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ForgeNub

Shopsmith feelings?

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As I've gotten into the smithing, my father has been unearthing all sorts of components for a Shopsmith set up.  Apparently he'd collected bits and pieces for years and majority are pretty much unused or lightly used.  I got the Powerstation set up with the 6" belt sander and started working a blade on it last night, worked really well but I'm curious as to what people think who've used it before in metal/woodworking how well it will hold up and the results it helps bring about?  Is it worth investing time in building the rest of the units up?

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 Woodworkers tool but if it's like the 60s DShop Smith they are very rugged machines and performed very well .They just took a while to change machine set ups and the table for the saw was tiny. I would love to have one again it was the first power tools i was exposed to with my dad .

 

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I got the one my Dad bought in the late '50s setting in my barn waiting for a spot in my shop.  Heavy and well built.  Have used one a lot in the past for wood working takes a while to change over items. Really slows down a project.   I question if the sander would take a lot of metal working but don't know. 

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I dunno- maybe I'll be the wet blanket here. I've never used a shopsmith, but over the years I've come to the opinion that any, repeat ANY tool that purports to 'do it all' has the ability to 'do it all' but just not very well. Kind of like the 'jack of all trades, master of none'. It all really depends on what you ask your tool to do. I bought a quality ( single purpose) tablesaw as my first tool purchase many moons ago, and worked it and tweaked it so I can get a high level of precision from it. I have done the same over the years with the other equipment I have purchased.  I have had  some multi tasking tools, but as I said previously, they didn't meet my standards for performance. That said, you have the unit, might as well do what you can to make it fit your needs. Just be aware if limitations.

Steve

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I feel you make do with what you have if this is it this is it.  If you want to restore antique furniture this is not it,  I used one for a number of winter to make heavy duty horse draw 2 wheel carts with a lady it was a pain changing over the items but room, experience and $ said this was it.  The carts I still see in use today and are looked for at auctions so they must have been half way decently built.    That was 40+ yrs. ago.

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Had one for years and years, and had just about every tool for it you could ask for.

Overall, the Shopsmith is a good piece of kit, but you're not really saving space since you need to have room to store all of the various components.  The space-saving component is nice, but it's offset by the aggravation of having to plan your work right so you can do all of your table-saw operations at one time, then do all your drilling at one time, then do all you're planing or routing or whatever else.  The set-up and tear-down of the machine when you switch from one operation to the other is pretty quick, but it's still an aggravation and can add a lot of time to the equation.  And if you screw it up and forget to make a cut or drill a hole..... ugh!

The motor runs too fast for working most metals.  You can't use the bandsaw "as is" for cutting steel, so you'll have to buy the gear reduction kit that adds another few hundred to the costs.

I think I'm happier now that i have a lot of stand-alone tools that I can just walk up to, flip a switch and get to work.  I don't regret having that Shopsmith experience, though, and I think it's something of a right of passage.  It's a really neat piece of kit with a huge following.  Do a search on Pinterest to see just how innovative Shopsmith owners have become!

If you want a 2x72 grinder for making knives, there are a lot of plans for building one that fits on a Shopsmith.

 

Overall, I'd say to use one if you have one and really embrace the whole culture.  I guess it's like a Harley.... if I have to explain it, you wouldn't understand. :D

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It is what it is:  built well for hobby wood-work but quickly outgrown once you get a little further down the road.  Not designed for metalwork at all.

I've heard that there are quite a few people who seek the cheaper "parked in the back of the barn" units to restore and resell because there is a reasonable market for them still.  Were I to have one, I'd likely head this direction and use the proceeds to buy better single-purpose tools.  The "Jack of all trades, master of none" mentioned earlier fits pretty well to Shopsmiths.

But hey...it's free, you've got it, and it'll make Dad smile if you can use it.  Might be worth bending a little just for Dad's smile.  That part is priceless.

 

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