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Reading a recent thread on saw blades, I noted several people with Shopsmiths. Can we start a discussion on this? Hi, I'm Keith, and I'm a Shopsmith owner. (all) "Hi, Keith." I started off many years ago without much direction, not knowing any woodworkers. I grew up with a Homecraft table saw that I believe my father bought when he (with a lot of help and subs) built the house I grew up in. I started out on an apartment balcony and storage room with a drill, a hand saw, a few chisels and screwdrivers, a hacksaw and a cheap wood plane. I made a number of things with them, including bookcases, TV stand, cradle, camp kitchen and other small pieces. A few years later, I added a B&D cheap circular saw and jig saw. Built some more bookcases. My first saw was a small (8") table top table saw. Don't remember the brand. Worked ok, but quickly outgrew as I got more into woodworking. Sold it to a co-worker. Then I got a Craftsman RAS because in reading a book was amazed at all the things it could do. Well it was a piece of craft -- wouldn't stay aligned. This was in the day before Taiwanese imports. So about the only choices were Craftsman or more industrial equipment like Delta/Rockwell. So as I was getting more serious, my BIL talked me into a Shopsmith. He'd had one for 20 years as his sole machinery. Got the MarkV (later known as a 500), band saw, jointer package. Worked fine. Then went to a class with Roger Cliffe. He convinced me a Unisaw would be a good idea. By that time, the 510 was out with larger and more tables, but I decided to take that substantial upgrade money into a new machine. I do still use it and it's a fine machine for most other functions -- drill press, horizontal boring, disk and belt sander, band saw (though smallish). I was also active in an early Shopsmith forum and user group. They're about 1 hour north of me. But they keep getting smaller and smaller as I go driving by. Retail store is closed. A friend used to be a traveling pitch man and got laid off. Don't see them at the malls or fairs any more. I have had several factory tours and the factory gets smaller and smaller each time. Part of it is lean and JIT manufacturing, but probably part of it is lower volume. I was also a bit surprised to see that most of their components are fabricated elsewhere and they really just do some final milling on some pieces and assembly. But, I digress. I ended up with a new Unisaw. I was amazed that it was so easy to set the rip fence for width. I did not have to go to one table for narrow widths, aux table dropped down for intermediate, and aux table at same height for wider rips. And bevel cuts were done with blade tilt, not bed tilt. About the same time, a Cat5 tornado went through the family farm and my dad, who was taking a lot of the blow-downs for firewood, saved me a number of ash, hickory, and butternut trees for lumber. Soon after, I needed a planer. Ryobi had the first and only lunchbox planer out and the dealer convinced me that they're only expected to last a few years. SInce I only had 120V in the shop, that narrowed it down to a Hitachi F1000A jointer-planer combo. Still have that and use it regularly. About this time the RAS was only being used for a table for holding wood parts, so got rid of it. My wife also reminds me that "free" lumber cost a trailer and a planer. Somewhere in there, I got a PC 690 router. The B&D I'd gotten a couple of years before self-destructed its motor. So I'm learning cheap tools were not a bargain. Norm started his show and it seemed he never changed bits, he just had another router with that bit in it. That was my only router for many years. Even went to a class where I felt inadequate when the instructor asked for show of hands, "Who has 1 router? 2? 3? 4? 5? 6 or more?" A few years later, I was doing a large picture framing job for an artist. The frames were quite large and elaborate, with compound mitered corners, so I sprung for a miter saw (Hitachi, still in use). Not absolutely necessary, but useful. As far as portable power tools, I started out with Porter-Cable and found them good, with the except of a POS detail sander. When B&D - Stanley ended up taking over, quality went to Joe Garage, so I've expanded out to Bosch, Hitachi, Makita, DeWalt whatever. Lately, I got a Delta band saw from a guy who passed and his son was a friend, and a spindle sander from another friend down-sizing, retiring, and moving. Along with a few other pieces picked up here and there. What's in your shop and how did it get there? So, I guess I'm not really brand loyal, but looks for what is reasonable at the time, or I run across as a used piece of equipment.
For a lid for the latest rifle case, mesquite was selected. Love that stuff but, it can be challenging. All my mesquite of the required length and width is milled at a full 8/4. Nice for tables and such but not for box lids. So, it was resaw time. My Shopsmith band saw is limited to 6" of resaw capacity and the lid needs to be 6.75" ( I ripped it to 7.5") so, I used the table saw and got most of it cut. Had about 1.5" left in the middle. No problem. It's only 48" long. Whipped out the Disston and went to work. At about the sawblade's depth, internal stresses grabbed it and everything stopped. Finally got it freed and tried a Ryoba 9 tpi. 4 or 5 strokes and it got stuck. Took two wedges and a mallet ( No, not any of those, Lew) to get it loose. Time to skin the cat. After 4 cups of coffee...Coffee makes pondering easier...I concluded a trip to town was in order. Came home with a Skil recip saw and a 10" blade. In five minutes the job was done. That saw brooks no nonsense. And, now reasonably wide resaws are no longer a problem. And, Gene's got another new tool. A real cat skinner.
When the "WOOD" magazine forums were getting ready to shut down I understood the content was to be deleted. I stumbled across an old post of mine from 2011 the other day. Don't know if all the content is still out there but this one is for sure. Replacing a round tenon Steve
Shopsmith ER, serial #33178, built in 1952, if I remember correctly. My friend's dad bought it from a neighbour (the original purchaser) so he would have something to do after retirement. Unfortunately, brain cancer took him in his 40's, so his widow decided to sell it. I told my dad about it, and he snapped it up. Used it as a lathe for years, then when he could no longer stand for any length of time, he told me to take it. The motor has been replaced or rebuilt once, and the on/off switch is one I put in, but other than that the machine is all original. I have the "jigsaw", table saw, jointer attachment, shaper, disc sander, mortise thingy, and power files, all in mint condition. I use it mostly as a lathe, since I have all the others as stand-alone tools. Notice the variable speed control! Wouldn't part with this little honey for anything. They just don't build 'em like this any more! John
I just wish they made a bench top or stand alone mortiser. But, they don't. So I went with a Delta, thinking Black and Decker surely couldn't screw up the brand too much. Wishful thinking!! I took delivery of the machine in late March of this year. Now, that POS Delta mortise machine is at the Authorized Repair Shop in Phoenix FOR THE SECOND TIME! This time, four teeth stripped off the cog wheel. Crappy Chinese pot metal. Three weeks (estimate) until the part arrives from Delta. Twenty minutes to install and test it. Then I get to drive another 3.5 hours to pick it up. Oh well, it lasted through 8 legs for the Morris chairs. It crapped out on the ottomans' legs. I looked at a Powermatic and Grizzly machine while I was there. Both were about $100 more than the Delta.The Grizzly looked much chintzier than the the PM and even the Delta. This place is probably the largest woodworking machine sales in AZ. They are dealers for every major brand and even some I've never heard of. (J&J Jointers???) So I asked the repair shop guys which brand has the most repair calls/waranty work. Without hesitation, they chorused "GRIZZLY." Why not Delta, if they are so bad? Because they don't sell a whole lot of Delta. I guess most woodworkers in AZ are smarter than I. At least they won't buy Delta. Their fewest repairs are on Powermatic. That's also their best seller. At least this episode gave me an opportunity to get educated on machine quality. Shopsmith doesn't NEED a network of Authorized Repair Shops. But then, Black and Decker doesn't have anything to do with them.
I've never been ecstatic with the re saw performance of my 11" Shopsmith band saw. First of all, it only has a 6" clearance. Not much to be done about that, though. But, the cuts have always been far less than perfect. No amount of fiddling with the tension, speed, and fence alignment ever produced a decent cut. Yesterday, I installed the Carter band saw guides. It's a whole new world! Always previously, I had to determine the drift of any blade used for re sawing, then set the fence accordingly and I was always off. And, no matter what I tried, the blade (3/8" thru 5/8") would want to kick out at the bottom of the cut, especially with 5"-6" material. Carter had assured me that there was no need to accommodate for drift so I set the fence square to the blade and proceeded with the cut. Using a 5/8, 4TPI blade, the cut was flawless. I am a happy camper!
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