Category Archives: Product reviews

These are candid reviews based on my own experience with (primarily) Shopsmith products. I am not a Shopsmith employee, but do present webinars for Shopsmith on a contract basis. I receive a commission for products sold through the webinars, but will always offer honest answers.

My brother goes Shopsmith!

My younger brother, Kip, is an excellent woodworker, but recently decided to sell off his PowerMatic table saw, jointer, planer, bandsaw etc.

He has had an old Mark V, unused for years. He is now learning how to work with the Shopsmith system, and I get to play big brother teacher.

I look forward to this experience (really!) and I will keep you posted, pros and cons.

He has already learned to love his Shopsmith bandsaw.

9-7-16: Kip has been using his Mark V for a few months now and he seems to be really enjoying it. He remarked that “I love that horizontal boring!” Not the first comment I expected, but that’s OK.

He is a talented guy and one of the first things he did was to build an indeed-outfeed system that will let him rip 4×8, ¾” hardboard. It is pretty amazing.The slotted pieces are his big “featherboard”. The rig takes about 10 minutes to set up and take down.

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The ropes are part of a block and tackle for lifting the 90# panels onto the MarkV.

 

He says he also likes the conical sander (who doesn’t?) We used it for sharpening his jointer knives, and for dressing the edges of the hardboard. Beautiful!

9/20/16 Kip continues to reorganize his Shopsmith-based shop. I was concerned that he would have negative comments after owning individual tools for so long. But so far, he has had nothing but positive things to say.

He had started a project, adding wainscoating to his living room, then realized his shop needed reorganization and cleaning before he could continue. (Sound familiar?)

And he decided that before adding the wainscoating, he really should paint the living room. He removed the drapes before painting, then his wife decided the drapes would be in order. So paint, order new drapes, install new drapes, (borrow Little Giant ladder from his brother, me)…wash the windows…

Anyone have a story they would like to share about starting a small project that turned into something else?

New Shop Deputy-funny name, great idea!

I hate to review a product before I have my hands on it, but Shopsmith has something new that for me is a real “head slapper”, one of those “why didn’t I think of that?”, and I wanted to get the word out to everyone ASAP.  They call it the Shop Deputy, and it looks like the perfect solution for those of us that have upgraded to the PowerPro headstock and the Double Tilt.

When you upgrade to the Double Tilt, you replace the two end castings, and if you get a new headstock, you are probably looking for something to do with the old headstock. The Shop Deputy is the answer. The kit consists of two short way tubes, mounting hardware and directions. You use your old headstock and end castings to make this! This is an inexpensive way ($100-$150.) to get a great deal more use from your Shopsmith tools. I will post more here when I get mine set up.

The new Shop Deputy lets us use our old headstock and end castings to make our own power base!
The new Shop Deputy lets us use our old headstock and end castings to make our own power base!

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Oversized casters a great investment

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556224 3″ Diameter Caster Wheels (Set of 4) …    $42.99  (as of 1-25-13) from Shopsmith

The new casters from Shopsmith are one of my favorite all time upgrades.

I pushed, pulled, and wrestled Mark Vs all over the country for 20 + years, over gravel, in and out of malls, hotels and fairgrounds. If these casters had been available then, I would have paid triple the price.

Simply put: they make rolling the Mark V EASY! Shopsmith says, on their website and in ads, that you can push the Mark V/Mark 7 around with 1 finger…all true.

To install, you  will need to turn the Mark upside down (see my video link below) drill a new set of holes, and install the casters. The new casters come with a paper template to make sure the holes are drilled in the right place. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!)

The only difficulty I had was breaking loose the old nuts that held the old caster assembly in place…some WD40 a half hour earlier would have been a good idea. It took me about 30 minutes to install.

Video on installing the casters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQIPzhn3fj4

The PowerPro headstock: a great investment for now and the future.

Cutaway of the new PowerPro headstock
Cutaway of the new Shopsmith PowerPro headstock

The new DVR (Digital Variable Reluctance) motor is neither the old fashioned AC or DC motor we have known forever. Rather, it is a magnetic based, computer controlled power plant that provides optimum torque and speeds for any operation.

In the past, many Shopsmith owners complained of the machine bogging down, or even stopping during heavy cuts. With the PowerPro, those days are gone. Torque is double the previous Mark V. I am able to power through cupped and twisted wood, knots, and the hardest woods with no slowing, burning or saw marks.

The PowerPro turns the Mark V into an excellent lathe: soft start, safety cut-out, slower speeds, and reversibility take the Shopsmith into a different league and should satisfy the most demanding turner.

The speed range is now 250-10,000 rpm, and the torque stays constant through all speeds. (All previous Mark Vs offer 750-5200 rpm.) PowerPro owners can now enjoy chatter free shaping at the high end, and safer turning and drilling at the low speeds.

The front push pad can be used with preset speeds, much like using the old system, or can be set for very fine detail; for example, I can choose the tool I am using, the hardness of the wood, the size of the cutter, the grit of the sandpaper, etc. While doing this may add a minute to the process, the results are so much better that it is well worth the time.

The new headstock is quieter, easy to learn, and FREE BONUS: can be converted to a 220v. system by simply changing out the plug on the end of the power cord! (Must then be plugged into 220v. outlet of course.)

This tool is a winner. The price may be beyond the reach of some, between $1300 and $1995; but considering the longevity of Shopsmith products, the nearly infamously great customer service, and the fact that a new Mark 7 sits right at $4000, I think the price is great. I also realized that not just my Mark V, but everything I attach to it benefits from having the PowerPro.

I am an independent contractor, not a Shopsmith employee. We currently host live webinars for Shopsmith, and get paid a commission from webinar sales . But I have made my reputation and my living by telling people the truth for the last quarter of a century. For an invitation to a webinar (subject to Shopsmith’s approval), contact me; shopsmithdoug@gmail.com. Discounts are available to webinar attendees.

http://www.teknatool.com/products/lathes/dvr%20xp/Downloads/DVR%20XP%20Smart%20Motor_April%2007.pdf   (Good technical info on DVR motor)

Oh, did I mention, it is not made in Taiwan?            Image

New Casters for Shopsmith Mark V, Mark 7

premium_caster_set_d  556224 3″ Diameter Caster Wheels (Set of 4) …    $42.99  (as of 1-25-13) from Shopsmith

The new casters from Shopsmith are one of my favorite all time upgrades.

I pushed, pulled, and wrestled Mark Vs all over the country for 20 + years, over gravel, in and out of malls, hotels and fairgrounds. If these casters had been available then, I would have paid triple the price.

Simply put: they make rolling the Mark V EASY! Shopsmith says, on their website and in ads, that you can push the Mark V/Mark 7 around with 1 finger…all true.

To install, you  will need to turn the Mark upside down (see my video link below) drill a new set of holes, and install the casters. The new casters come with a paper template to make sure the holes are drilled in the right place. (THIS IS IMPORTANT!)

The only difficulty I had was breaking loose the old nuts that held the old caster assembly in place…some WD40 a half hour earlier would have been a good idea. It took me about 30 minutes to install.

Video on installing the casters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQIPzhn3fj4

Review: Kreg fence for Shopsmith bandsaw

screenshotKreg fence for Shopsmith bandsaw

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update 10/17: While I stand by this review, I wanted everyone to know that I have taken the Kreg Jig off my bandsaw and replaced it with the original Shopsmith fence. Part of the reason is I find the old fence easier to set up for resawing and ripping, and I did not like the procedure for changing blades with the Kreg.

Anyone else have comments on the Kreg fence system?

Like anything else we have seen from Kreg (makers of the very successful Kreg Jigs), the Kreg fence for the Shopsmith bandsaw is well made, good looking, and works well. The fence and accessories increase the capacity of the Shopsmith table-I can now rip 9 inches wide, and with the micro adjustor I can get great accuracy and repeatability on rip and resaw cuts.

Resawing on the Kreg relies on an optional curved plate that attaches to the fence that makes following your line easier. The micro adjuster is optional, and worth the $15 if you need fine adjustment capabilities.

If, like me, you use your Shopsmith bandsaw for a lot of rip cuts, this fence is a good addition to an already great bandsaw. However, if you are just looking for a way to get accurate resawing, I suggest you check out my video (on this web page and on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=19KUOXatLPY), on setting up the standard Shopsmith bandsaw fence before spending the $200 on the Kreg set up.This fence only works on the newer style (ALUMINUM) Shopsmith table. If you decide you want to purchase this, send me an email to shopsmithdoug@gmail.com…I will make sure you are getting the best price.♥♥♥♥

Disclaimer: We are independent contractors, not Shopsmith employees, but we earn a commission from Shopsmith for items purchased through this site. However, as we have for the past 20 years, we will always offer honest opinions and our best advice.