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There really is no better way to improve your woodworking skills than to simply head into the shop and build something.
Sorting through the immense volume of information out there can be daunting, to say the least.
In case you don’t recognize the tool (or should I say tools) in the photo, it’s a Shopsmith, one of the original combination woodworking machines.
If you’re not familiar with Shopsmith and the new Mark VII, here are the tools combined into one machine. The talk I hear is that Shopsmith is more for an entry-level woodworker, but I look at it as a possible second set of machines for the shop.
Glen Huey is a former managing editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine, a period furniture maker and author of numerous woodworking books, videos and magazine articles. I did run across a neighbor building the most beautiful pair of queen anne high boy chests with the arched moldings (bonnet top), all done using a Shopsmith and no other major power tools. Wish I could afford the new power pro head, but at $2000, well, it’s just way too expensive. My ‘normal’ set up is in table saw mode with the jointer attached, so that I can joint a board, rip, joint, and rip.
A TV cabinet (soft maple) based loosely on the American Cabinet by Troy Sexton in the April 2008 Popular Woodworking issue. BTW, Norm used a Shopsmith as a table saw, drill press, and lathe frequently in the early years on The New Yankee Workshop.
I think when one finds out the Shopsmith is more than the basic 5 tools you will see the value. I am still using the same MK V that my father and I unpacked brand new in 1954(I was 9 years old). Some complain about the change over of tools: this need not be a problem as long as one is organized and plans ahead to combine operations that will minimize change overs. It is very nice to have a 57 year old machine and know that I can still get BRAND NEW PARTS from the manufacturer! Christopher Schwarz has helped many of us solve some pretty frustrating problems over the years. I finished setting up the eight new Stanley chisels this morning and will put them to work on some dovetails on Thursday morning. After re-grinding the three chisels that had their backs rolled over at the edge, the tools polished up quickly and nicely.
If I put aside the three chisels that needed re-grinding, I’d say that these chisels were easy to set up.
Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press. How is it that a supposed premium product needs extensive flattening, re-grinding, and falls apart at the slightest touch? I meant to ask this yesterday and didn’t get a chance…do we know exactly what makes this work? In 2006, as I began my first round at Popular Woodworking Magazine (PWM), I was told I had to build a workbench.
I did not need to look far for a workbench to copy as I was always interested in a Shaker-designed bench – loved the painted bases in strong, bold colors.
As I return to PWM, I find myself in an identical position – I’m not bringing my Shaker bench back because I use it in my home shop. After my Shaker workbench was published, I was asked to write a page on what I would change if I were to build that bench a second time. In 1983, before I knew how to do it any fancier, I built my kitchen cabinets drawers using drawer joints cut on the table saw in AB fir plywood. I had worked in Asia for over twelve years before returning state-side; where I had access to the Ships Carpenter Shop and its power tools.
The individual drawers are not elegant but have stood up well for over three years now and where fast to build. On the Shaker bench built for the December 2007 issue and the one I use at home, the top extended beyond the bench base at the front. This item will be sent through the Global Shipping Programme and includes international tracking.

DescriptionA collection of 37 favourite intarsia and segmentation projects from the archives of Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts magazine.
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Last week a reader posted a nice SketchUp drawing of a Roubo workbench that you can download (for free) from Google’s 3D Warehouse.
The drawing features the Benchcrafted Wagon Vise and a dovetailed end cap that holds the vise in place.
The leg vise on this plan is a little shorter than the one I built , it looks more like the one Jameel Abraham from Benchcrafted built for his bench , minus the wheels than make the vise float in and out.
All in all, it’s a nice drawing that features some sensible modifications , I especially like the way the author modified the sliding deadman to make the assembly more robust. So, I can see the benefits of this configuration: wheel closer to the front of the bench, no dog hole in the leg. I put the drawing out in the Sketchup 3D Warehouse so I could get feedback especially on the changes from your design. You get a 10” Table Saw, a Lathe with 34” between centers, a 12” Disc Sander, a 16?” Drill Press, a router setup as well as a shaper setup that allow for both under the table and above the table operations, and a horizontal boring arrangement. To begin, the new digital variable reluctance (DVR) motor provides 1? horsepower when wired to a 120-volt circuit and 2 horsepower if you’re wired with 240 volts. Do you see the Shopsmith Mark VII as a beginner tool, or as a fully-stocked shop addition? It was still running fine when I finally decided to upgrade the headstock with the more powerful motor, 2 bearing quill and most bearings.
The attachments (bandsaw etc.) are all of the highest quality and easy to use and maintain. Even with then editor Christopher Schwarz chest deep in workbench publications, it wasn’t a mandate as much as it was a necessity. The only change I had at the time concerned the drawers, which were way too deep to be best used.
Ten drawers have a lot of hand-cut dovetails, so I plan to dig into different drawer construction methods before choosing how to build my drawers. Though they’re not fancy, they were quick to build and have held up to daily sliding in an out for the past 30 years with no apparent damage to any of them. Now home and remodeling all my hand tools where in several boxes and limited power tools (drills, routers, biscuit jointer) I needed tool storage and organization.
The draw boxes sides were assembled with biscuit joints, glue, brads, and quarter inch plywood bottoms in routed dados. There is enough room for those hold-fasts to work – they will prevent you from opening the drawers when being used.
I didn’t want fancy just quick so I used pocket screws for the corners which I also glued and they work great. Please upgrade to a different browser or install Google Chrome Frame to better experience this site. Find out more about your rights as a buyer - opens in a new window or tab and exceptions - opens in a new window or tab.
By clicking Confirm bid you commit to buy this item from the seller if you are the winning bidder. Import charges previously quoted are subject to change if you increase you maximum bid amount. I simply put the 6" wide piece of wood in my face vise on the edge of my bench and ripped the narrow pieces in one long cut. One question I have is weather or not it would be a good idea to have the edge of the leg vise meet the edge of the bench. In addition, the rpm of the new motor goes from a slow 250 rpm to a top-end speed of 10,000 rpm.

We occasionally scouted the papers looking for a Mark V (the original Shopsmith machine) just to have the horizontal boring setup.
If you have a Shopsmith or have worked on one in the past, leave a comment to let us know how you use your machine. It has had a lot of use over the years and has the capacity to run hard; at one point, I built 150 clothes racks for a thrift store.
Most of us work on our machines and the Customer Service personnel know that and are always ready to help with suggestions and how-to info. The box says they have some chromium in them (to help prevent rust I presume), but they don’t have the gummy feeling on the sharpening stones that some tools get when they have lots of chromium. But definitely as easy as an Ashley Iles chisel or some other quality brands I’ve worked with. The backs need to be flat enough to polish the steel up by the edge, and really no more than that. Our support (financial and otherwise) needs to go to those producing actual quality – not perceptions of quality.
With this bench I plan  to have a simple frame, a weighty top and a stack of drawer squeezed into the center. I could divide those drawers from top to bottom, but I am not found of having to slide drawer tills as I dig for tools. As of now, I plan to study spline construction, dowel-pinned joints, sliding dovetails, dado & rabbet joinery and box joints.
On my next bench, I plan to have the same arrangement, and I plan to leave open space between the top and rails. If you reside in an EU member state besides UK, import VAT on this purchase is not recoverable.
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I find that in my current setup I use my vise to hold pieces for ripping and this allows me to cut without the saw hitting the bench (I don’t have any power tools). With the digital control panel of the headstock, you get those speeds in both forward and reverse settings.
I’m looking forward to working with the new Mark VII, I just need to find the right project. Each is dedicated or converted to, more or less, a couple of different uses, giving me over a dozen different setups in a somewhat limited area. I own the belt sander accessory, and combined with a sanding disc or drunm, it makes a good sanding center. It will do what one needs to do plus many other special operations; ever try to drill the end of a table leg for a caster? Whoever at the Stanley factory made this set was smart about picking out the tools after the heat-treating. So, I was considering building a Rubo where the leg vise was on the end of the bench-top so that I could do similar cuts.
I also find it quicker to set-up a stack dado cutter on the Shopsmith, rather than change out the blade on the table saw.
After 57 years of use, this machine still looks and works great (despite moving it back and forth across the USA while in the Navy).
Every one of the tools in the set was oriented so that the concave side is the back of the tool.
If you don’t know what setting you need for a given operation, you simply choose the operation from the extensive list and the machine display supplies you with the correct setting. I don’t do much turning, but the lathe function on the Shopsmith serves the purpose just fine.

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