Thread: Restoring old ShopSmith
18th Aug 2005, 01:39 PM #1
Restoring old ShopSmith
My Dad has a very old ShopSmith in his shed. Anyone had experience with them or still uses them?
He only ever uses it as a table saw and disc sander but also has turning, grinding, hone/buffing, drill press and a variable speed controller.
It is getting a little long in the tooth and I am thinking of restoring it to perk him up(bloody prostate cancer!)
Any advice would be great.
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18th Aug 2005, 03:10 PM #2
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Yes Jim, I've got an old 10ER model, from around the 50's. Got it for $100.
I haven't used it very much yet, but it seems fairly solid. Little vibration, which I always like in any machine. Though in general I don't like its multi-purpose features much. I find it a little annoying having to change over all the time.
What I also don't like about my particular model is the spindle isn't tapered. I couldn't find parts for it for a long time, until I got a computer and found a site in the US.
http://www.shopsmith.com/ownersite/toolhistory.htm will get you to a page that should tell you what model you have. They sell a large range of accessories and parts. Though mostly for latest models.
I've already purchased a modern router chuck from these blokes that fits the old 5/8" spindle in my shopsmith. So, some of the modern parts seem to fit the old machines.
I use my shopsmith entirely as a horizontal mortiser, using this router chuck only. And sped up the spindle speed to something closer to a routing speed by putting a huge pully on the motor. Works quite well. I just push the wood straight into a spiral router bit. By hand, with the wood resting on the shopsmiths table. To keep my hands away I hold onto a piece of scrap wood thats clamped to my work. Makes good clean round ended mortises.
My next attempt is to buy some tail and drive heads so I can use it as a lathe. The problem with my shopsmith is the tailstock parts are missing. And unlike a traditional lathe the whole tailstock design doesn't look very stong. Worries me a bit, but I'll still give it a go. I do like the way the toolrest runs perfectly parallel to the bed though, means for a long turning it will be much easier to adjust toolrest, I'm guessing.
I've also used it as a table saw for very light work. Found it a bit pissy though. The motor was too underpowered and the blade not very big. So, I've abandoned this idea.
hope this helps
18th Aug 2005, 08:33 PM #3
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I was given a Mark 5 (1985) by my Grandfather in 1996 after he couldn't work anymore.
I think it is a good all round tool .... similar to the Triton I would say ..... and like Triton it has its limitations and doesn't do as well as dedicated machines. I have gradually replaced each function with dedicated machines as the budget allows. It still comes in handy for things like the disk sander and drill press. Down sides will be the allen key needed to change everything and also the time and effort required to change functions.
I have found that the unit is too low for me and quickly found that using it for turning was a no no.
As far as I know there are no Australian dealers any more and everything is via the states.If you don't talk to your cat about catnip ...... who will?
19th Aug 2005, 01:07 PM #4
Thanks for the replies. It looks like the 10e edition...but it was made here in Melbourne...and my dad tells me it is 1930's vintage.
22nd Aug 2005, 12:51 PM #5
I have two 10ER Shopsmiths. Love them both. One I purchased here, the other I imported from the States for the planer and the guy packaged the whole lot up, so I restored the machine and now use it in dedicated drill press mode.
I have a large range of attachments and fittings and can do just about anything with it. I am not a great turner but that will hopefully be better developed in retirement. I have all the documentation for the machines and if required I can copy it and send it to you.
Some sites that you may like to look at are the Shopsmith 10ER Users site which is dedicated to the 10ER machines, go to and register. 900+ users and you can get any question you need answered overnight:
Site is controlled by a guy named Skip Campbell in Texas, what he doesn't know about Shopsmith , especially 10E's and ER's hasn't been written.
He has parts and photos at:
Parts are also available on Ebay.com at
There are three other Australians registered on the Shopsmith Users group, one in WA and two in Victoria.
If you register you can access the members only section for photos, info, plans etc. The Bulletin Board is slightly different to ubeaut but the involvement is terrific. Skip and co are extremely helpful.
My machines are seen in the Photos section at Paul Naylor's Shopsmith World, done some additional modifications since they were posted but all in all great durable machines to do most things in woodwork, as long as you are not in a rush.
If you are going to relpace the bearings I strongly suggest you contact Skip and import the original US version, which he can still source. The machine I restored I used Aus sourced bearings , big mistake, so I got Skip to send me the correct US sized originals. Let me know if you need anything else and I will attempt to help.
I have had no problems with sourcing parts either from ebay or through the Users Group,or direct from Skip and other sources I have found. If you are prepared to wait, I have them sent by sea mail and that significantly reduces the cost. Haven't lost anything yet.
27th Aug 2005, 11:44 AM #6
While on the subject..
How do you know if the bearings need replacing?
28th Aug 2005, 12:24 PM #7
My experience has been to feel a tightening up of the rotating action which is easily tested by removing the saw blade orother attachments and just feeling for any tightness. the quill centre with the drive belt removed should turn freely as most bearing shafts do. I recently purchased a spare quill assembly from the States on ebay knowing that the bearings were shot. I just wanted a spare assembly and now that it is fitted with genuine Fafnir bearings it spins freely and is ready to go into either of my machines when required.
Another method is to feel the heat generation around the casting for the quill. If it is overheating it is generaly the first sign of bearing troubles.
When you disassemble the quill ie, remove it from the casting you can immediately tell the status of the bearings.
Hope that helps in some way.
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