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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]


12 Responses to ShopSmith At Your Local Big Box

  1. SuperJdynamite says:

    Me? I’m trying to get the hang of scrapers. I think my sharpening technique needs some work (or a jig of some sort).

  2. gary z says:

    I find it amusing that there is still enough name recognition that a sandpaper company would pay to use the name. Too bad they don’t put their energy into forming service centers to repair and buy parts easily in major cities.

    • El Jefe says:

      I doubt they paid much for the name and that cantankerous guy is likely the sole employee. He’s just hoping that name recognition will be enough to elevate him from phone duties to chilling on the beach.

  3. Jerry says:

    They just expanded their existing abrasive line-up. Previously, it was just their customer service agents that were abrasive. Now you can get all that “abrasiveness” whenever you are at the Big Box! Pretty convenient and probably a better abrasive.

  4. Eric R says:

    It’s a tough market to crack with as many abrasive manufacturer’s out there as there is.
    And, if that help line guy speaks quality English, I’ll find a way to work with him.

  5. Dave says:

    I’m with SuperJdynamite – scrapers are the sandpaper of the future, er, past. Or something. I started using one this year and it’s awesome. It does take a little practice to get it ready to work well, but do keep trying. I had a lot of trouble raising the “burr” at first, but now it’s easy. I don’t know why it got easier other than I just kept trying and trying.

  6. Boss Hogg says:

    I’m late to the party, but you met Dave @ Shopsmith. There are some rumblings that he may be he son of the owner, or maybe that is the grandson of Folkerth. Makes sense or he would have been fired by now.

    If you get him, hang up on call back. I think he is the only guy in customer service. The ladies working there are experts on Shopsmith and are wonderful with their customer service.

    • Dusty says:

      There you go (again), Boss. You are speaking of what you know not. Dave (in Customer Service) is not a member of the Folkerth family. If you have difficulty dealing with Dave maybe you need to be more circumspect. You just may be the cause.

      You and the Toolmonger need to rethink what you have posted here.

      BTW, Toolmonger – the new Shopsmith machine is the Mark 7. I know you know this but Mark VIIs go way back in history before the current management (Shopsmith) came into being.

      Criticize if you will but please get the facts straight.

  7. Boss Hogg says:

    Dusty are you losing it? The main post mentions the horrible customer service, which is more than likely starts wit a D ends with a E. The Shopsmith forum is full of mentions and I’ve personally been on the receiving end of his “I don’t care” attitude.

    I’m not making I up, don’t believe Shawn is making tip or the multiple tomes Shopsmith Forum members have mentioned it. You should know sine you have about 15% of the posts there.

    Also, I said there are some rumblings – didn’t say he is, but on the same Shopsmith Forum some questions if it is the same Dave. I’d be more likely to gues something like a Dave Jr. As the founder passed on a few years ago.

  8. Joe says:

    one of John Folkerth’s son’s is named Dave, when I worked there he was in charge of customer service (about 7 years ago) he had left though before I did. I would be surprised if this is the same guy though, Dave F. was always good to work with and probably knew more about Shopsmith products than anyone at the company (I think he was a sales rep for 15-20 years)

  9. fitzhugh says:

    Just a more recent view… I’ve only called a few times and each time a lady answered. May have been the same each time, I have no idea. Regardless she was very helpful, both in attitude and in knowledge. I had a terrible cell connection last time and she put up with it with quite a lot of patience. I haven’t spoken to any Daves , could well still be there, but don’t let him stop you.

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