Another Shopsmith is resurrected

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Blog entry by SST posted 08-30-2010 06:57 PM 6859 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Since I really don’t need another Shopsmith in my shop but can’t seem to stop buying & restoring them, I have a constant need to find friends or relatives who need/want one for their shops. Thankfully, that hasn’t been a problem so far. This latest machine will go to a friend who’s in the furniture repair & restoration business.

This machine dates to 1962 by the serial # and while it’s 48 years old, is basically the same as the most recent units. It was in the back corner of a barn covered with dirt, grime & some rust. I wish I had taken my camera to get a pic that way, but the pile of parts will have to suffice as a before pic.

ss before

Thankfully most of the parts were there, but it was non-running. Most machines that have sat are reluctant to start up & shouldn’t be anyway. There’s something about 1/2 century old congealed grease in the bearings that just screams “don’t mess with me”, so I don’t. I don’t worry about that because almost all that these machines need to run like new are new bearings in the motor & headstock and a good clean & lube. New paint helps but is not necessary unless you want to impress your friends. (so this one got painted)

So, after the paint, (I stayed with the original colors even though going gray would make it look like a newer machine) new bearings throughout, and a re-grind on the jointer blades (with the help of another Shopsmith & simple jig) the finished product looks like this. By the way, I used Rust-oleum hammered finish that was almost a dead on match. They also have a color that is right on for the old “Greenies”.

SS finished

There you go…just another day in the life of…Shopsmithtom

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

18 comments so far

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3627 days

#1 posted 08-30-2010 07:37 PM

waow it surely looks good
and I donĀ“t think you ever run out of freinds
I think there is around 21K right on the site
there would love to have a restored shopsmith
from you ….............LOL

take care

Edit: but the pictures cuold be a little bigger they deserve it :-)

View Joe Watson's profile

Joe Watson

316 posts in 4058 days

#2 posted 08-30-2010 07:46 PM

great job tom so nice to see that machine back in business.

-- Got Wood?

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4273 days

#3 posted 08-30-2010 07:48 PM

Nice work. She’ll still perform for you too!

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3392 days

#4 posted 08-30-2010 07:55 PM

Looks great… I just helped my dad clean up his Mark 7 and was debating on whether or not to paint it. Looks like a new paint job makes a big difference and I like that you kept original color.

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

View lou's profile


343 posts in 3954 days

#5 posted 08-30-2010 07:58 PM

Wow.Beautifully done Sir.Makes me want to repaint my 510.Thanks for the post.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4240 days

#6 posted 08-30-2010 08:23 PM

That looks great! I wish the pictures were larger. How well do the lathes work on these machines?

View SST's profile


790 posts in 4706 days

#7 posted 08-30-2010 08:46 PM

I think they work fine. I have no point of reference as I’ve always had a Smith, but on the MK5’s you’ve got variable speed from 800 – 5200 rpm’s & 34” length. I think it’s 12” width, but I don’t turn bowls, so I’m not sure. You can put a face plate on the other side of the headstock & increase that diameter considerably.

Actually, I like the old model 10er’s for lathes as they are all cast iron & really heavy. Same capacity but unless you have a speedchanger option for variable speed, you get 3 speeds standard, 850,1725, 3450 which is still good enough for most work.

And they’re cheap. You should be able to find one for $75 – $150, depending on condition & completeness. Plus you get the drill press, horizontal borer, disc sander in the same space, among other things.
(The machines pictured in my out-of-date shop pics are 10er’s)
(can you tell that I like these things???)

-- Accuracy is not in your power tool, it's in you

View brunob's profile


2277 posts in 4681 days

#8 posted 08-30-2010 08:55 PM

I love to see new life for old machines

-- Bruce from Central New, if you'll pardon me, I have some sawdust to make.

View HokieMojo's profile


2104 posts in 4240 days

#9 posted 08-30-2010 11:45 PM

that’s really cool. I was thinking about this to use primarily as a dedicated lathe but secondarily as a rare specialized tool (I’ve been really impressed by the versatility). Thanks for the response!

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 3658 days

#10 posted 08-31-2010 03:28 AM

Very nice!

I love the way the “goldies” look. Mine is much newer, so it’s the standard grey color. Someday I might try a custom paint job.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View rkh2's profile


12 posts in 3360 days

#11 posted 08-31-2010 03:38 AM

Great job on the restoration! It’s always nice to see a machine like this brought back to life. This speaks highly as for the quality of these machines. In reference for the question about how it functions as a lathe, I have a 520 built in the 90’s and use it in lathe mode all the time and have no complaints. I have the universal tool rest which adds to the weight of the machine and the only other lathes I have used are jet minis which had to have belts on the pulleys changed to change speed.

-- Ron from Lewisburg, TN

View shavings's profile


1 post in 3358 days

#12 posted 08-31-2010 03:50 AM

shopsmithtom-Great job on a great machine. I bought one of that same year MANY years ago and it is as new. I had the motor reworked at factory about 20 years ago and it has run like a “top” since. I have bandsaw and a duplicator for accessories and it has served me well. I use it nearly every day for some task. Keep up the good work and make others happy – they will love ya for it.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 3702 days

#13 posted 08-31-2010 07:21 AM

Looks really nice with just the paint.

The paint on that machine just pop’s, and would look good in any shop.

It also looks solid and well built. Nice rebuild!!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4273 days

#14 posted 09-01-2010 03:56 AM


As a lathe, the Shopsmith can run from 700 to 5200 rpm, and has a 16” x 34” capacity. An optional accessory, the Universal Tool Rest, , offers a lot of advantages, especially for bowl turning. The extra 35 lbs to the machine also helps to add stability.

All of the lathe chuck manufacturers offer 5/8” adapters and Shopsmith has a tailstock chuck adapter that enables you to mount a drill chuck on the tailstock. I’ve used this to drill holes on the ends of my turnings.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Napaman's profile


5530 posts in 4589 days

#15 posted 09-01-2010 04:33 AM

great job tom…you are amazing…

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

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