View Full Version : What about the Shopsmith Mark V?
11-05-2001, 05:40 PM
I am new to the hobby and have taken one weekend class at a local craft store. I am hooked, but I have yet to buy any power tools. It seems that a table saw is the place to start and I was really impressed with the JET cabinet saw we used in class, but I am just wondering if anyone has used or does use the Shopsmith Mark V or a similar product. It seems to me to be a cheap compromise that I might be happy with or I might not, but I am not so sure I am willing to take that risk. Any comments would be welcome.
Also on a somewhat different track, will a newbie like me be interested in something like the Incra fence or a jointech?
11-05-2001, 06:50 PM
Thepapabear; good handle. I think the Shop Smith or the SuperShop are good machines. That said, they require a considerable amount of time for set up between each operation, thus requiring a great deal of origination in your work habits. It takes a bit of time to saw a board, then do a reconfiguration and set up to drill a couple of holes only to discover that you need to use the saw once more. These type of tools require a lot of set up time.
With you just starting out I would encourage you to look at bench top tools. While they don?t have the capabilities of the larger and more expensive stationary tools. Over the last few years a number of very fine tool manufactures (I recommend Porter Cable & Bosh & some Delta) have expanded their line to include table saw, drill presses, planners, jointers, router tables, & on & on?.). They will not last you 20 or 30 years like some of the heaver counter parts, a Delta Uni-Saw should lat 30+ years with proper maintenance. But they are a cheaper way to start out and find what you like.
And yes I agree that a table saw is the center of any shop.
Just my opinion.
11-05-2001, 08:44 PM
I didn't think about the time involved in transition, but I have found in other things I have done if I don't buy some of the best quality, I am usually not satisfied. Howerver, I see a few references to the Shopsmith and I have seen one or two of the demo's. Apparently the best of the 5 tools may be the lathe.
I will await some more comments, but I am probably leaning toward the seperate tools.
I have also heard good things about the Delta Unisaw. Do you know much about the Ridgid TS 2424? a contractor's say on wheels, but obviously not a cabinet saw like the JET or the Unisaw.
Thanks for the advice and the quick response.
It depends on what you are thinking of building and how often you will be using the tools. If I were going to do some turning I would consider tools like the Shopsmith. With small projects like bird houses or maybe even doll houses again the shopsmith will be a good choice. If I were going to build large furniture like book cases or entertainment centers then I would go for a cabinet saw. The table on the Shopsmith is so small that it is very hard to cut panel goods to size with one.
I know a lot of people swear by the Shopsmith and a person can make excellent projects with one but I would not want to use one. By the way in my personal shop my main saw is an Altendorf. My great grandpa made a very beautiful inlayed table about 24" across and I believe he used a Shopsmith.
Good luck and work safely
11-06-2001, 01:32 PM
I haven't any experience with a Shopsmith, but I'm sure it would irk me to have to reconfigure the machines every time to use them. I suppose, if you were well practiced on one, changing over wouldn't take long, but you'd sure have to learn to be organized in your thinking.
I'm not a professional, but I've done some nice projects on a simple Sears Contractor's saw I bought used for $250. I know the Unisaw is most woodworker's 'dream machine', but several full-time woodworkers have counseled me that the Sears saw, with an add-on fence, will do everything I'd want it to do, and it has. My point is, if your budget is no problem, go for the best, but if you have a lot to learn, the Jet or any good cabinet saw will do. I've known professional woodworkers perfectly happy with Grizzly import cabinet saws, but they knew what they were doing if they had to 'tweak' it after delivery. You can always sell one later and upgrade if you want, also. Remember, you are not only going to want other machines (drill press, router, planer, jointer, mortiser, disc sander...) you are also going to need accessories: good clamps can run $35 to $45 each, and one good corner chisel (only 3/8") is now up to $40. Taking the class as you did, is the best way to get an introduction to the tools. Few people start out with all they need; we generally pick a project, buy what is necessary, and then add in for what each project requires. That's just one more opinon, and good luck with your purchases...sounds like fun! -Barb S.
11-06-2001, 11:23 PM
Thanks for your advice. I think I will go with the JET or the Ridgid TS 2424, but timing and money will help make the decision. I heard a rumor locally that I might get a sligtly used JET at a good price, I will soon check that out. Again thanks for the advice, I am sure I will have lots of other questions.
11-07-2001, 09:20 AM
LAST EDITED ON Nov-07-01 AT 10:25AM (CDT)
LAST EDITED ON Nov-07-01 AT 10:21?AM (CDT)
Where are you located? I am seriously considering moving up to a cabinet saw and I will have a Jet contractor's saw for sale.
I live in New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
You are, I think, going to like having separate tools instead of a combination tool unless your shop space is miniscule. I often have to interrupt one procedure and go to another machine to adjust something a bit, so it would make me crazy to have to make a major change to a setup.
11-12-2001, 01:40 PM
The venerable (and highly creative and personable) Nick Engler likes Shopsmiths so they can't be all bad.
Having said that, they're marketed toward beginners, especially for those with small work areas and many experienced users are annoyed by the quality of the table saw feature, which is one of the heaviest uses for most woodworkers.
Check the HUGE history of Shopsmith threads at places like http://www.deja.com and see if any of the remarks resonate for you.
Think about buying this stuff used if you decide to. I see them all the time.
11-15-2001, 02:08 PM
my own thought would be that the shopsmith......if you could find a good deal on an older one in excellent condition, with most of its tooling.....would be the perfect "entry level" cost-effective woodworking machine capability.......
the shopsmith is, of course, a very light duty machine, and, obviously, its not as convenient to use as a proper table saw, or a proper drill press, or a proper lathe, etc., but it will empower you to do lots of good work, if you are willing to take the time to arrange it for its various functions........we had one of those, years ago, and it did a lot of work for us...
later, if you like, you can always get some better equipment.....a really useful basic table saw like the powermatic mod. 66, for example, and a good 6" or 8" long table jointer, and a good drill press, and a.....and a....and a....well, you know how that goes.......our latest investment here is an "oliver model 232" table saw.......14" blade, 3hp on spindle, direct drive, rack and pinion fence, etc. (we waited to find a good deal, and the oliver cost us quite a bit less than buying a new oriental "jet" saw......took a bit of waiting and looking, tho)
well, fact is, you can make very nearly anything with the shopsmith that you can make with much more sophisticated machinery......if you can get a good deal, go for it.... : )