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SHOPSMITH MULTI-PURPOSE WOODWORKING MACHINE

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milo

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I am getting back into woodworking now that I have retired and am considering buying a Shopsmith machine.
I would appreciate any comments on these machines, pros and cons.
Does anyone know of any for sale within reasonable travel distance from bradford?
Is there a uk agent ?
This is my first post so not sure what response to expect
 

Phil Pascoe

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They are not particularly good for anything - too low for lathe, too slow for a router, too high and too small a table for a saw etc. If you pick one up really cheaply, they're a useful machine - but don't expect too much of it, certainly not accuracy.
 

Dangermouse

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As with all multy purpose machines everything is a bad compromise. It will work and do the job, but will take longer, be more work and not be that accurate. But if you have limited space and have to get one, I would go for an older cast iron machine. They were made much better and made for small professional workshops..
 

dickm

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The other possibility is the old Coronet Major (or even the Minor if you are really short on space). Built in the UK like the proverbial brick outhouse, and with a useful range of accessories that still come up on the secondhand market. In fact, wasn't someone advertising one on here recently with all the bits and bobs?
 

milo

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Thanks for the replies. I thought the selling points were accuracy. I already have a good router, Elu bandsaw, Record 24'' lathe and pillar drill but felt the table saw with fences etc would be useful and give more accuracy. Space is limited for stand alone machines
 

Tinbasher

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I would add the Myford ML8 along with the Coronet as a " multi purpose" machine. They still come up regularly on eBay with the bandsaw, planer and table saw attachments. They also came with a cross slide and metal turning chuck.
 

milo

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Thanks Phil.p and Peter Gee for advice on voltage. I fancied a Shopsmith but will also consider a Kity BestCombi. The one for sale on this forum looks ok but is too far to see and pickup.
Will keep my options open
 

gertcher

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Its about time someone said something positive about the Shopsmith.

I think the negative comments here have never used a Shopsmith or used it long enough to understand is simplicity and flexibility. I doubt you will find anything other than 240 volt machines in the UK

I have owned 2 since the '70s. The sales blurb is very accurate, just as the different individual operations are. I have very limited space and this machine fits in well. The variable speed is a boon, makes circular sawing very efficient, no burning or tearing, set the right speed for the type of wood and blade in use. Full speed with the moulding block, slow for the sander. Changing from one operation to another is so simple. Even if you have to go back and forth from say sawing to drilling, its so quick it does not matter if you do the changes 10x an hour.

This machine is very heavy and sturdy. When your space is small and you need to store it against a wall but pull it out to rip up long lengths of timber, moving it is difficult, I recommend you fit the option casters. The sawing hight is a bit high but would only be a problem if you are very short, even so that can be overcome by making a platform to work from, or make a bench lower than the supplied base.

There is a lot of space under the Shopsmith, make it you first project to create storage boxes and a rack. With individual machines you loose space. Individual machines are good for production runs where time is of the essence. The Shopsmith keeps up with careful planning and its speed of operation changes. Some of the projects I have done include building kitchens and desks. The desks including 15 drawers each, the whole lot constructed from faced chipboard, sawn, drilled, slot for drawer bases, and everything assembled very accurately, you cannot do that sort of repartition if the machines are not accurate.

BTW, if you are new to woodwork machining I recommend you buy a dust extractor, preferably one with 2 cloth bags, I can recommend a make if needed

Post back here when you have made your final decission
 

gertcher

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phil.p":1qxwqlkm said:
They are not particularly good for anything - too low for lathe, too slow for a router, too high and too small a table for a saw etc. If you pick one up really cheaply, they're a useful machine - but don't expect too much of it, certainly not accuracy.
phil.p":1qxwqlkm said:
My negative comments were based on owning one for twenty years.
If it was that bad why did you keep it so long? :?
 

gertcher

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A 20 year old Shopsmith does have rather small work tables. There is an upgrade with much bigger tables and extensions and fence, or make sure you get a more recent machine
 

Phil Pascoe

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I kept it for two reasons, one was that I couldn't really justify upgrading it - it did much what I needed, as I didn't have to use it as a lathe - and the other was that it didn't cost me anything, I won it in a competition.
 

gertcher

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phil.p":3v634nwu said:
I kept it for two reasons, one was that I couldn't really justify upgrading it - it did much what I needed, as I didn't have to use it as a lathe - and the other was that it didn't cost me anything, I won it in a competition.
I think deep down you have a soft spot for it :)

Having set up 2 machines it has to be done very carefully initially, and during the first few months of use it might need recalibrating as it beds in. After that it is very accurate. If you have a sever jam in the saw or a heavy kick back there is a possibility of bending parts. I belt my sanding disc, my fault for sanding short lengths past a fence and the disc caught the timber and pulled it on the diagonal, should have used a jig.

My early machine, bought shop soiled at the end of a woodwork show in London, only had one bearing in the headstock feed and the blade wobbled just a fraction, got an upgraded spindle with 2 bearings free of charge.

Can I suggest you recalibrate your Shopsmith, you will be surprised how well it will respond
 

powertools

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About 20 years ago I went on a Shopsmith course at Craft Supplies. I realy liked the machine but did not buy one due to the cost of all the extras that you would want over time. In the end I purchased a Kity combination machine that I still use to this day.
 

milo

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It's good to get comments for and against the Shopsmith. What's coming accross is horses for courses. If its in a professional workshop where you have to make a profit and probably have more space then I see separates are more useful. In a home workshop which is usually a garage then a combination that is movable is an ideal machine.
The resetting time for different functions is not an issue.
I like the ability to horrizontal bore, overhead routing, sawing and sanding using the accurate table and fences.
Can someone tell me the max height when it is in drill press position as it would have to be in my garage with apex roof.

I have not made a final decision yet but am leaning towards buying a Shopsmith if I can find a decent one that is not too far away from Yorkshire.
 

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