I really needed to change blades on the Shop Smith recently in order to rip hardwood stock, but there were a few issues with that plan. The first is the Mark V takes special 10-inch Shop Smith blades that you can’t just buy anywhere. The other was that my version of those blades had worn out, and the technology behind them isn’t evolving as fast as the rest of the competition. Luckily, Shop Smith provides an arbor that allows a different brand of blade on the machine.
I actually bought this arbor a few years ago from the Shop Smith site. It is not easy to find, and the Shop Smith support staff doesn’t exactly trumpet its existence. The arbor attaches itself to the shaft of the headstock on one end, giving you a 5/8″ spindle to attach a standard-style 10″ blade. The advantage is you aren’t locked into the three offerings of Shop Smith Blades at a price range of $55 – $80 as well as the shipping time to get them to you. Another benefit is you can take advantage of new innovations the rest of the market features that are often at lower cost. Plus, if you’d like to go the other way and purchase something like Freud’s 90-tooth flawless finish blades to do finer detail work, this arbor makes it possible by making the whole machine a great deal more flexible.
It took 3 years before I needed the arbor, but as I now have a small collection of blades I’d like to use for different specialized purposes, it helps to have the ability to do it with the machine I’ve already invested time and cash into. Also, I still need to rip a crap-ton of hardwood, and I feel better about dulling a $20 blade over a $50 one.