Shopsmith is the Swiss Army Knife of woodworking. They do almost everything you might need for a woodworking project and a friend of mine has wanted one since the 80’s. Recently he got tired of waiting for the cash to get a new one and began searching for a used Mark V. Ebay wasn’t really a help for completed units, but Craigslist listed about 10 of them in the area in various conditions and states of inactivity — so we started shopping.
One that was freshly hauled out of a local garage showed up in the listings, sporting a price tag of $200. With a heavy dose of skepticism we went to check it out. It was quite obvious this machine had seen better days. There was minor rust on the legs and casing and heavy gunk on the tubes — plus the right base was cracked from someone leaving it in drill-press mode for what looks like decades. All of it needed a good going over. Those were the negatives. But the motor sounded great and there was a giant box with all the pieces, connectors, hardware, belt sander, and scroll saw in it.
A little stack of cash and a few ratchet straps later, the Shopsmith was back at my friend’s garage. When we set it down in the driveway we realized how much work was ahead of us. Cleaning, for one; a new base; and some paint were in store.
For those not familiar with the company, Shopsmith is extremely proud of their new off-the-shelf replacement parts. Bargain-hunting on the net, we found a new base for about $40 in the door (list is over $100), and began looking for attachments like band saws and jointers which retail for around $500 to $600. We found them for about $150 a pop delivered.
Once all the repair work, cleaning, calibration, and pieces arrive, we’ll post an update, but the entire thing will wind up costing a fraction of what it would have new. Detractors would simply say to buy separate units and be done with it, but once complete, the Mark V will have 11 solid woodworking modes/tools designed to work with each other for about $600.
Shopsmith Parts Search [ebay]