Hi all - I just wanted to give some introductory background of myself and my
recent discovery of the Sawsmith and how I came to start this group.
My father had a 25th anniversary model Shopsmith Mark V in the 1960's. As a
young teen, I used it a little but it intimidated me. As an adult, I built
things crudely, usually with a circular saw and hammer. In 2000 I inherited my
father's outfit. I spent time restoring it, replacing missing parts and upgrading
it. In the past three years, I have expanded to a very nearly complete
Shopsmith shop and have built many projects for yard, home, relatives and friends. I
work out of a 9x10 metal shed which has been heavily modified to become a
working shop. I have a 10x14 deck in front, which is where I prefer to do my work
in nice weather.
I first learned of the Sawsmith just a few months ago through discussion on
the SSusers group. In January, a local handyman advertised one for just $100 so
I had to take a look at it. I wasn't sure if I would get it or not, because
my space is at a premium as you can tell. Seeing it, though, I just had to have
it. It came with a bunch of stuff I didn't need or want, (45 old sawblades,
jigs) which I sold on eBay and the end result is I got the machine for free and
even made some money and still have some of the stuff left for sale. The
machine was his grandfather's, who lived in Michigan until he died in 1980. Then,
the machine went to the father, who lived in my area until he died a few years
ago. It wasn't used during that period, merely stored.
The seller had restored it a little - new drive belt, motor mounting bolt,
wiring to the switch. He also put a new Freud crosscut blade on it. He only used
it for crosscuts and dados and it was more in the way than useful to him. I
will be doing more restoration as the weather warms. But, it is mechanically
sound and the motor runs as if brand new. I'm going to take it apart for
painting and deep cleaning. I have done crosscutting, miters, beveled crosscuts and
dadoes with it already and it doesn't miss a beat. Before use, I took the time
to do all alignments and put on a new fence and new sacrificial top.
It does everything the typical RAS will do plus it seems to have a longer
than usual arm for more capacity. The table slides forward and back and can be
locked in position. It has a left and a right spindle. Each spindle has the
Shopsmith reversed tapered flat spot for set screw security. It has variable
speeds from 1700 to 5500 rpm.
Any accessory you could put on a Shopsmith, you could put on this: drill
chuck, router chucks, drum sander, grinding wheel, dados, molder, shaper, wire
wheels, cutoff wheels, polishers, disk sander (smaller than 12" though). They
also had an "add-a-tool" mount bracket for the back side of the machine so you
could attach your jointer, bandsaw, belt sander, paint sprayer, etc. The jointer
hooked up as usual with coupler and hubs. The others needed to be belt driven
from a spindle. The books don't show the jigsaw, so I'm not sure if it's arm
hit the column or what. In any case, I don't have that mount and don't plan to
drive the spt's from the RAS.
My machine came with the original manuals and paperwork. Also, R. J.
DeCristoforo wrote an entire book on the machine called "Fun with a Saw." I got one on
eBay for only $5 and, as expected, it is a wealth of info from the jigmeister
himself. He can make any machine do anything, it seems. This book was
published by Magna and is worth its weight in gold
My machine has the optional Magna made (Shopsmith) cabinet with retractable
casters, 3 drawers and locking cover. The base is rough looking, so I will be
making a newer base for it. The thing weighs about 250 pounds total - 175 for
the main part. It was a challenge getting it through my house (wider than my
back door), across the back yard and into my shop (door height lower than the
column top) by myself. The machine was painted like the anniversary Shopsmiths -
brown and gold hammered metal finish. I am only missing one piece and that is
the right spindle nut so that I can put any 5/8" saw or dado blade on that
spindle. I do have the reversible 1-1/4" saw arbor so that Shopsmith blades can
be used on either side. I have the left arbor nut. The saw guard is reversible
so it can be used on either side of the machine. It even has the original
vacuum connect elbow to the sawguard.
My machine was missing the red locking knobs so I made ones out of 1" oak
dowel and hot glued them to the metal brackets so I can remove them when
necessary. It was also missing the bolts for the plastic covers, so I made do with
some from Home Depot. It did come with the anti-kickback arm, but I have removed
that since the grippers can easily hit the sawblade. Back then I think they
used 9" blades or smaller, so it wasn't a problem. Also, I don't plan to do
ripping on this machine.
This machine is most likely from 1963 because my instruction booklet shows it
was revised that year. The serial number is smeared so I can't check for sure.
I'm pretty excited about this machine as you can tell and will use it for all
my crosscutting and dadoing of longer pieces. I'm going to build an addition
to my shop to house this machine, my compound miter saw, my mortiser and
planer. This will free up some space.
I have run searches for any and all info regarding the Sawsmith I could find
on the web and if you have done the same, you know there is barely anything.
Plus, most of what I found was people looking for documentation or parts. I
decided we needed our own forum so that we can share this information easily.
Please, share your stories, your photos, your tips, your goofs, your links
and any other info which will help your fellow Sawsmith aficionados.
SS 520 w/ bandsaw, strip sander, jointer, belt sander, pro planer, standalone
scrollsaw, power station, DC3300, SawSmith RAS, ++
Virginia Beach, Virginia USA
Tidewater Virginia area Shopsmith owners check out vbshopsmithusers group on
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