“ Multi-purpose woodworking machine „
The 5-tools-in-1 Shopsmith MARK V is the world's original multi-purpose woodworking machine. Since 1953, over 600,000 Shopsmith MARK Vs have been sold world-wide...and today, most of them are still serving their owners, just as they did when they were new, they are a very popular with DIYers and tradesmen throughout the USA.
About ten years ago I saw a demonstration at a show for an all in one woodwork machine it impressed me with its versatility and the fact it took up such little space. This is the Shopsmith Mark V. It is a fully functional 10" table saw. It is a 12" disc sander. It is a vertical drill press that can act as an overhead router. It is a 34" lathe. It is a horizontal drilling machine, a tool that most home workshops don't have.
With other well thought out attachments it can be many other tools as well. What makes it unique is that all of these tools are on a set of casters and take up a total of 2 feet by five feet on your garage floor. With it rolled to the wall your car will still have a home, I would love nothing more than a large workshop with individual machines but it isn't practical so this was a great alternative.
So after much deliberation over the price which is around £2000 for a new machine I decided to ring Craft Supplies in Buxton England who supply these American machines, I was surprised to find they had one for £1200 that I would have to assemble myself. I decided to purchase it and this entitled me to a day in their workshop learning how to use and assemble it safely and correctly, this was a really worth while, and a great day out.
Over the past years I have made many pieces of furniture etc using the machine and it has paid for itself several times over.
As a table saw it can handle plywood or ripping long boards. As a sander you can use the quill feed on the powerful motor head to move the sanding disc to the material. With the flexible table adjustments, sanding angles is just easy. When you need to drill holes in the side or end of long objects the horizontal drill press function has no peer. The lathe operation is smooth with fully variable speeds to handle the largest projects. Flip the rails and motor head up and it locks into a vertical drill press with superb capacity.
When I bought it, it came with superb manuals and a project book, explaining how the machine is altered between functions ( this is generally easy but can be frustrating if you need to swap backwards and forwards regularly, so good planning saves time.
The books also tell you all about the additional adaptations you can add which allow you to do even more such as, a Band saw, Jointer, thicknesser, Sharpening attachment,
Belt Sander and many more, there is not much it can't do.
The Shopsmith is a great machine for those with limited space but this tool isn't a money saver over equivalent quality individual tools, its strength is its adaptability, accuracy and most of all size.
You have to spend considerable time assembling it the first time but if you take care doing this, it is a very accurate piece of kit and has a very solid feel considering you can wheel it around with little effort.
As I said if you can afford and have room for separate dedicated machines then this is not for you, and I have to confess that I now have a few small individual machines so I have not used it as much recently.
I have considered selling it but I know I will regret it as soon as I do, and have a job for it, so for now it sits in the corner of my garage, and now it gets in the way, as any man will tell you, you can never have enough space or enough tools.
I'm told I can however have a divorce if I keep buying them.