I’m a fan of ShopSmith products. I love the machine and that you can get parts for it no matter the age. However, there are a few things working against them: the very long-lived nature of the equipment, the cost of new parts, and the most unpleasant guy on the other end of the ShopSmith help line are not helping their account balance much. I’ve personally watched the customer service gent sink over $1,000 worth of business by just being cantankerous and unhelpful not once, but twice. So with that running against them, what do you do? In this case, diversification in the form of abrasives is the answer.
ShopSmith recently rolled out with the great computer-controlled Mark VII. But as many already know, the real winners in any gold rush are the ones who sell picks and axes to the miners. In this case, sandpaper is the key: it’s a consumable, and you need a lot of it and multiple kinds and grits to make a project work. ShopSmith is a recognized brand name with some street cred with the woodworking community, and gluing grit to paper is a great way to enter into the disposable product market.
Look at the local big box and you might find a sign like this nestled in with the Gator Grit supplies — the familiar red-and-white logo with a 4x badge slung underneath it and a claim of extra life and durability. We’re not sure how it’ll stand up in the actual dust storm of combat (we’ll find out soon), but it’s hard to imagine ShopSmith doesn’t know what it takes to sand.
ShopSmith Abrasives [Website]