I Need a tablesaw! #1: Help! How should I price my ShopSmith to sell?

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Blog entry by LittlePaw posted 01-28-2010 11:07 PM 11670 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I bought a new 50th Golden Anniversary Edition ShopSmith system less than a year ago and used it very little. It came with the bandsaw attachment, three extensions for the tablesaw w/4 tubes, a disk sander and lathe attachment and wheels. I want a SawStop tablesaw for permanent set up so I don’t have to reconfigure everytime I need to do something else. Well, I don’t know what to ask for my SS. It is in mint condition – no rust, no dings and works like new. I’m in Tulsa, OK area. Help?!

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

14 comments so far

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4544 days

#1 posted 01-29-2010 12:06 AM

You may want to consider keeping the shop smith. It can do a lot of things and you wont need to buy other larger stationary machines. As you have said a lathe, bandsaw, drill press, you even have horizontal boring capabilities. later you can upgrade to larger machines if its necessary

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View LittlePaw's profile


1572 posts in 4160 days

#2 posted 01-29-2010 12:30 AM

I thought about doing exactly what you suggested. So, if it doesn’t sell, I’d keep using it. It does a good job.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4156 days

#3 posted 01-29-2010 04:55 AM

I started with a shopsmith many years ago. It provides a good drill press and horizontal boring machine. It also provides a reasonably good lathe. The bandsaw, while small, still does a good job. I also like the belt sander accessory (easy to buy on e-bay). The jointer accessory is good, but it is only a 4” jointer. However, the table saw is pretty bad relative to stand alone table saws. After a few years (and when I got a bigger shop) my core tools consisted of a table saw, planer, miter saw, a small table top drill press and the shopsmith. I used my shopsmith as a big drill press, horizontal boring machine, lathe, bandsaw, belt sander and jointer. That was a pretty good shop set-up for several years. I did a lot of good work with that set-up.

I completely understand the need to get a better table saw. However, Shopsmith does a lot of other things reasonably well.

As an FYI, I know have a stand alone lathe and large drill press and the role of the Shopsmith has been further diminished in my shop. Nonetheless, it is still there as a horizontal boring machine and as a belt sander. I also use it for buffing and I am about to make a drum sander for it.

Don’t be too quick to sell the Shopsmith. You will never get what it can be worth to you in the shop.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4843 days

#4 posted 01-29-2010 05:39 AM

Rich has brought up some good points. For those who have the room, a dedicated cabinet saw is a great addition to the workshop. Actually, the Shopsmith can also do some “sawing things” well. I have two Shopsmith 520’s (Pro Fence model) in my “Workshop in the Woods”. One is set-up in saw mode with an Incra 5000 miter sled and a 60T crosscut blade. When it comes to precision, this machine is as good as they come.

The other 520 does a lot of multi-tasking, including some rip sawing and dadoing. It is so easy to change blades on the shopsmith that you can select the proper blade for a specific cut. I can also slow the speed down and avoid bunring when cutting hard maple or cherry. At an even slower speed, I can cut sheet plastic with out causing melt. I now use thin kerf blades and find that this improves the performance of the Shopsmith as a saw. For dadoing, I can install a nifty little accessory called the adjustable stop collar, and precisely adjust my depth of cut as close as a few thousands at a time.
If your Anniversary model is in the 510 configuration, consider up-grading to the 520. It has a larger and heavier fence with “T” slots on the sides and top for accessories such as featherboards. The 520 rails are also an improvement that incorporates rip scales and smoother operation.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View sras's profile


6089 posts in 4211 days

#5 posted 01-29-2010 05:45 AM

I can chime in with essentially the same comments. I have a Shop Smith that was my only table saw for 27 years. I just upgraded to a “real” table saw. I still use my Shop Smith as a drill press, disc sander, horizontal boring machine and lathe.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View deeman's profile


380 posts in 4162 days

#6 posted 01-29-2010 01:15 PM

I also agree with the other LJ’s. I have two SS. I have tried to sell them a few times, but with no success. I never had any offers. Although that was long before E Bay. I use one as a lathe and the older one (60’s) as my disk sander.

-- Dennis Trenton Ohio And life is worth the living just because He lives!

View botanist's profile


167 posts in 4620 days

#7 posted 01-29-2010 04:13 PM

LittlePaw, I’m having the same thoughts. I have a very old shopsmith (a greenie from the 50s I think) that I would love to replace with a better saw. My shopsmith doesn’t have the current safety features (the blade is exposed on the bottom and there is no splitter or riving knife), the table is too small and the fence is a big pain. Making adjustments to cuts involves cutting the speed gradually, then spending the next ten minutes making sure the fence is parallel to the blade (most of the time it’s not at first go). I’m currently debating saving up money for a SawStop contractor saw so that I can have a safer, easier to use saw. That being said, the shopsmith has come in handy for disc sanding and horizontal boring when I made my workbench. It’s also a family heirloom (from my grandfather), so there’s a certain sentimental attachment.

View LittlePaw's profile


1572 posts in 4160 days

#8 posted 01-29-2010 06:27 PM

I appreciate your comments on keeping the SS. I don’t dislike it . . . just that it takes me (maybe just me) a while to change over from dress press to table saw to bandsaw and back. It just kinda dampen my momentun in getting something done and not fussing with equipment, you know! Well, I’m still unsure as to the price I should set my SS to sell, just don’t want to loose too much. For all intended purposes, it is almost brand new. Any ideas, guys? So if no one buys it from me, I’d just keep using it and put the SawStop on the back burner, cuz I sure can’t afford both.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

316 posts in 4628 days

#9 posted 01-29-2010 08:13 PM

since i live in oklahoma i would talk you into giving it as a gift :) kidding but you might consider keeping it for now. I have a table saw but my dad picked up one he plans on giving to me eventually. i might not ever use the table saw but the other features i will use for sure.

-- Got Wood?

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4156 days

#10 posted 01-30-2010 04:21 AM

For what it is worth – - You seem to be focused on the SawStop as your desired TS. That is an excellent machine. However, it is expensive. The contractor version is about $1,800 and the cabinet version is over $3.000. A friend of mine has a SawStop and the brake mechanism tripped due to a voltage fluctuation in his power supply, costing him $150 to buy a new brake and blade. In my own case, I have nicked the end of a finger and thumb 2 times recently. The nicks were minor – no trip to the emergency room. However, if I had a sawstop each of those nicks would have cost my $150+. I know safety is an issue and we all need to make our own judgment call about that. Personally, after the second nick, I put the safety shield back on.

There are excellent TSs that cost half of a SawStop. A Jet ProShop is a significant upgrade from the ShopSmith for $800. That saw, with safety shields and cautious work habits could be perfectly adequate. There are other good saws in the $800 range.

With an $800 TS you may be able to keep your SS.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View woody57's profile


650 posts in 4509 days

#11 posted 01-30-2010 04:25 AM

I don’t know anything about a shop smith. However, I have bought quite a few used tools and I try to get them for 1/2 of what they would be new, if they are like new I try to get them for 3/4 of a new price.
If I can’t get it for that I walk away. This is from a consumers point of view. Maybe this will help.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View djesde's profile


33 posts in 4304 days

#12 posted 02-01-2010 03:33 AM

Littlepaw Do what I did thirdly years ago.I got some powerstands form Shopsmith that power each components. So you a bandsaw with its own stand. and Beltsander with its own stand. and So on with the rest
David J SC

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4659 days

#13 posted 02-11-2010 01:28 AM

That will be an outstanding upgrade.


View bunkie's profile


415 posts in 4228 days

#14 posted 02-11-2010 01:46 AM

I have a ShopSmith 520 and a Grizzley 1023SL. It’s a great combination. And life is pretty good when you can have two table saws such as when you are cutting dadoes as well as ripping or cross-cutting.

I’d advise against selling the ShopSmith. You will take a big hit on the used market, you’ll have to pony up quite a bit to get the SawStop on top of what you’ll get for the SS.

BTW, I think everyone who buys a new ShopSmith goes through this sort of buyers remorse. I know I did. But 17 years later I’m very glad I kept the ShopSmith it has been an exceptionally useful tool.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

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