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So, how does this blog work?

This blog (short for Web Log) features links to Shopsmith woodworking tools and items that are related to Shopsmith tools which are for sale on the web.

We've been adding a BUNCH of FREE scans of historic Shopsmith articles and ads, and if you happen to have something we should add we'd love to hear from you. Most of these can be seen Biggie-Sized by clicking on them.

Speaking of clicking, if you'd like to enter a comment about one of the posts, please feel free. To do so just click on the bold title line (For example, this post is titled "So, how does this blog work?" If you click on the title it will open that post in it's own page. There you can enter a comment, and after I moderate it, you'll see it there for all the world to see and comment back!

Please do me a favor. If you have a blog of your own or are a member of an Internet newsgroup and decide to flatter me by quoting from the text of my entries, please honor me by posting a link to this blog. Thanks and good hunting! Scott

Fred and his Shopsmith Mark V

This awesome photo is of Fred from LaCrosse, WI.  Fred is turning 92 in October 2014; and by "turning" we mean turning wood on his Shopsmith Mark V.  Fred is the first owner of his 1953 era Mark V "Greeny", and from the looks of it he has put it to good use.  The pic was snapped by his grandson, Matt, and who graciously shared it with us to share with you.  Thanks Matt and "Happy Sawdust" to Fred.

Click the pic to "Biggie-Size" it.

Finally scored a Shopsmith Crafter's Station!

It's been quite some time since I've had anything to share on either the 
Shopsmith Power Station or the Crafter's Station, but all that changed last week while we were on vacation in Florida.

As I mentioned in my Tips and Techniques for Buying Shopsmith Tools post, far and a way the best place to buy Shopsmith equipment is on Craigslist, and below I'll share my recent experience. (Please note, I do not suggest selling tools on Craigslist.  Yes, I'm conflicted.)

In the days preceding our vacation I started looking on the Orlando Craigslist for several of my common searches, including "Shopsmith", and low and behold a Crafter's Station popped-up just north of Tampa.  Now, here's where things get tricky; You see, we weren't going to Tampa, but rather to Orlando. But small details like that are not insurmountable for a determined tool-hunter like me.

The tools listed included: A Shopsmith Crafter's Station, a Shopsmith DC3300 dust collector, a Shopsmith Jointer, a Shopsmith Band Saw and a Shopsmith Scroll Saw, as well as a storage stand to hold those three SPT's while the Crafter's Station is set-up in Table Saw or Disc Sander mode. 

The biggest concern was that the listing was over 14 days old, so there was a chance that the tools would be long-gone, but fortunately as we were heading South on I-95 a reply from my email to the seller proved that they were still available.

So... somewhere between High Point NC and Orlando I mentioned to my bride that there was a good chance that we'd be bringing home a few tools.  She glared at me with a slight grin and said "So THAT"S why you were so anxious to help me empty my van!"  

We were able to make contact with some friends in Sarasota FL who would be available to join us for lunch on Saturday following our Friday night arrival into Orlando, so off we drove to find the address where the Shopsmith tools were. Ironically it turned out that they were no more than 1/4 mile from my Best Man's house, who was unfortunately out of town, but anyway, it was a straightforward stop, meet, negotiate and load and away we went.  We not only received the tools listed, but were also given a box full of accessories, an almost new 8" Freud Safety Dado, an old Power-Matic router, a Makita pad sander and a heat gun!

I'll share more about this find later, but for now let me just encourage you to get out there and hunt some tools!  Spring and Summer are the best times for tool hunting, because woodworking is the furthest thing from most people's minds while cleaning out the garage is high on the list.  Do your research, play fair and good luck! Scott


Hilarious "Individual tools, eh? Bummer" tee shirt for Shopsmith owner

OK, last one.  Well, for tonight anyway.

"Individual tools, eh? Bummer" woodworker's teeThis one pokes a little fun at the "individual tool" crowd with the inscription "Individual tools, eh?  Bummer"

Like I've said before, this tee shirt would make the perfect gift for the woodworker in your life.

Don't forget, you can change the size and the quality of the shirt, and if you would rather have a light colored shirt, just search the title above for the black print version.

Another AWESOME tee for a Shopsmith Mark V owner

"My Other Saw is a Drill Press" Shopsmith teeOh, I do so love this tee shirt! I don't know about you, but as a Shopsmith Mark V owner I get a little tired of "non-owners" going on and on about their individual tools. Win the argument before it even begins with this great "My Other Saw is a Drill Press" Shopsmith tee shirt. This is the perfect gift for the woodworker in your life. Don't forget, you can change the size and the quality of the shirt, and if you would rather have a light colored shirt, just search the title at the link above for the black print version.  Perfect for Father's Day or any day you want to make the day of a woodworker.

The PERFECT gift for the Shopsmith fan in your life!

"Don't Diss da 'Smith" tee for Shopsmith lovers
How many times have you had the conversation with a "non-owner" who went on and on about "changeover" and how they went the "individual tool" route?  Well, this "Don't Diss da 'Smith" tee shirt gets the final word in for you.  

Perfect for birthdays, Father's Day or any day that you want to make the day of the woodworker in your life.

Some of BEST Woodworking Books

I was scrolling through Amazon tonight looking at woodworking books and was surprised at some of the crazy-low prices on some of these.  A couple of them appear to be out of print, so the only ones that are listed are used, but heck, every book I own is used!  Here are links to a few of my favorites.

Working At Woodworking
I've owned Working at Woodworking since the month it became available through Fine Woodworking back in 1990.  I purchased my copy at the Shopsmith store in Dayton, where I was working at the time, and it was just the push I needed to start taking professional commissions.  The book is an interesting blend of advise on setting up a cabinet shop, a couple indispensable shop tools and a great section of pricing for profits.  The lowest price on this book on the day that I checked was under $5, which is a steal!


A Reverence for Wood
Ever since discovering the book "A Reverence for Wood" in my junior high school library I've had a attraction to the illustrations and art of Eric Sloane. I learned so much about wood movement, how joinery and construction methods evolved and lots of fascinating facts that I get to whip-out on my kids and grandkids as we wander through Colonial Williamsburg.  All of Eric Sloane's books are hand illustrated by Mr. Sloane himself, and I highly recommend "A Reverence for Wood" for the information, if not for the amazing drawings.  


Fine Woodworking on Proven Shop Tips: Selections from Methods of Work
If you are a fan of Fine Woodworking Magazine I'm sure you enjoy the Shop Tips that are in the front few pages of the magazine.  There have been a few tips that were worth the value of the magazine!  This paperback book was the best of FWW Shop Tips at the time that the book was published.  They did other versions of this, but they were not as good as this one, and I suppose that's because all of the basic tips were covered in this book, leaving few universal tips for the other issues.  Anyway, this is on my "Must have" list.

More to come.  Scott

They Say You Can't Take it With You. They Never Met the Wilton ATV Vise.

Wilton, who has been making vises and tools for over 70 years has introduced the most innovative vise I've seen in years.  It can be quickly transferred from your bench to your vehicle's hitch socket and back at a moments notice.  And it's not just a vise.

Here are the specs:

  • 6" Jaw Width
  • 5 3/4" Opening Capacity  
  • 5" Throat Depth
  • 3/4" - 3" Pipe Jaw Capacity
  • 5" Jaw Depth
  • 19 1/4" Overall Height
  • Rear Jaw is a massive 5" X 6" anvil  
And best of all, it is water resistant for all weather protection while it's on your vehicle.   

Wilton ATV Vise for sale on eBay at this link. 


Now the Truth Can Be Told: The NEW Kreg Foreman Pocket Hole Machine Item #DB210


So last week I had the chance to preview the new Kreg Forman Pocket Hole Machine, which is truly a hybrid between their inexpensive bench-top jigs and their previous Foreman machines.  This new tool is sporting a blue plastic base that reminds me quite a bit of the K5 jig.  It features a cast aluminum top and a plastic "chopsaw-style" D-handle with an integrated trigger switch. 

The first thing I thought when I saw it was "The folks at Kreg must have been watching The Wooden Tool Man's" Youtube Channel (See vid below).  The hold down clamp is mechanical and clamps like with a pull of the handle. The clamp is made of black plastic and has an adjustable pad, just like most of their small jigs. The cast aluminum table has a center section that lifts from the front and is held up by a little holder on the left. The motor slips out quickly with the pull of a looped wire ring, and with the motor free of the tool swapping the bits with the keyless chuck is a breeze.

The good news: It has a retail price of $399.99.  The bad news: It won't be available until Aug 1, 2014.  Don't worry, that time will fly by.

Check out the new Kreg Foreman Pocket Hole Machine at Woodcraft.com  

Here's the reveal video from 6/9/14 from Kreg:

Want to see her work?  Of course you do!

The video below is from a Youtuber named "Wooden Tool Man" and his invention predates the introduction of the new Foreman by many months.

The Double-Secret New Kreg Tool is a BLAST to use!

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to get my hands on the new Kreg pocket hole machine that they are planning on unveiling on 6/9/14, and while I am sworn to secret, what I can tell you is that you're gonna want one.  It's not a simple tool and it's going to set you back the cost of a 6" jointer, but boy, let me tell ya, if cabinetmaking or furniture making is on your bucket list but you don't want to spend all your time doing joinery, it's the tool of your dreams.

My best advise to you would be to click on this Woodcraft.com link on June 9th and then sort by price, from High to Low, and scroll down until you see what I'm talking (or not talking) about. I'll report back as soon as it goes live to fill-in the blanks.

Here's a teaser vid from Kreg:

How to store your Shopsmith tables and tubes when not in use

Way back in the late 1980's I came up with a design for storing the main table, the floating tables, and the tubes for my Mark V 510 when they were not needed. The design worked so well that several other Academy Instructors started using them in their Shopsmith Academies, and before long customers were building them too. I was truly honored when Shopsmith later added the design to one of the final issues of Hands-On magazine.

I've moved several times since then and actually forgot about that handy rack until I saw this video today on Youtube that features a rack for storing the tables on their tubes.  I actually like both designs, but at the moment I don't have a copy of my design to share with you. Unlike my rack this one allows you to store the tables on their tubes, or from PVC when the tubes are in use.  I like my rack though because I don't have to store mine with tubes installed.  What do you think and how do you store your parts when not in use?  Feel free to share a pic with me at mrtoolhunter@gmail.com.  Scott




Make strong joints in particle board with the Confirmat RTA Connecting Screw

I have to admit that one of my least favorite materials to work with is particle board or melamine board.  In my day job as a corporate trainer for a German hardware manufacturer I interact with melamine board every day and as much as I hate it I have to admit that there are lots of projects where it's the right choice.  The biggest issue with any particle board is that the core of the board is quite porous or as I view it, "pithy".  Imagine driving a wood screw into the edge of particle board and you can easily see the weak link. 

Following WWII Europeans learned to make the best of particle board, because that was all they had available to them, and what they learned was that they needed connectors that took advantage of particle board's strength; which is it's dense surface.  The winner in this area was the Confirmat one-piece connector.  At first glance the Confirmat appears to be a screw, but in actuality it creates a strong connection that can be loosened and re-tightened repeatedly with little loss of strength.  How does it do it?  The diameter of the connector is so large that it allows the threads to cut into the dense portion of the board.

If there is any catch it's that it requires two different diameter holes to be precisely drilled; one through the face of the cabinet side, and one horizontally into the cabinet top, bottom or shelf.  In addition, if the head of the connector is to be flush with the side of the cabinet the head will need to be countersunk.  With CNC equipment this isn't a big deal, but in the small shop this means handling the parts several times through several set-ups.  Surely there has to be a better way... and there is.

German cabinetmakers learned that if they dry assemble their boxes and clamp them in place that they can drill though the side of the cabinet and into the horizontal member with one plunge of a specialized bit.  On top of that this bit will also create a countersink for the head.

These durable connecting bolts are now available from Woodcraft, as are the required step drill bits.  Please note that the best time to purchase the replacement drill bit is before you need it!

Note that the Confirmat is available in two diameters; 5mm and 7mm.  Use the 7mm version for particle board that's 19mm (3/4") thick, and use the 5mm version for 13mm (1/2") thick board.  Also, the drive type is Pozi, which was an improvement over Phillips that was embraced everywhere else in the world but never caught on here in the USA.  You might as well pick up a #3 Pozi drive bit while you are at it to make optimal use of this connector.

Find Confirmat One-Piece Connectors for sale at Woodcraft.

Got some things cooking...

I'm excited to say that I've got some things in the works that I believe you are going to like, but that's all I can say at this moment.  That said, what sort of Shopsmith or woodworking info would you like to see here or on video?  You'll understand why I ask soon enough.  Thanks, Scott

The Shopsmith Clamping Miter Gauge. The Best Miter Gauge EVER!

I finally got around to shooting a video that's been in my head for some time. As you will see, there are some knock-offs of the Shopsmith miter gauge on the market, but at the same time Shopsmith has some new tricks up their sleeves as well. Check-out the video then visit the links below if one of them catches your eye.

Visit Shopsmith at http://www.Shopsmith.com to get your own Shopsmith/Incra miter gauge.

Here are some links to the products shown in the video, which can be found on eBay and Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/ClampingMiter on eBay. Look for MLCS and Woodstock International.
MLCS Miter Gauge on Amazon
http://tinyurl.com/IncraMiter
Woodstock International Miter Gauge on Amazon
http://tinyurl.com/ShopsmithMiter

 

Finally, here's a link to one of my favorite reviews of the Incra V120: http://youtu.be/P9uZ77a7LvI

A Sweet Deal on a Shopsmith-Clone Feather Board

I don't normally like to promote clones of Shopsmith tools, but when it comes to safety products I'm gonna follow Shopsmith's own lead. (Read this post to make sense of that statement) I just received Woodcraft's 2013 Black Friday sales flier and they are featuring one of the better knock-offs of the Shopsmith featherboard that I've seen.  If you've ever felt uncomfortably close to the blade then you know when this tool should fit into your routine.  I'm not sure if this will fit the Shopsmith slot or not, but if you happen to own any other tablesaw that has a 3/4" slot, you owe it to yourself to get to Woodcraft: Miter Slot Featherboard.
Likewise, can get this featherboard on Amazon.

2013 Top Ten Gifts for Woodworkers and DIYers

As the brother of four sisters I learned a long time ago not to title a blog post something sexist like "Top Ten Gifts for Men", but let's be honest; this list is mostly going to appeal to men.  And what's wrong with that?  Let's face it, we can be tough to shop for.  The following gift ideas would be welcomed the woodworker or Do It Yourselfer in your life, and unlike this silly pre-wrapped gifts for men, like the battery operated keyboard vacuum or a shiny new nose hair trimmer, these gifts will still be in use and be remembered for years to come.
    1.) Tool-Filled Advent Calendar
    This gift is just amazing.  Wera is a German hand tool manufacture that I've written about before, and for good reason: Their tools are excellent.  They've done something so cool that I've decided to start my list with #1 instead of counting down from ten, because I just can't wait to share it with you: They have made a Tool-Filled Advent Calendar that contains about $150 worth of tools for less than half that price!

    Since the early 1800's Advent calendars have been a traditional way of counting down the 24 days leading up to Christmas, and while many of them have small daily gifts hidden behind small doors, I have never seen one that was made for tool fans!  These are only available for a short time, so click the link and order yours today.

    2.) Retro Shop Stool
    The last thing most guys are gonna purchase for their shop is a chair or stool.  Have you ever visited the shop and tried to find a place to sit and chat?  It's not because you are unwelcome or that we couldn't make a stool; it's just that we are hard at work on your to-do list that we don't ever seem to get a round to it.  And don't think that we wouldn't want to sit down!  Just take a look at #3 for evidence of the need for more comfort in the shop. 

    This padded seat on this cool Retro Shop Stool swivels 360 degree, and at 14" in diameter can comfortably support 350lbs.




    3.) Back and Knee saving Anti Fatigue Floor Mat
    Here's another simple gift idea that for some Great Anti-Fatigue Mat at this link.
    reason guys just don't think to buy for themselves.  Every woodworker needs at least two of these in the spots where they find themselves standing the longest: Behind the workbench and either in front of the tablesaw or the lathe.  If your woodworker isn't into wood turning (yet) than they may enjoy sawing on the scrollsaw or bandsaw, so I've got a great tip for you both.  Position the mat with the short end against the wall and set the saw ON the mat. The mat will absorb vibration better than any anti-vibration pads that are sold for that purpose, and there will still be lots of room left for them to stand on the mat!  Add this mat to the retro shop tool above and you will knock the socks off your loved-one.  Find an inexpensive 2' X 5' Anti-Fatigue Mat at this link, and a thicker, larger 3' X 5' and frankly, all around more-better Anti-Fatigue Mat at this link.



    4.) BESSEY Bar Clamps
    Bessey is a German clamp manufacturer who makes the best clamps on earth.  If you've ever watched Norm Abrams clamping anything on the New Yankee Workshop you've seen Bessey clamps in use.  I use two different styles of Bessey clamps in my shop, and depending on what I'm building I'll reach for one or the other.

    For assembling cabinets, tables and large furniture pieces I always reach for the classic Bessey "K Body" clamps, which can be found at the link.

    For assembling smaller items, such as gift boxes, jewelery boxes and nick-knacks, the right choice of clamp is the Bessey F-Style clamp

    No, these aren't inexpensive gifts, but they will last a lifetime and will always work effortlessly.  Something that will never be said about the cheap Chinese clamps that he's been settling with all these years.

    5.) A Wood Lathe
    Ask any woodworker what they would love to build if they had all the time, money and wood that they would need to accomplish it and most would say a Grandfather Clock.  There's just something satisfying about the idea of building something beautiful and functional that will "live" long after we are gone.  Now, ask a woodworker what tool they would love to master and 9 out of 10 of them will say the wood lathe.  Why do so many of us want to learn to turn, and yet so few do?  Because few of us own a lathe.  And there's really not a good reason, because lathes have never been more affordable or as well made as they are today.  Before gifting a lathe it is imperative to do a little spying to find out which size of lathe is appropriate.  Small lathes are great for turning small objects like pens, candle sticks and parts for furniture (like that Grandfather Clock), while large lathes are needed for building parts for furniture like beds, chairs, tables, etc.

    Here's a link to a great small lathe that would be perfect for a new turner who wants to turn pens gift items: Rikon Mini Lathe

    If you're looking for a good starting lathe for turning furniture parts, take a look at this link:
    Nova 1624-44 Wood Lathe

    If money is no option and you just want to cut to the chase and get one of the best lathes available, then I have no reservations in recommending the Powermatic 4224B Wood Lathe.  Even if you aren't in the market for a large lathe, you owe it to yourself to click on the link just to see how the other half turns!

    6.) A Solid Beech Workbench
    This is a tough one for me to put on a gift list, because I feel strongly that a craftsman owes it to themselves to build their own workbench.  But the reality is few woodworkers will ever have the time or the money to make this dream a reality.  In all candor it's actually more expensive to build a quality bench than it is to buy one, because bench manufacturers have the economy of scale working in their favor.  Just like how you can never have enough clamps; you can never have too large or too heavy a workbench.  My suggestion is to either buy the most expensive bench that fits your budget, or think about buying a gift card for a bench at Woodcraft.  they sell a brand called Sjoberg that are very well made and are worth what they charge.  Just one little reality check: Don't even consider a bench that sells for less than $500 because they will become firewood in fewer years than you can count on one hand.  Buy Sjoberg work benches here.

    7.) Magnetic Shop Light
    Yes, we did install a couple 4' florescent shop lights in our shop a couple years back, but they always seem to cast a shadow right were we need the light the most.  This slick, portable shop light has a magnetic base that will also clip onto tools that feature plastic body parts.  Buy this Magnetic Shop Light at this link.











    #8 DeWalt 13" Thickness Planer
    I've owned this planer for about 5 years and besides my Shopsmith tools this is one of my two favorite power tool in my shop.  In fact, this planer replaced my previous 12" DeWalt planer, which I was able to sell used on eBay for just about what I paid for it 5 years earlier!  Woodcraft often offers this planer with either a free cover, stand or other useful do-hickey, so look around the site to make sure that this link is taking you to the best offer.  Follow this link to the DeWalt DW735X 13" Planer







    9.) Incra Gauge
    This is hands-down my most reached-for tool in my shop.  In fact, for less than $20 I have to say that if you buy nothing else on this list, buy this one!  I'm fairly certain that this is going to be featured in one of my upcoming videos, because it's just such a handy tool.  It's a marking gauge, a center finder, a height gauge for setting the height of your saw blade, dado blade and router bits and more.  Just buy it.  Click here to buy the Incra Gauge from Woodcraft, or click here to purchase the Incragauge from Amazon.






    And last, but not least...

    10.) A Wooden WeWood Watch!
    This gift will THRILL the woodworker in your life, and there is no way that they would ever be able to make a wooden watch like this.  They'll be able to wear a tangible symbol of their passion for wood, and will remember your thoughtfulness every time that look at it.

    WeWood has been making fine timepieces for years and they even feature a 24 month warranty!  Check out the WeWood watches on Amazon.
    WeWood Watches offers a 24 month limited warranty on manufacturer defects. - See more at: http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2084950/39890/WeWOOD-Men%27s-Date-Wooden-Watch-Beige.aspx#sthash.v1uvSL40.dpuf
    WeWood Watches offers a 24 month limited warranty on manufacturer defects. - See more at: http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2084950/39890/WeWOOD-Men%27s-Date-Wooden-Watch-Beige.aspx#sthash.v1uvSL40.dpuf
    WeWood Watches offers a 24 month limited warranty on manufacturer defects. - See more at: http://www.woodcraft.com/Product/2084950/39890/WeWOOD-Men%27s-Date-Wooden-Watch-Beige.aspx#sthash.v1uvSL40.dpuf

    Is the Shopsmith Clamping Miter Gauge the perfect Miter Gauge?

    I've always been impressed with the Shopsmith miter gauge, with its comfortable pistol grip and quick-adjusting hold-down clamp.  So much so that it's bewildered me why it hasn't been copied more than it has.  That's not to say that it hasn't been copied, just not faithfully.

    I visited a brick and mortar woodworking store the other day and noticed that they had the Woodstock International Clamping Miter Gauge on display, and seeing that it appeared to be an exact clone of the Shopsmith miter gauge I decided to play with it a bit.  Boy, was that an eye opening experience.   In fact, after playing with it a few minutes I felt inspired to shoot a video to talk about the original Shopsmith miter gauge and its evolution, and then show you what the copies like the Woodstock and the MLCS Miter Gauge bring to the party.

    I'll embed that video here shortly, but in the mean time go ahead and subscribe to my Youtube channel: www.Youtube.com/user/MrToolHunter  I plan to start posing regularly to that channel, and if this blog is of interest to you I'm sure that you'll enjoy the channel.  Scott

    P.S. Here's a link to my previous post that related to the Shopsmith miter gauge: http://shopsmith-tool-hunter.blogspot.com/2010/05/shopsmith-miter-gause-musinings.html

    How to Safely Load a Shopsmith Mark V into a Vehicle

    I recently purchased another Mark V from Craigslist, mainly because I'd been bidding in vain on eBay for a Shopsmith Strip Sander. I finally found this Mark V model 500 that included a Strip Sander, a Bandsaw and a Belt Sander, and I wrote about in in a prior blog post. Anyway, as I loaded it into my van the though occurred to me that other folks might benefit from some tricks that Shopsmith presenters learned during their life on the road. The video below shows how one person and easily and safely load a Shopsmith Mark V into a tall vehicle, like a truck or a van. After filming this I realize that I need to show you how to move one if all you have is a car, so I guess I need to borrow my son-in-law's fugly Scion and film another vid. More to come on this subject. Scott

    Bought another Shopsmith Mark V and lost some hair.

    I noticed a Craigslist ad the other night that listed a Mark V (model 500) along with a bandsaw, belt sander and strip sander.  The ad listed them all for $500, and seeing that I've been bidding unsuccessfully on a dozen or so SS strip sanders recently, it made sense to pick this up and sell off the tools I don't need.

    After making arrangements to inspect the tools, and also confirming that the owner was flexable on his price, my bride and I took the 100 mile trek from High Point NC over to Zebulon (Raleigh).

    The owner turned-out to be a nice fellow, and to be fair he inherited the tools and admitted that he didn't know much about them.  I smiled as he then proceeded to tell me everything about it, as if he had been a long-time Shopsmith demonstrator.  Since he seemed to be having a good time I decided not to interrupt and tell him that I was quite familiar with the tool; and I lived to regret that decision.

    He showed me a moulder head and said "It comes with a shaper cutter".  He picked-up the table from the beltsander and said "This is a tool rest for the strip sander".  This was all harmless, but then he plugged-in the Mark V and started to crank-up the speed dial.  The problem was he had a sanding disc mounted on the quill and the belt sander (sans belt, thank goodness) coupled to the outboard side.  As the speed passed "Magna Dado" the center of the rubber sleeve on the drive drum of the belt sander started to swell due to centrifugal force, and suddenly it impacted the plastic dust chute and all of a sudden "BANG"!  The dust chute flew one direction as pieces of the rubber sleeve flew right into my chest!  Thank goodness the chute followed a different path, because that sucker would have left a mark!

    Anyway, the seller felt bad enough about his error that I pulled away from his place with a bunch of extra parts and only $340 lighter.  It's six hours later and I've already ordered the replacement parts from Shopsmith.com and once I give everything the once-over, the redundant parts will be making their way to eBay. 

    The Shopsmith "Shop Deputy" Work Center

    Every now and then Shopsmith comes up with something that just makes sense: Enter the "Shop Deputy" Work Center.

    For all those folks who upgraded their Mark V's to the new two-way tilting Mark VII, and who also swapped-out their headstock for the new PowerPro headstock, the question has been "What am I gonna do with all the extra parts?"  The answer is a straight-forward kit of parts and instructions that allows you to build a small Power Station-like work center. 

    Learn more at http://www.shopsmith.com/ownersite/catalog/shop_deputy.htm

    Who couldn't use more drill bits? Today I needed a bunch.

    I've been spending the week building some closet accessories for my sister.  Our grandmother is moving in with her family, and they are building a new closet for her and wanted a variety of storage options for her.

    More than most projects, this one was driving me nuts!  For one thing, I hate working with pine!  Add to that the fact that my sister wanted me to incorporate some used drawers from an old dresser.  Of course those drawers were warped and had central-mounted drawer runners.  The runners had to go and were replaced with some nice side-mounted slides.  The twist is still resenting a challenge, but I believe I've got it licked.

    The other big challenge was the fact that the pine boards were destined to be used as 16" wide boards, and in my move to my current shop I misplaced my cross-cut sliding table.  Not a big deal, and I think like many woodworkers I get as much pleasure building jigs and fixtures as I do building the projects that the jigs produce.

    Most of the joints were glued butt joints with pocket screws, but a couple were reinforced with wood dowels.  That's what leads me to this post.  Wouldn't you know that my 3/8" brad point bits were all toasted and dull, so I had to resort to using a Forstner bit.  Now I need new 3/8" brad points AND Forstner bits!

    I happened to stumble upon a neat 20 piece mixed set from Woodcraft that contains both brad point and Forstner bits.

    The set contains:
    13 brad points, sized: 1/8", 5/32", 3/16", 7/32", 1/4", 9/32", 5/16", 11/32", 3/8", 13/32", 7/16", 15/32", 1/2"
    And 7 Forstner bits, sized: 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", 7/8", 1"

    See it here: Woodcraft.com

    Heads-up: a GREAT deal on the DeWalt DW788 Scroll Saw!

    I've said it before that we LOVE our DeWalt DW788 Scrollsaw.  We purchased ours reconditioned and couldn't be happier.

    See them new and reconditioned on Amazon at these links: New DW788 Scroll saw for sale.
    Reconditioned DW788 Scroll saw for sale.

    Learn more at this link: DeWalt DW788 Scroll Saw at Woodcraft.



    Shopsmith Workbench Pro

    Just when I thought I'd said everything there was to say about Shopsmith products I clicked on a Craigslist post and was reminded that I missed one of my old favorites: The Shopsmith Workbench Pro.  This was a German-made workbench that Shopsmith offered through their stores and catalogs in the late 1980's, and it was a huge centerpiece in the Shopsmith store in Chelmsford Mass that I managed and in the Shopsmith Academy at the Factory Showroom in Dayton where I taught.  The bench was a heavy, traditional European-style red beech bench that was manufactured for Shopsmith by Anke.  The bench was introduced at $699, and if memory serves me correctly it was several hundred more when Shopsmith closed their stores in the mid-90's.

    This bench is very similar to the current Anke model 166, which you can see here: http://www.fine-tools.com/hbank.htm for € 1099.0, which at today's conversion rate would make it $1435.07+ shipping from Germany!  
    The bench in the Craigslist ad was located in a little town in SC, about 140 miles from my home, and after calling my heart sank because the seller explained that someone was already scheduled to look at it.  I went ahead and left my name and number just in case the buyer backed-out, and to my surprise a few hours later I got a call saying that she was still for sale if I wanted to check it out.  I couldn't say yes fast enough and the next day my bride and I were off in a road trip to SC.

    Thanks to a great GPS app on my cell phone (Waze) we arrived 5 minuets ahead of our scheduled time and from the road I could see the bench.  My heart sank yet again when in the driveway I could see the bench and even at that distance could tell that it had been left out, exposed to the elements.

    The owner's son came to the door and led me to the bench and it was everything I could do to not vomit.  The bench had clearly been covered, as there were no signs of water stains on the surface, but it was cracked and checked all over.  I asked and the owner's son explained that they were using it as a stand for the Harbor Freight lathe that can be seen in the background of the photo above, and that while it was left in the driveway it was covered by a tarp.  Lovely.

    There was no way that the bench was worth the $300 they were asking, but believe it or not the hardware was in decent shape, and who knows, the bench might be OK after some time in a dry shop and with a little TLC (and Danish oil).

    So after some negotiations on the phone with the owner we arrived at a price that I could like with and we loaded her into my van.  Click on the pics to Biggie-Size them, but you might want to have a Kleenex handy, because they are disturbing.  

    Shopsmith Workbench Pro's are rare these days, but here's a link to your next workbench on eBay

    Woodcraft has some excellent benches that are worth a look, as well as a nice selection of vises if you'd like to take a stab at building your own bench.  Check out the workbenches for sale at Woodcraft at this link and don't forget to check their clearance link.


    Before we talk about the Mark V I feel compelled to tell you a bit about how I got to this point.

    The Shopsmith Mark V.

    These words have stirred a child-like excitement in me ever since Mr. Stone (a family friend) stopped by our home in Beavercreek Ohio to visit my parents while on a trip to Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. Mr. Stone had just paid a visit to a factory in Dayton where he made a large purchase of a power tool. Now, my dad is the son of a Cabinetmaker and because his mother died when he was three, he and his two brothers were raised in the shop while my Grandfather worked. So here's Mr. Stone and my dad sitting on the couch looking at a brochure for this neat tool, and I vividly remember standing behind the couch staring over their shoulders in amazement at this wonderful new tool. This was around 1977, which would have made me 13-14 years old, and at that time I had no idea that the Shopsmith Mark V had been in production since 1954! (A conflicting date of 1953 is given on the official Shopsmith Inc site, but I've not been able to confirm this dating with any official documentation or witness. Go figure.)

    I convinced my dad that we needed to get a catalog, so he returned the postcard that Mr. Stone left with us, and for years we continued to get the occasional catalog and better yet the awesome woodworking magazine "Hands-On!".

    Fast forward to 1987 and though I had visited the showroom at the Shopsmith factory in Vandalia Ohio (North Dayton) several times this time I was actually there just to kill time while I waited for a near-by job interview. It was on this visit that I met Ron Hittle. Ron was a playful and intelligent man who instantly won me over with his silly puns and jokes. When you met Ron it was like meeting a long-lost brother for the first time. He was totally engaged in our conversation as we talked about woodworking, tools, Jim and Tammy Baker (they were falling from grace at that very moment) and Shopsmith. I was having a great time when I suddenly realized that I was now a half-hour overdue for my job interview! Ron noticed that I was looking at my watch and getting stressed so he asked me what was wrong. I told him that I was late for a job interview and he said "Are you looking for a job?" I thought that was a silly question following my previous statement but I said yes. At that Ron smiled and said he had an opening and would love to continue our conversation in his office. About an hour later, with my face aching from laughter, I was an employee of Shopsmith Inc!

    Lots of other things happened after that, but in total I was an employee for 10 years, as an in-store salesman, a store manager (twice) and as an Academy Instructor. Oh yeah, in 1987 I finally became the proud owner of a Shopsmith Mark V Model 510!

    Shopsmith 10ER sighting at Ma and Pa Kettle's house

    Back in the 1950's Magna Engineering published a little newsletter called Shopsmith Shop Notes as a place to share tips and tricks and to share stories and photos of the Shopsmith tools in action.  After three issues the newsletter was renamed "Shavings".  These were distributed free of charge to owner, and many years after Shavings was retired, Shopsmith Inc, the current manufacturer of the Shopsmith line of tools, revised the concept with their popular, but now defunct Hands-On Magazine.  I was reading through some of these old issues tonight when I stumbled across this picture of a couple cast members from the old movie series "Ma and Pa Kettle".  Richard Long was in a bunch of movies, but I remember him most for his role in the TV show "Nanny and the Professor". 

    Here he is all gown up with the cast of "Nanny and the Professor". It's a shame that he died at the age of 47.

    Click the pics to Biggie Size them.

    It only took me 24 years, but I finally own the original Shopsmith 10ER

    It was way back in 1987 when I first went to work for Shopsmith Inc, and one of the coolest things that they had in a little room just off of the Factory Showroom was a small museum of sorts with one of each of the major tools that bore the Shopsmith nameplate. I've written several posts about the 10ER, which was the first tool sold as a "Shopsmith" way back in 1947, but I haven't said much about it in the first person because I've never owned one or even had a chance to work on one.
    For years I've been trying to find one to buy, but they are usually either priced far too high for my wallet or for their condition, or they are too far away to be viable once I calculate shipping to NC. I've searched eBay every week for years, and now I even check several local Craig's List areas in search of one. I have purchased three Sawsmith Radial Arm Saws and a Total Shop (Mark V clone), but no 10ER... until today.

    A couple weeks ago I noticed a local Craig's List listing for the Shopsmith 10ER shown above, and they were only asking $150. Not bad, but better yet the listing said that the price was negotiable. I tossed the seller a note to make sure that it was still available and to confirm a few things, but then I got busy and forgot to follow-up. And the last night I saw the exact same listing, but tis time with a $100 price, and with the same offer of negotiation. I tossed the owner another message asking if it was still available and encouraged him to stop lowering the price until I was there with my wallet! I got a message back that confirmed that the tool was not only available, but that the owner had a sense of humor to boot.

    I asked if I could drop by tonight and he replied that tonight was bad because it was his wife's birthday. I suggested the we shoot for tomorrow when a message came back saying that tonight at 6:00 would work just fine. I replied back "Should I bring a cake?" and he (now revealed to be George) replied harshly: "No cake needed :) Fire code prohibits that many candles in city limits".  Ouch!  
    I figured if his wife was anything like mine she was just about evenly spit between wanting the cash and wanting the tool out of the garage, but I wasn't about to show up on her birthday empty handed, so after dropping by the ATM for some cash I ran into our local grocery store and purchased her a small cake and some sugar candy "Happy Birthday" lettering for the top.  My son, Boy, met me at their house, and after some fun tool talk George said "So how about $75?"  Done.  The best news is the bearings sound good, the quill and the headstock slide smoothly and the motor runs smooth and quiet.  There are a few things missing, such as the miter gauge, the rip fence, the table insert and the belt cover, but these items are readily available on eBay, and for me the hunt is half the fun. The pic shows my new 10ER packed into my van and ready to head to my shop.  now the question is how much restoration should i do to her?





    A neat dust collector for your woodshop

    I've owned a Shopsmith DC3300 dust collector for over twenty years, and while it works fine for Shopsmith tools that feature dust ports that were designed for the CFM of airflow that the unit produces, it's just not optimal for most of my non-Shopsmith tools.

    I've been looking at the units that are on the market for some time now and have come up with my personal wish list, and have finally narrowed it down to my prefered unit: the 2HP Mobile Cyclone from Laguna. One of the best features of the Shopsmith unit has been it's portability. After owning a 3HP Grizzly unit that was ducted throughout my shop, I came to appreciate the DC3300's ability to move around the shop, or even out of the shop for that matter.

    That Grizzly had amazing airflow, but it came at the expense of my hearing! Running that monster was like having a DC10 landing in the shop! So, my plan was to find a unit that could be portable, but that also had the airflow to allow me to pug it into a central duct system. The Laguna generates 1450 CFM of airflow, with a static pressure of 10-1/2". This gets a little "nerdy", but if you're like me you might enjoy this site: http://billpentz.com//woodworking/cyclone/index.cfm were you'll find more than your fair share of dust collector information.

     Anyway, having owned a couple cyclone units in the past; One was a shop-built unit from an old issue of ShopNotes was fun to build, but the blower that I chose was way too powerful for it and wanted to crush it like an aluminum can! I wound-up having to mount a much smaller blower to it, and in the end it just didn't have the guts to keep up with my 20" Powermatic planer. After that I purchased an 11HP Torret that was just the opposite extreme, and ultimately I sold it.

    What I did learn though was that the cyclone on both of these units did an amazing job at separating out all of the chips and dust before the air entered the blower, eliminating the problems that I had with the Shopsmith unit's single stage blower arrangement.

    So here's the unit that I'll be purchasing shortly: Laguna 2HP Mobile Cyclone Dust Collector

    This video isn't of the unit I'm buying, but there's some good info about Laguna cyclones.
     
    Laguna Cyclone Dust Collector from Laguna Tools on Vimeo.

    Shopsmith booth at the 2012 International Woodworking Fair

    I just returned from a week at IWF in Atlanta, which is short for the International Woodworking Fair.  IWF is the largest woodworking show in North America for professional woodworkers, and since my employer is a large exhibitor it's always a blast for me to visit the tool exhibits to see what's new.  I was surprised a few weeks ago when I received the email from Shopsmith announcing that they would be exhibiting.  It surprised me so much that I tossed an email off to their customer service department to make sure that they were aware that this show was likely to be the worst fit for them of any show I could imagine.  I received a pleasant reply that stated that they appreciated my concern and that I was encouraged to drop by their booth. 

    The show ran from Wednesday through Saturday and when Saturday finally arrived the traffic at the show slowed down enough that I was able to slip away from our booth to walk the show a bit.  It was then that I was surprised to learn that we were only four booths from the Shopsmith booth the entire time!  The booths in the center of the show are very big booths (ours was 40' X 150'), while the SS booth was 20' X 20', so it was easy to miss.  The other odd thing about their booth was that the Mark VII was not front and center, but instead the Shopsmith abrasives from ALI Industries abrasives were.  I introduced myself the the guy in the burgundy Shopsmith apron and though he told me they really kicked butt I couldn't help but notice the clean carpet and the dust collector with the mostly empty bag.   One of the non-Shopsmith guys manning the booth said that really it was a ALI booth, ans as I've written before, ALI is the trademark owner of the Shopsmith Abrasives brand.

    I hope they were able to sell a few PowerPro upgrades, but I suspect it was a tough crowd.  The vast majority of the folks in attendance are using CNC equipment and very large tools, and the Shopsmith line was as out of place as a Yugo at a Lamborghini rally.

    Click the pic to Biggie-Size and visit this link to see Shopsmith Sandpaper on Amazon.

    You Aint Seen Nothin' Yet!

    If you happened to land on this page via a Google search, you aint seen nothin' yet! Click the title at the top of this page to see this blog in it's entirety.