, Drill Press and others some of which could incorporate the use of the Add-a-Tools above on a single bench.

I think it is important to know that there have been several companies that have made the Shopsmith/Magna Tools over the years. In 1947 Magna Engineering Corporation was formed by the inventor and his partners to make the Shopsmith Model 10E 5 in 1 tool. It was Magna Engineering Corporation that introduced the Mark 5. Magna Engineering Corporation existed on its own from 1947 to 1955 when it split into two divisions. Magna Engineering Corporation retained the Design and Manufacturing operations and Magna Power Tool Corporation took over the Sales and Marketing. This was from 1955 until 1958 and is the reason you see Magna Power Tool Corporation on the Shopsmith’s name plate and printed materials. In 1958 Yuba Consolidated Industries, Inc. purchased Magna and another company then formed Yuba Power Products Inc. During this time, they also made the Yard Smith line of power garden tools. Yuba sold the rights to the Shopsmith/Magna product lines to a group of employees in 1961 who formed Magna American Corporation. Magna American Corporation continued into the late 1960’s until sales dwindled down to nearly nothing and they closed operations. It was Magna American Corporation that gave us the first Shopsmith Mark VII that was quite different from the Mark 5 in not only looks but in how it operated. There are different years given depending on where you read about the Shopsmith story as to when Magna American Corporation discontinued operations. This, I believe, is because of the different dates they ceased production of different tools. The Mark 5 production ended around 1965 but the Mark VII continued well into 1968 and maybe as late as the beginning of 1969. It seemed this was to be the end of the Shopsmith/Magna Tools line. In 1972 Shopsmith Inc. was formed to bring back the Shopsmith Mark 5 and the related SPT’s. The Mark 5 was back for sale in 1973. This brought another change as all the Magna named SPT’s were now Shopsmith tools although Magna markings remained on several SPT’s for years after Shopsmith Inc. started. There are two additional names of companies to mention. The first is RLF Shop LLC from 2010 and RLF Brands LLC from 2010 – present. Although still known as simply Shopsmith to most of us it is RLF Brands LLC that now owns Shopsmith but the why of that is in itself is another story.
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 1076 & Mark 2 to be restored plus others.
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Re: Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

Post by RFGuy »

Russ,

Thanks for this very succinct yet thorough history of the Mark 5->V. I appreciate it. I know that there is tremendous continuity that Shopsmith has carried through many decades keeping the core design the same, but it helps that you reminded me of it again here. I know I sometimes complain about Shopsmith in that new features aren't adopted more readily by them, but of course this is often done to preserve backwards compatibility. I wonder though if this focus on compatibility hasn't hurt them in the end. I mean if you look at other woodworking machine manufacturers they refresh model lines every few years. Similar to how cars and smartphones get refreshed more regularly because of newer safety features and added bells & whistles, I would have to assume that in the woodworking machinery space that by regularly updating a product (making it less backwards compatible to what came before) has to help the company's bottomline. I say this because I assume selling a complete new machine has to have higher margin than selling replacement parts. Not trying to pick on Shopsmith here, but just thinking out loud. It is great that they maintain backwards compatibility for users, but I think it comes at a cost to them because there are so many nearly identical machines available for sale on Craigslist/eBay. More product differentiation may help them. Just a thought...
📶RF Guy

Mark V 520 (Bought New '98) | 4" jointer | 6" beltsander | 12" planer | bandsaw | router table | speed reducer | univ. tool rest
Porter Cable 12" Compound Miter Saw | Rikon 8" Low Speed Bench Grinder w/CBN wheels | Jessem Clear-Cut TS™ Stock Guides
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chapmanruss
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Re: Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

Post by chapmanruss »

RFGuy,

There is a lot of truth in what you say. If I ever need parts for my Craftsman RAS I will probably end up scraping it since it was made over 30 years ago. On the other hand my, only a few years newer, Mark V 520 still has the needed parts available to keep it running. I believe that is one of the things that has kept Shopsmith going all these years. With what you said in another thread today about maybe them making a less expensive option reminded me of the Mark 2.
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 1076 & Mark 2 to be restored plus others.
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jsburger
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Re: Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

Post by jsburger »

chapmanruss wrote: Wed Mar 24, 2021 6:14 pm RFGuy,

There is a lot of truth in what you say. If I ever need parts for my Craftsman RAS I will probably end up scraping it since it was made over 30 years ago. On the other hand my, only a few years newer, Mark V 520 still has the needed parts available to keep it running. I believe that is one of the things that has kept Shopsmith going all these years. With what you said in another thread today about maybe them making a less expensive option reminded me of the Mark 2.
Which are few and far in between on the used market. Apparently they didn't sell well.
John & Mary Burger
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Re: Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

Post by RFGuy »

Yeah, I don't know that there is a solution...it was just some thoughts that I had. Just spit-ballin here - there was another thread recently where someone got a Mark V with a busted motor and it was cost prohibitive to replace it for them. Their only interest was in the lathe. Wondering how many of those potential buyers are out there. A lathe only Shopsmith might be one option where the waytubes are fixed and there could be an option of with or without PowerPro. This might make it easier for the Shopsmith lathe to more directly compete with the likes of the Laguna REVO, etc. A low cost version might even have a smaller motor (since lathe only) with reduced speed range. It just seems like Shopsmith has put all their eggs in one basket with the 7in1 tool, but some buyers may not need/want that effectively pricing themselves out of this market. Another option could be resurrecting the smaller 500 table though this likely won't save much on cost. Going the other direction for a more expensive Shopsmith, I gave ideas before on another thread for new features I would like to see offered. Another option would be for Shopsmith to take trade-ins of older equipment towards new purchases. Then they could refurbish them and resell them like car dealers who sell pre-certified. Of course that won't make those of you in the restoration busy happy though. None of these ideas may make sense. I mean Shopsmith did try separates before with the Sawsmith 2000 and Crafter/Power Stations, but these are no longer sold.

Don't get me wrong, it is great for us, the customer, that Shopsmith has maintained backwards compatibility. I was just trying to point out that it comes at a cost to Shopsmith (IMHO).

P.S. Keep in mind that the market has likely changed A LOT from when the Mark 2 or other products were sold before. So, what worked/didn't work in the past has likely changed and there might be new opportunities for a stripped down Mark V, standalone TS or lathe. IF Shopsmith wanted to sell more products I think their biggest challenge is getting the word out. It seems like their customer base today is primarily existing owners of Shopsmith equipment or those who find it by word of mouth. For better or worse to succeed in today's market, requires a strong social media presence...and having influencers on those platforms to help sell your products. :(
📶RF Guy

Mark V 520 (Bought New '98) | 4" jointer | 6" beltsander | 12" planer | bandsaw | router table | speed reducer | univ. tool rest
Porter Cable 12" Compound Miter Saw | Rikon 8" Low Speed Bench Grinder w/CBN wheels | Jessem Clear-Cut TS™ Stock Guides
Festool (Emerald): DF 500 Q | RO 150 FEQ | OF 1400 EQ | TS 55 REQ | CT 26 E
DC3300 | Shopvac w/ClearVue CV06 Mini Cyclone | JDS AirTech 2000 | Sundstrom PAPR | Dylos DC1100 Pro particulate monitor
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Re: Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

Post by DLB »

RFGuy wrote: Wed Mar 24, 2021 7:45 pm ...It seems like their customer base today is primarily existing owners of Shopsmith equipment or those who find it by word of mouth...
IMO that is true, but it is also how the company sees itself today. I attended two demos right before the response to the pandemic shut them down. And while I thought sales were decent, the large sales I saw were variations on the upgrade theme. These were long term users, myself included, buying into some kind of major upgrade retrofit or replacement. Those buying wanted a M7 or something close to it. Most of those 'just looking' were also existing SS users. In fact the demo itself was not 'let me show you what you can do with a M7' but more like 'let me show you how the M7 is better than what you have now.' I think that the business model for the current incarnation of Shopsmith as a company is replacement parts, accessories, upgrades, and replacements to a fairly significant customer base. If they can run a successful business on that model, the risks associated with a large increase in R&D and marketing may just not interest them right now.

- David
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chapmanruss
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Re: Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

Post by chapmanruss »

RFGuy,

You suggested as an option,
A lathe only Shopsmith might be one option where the way tubes are fixed and there could be an option of with or without PowerPro.
They sorta did that already a little over thirty years ago with the Mark I. Instead of the regular bench ends it had two fixed ends with extension table/SPT mounting holes that mounted the unit directly to a bench. It had shorter Way Tubes but could easily be changed to regular length ones. No tilt up for a Drill Press mode. As the story goes only two were ever sold and one was returned to the factory for an upgrade to a Mark V. The original information for the Mark I comes from Scott at Tool-Hunter.com. It makes for interesting reading and the link for it is below.

http://www.tool-hunter.com/shopsmith-po ... olitician-

I had thought I would mention the Mark I at some point during this discussion about the Mark 5 so consider it mentioned.
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 1076 & Mark 2 to be restored plus others.
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chapmanruss
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Re: Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

Post by chapmanruss »

As I mentioned in my previous post the Shopsmith History from here on the shopsmith.com web site is incorrect in a few areas. The following is an edited and corrected version as to how I believe it should read. My hope is the information contained in the following is a better representation of the Shopsmith History.

Note - References to manuals, parts lists, etc. have been deleted below but should be on the web site version. They would read as follows - An information packet, including copies of parts lists, owner’s manuals and more, can be ordered HERE.

Shopsmith Mark V/Mark 7 Tool History

Mark 5
Magna Engineering Corporation put this American classic 5-in-1 tool into production in 1953. Sales of the new Mark 5 began in March 1954. Since its introduction the Mark V has gone through a series of important upgrades to improve its performance, working convenience and safety. Today, any Shopsmith owner is able to add any or all of these upgrades to their older machines -- and do it themselves -- to bring their machine up to the latest standards. No other power tool that we know of offers this level of upgrade-ability!

1953 to 1960 -- Greenies
Mark 5’s during this period were painted green. These units had a Gilmer Drive System (the inside of the top belt is like a tank track). These units have a single bearing spindle. 3/4 Hp motor was the standard.

1960 to 1963 -- Goldies
Also called Brown / Gold / Tan - Machines produced during this period were painted copper/gold.

1961 - Poly-V Drive System (the inside of the top belt is a serpentine) introduced, delivering improved belt durability and reduced machine maintenance.

1962 - 1-1/8 HP Motor
The more powerful 1-1/8 HP Motor was introduced. You can upgrade from a 3/4 hp motor to the more powerful 1-1/8 hp motor.

1963 to 1964 -- Gray Crinkle Texture - These were the next units to have the Poly V drive system.

1964 -- Was Temporarily Out of Production - After Magna American Corporation relocated the Mark 5 went out of production.

1972 -- Shopsmith, Inc. Formed – Mark 5 is Back!
In 1972, Shopsmith, Inc was formed and the Mark 5 was back and go back on sale in 1973. The Mark 5 remains gray but now has a rougher splatter texture.

1980 – Early in 1980 the Mark 5 name changed to Mark V on the machines, although the Roman numeral V had been used in advertising and printed materials prior to 1980 by Shopsmith Inc.

1984 -- Two Bearing Quill
In October of 1984 (starting with serial number 190000), Shopsmith upgraded the drive system to the 2-Bearing Quill. Older Poly-V Drive System Mark Vs can be Upgraded to the Two-Bearing Quill for greater stability with less runout and wobble.

1985 -- Mark V Model 510 introduced and the original Mark V becomes the Mark V Model 500
The Mark V Model 510 was introduced with an improved, big 17-1/2" x 22" main table. The table system also includes two floating extension tables along with connecting tubes and telescoping legs to provide over 8 feet of table width. A new larger rip fence with t-tracks for mounting accessories and jigs. Other parts of the upgrade include a see-through upper saw guard (with riving knife and anti-kickback device), lower saw guard with 2-1/2" dust port and more. A Model 505 version without the floating tables was also introduced but has since been discontinued.

1991 -- “C” Headstock
1991 Mark V Models were introduced with the “C” Headstock featuring a Red Safety Key Switch.

1999 -- Mark V Model 520 Introduced
Shopsmith Mark V Model 520 Features the Pro Fence System with the larger tables of the Model 510. The Model 520 Pro Fence System now features two interchangeable stainless-steel scales for direct-reading of rip cut widths. Twin locking levers, one for the infeed end of the fence and another for the outfeed end to ensure a positive, precise fence lock-down, even when working with large and / or heavy workpieces.

2010 -- Shopsmith Mark 7
The Shopsmith Mark 7 adds two additional functions (shaping and routing) to become a 7-function machine and features an electronic speed-change mechanism making it one of the most revolutionary woodworking power tools available anywhere!
The Shopsmith Mark 7 is powered by the revolutionary Shopsmith PowerPro Headstock. The PowerPro's DVR (Digital Variable Reluctance) motor features • More Power (1-3/4 hp at 120V and 2 hp at 240V) • 120V or 240V operation without any adjustments beyond switching the plug on the power cord • Reduced energy usage and emissions over conventional motors • Dual direction capability • Easy-to-use touchpad controls • Quieter operation • Reduced maintenance... and more! Click here to read more about the benefits the advanced Shopsmith PowerPro brings to the Mark 7 and about options for upgrading older Shopsmith machines. In addition to existing functions, the Mark 7 adds Double-Tilt to bring an under-table option to its Shaping and Routing capabilities. An upgrade is available to bring tilt-both-ways convenience to older Shopsmith Mark V machines.

Special note for 1964 above - that is about the time period that only the Mark 5 was discontinued.

Now I’m sure many of you just like me have reads the following information about the Shopsmith history. It is an excerpt from the eBay Buying Guide "Finding Hidden Shopsmith Tools, Aftermarket Accessories"
In the late 1950’s Magna and the ShopSmith line was purchased by the lawn and garden tool manufacturer Yuba Power Products, Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio. Within just a few years a group of employees incorporated as Magna American Corp. and acquired the ShopSmith product line from Yuba, but by 1966 the company and the ShopSmith product line died. All told the ShopSmith line had been moved from San Diego, CA to Fort Wayne, IN, to Menlo Park, CA, to Cincinnati, OH, and ultimately to what was to be its final resting place, Raymond, MS. What a wild ride!

Again, this is an example of Shopsmith history that varies by source. In this case 1966 is listed as when the Shopsmith product line died. Again, it depends on which Shopsmith tool you are referring to as to when it went out of production. Another thing I find interesting is the locations it lists for Magna and the other companies. Other than this and sources using the same list Magna Engineering Corporation started in San Francisco California and was never in San Diego. The San Francisco western operations moved to Menlo Park CA. They didn’t move that operation to Ft. Wayne IN. They were using eastern plants to make Shopsmiths of which Ft. Wayne was one. Yuba moved the operations to Cincinnati OH and ultimately Magna American ended up in Raymond MS.

EDIT - 1961 changed from 1960 for the Poly V drive. The following posts will explain why.
Last edited by chapmanruss on Sat Mar 27, 2021 2:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 1076 & Mark 2 to be restored plus others.
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Re: Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

Post by JPG »

Picky detail. For a while(1960-1962?) a gilmer version with 3/4 hp motor was made with 'goldie'/'brownie' colors. IIRC the poly-v debuted with the 1 1/8 hp motor just before I purchased mine. Then a few months later the Mark VII appeared. :mad:
╔═══╗
╟JPG ╢
╚═══╝

Goldie(Bought New SN 377425)/4" jointer/6" beltsander/12" planer/stripsander/bandsaw/powerstation /Scroll saw/Jig saw /Craftsman 10" ras/Craftsman 6" thicknessplaner/ Dayton10"tablesaw(restoredfromneighborstrashpile)/ Mark VII restoration in 'progress'/ 10
E[/size](SN E3779) restoration in progress, a 510 on the back burner and a growing pile of items to be eventually returned to useful life. - aka Red Grange
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chapmanruss
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Re: Shopsmith Mark 5 What When and Where

Post by chapmanruss »

JPG,

That is not a picky detail at all. Just like the thread I did before for the Model 10's I would like this to include as much accurate information as possible. I have only learned all of this Shopsmith history but you are an excellent resource since you have owned a Mark 5 since the early 1960's. I do appreciate your input. That compilation of changes above is from the Shopsmith history page and is not 100 percent accurate.
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 1076 & Mark 2 to be restored plus others.
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