|Headstock Lock Jammed||How Long do They Last||Dados on Long Stock||Rip Fence Problem|
|Resawing||510 Fence alignment problems||Saw Blades||Loose Setscrew on Main Spindle|
|Bandsaw Tune-up||Belt Tightening||Two Bearing Spindle||Mortising Attachment|
|Shopsmith Saw Blades||Wood Burning While Ripping||Stuck Quill||Shopsmith Router Table|
My 510 headstock lock jammed yesterday. I can't tighten it at all, so the headstock moves freely on the way tubes. I called SS, who said it had probably cross-threaded, and I would have to hacksaw it out and replace the threaded rod. Is this a common problem???? Does anyone have any other suggestions? How hard is it for a "pencil pusher" to fix? Thanks for your help. David Fleisig
I have a great deal of trouble believing this "cross-threaded" explanation. I think your original diagnosis is probably more on the mark, something is jammed. I am assuming that the lever won't turn at all. If that is the case, first things first: Before even taking anything apart, lubricate it as well as you can, front and back, everywhere you can get in, with WD-40. Tap it repeatedly with a hammer. Try to turn the lever, first left, then right. Continue to tap and turn and lubricate and see if it frees up. If so, clean up the WD-40 mess and forget it (unless it happens again). If this doesn't do it, we'll think of something else less desperate than hacksawing things apart. As owner of a Shopsmith, you can no longer claim the appellation of mere pencil-pusher! All this mechanical stuff is a case of mind over matter! Will Self
Could be that one of the wedges came undone, and may be cross threaded. I don't remember if you can see the wedge opposite the handle from the outside of the housing or not. If not, you'll have to take the motor off. The way I do it is to run the chuck speed down as slow as it goes and turn the motor off. After it stops, turn the speed control crank the other way to the fastest speed. Remove the end cover and slip the belt off the pulleys. Remove the nut that holds the power switch on. Now remove the motor (leave it attached to the bottom cover). This will give you good access to the wedges and you can probably see what the problem is. - les
I've had a couple of occasions where I've thought the control to fix the headstock on the ways was broke or jammed. In each case, all I had to do was to screw the control in and out a couple of times to the limits of it's travel, and it would work fine. A couple of times, all I had to do was turn it the opposite way then the way I was trying. If the thread on the control rod, or the wedges which tighten up against the ways were truly stripped, you could turn the control freely in either direction as long as you want without any results. This doesn't exactly sound like what you're trying to describe. I don't remember off hand whether each way tube has one or two wedges with one wedge having reverse thread, which now that I think about it sounds rather unlikely. I imagine there is one wedge on the outside or inside of each way tube, one with reverse thread. If you run the control all the way in one direction the wedges tighten against the ways, the other direction runs the wedges up against each other, or against the casing, which might make you think they were 'stuck'. Take a look inside by taking the cover off the headstock, or by taking the headstock off the ways, and it should be perfectly obvious what the situation is. I doubt that you will have to do any hacksawing... Jim Baranski
I "wood" like to make a suggestion without making you or me sounding stupid. I don't know how much time you took to solve the problem but before doing anything try turning the lock handle the other way. Sounds stupid and I felt stupid suggesting it but when I first got my SS I started working with it and had no problems. Then one day I thought I had tightened the lock and proceeded to lift the SS in vertical drill press mode. The head stock started to slide so I stopped. I checked the lock again and still got the same result. The third time was the charm I realized I was turning the handle in the wrong direction. This may or may not be a solution but as I have learned the simplest thing can cause big problems. Robert Westbrook
The original company was called Magna. They started producing 10ERs I think in the 1940's. Many of those machines are still functioning, and I believe a few of our list subscribers have them. Magna went out of business in the 60's (I believe) and John Folkerth, needing a part for his Shopsmith, happened on a warehouse full of machinery for making Shopsmiths. He mortgaged his house, borrowed all he could, and thus the Shopsmith corporation came into being. I bought my Mark V in about 1974, and it was one of the first machines built by the new company. (At that time I really had to look hard to find one). I believe if a young guy would buy a Shopsmith it would probably outlast him, of course with some parts replacements. Will Self
I have a Model 10ER, which (I am told) went out of production in 1957 (can anyone out there verify this date?). It has seen a reasonable bit of use and very little TLC and still works quite well. Of course, if you are into destructive testing, it might not last very long at all :-). Jim Diamond
My Dad came to visit with the express purpose of seeing my new Shopsmith. He loved it, since it reminded him of the one he had in the early 1960s in upstate New York (I can remember first learning about the wonders of working in the 'shop with Dad' in about 1963). He thinks he remembers paying about $500 for it, as compared to the $2400 I paid for a Mark 510 with all the fixings. So I think Shopsmith started out before 1974 -- or perhaps he had a Shopsmith by Magna corp ??? I think they are wonderful devices, and more women should know about them -- beats a sewing machine any day!! Susan Stout
I am currently using the one my father bought in the early 50's an ER-10, I think. it is much better than any later machine I've tried. I also have a later one, maybe a couple of years, that is also superior to ant current machine. I would like to talk to other ER-10 owners. Craig Deller
I have a model ER10. I bought it used about 3yrs ago, paid $50.00. It was in terrible condition, tubular ways were badly rusted etc. But it has been running a part-time woodworking business for 3yrs now I have two college tuitions to pay (No IRS agents out there I hope, ha ha). Some of the literature dates 1945. Reading it is fun, they advertise a replacement 8" saw blade for $1.94. About dust collection, the mail about the homemade dust collector works fine, if you only throw a little and want to do something temporary, a box fan with a furnace filter duct taped to the front will catch some fine particles, and a piece of canvas hung on the fence and tucked under the tubular ways then hooked to the rear fence rail will catch a good deal of the chips. Warning be sure to tuck it under the Ways so as not to interfere with the blade or chuck and of course always be safety minded whenever doing any sort of this homemade stuff. Have fun. Rich
I am in need of some suggestions before I become known as Three-Fingered George. :-( I am cutting 5/8" dadoes (sp) lengthwise in 2x10x8 stock. I am having two alignment problems. First is, depth of cut. My first attempt was to clamp a board along the length of the rip fence at a height of just over the thickness of the stock. Results, weren't too bad, except at the very beginning of the cut. 8' is a very long lever arm. I should say that the outboard (after the cut) side of the stock is supported by a roller pin arrangement clamped in my B&D Workmate. The second alignment problem is more challenging. Since the vertical alignment board is attached to the rip fence, I can no longer see the fence and thus cannot tell if the stock is riding on the fence. This results in wandering dadoes. How can I be sure that the stock stays snug up to the fence? As an aside, I have a Mark V 510, using a stacked dado head. My complaint here is that the arbor (5/8) is too short to put enough blades in the dado head to do the 5/8" cut all in one pass. Any suggestions would be welcome.
An effective help for this type of work is a "featherblock". You can make one of these, and you can also buy inexpensive plastic ones. I bought a "safety kit" from Shopsmith several years ago which included a plastic featherblock, fence rider, and various "pushers". The featherblock provides a number of springy "fingers" which hold the stock against the fence, and also help prevent kickback. It anchors in the same slot used by the miter gauge.
miter gauge slot -->S | | S | F | S | | S | E | S BB | | dado blade ------S------->BB | N | S BB | | S BB | C | S BB | | S BB | E | S +----| | S /| S | | +------//| T | | |-X-- //| O | | featherblock----->| //| C | | |-X-- //| K | | +------/ | | | S | | |
Rather than clamping a hold-down above the stock, I would run the stock through a little slower, and maybe make two passes just to smooth things out. (As an aside, I'm pretty sure that the dado arbor I got with my dado stack permits doing a 5/8" cut in one pass...) - Kurt Wampler (wampler@microunity)
On dado blade thickness problems: I have a 510 and use a Freud stacking dado setup which I can load up to 13/16". The only caveat is that I have to slide the table away from the headstock to gain clearance... I can make wide dadoes in a single pass.
Using a featherboard in front of the blade and one behind or adjacent to the blade helps keep the longitudinal alignment -- they hold the workpiece snugly against the fence. I bought the plastic "featherboards" as part of the safety package from SS -- they and the various pushblocks should help you keep your digital appendages :-) A second support on the front of the saw table helps with the vertical alignment. One of the first gadgets I built was the roller stand from the DeCristoforo book, and it really helps with ripping long stock and with jointing long stock. My Shopsmith stack dado set allows at least 3/4" at one go, and I seem to remember cutting 13/16" (2 1/8" blades, three 1/8" chippers, 2 1/16" chippers).
[wandering dadoes] The featherboards help this. I usually set them so there is noticeable friction, and have had no problems.
A couple of weeks ago I asked for and got help from this group about a jammed head stock--it would neither lock in place, nor turn to unloosen. Both graphite and WD-40 failed to help, although I used a mallet on the handle to try to loosen it. It turned out that one of the wedges was cross threaded on the rod, I was able to remove it and replace it through the "view port", after removing the head stock from the tubes. I talked to someone who used to work for Shopsmith, who said it was a fairly common problem. BTW, if anyone else runs into this problem, when you order the replacement parts, order the handle and pin also, because the threaded rod and handle are drilled for the pin at the same time, and you will have a hard time getting the pin through a "mismatched" handle and rod. The parts weren't too expensive--aprox. $30. Thanks for all the helpful suggestions! Dave Fleisig.
I have had a lot of trouble getting and keeping the rip fence in alignment, although I followed the instructions in the manual. Also, when aligned on the main table, it was out of alignment on the auxiliary tables. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. David Fleisig.
I usually align the mitre slot to the blade ( I think that Shopsmith suggests using the sanding disk). Once this is done set your t square so it is 90 degrees to the blade. Then you can use the t square to check your fence. If you fence is aligned when it is on the main table and out of alignment when it is on an auxiliary table then you have to align the auxiliary table. When I first got my Shopsmith the screws that hold the fence in alignment were lose so that the fence was always out of alignment. Make sure that the two screws that hold the fence in alignment are tight once you get the alignment set. Rudy
I have a question about resawing. How can I do it with putting anymore fingers at risk. (Lost a piece of one this weekend. :-( ) My wife is in to small figures that she then paints. She uses a scroll saw to cut them out with. She would like to use 3/8 to 1/2" stock. I don't have any stock of that thickness so I thought I'd resaw some 2x waste stock I had on hand. I don't have a bandsaw so I used my table saw. I placed the stock on its edge and made several passes with the saw, lowering the table about 1/2" each pass. I used my the index finger of my left hand to keep the stock from wandering away from the saw. (Yeah, I know. Stupid is as stupid does.) I tried the featherboard deals I got with my 500 (I've upgraded to the 510). It didn't stay in place when I tightened the knobs. Are the miter slots larger on the 510? Anyway, I used my finger as a featherboard and am paying the price. What other ways are there to resaw or reduce stock thickness? Thanks, and I hope my experience will be a reminder of what not to do. By the way, it was on my last pass of saw that the blade hit a knot and knocked the stock away from the blade. Exposing my finger to the nice carbide tips. One good thing is that the blade was sharp and made a nice clean cut. The doc says I should regain full use of the finger. George Teachman
When I was playing with my scroll-saw, I mainly used a good-quality plywood, such as Baltic birch or "apple-ply". It cuts nicely, and is less likely to break than solid wood. I'd really recommend resawing with a table saw, and I have an 8-year-old scar on my thumb to back up my opinion. In my case though, I didn't have my hand anywhere near the blade. But when a kickback occurred, the piece of wood had enough speed to nearly cut through a tendon. However, if you still want to try it, make your own fingerboards out of wood, and clamp them to the table and the rip fence. They'll be a lot sturdier than the plastic ones.
George, sorry to hear of the mishap with the finger. Whenever I hear of one, it sort of makes me want to give up woodworking altogether. I get such a depressed feeling. Anyway, your message sounded cheerful and I am thankful for that. Also thankful that you will hang in there. I do have some advice. Get a bandsaw. Really. I have the Shopsmith bandsaw, and it's pretty good (their resaw blade is great!) but I only regret that I didn't go ahead and get a really good one. If you're short on space, the Shopsmith bandsaw has the advantage of not taking up much space while not in use. If anyone is interested, I can discuss what little I know about brands, etc. by private email. George, thanks for posting about your accident because it reminds the rest of us to think once again about safety, are we really being safe enough. Will Self
You can make a "featherstick" that is a featherboard that you hold like a pushstick. That way, you use the featherstick to hold the stock against the fence rather than your fingers. Or, you can use a wooded pushstick to hold the stock against the fence. If the stick slips, you're only chewing up a wooden tool (that was probably made from scrap) rather than your fingers. The featherstick is made like a featherboard. But, it has a handle on one end. Frank
I've only resawn lumber once. I was rather nervous about it, for the obvious reasons of thin stock. I built a jig that attached to the fence and wrapped around the stock to be cut. I attached a board to the fence a few inches taller than the stock to be cut. I then placed the piece to be cut against that board (lower the blade), another piece the same width as the stock, above the stock, and a third piece on the other side of the stock. I clamped this whole setup together using heavy paper to shim the upper center piece so the stock would slide through the inverted "U" shape (tunnel). This totally enclosed the blade, and held the stock very well. When resawing, use a piece of scrap to push the stock through the jig. This looked and felt quite safe to me. Please let me know if I'm missing a safety issue here.
_________ | | | | | |___| | | |XXX| | XXX __| |XXX| | XXX = stock to be resawn | | |X|X| | XXX | | |X|X| | XXX ^ ^ ^ ^ | | | | | | | jig | | blade | jig fence
Very sorry to hear about the accident, and send best wishes to the walking wounded. Would also like to add my voice to the chorus recommending the purchase of the bandsaw. I have the Shopsmith one, and leave it set up 99% of the time -- and use it alot for resawing very think stock for making small boxes. So far, I find it a very handy and useful device, and am very pleased that I spent the extra money on it. Susan
George sorry to hear about your accident. I agree with the replies that I have read, use the feather boards and push sticks. They are cheap and fun to make from scrap stock. One thing that no one mentioned, in my experience, work shop accidents like skiing accidents happen late in the session, when we are starting to get fuzzy and lose concentration. That is when one tends to think that it will take longer to set up the finger boards, than it will to make the run. When working in the evenings, I call anything after 9, "Finger Time", and not use the big and dangerous tools after 9. If you can afford it get a band saw. My Shop Smith band saw is the best little bandsaw that I have ever used. The only thing that I would trade it for, would be a DoAll. Regards Tom
Here's to no more notched fingers. I have read all the glowing recommendations for the Shopsmith bandsaw and have to agree that it works well for me and have no major complaints except for when I did some resawing. With the .50" blade and a fence to guide my 1x4's, I still found that the blade tended to wander. Could some of the previous poster perhaps describe their setups or preparations in order to get optimum results. thanks, dave
A tip I've read and/or seen but not used, since I don't have a bandsaw
is to use a "V" "fence" The "V" points to
the front edge of the blade from the side of the blade. You then run your
board to be resawn against the "V", adjusting the angle of the
board so that the blade follows the line.
| | | > | <---- toothed edge of blade | = blade > = "V" fence-les
To set your fence for resawing: run a scrap board through the saw, letting the saw cut in the direction it wants to. Stop in the middle and turn the saw off. Now from the cut in the board you can tell how to set your fence. Incidentally, I don't have any kind of fancy fence, just a "hogsback" board that I clamp to the table with
My extraordinarily sophisticated set up involves clamping a straightedge (usually a piece grabbed from the scrap pile) to the table with two hand-squeeze clamps, or c clamps, at the right distance away from the blade (judged by the intraocular trauma test) and sawing away. I use a 1/4" blade, and so far have had little problem with drift. One clue, I think, is that my Dad and I (mostly him) spent the better part of an entire Sunday afternoon getting the adjustments and tension on the blade right. The set up directions that come with the bandsaw are reasonably helpful with this -- but don't emphasize enough how important it is to get the tension right, and the guiding bearings within a dollar bill of the blade (both above and below). For inspiration and advice, I recommend reading the Bandsaw Book by Duringske... This tensioning/tutoring happened to be the same afternoon he taught me how to sharpen my old Stanley No. 4 plane (which I had picked up for a song in an antique/junk store). Perhaps the woodworking gremlins or spirits were active that day...both the band saw and the plane (and my skills in honing and adjusting) have been stable and smooth operators ever since. But don't tell my Dad, it would go to his head! Susan
I can't seem to make the thing want to align properly either. I have to check and re-check every time I move the fence. I think my old 500 fence was better in that regard. Or does someone know what we're doing wrong?
I spent some time getting my fence to align perfectly (at least in my opinion). I even went as far as filing the little shoes on the top of the outfeed side of the fence that sit down on the tube. Once I got mine in good alignment I haven't had any problems with it being consistently accurate when I move it. I still do a quick check with a rule to the miter slots to be sure it's close. If it's close it's usually right on.
The little shoes were a problem the first time I did an alignment. They would not allow the fence to stay parallel. That is, when I clamped the outfeed side down, the fence would be drawn one way out of alignment.
Once again, I can't be sure if my Mark VII is significantly different from what you're comparing notes on, but I don't think that's a factor here. I have two comments: 1. I'm not sure there's very often such a thing as a NON-critical cut; and 2. it's my practice with EVERY new setting to check and if necessary adjust the alignment by actual measurement, but the measurement must be made from the fence not to the miter slot but to the SAME TOOTH of the blade; that is, measure the distance to the point-edge of a tooth at the far edge of the blade (I generally choose one with the set toward the fence), then rotate the blade forward and again measure the distance to that exact same tooth, no other. It takes only three seconds (only a bit longer if it turns out adjustment is needed), and there's never a doubt that way. To be really precise, lower the table so that the tooth chosen can travel the farthest possible distance to be re-measured, then raise the table again to the desired depth. As long as it's parallel, the exact blade-to-fence distance doesn't really matter, since that's to be fine-tuned via the quill feed, one of the SS's major features. The only thing that can go wrong is if you forget to set the clamp on the fence -- which I've never done, of course. :-) Dan P.S. Better not try this with the saw running.
Non-critical cuts - lots of times I cut workpieces a hair or so longer/wider than the final dimension and ultimately sand to exact length/width on the disk sander.
I know about the "inside tooth", and I tried it with the saw running but I kept having to buy new rules!
Seriously, our problem has not been getting the measurement, but getting the fence so that it's parallel to the miter slot, and therefore to the blade. On a cut that absolutely must be right, I measure the distance to the fence on the same tooth at the infeed and outfeed sides. But that is far easier if the fence can be relied upon to set itself parallel (or very close to it) on it's own.
Wish I could help you with the problem, but all I can say is that I only had trouble with my fence not locking in consistently straight once. Trace the problem to the bolt that adjusts the tension for the lock. It had loosened up and was allowing a fair amount of wobble in outfeed side of the fence. Tightened it up and the problem went away.
I had the same trouble and the two screws on the underside that holds the handle on were loose. I tightened those and haven't had any more trouble. The problem that I'm having is that I bought a reconditioned SS510 and the two screws on the underside of the fence were screwed in real tight in a spot that is just a bit out of square. So now I'm having trouble tightening down these screws in a location that would be square. The screws keep tracking into the spot where the previous user (salesman?) had the fence, so my fence always moves out of alignment while tightening the screws. This is the last time I try to save money by buying "reconditioned" stuff.
I've learned to get around this problem by clamping down the screw on the infeed side and pushing the outfeed side to the right slightly before clamping down the outfeed lock mechanism. I've done it enough times that I can get it almost exactly right with a certain amount of pressure. When in doubt, I would prefer the outfeed to bow slightly away from the blade anyway to prevent binding with the blade.
Has anyone used blades other than SS on their machines? If so, what did you use and how did you like it?
You can use any saw blade you like with a SS. The only thing is that SS has a 1.25-inch arbor and most table saws have 5/8-inch arbor. So you need at least one 5/8-inch arbor from SS to use other blades. I use other blades because I can buy them locally and because they are usually cheaper than SS. BEubanks@aol.com
I've used several different blades, only have the one SS blade that came with the 510. Keeping it for sentimental value I guess. Currently I have a Craftsman <gasp!> on. I had seen something on rec.woodworking quite awhile back about the Craftsman blades and decided to give them a try. I've been pleasantly surprised, and unlike most things I've purchased from Sears in the last few years, I haven't had to exercise their liberal refund policy. As someone else pointed out you do need to have the 5/8 arbor attachment from SS, but it's a good idea to have a couple of those around anyway.
If you know someone who has a metal lathe, it's no big deal for them to enlarge the hole in a blade from 5/8 to 1 1/4. Sometimes you can get a high school shop to do this for you. I think the only advantage is that then the blade is nearer the spindle so you don't have as much bearing-damaging torque. I think this would only be an issue with heavy cutting. Anyway, if you do have someone enlarge the hole, take along a regular Shopsmith blade as well as the arbor so they will know how tight the fit should be. Having said all this, I need to relate that once my sister did this with hers and they made such a tight fit that I resorted to hammering to get the blade off, with the result of distorting the hole for the spindle, so I had to file it back to where the spindle would fit. And then there's another story. Once I took a valuable blade to an old guy to have the hole enlarged. I came back to get it and he was measuring with a yard stick! I knew I had made a mistake there. Sure enough, when I got the blade home, the new hole was off-center!! Will Self
Thanks for all the replies. I've seen the 5/8" arbor for the SS and have contemplated buying one. I think they're about $20. Woodcraft, which is now the local SS dealer, carries the SS steel blades. But, they do not carry the SS carbide blades. They DO carry the name brands: DML, Freud, and Systematic. (Forrest does make their blades available for SS users by boring a 1 1/4" hole in the blade for about $10 more. And, the Forrest blade was carried by SS. I'm not sure if it's still in their catalog.) If you have used a "non-SS" blade, what type have you used?
In regards to the use of other blades, I bought an OLDHAM blade from Home Depot and put it on a 5/8 arbor. I wanted to try a thin kerf blade. I'm not overly impressed with it. The blade seems to 'bend' as you're cutting. I might be feeding to fast but I only use it when I'm doing small cuts and using soft wood. I've had my SS for 'bout nine years and I'm still using the original blade. I have a neighbor that sharpens blades and he's done a good job of keeping my blade sharp (course I'm not into heavy use of the SS). I suppose one day I'll break down and buy one of those 'expensive' blades. <G>
I bought my SS used and the previous owner had never upgraded his blade, either. I found a small sharpening shop here in Kent and his work is great! He did have a problem with the 1 1/4" arbor hole. In fact, he said he had never seen a blade with a 1 1/4" arbor! I used the SS combination carbide blade, but I found I had trouble ripping. Somehow that blade got damaged. Right now I'm using separate rip and crosscut blades; they're steel blades. I intend to try one of the "name" brand blades on the 5/8" SS arbor. Frank
I have heard that when you're using one of those thin-kerf blades, a pair of blade stabilizers is supposed to make a world of difference. But I can't give actual testimony on this. Can anyone? Will Self
As I understand, blade stabilizers are almost a must for thin kerf blades. But I'm not sure if the SS arbor is long enough to support the stabilizers and the blade. Frank
For what it's worth, I inherited a very old SS Model 500 about seven years ago. The saw blades had been kept in a damp basement, and along with the headstock's innards, were 'way beyond rusted. I had the headstock rebuilt, the motor rewound, refurbished the rest of the machine, and tried a new "plywood" blade from SS. It was pretty awful. No matter how I fed the ply and adjusted the SS speed, the thing burned a lot and made unacceptably ragged cuts in 3/4" plywood. On a hunch, I ordered a 5/8" arbor from SS and a Freud LU85M010 "Ultimate Cutoff" blade from a catalog for about $25. What a difference! The Freud blade produces very smooth cuts in 3/4" ply (it's a model specifically rated for man-made substances) and is also perfectly fine as a crosscut blade for both hard and soft woods. For ripping, I use another Freud blade, an LM72M. They call it a "glue edge" rip blade, and it does in fact make very smooth cuts. I've been using these blades for about five years without resharpening, and use my SS for general household repairs and some admittedly very feeble attempts at "casual" cabinetmaking - light usage. I'd advise having a separate 5/8" arbor for each blade, as changing blades on an arbor seems to be a rather tedious chore. Hope this is of use to those with saw blade questions! Cheers -- Phil Matt
I've used the Black & Decker 'Piranha' carbine blades to good effect on my Shopsmith. They are reasonably priced, and they do a good job cutting some of the 100 year old red oak that I scavenged. The only time I use non carbide blades is when I want to make a really big cut. The thinner kerf of steel blades means the blade has to cut less wood, so there is less resistance. Blade stiffeners usually are not useful because I often want to make as big a cut as possible. Jim Baranski
I have first-hand experience with the Forrest Woodworker II (thin-kerf) blade for my 510. I bought the 1.25"-bore version. I've been extremely pleased with it. It produces a wonderfully smooth cross-cut. I'm comparing that to both the 40-tooth and the 50-tooth carbide combination blades available from SS, both of which I own in addition to the Woodworker II. I paid about $90 for the blade three years ago at a show. If by "power stand" you are referring to the variable-speed power station that SS sells and NOT the one-speed auxiliary tool stand, I own one of the first ones SS produced. I paid an unreal $149 in a promotion right after they brought it out but before they realized they were undercharging for it. I use it all the time for the bandsaw, scroll saw, strip sander, and belt sander. I think it runs too slow for the jointer. It also is a little under-torqued for the belt sander, as it will bog down easily if you try to get a bit too aggressive. Otherwise I love it. It really saves changeover time for me since I generally leave the 510 set up in table saw w/ jointer mode and use the power station for most everything else. Regards - Pat Freeman
I wasn't one of the original posters, but I agree w/then. I got some 5/8" arbors a long time ago but have only recently been using a Freud blade - I got the TK308. It only runs about $28 if you shop around but it cuts really nice! If I had a top of the line table saw like a Unisaw or General I might think about a Forrest blade, but really, I don't think the difference in cutting would be that significant. There was a drastic difference between the SS factory blade and the Freud. Let us know how you like it... Kevin
I had some trouble with the same setscrews when I got my ancient Model 500 going. I had the entire headstock rebuilt (it was a mass of rust), and bought some new saw arbors to handle "ordinary" blades. The setscrews worked themselves loose with alarming regularity. I was in contact with the technician at the Shopsmith store where the headstock rebuild was done. He asked me to send him the spindle (it was one of the parts that they were able to salvage from the original headstock.) It turned out that the thing was warped! (The previous owner of my machine had done mostly lathe work, which as I understand it, tends to really heat up the spindle as compared with other operations...) I'm not entirely, sure, but I think the tech was able to re-machine the spindle - either that or he replaced it with a new one. At any rate, once this was done, my problems with the setscrews ceased. NB: When I first got the machine, a friend (I know he's lurking here...) mentioned something about lawsuits he had heard about involving Shopsmith setscrews loosening up! As a result of that casual conversation, I have always made a point of checking the things fairly frequently. But, as I mentioned, I no longer find the saw arbor screws loose, and haven't replaced them in several years. Hope this is helpful. Cheers -- Phil Matt
The first time I used my machine, I was quite surprised to see the set screws on the saw arbor. As a result, I always give my set screw a good twist before starting to saw. And, I always check it again before ever starting anything. The idea of that blade coming loose just scares the **** out of me! Frank
Has anyone had any success tuning the SS bandsaw - my wheels are about 1/4" out of co-planer and I didn't see any way to change that. Is it possible to move the lower wheel in a bit or the top out? If the lower wheel can be moved in, how does one go about moving the lower blade guides back? The amount of lead in the blade seems to be much more than I would have expected. I don't know if I just have a lemon or if that is a design flaw.
I bought a used one about six months ago and immediately set about to tune mine up too. I noticed the same thing that you did. The bottom edge of the top wheel was coplanar with the bottom wheel but the top of the top wheel was out by about 1/4". This troubled me as there was no adjustment. Then as I studied the thing a bit it seemed like it might actually be part of the design, to force the blade against the upper roller guide. A quick call to Shopsmith confirmed this.
From what I have gotten from rec.woodworking the lead is more a function of the blade than the coplanarness (is that a word?) [no, try "planarity"] of the wheels. I have the newer table and fence on mine and following the directions was able to set the fence to compensate for the lead. (I'd say the fence is offset about 3/8" from being parallel with the mitre slot.) But I can resaw 4" cherry to within 1/64".
I used to regularly attend the Sawdust Sessions offered at the Dayton Factory Showroom. One of the topics was the bandsaw itself and tuning it. During that session, the question was asked about coplaner wheels and whey didn't the Shopsmith bandsaw have them. The answer was that this was a design of the bandsaw, that it wouldn't have coplanar wheels, the reason being that the two-bearing assembly on the left side of the saw (near the tension adjuster) was intended to prevent the blade from coming off the back of the wheels. The wheels are actually skewed so as to keep the blade against the bearings. If those bearings weren't there, the blade would indeed want to fall off the back of the wheels. Anyway, that's the story from the experts at Shopsmith. Regards, Pat Freeman
I was recently trying to cut too tight a radius with mine and the blade grabbed the rubber 'tire' around the wheel and threw it off of the wheel. Once my heart stopped pounding, I took a look at it. It was just slightly munched, so I tried putting it back on. It immediately got thrown off again. OK, so now the question is whether I just need to put on a new tire, or if there is something more seriously out of line than I know. From the last couple e-mails, it doesn't sound like there is a lot of option for tuning to improve co-planarity. Is there any tuning possible in case I buy a new tire and it doesn't fix the problem ?
You're confusing lead with how the blade tracks. What I'm calling lead is the amount the bottom of the blade is in front of the top of the blade - in other words, if I hold a tri-square against the blade it isn't vertical. It can cause a problem w/thicker wood when trying to follow a pattern such as cabriole legs because the bottom of the blade may be cutting 1/8" or so in front of the top.
First, let me thank you all for the kind words of welcome to the group. Will Self wins the "old man" award with Mark V serial number 7195 (mine is 9954). Charles Matthews is tuning an old Mark V and was asking about the belt adjustment. Since he refers to it as having teeth, I assume it must be the old style Gilmer toothed belts that were used for the secondary drive from the idler to the quill. I know my father's 50's Mark V had one because the teeth were always stripping and it was a pain to replace. Mine and the newer ones have the poly-V belt which seems to allow some slippage (evidenced by a momentary squealing sound) when starting the lathe with a large spindle or when the bandsaw binds. Since my poly-V belt has never required replacement in 20 years, it is an improvement over the old Gilmer belts. I don't know if an upgrade is available -- at a minimum, you would have to replace the idler shaft and the quill (you would also get the new double bearing version in the process). Regardless, adjusting the secondary belt does not require any other compensation to the primary v-belt between the motor and idler. This is because of the nature of the variable reeves type drive that lets the motor pulley move in and out as needed for proper tension as the intermediate pulley is controlled by the speed dial. For some reason, I have always practiced this little routine when I shut off the Mark V for any period of time: First, while still running, I set it to the slowest speed. Then, I turn off the power. After the motor stops, I turn the speed dial about a quarter turn to the right (not left). This will open up the top pulley slightly and let the belt have just a little slack, thus reducing the tension. Like I say, I don't remember reading this anywhere, it just seems like a good thing to do. Well, enough of this rambling. Regards to all, Ken S.
Wow, I may have a shot at the "oldest Mark V" award <g>. Unfortunately, I don't even know where to look for the serial number. I found it interesting that you said that the Poly-V belt lasted so much longer than the Gilmer belt. In going through my (apparently) ancient Shopsmith, I found the V-belt wanting replacing, but the Gilmer in fine shape. I have a friend from my church who has had a Shopsmith since 1972 and he has never replaced *any* belt. Charles W. Mathews
When I cleaned up my father-in-laws Mark VII, having sat idle for a few years, I was expecting to have to replace the v-belt. I was surprised to find it in good working order. It has been serving me fine and is vintage 1963!!!
When I cleaned up my father-in-laws Mark VII, having sat idle for a few years, I was expecting to have to replace the v-belt. I was suprised to find it in good working order. It has been serving me fine and is vintage 1963!!!
Some FYI concerning the two bearing quill I thought I would pass along to the group. I have seen a lot of discussion about the newer quill in rec.ww and some on ssug as well. I spoke with John Folkerth (founder and Chairman of the "new" Shopsmith) today. We were discussing parts and blueprints for the Mark VII. He told me the two bearing quill was an unnecessary upgrade. The only reason Shopsmith made the change was because a foreign competitor was claiming their machine was better because their quill had 2 bearings. He said there is no reason to upgrade older Mark V and Mark VII versions. I would appreciate to hear the comments and opinions of the group. Especially anyone who has made the upgrade.
Well, I may be an exception, but I had a lot of runout on my spindle before I replaced it. I haven't measured it but I know it is much better, because the bowls I turn with it are rounder. Makes it a lot easier to fit a lid (at least until the wood warps a bit). Also, my original spindle was bent. I don't know if it came that way from the factory, or if it bent when I put a large block of wood on it to turn. I didn't know it was bent until I removed it. In my case it was definitely worth the upgrade. My only regret is that I didn't do it 3 yrs ago when the spindles were $30 cheaper! Kevin
Perhaps the bent spindle is what caused your bowls to be out of round. Sounds like it needed replacement anyway. Happy turning Ron
For what it's worth, I too had an old Mark V with a bent spindle. The only "symptom" was that the saw arbors tended to work themselves loose with alarming frequency! Cutting straight lines was also somewhat of an adventure due to arbor movement. I later found out that the machine had been used almost exclusively for heavy-duty turning, which the Shopsmith tech who eventually replaced the spindle diagnosed as a very heat-intensive operation, as far as the spindle assembly was concerned. -- Phil Matt
I would never dispute Mr. Folkerth, however, I did upgrade from a single to a two bearing quill and did experience improved performance -- especially when turning bowls on a faceplate. I believe there was less chatter and tear out on the end grain. I rationalized that the single bearing quill relied on two points to keep it straight: (1) the ball bearing at the spindle end, and (2) the nylon bushing that allows the splined quill shaft to ride in the hollow, driven shaft. This nylon bushing would seem to be subject to wear as the quill is moved in and out while it is rotating. The addition of a second ball bearing on the splined quill shaft results in a stronger assembly supporting the shaft. The nylon bushing is still there but just transfers power to the splined shaft and doesn't have to "keep things lined up anymore. I hope this makes some sense... a few pictures with arrows and such would help me explain it. Regards, Ken S.
I gather, then, that both bearings are at the chuck end of the quill? How far apart are they? Has anyone replaced the nylon bushing to get better performance? How is the upgrade done if the headstock housing is not replaced - where do the bearings fit? - les
This isn't going to be TERRIBLY helpful, but I wanted to respond while I was on the computer and before I forgot about it: I had some of the same questions about the bearing upgrade. So I called Shopsmith and asked for a photocopy of the instructions, including the diagrams. They sent it out right away. And of course I've been too busy to look at it! Best, Bob Seith
I don't know where the bearings are located. I assumed that they were at opposite ends of the quill, but they're sealed in side. This would place them in the neighborhood of 6" to 8" apart. I've never seen where you can upgrade the nylon bushing - maybe that's an option. The quill is replaced by loosing the stop screw on top of the headstock housing (it is covered by putty), advancing the quill to full extension and pulling. It mates at the far end w/a male/female toothed shaft. You just slide the new one in. It is a pretty snug fit so you gotta kinda bash it in (as per directions) but its really a pretty simple operation. I'm a mechanical idiot and I pulled it off inside of an hour so it has to have been easy. The official Shopsmith line not withstanding (or maybe it was a Shopsmith spokesman speaking candidly), I noticed a significant improvement when I upgraded. Now if I can just continue to improve my skills... On an unrelated note: I was having trouble with the switch on my saw. Sometimes it wouldn't turn on. I could futz w/it tho and eventually it would start. When it wouldn't turn off tho I figured I had to do something. Just too much of a safety issue if you gotta unplug the SS to turn it off! Anyway, I took the switch out and took it apart. Man there was a lot of dust in there. Funny thing was, the dust particles were larger than the biggest opening. How do they do that? Long and short of it is when I put it back together it stopped and started just fine. I mention this only as an advisory to others in the group who may or may not ever begin to have intermittent trouble w/the switch. Again, it was a simple operation, but well worth the half hour I invested. Just make sure that you get the wires back on right! Kevin
On the 2-bearing spindle, I note several who have spoken about a "nylon bushing." This will be the end of the shaft where an adjustment of the belt tension is made (to the left if you're facing the switch). It's called the eccentric bearing. The thing I have been wondering about is what effect an adjustment of this has on the (e.g.) saw angle. Surely it must change the plane of rotation by a fraction of a degree. While this isn't important for a saw blade, it seems to me this would have a profound effect on turning a bowl or sanding. Perhaps I'm missing something. Can anyone help me solve the mental problem I've created for myself? <g> In an unrelated area, there was an informal quest for the oldest SS. To determine the age, serial numbers were given. Where is this found? Another unrelated item: SS suggests using furniture or floor wax for the way tubes, table, etc. What have others used? Car wax is not recommended. The stated reason is that it's too hard. Chuck
I am sure that I added to your confusion regarding the "nylon bushing" so I will try to clarify. First, the eccentric bearing is for adjustment of the upper, flat, Gilmer (if toothed) or corrugated (if poly-V) and is on the intermediate shaft, not the quill shaft. The intermediate shaft is the one that has the power take-off for the jointer. The quill shaft is really made up of two assemblies: (1) the fixed shaft that is driven by the flat Gilmer or poly-V belt (this is fixed in the left end of the headstock), and (2) the moving quill assembly including a splined shaft that slides in and out of the fixed assembly described in item (1) as the quill is advanced and returned. The nylon bushing is about twice the size of a thimble and connects the fixed part of the quill shaft and the moving quill assembly (the splined shaft just slips through it). The nylon bushing can be replaced if worn. The second bearing in the quill upgrade is located in the moving quill assembly, several inches to the left (inboard) of the bearing that is at the spindle. Without the second bearing, the splined shaft in the quill is only aligned by the spindle ball bearing and the nylon bushing. I hope this helps you to visualize the mechanics. Regarding the serial number location, my 70's era "Folkerth" Mark V has it stamped on the grill cover that is around the intermediate jointer power take off shaft. By the way, I have found that a can of TreWax works great for the way tubes, tables, and any other machines in the shop. I first clean the bare metal with lacquer thinner and then apply the wax. Polish before it dries too hard and the work goes easier. This regular waxing is especially helpful in making the wood slide smoothly on saw and jointer tables. Again, I hope this helps clear up the bearing issue. Regards, Ken Stovesand
Shopsmith at one time had a hollow chisel attachment to cut mortises. From the catalog that I received the other day this is no longer the case. Does someone else make one that will work on a Mark V? thanks a lot, james hutchings
Yes. I recently bought one from AMT (catalog people). They have a whole series of sizes. You order the one that fits your quill. I don't remember the measurement offhand, but it's some standard increment. I just used a pair of calipers to take a reading, and it corresponded to something they had in the catalog. Can't tell you how it works. I've been too busy to try it. I don't know why they discontinued the hollow chisels. To watch the TV shows, this is the preferred way of doing it. Am I missing something? Bob Seith
Shopsmith seems to be closing their retail outlets and the current catalogue may NOT reflect the actual inventory they have on hand. In fact it has been reported that some bargains are available from the stores as they close out. So maybe a call to inquire is not out of order. Otherwise several suppliers can fill your needs. Measure your quill. It should be 2 3/8 inches and order an attachment that will fit that size drill press quill. AMP, a supplier that has several sizes, can be reached at AC 601 948-8400. I have ordered from them in the past and they supply a good quality import tool.
According to my local Shopsmith dealer, Shopsmith no longer sells mortising attachments for the Mark V. Something about users incorrectly using the attachment. Reading in between the lines, sounds like a law suit about a poorly designed attachment. George
I just acquired a Shopsmith and thought about the mortising equipment - in fact called Shopsmith to order and found out they don't handle it. I think they are pushing their router accessory. I was in the middle of building a table which called for mortise and tenons. The author suggested using a plunge router so I went that route and am very pleased. Those of you who haven't decided one way or another might want to consider the plunge router. Dennis Robison
If you have the Porter Cable 690 router or a Bosch 1604, the Porter Cable plunge base will fit your router motor. (In fact, the Porter Cable 1.5 HP plunge router is the 690 motor in the plunge base.) If you don't do a lot of plunge routing, this is a great way to have both a fixed base router and plunge router and not spend a lot of money. The plunge accessory is about $75 or $80 depending upon your source. I have used the "tried and true" way of making mortises: using a Forstner bit and chisel. I was not happy with the results and intend on using a router instead. I've played with the router attachment for the SS, but I wasn't very pleased with it. The speed isn't fast enough to give a good cut, and the HSS bits I got with the machine didn't seem to do a good job, either. On that note, has anyone used any of the commercial router morticing templates? I have seen a metal template at Woodcraft and what looks to be a plastic one in the Leichtung catalog. I know I should probably make my own, but sometimes convenience wins out! Frank
I have the "Rig-a-mortise" (love the name!) that is one of the things you probably saw in the catalogs. It's plastic and costs about $20. It will fit many different routers. Mine is mounted on an old Sears. If you take the time when you first mount it to make sure it is absolutely centered (it replaces your regular baseplate) it actually does a pretty decent job of cutting mortises and slots. But it ties up your router. For the occasional mortise, it works fine. For a lot of them, it's probably not the best solution. You have to calculate how big your tenon should be and cut it on the table saw. Norm Abrams (New Yankee Workshop) uses a metal template to route both the mortises and tenons. The setup makes them with matching rounded edges, but they fit great. I saw a similar template set in the catalogs, and it was expensive--over a hundred dollars, if memory serves. There's a shop-built outfit shown in a book with a title _something_ like "Essential Shop Jigs and Fixtures." Looks like it would do everything Norm's template would. Haven't built it yet. What's wrong with cutting mortises with the regular drill-press style mortisers that clamp on the quill? AMT recently introduced a new series of these things, in sizes to fit lots of different quills, including the Shopsmith. I bought one, but haven't tried it yet. I have an old Shopsmith brochure that shows this KIND of attachment (but carrying the Shopsmith name) on their machine, but they don't sell it any more. They have some other kind of mortising attachment I can't quite figure out. The AMT setup runs about $30 for the frame and hold-down mechanism. At the time they were introducing them, they were throwing in ONE bit and chisel assembly at no extra charge. Regularly, those run another $13-$17 apiece. Best, Bob Seith
[AMT mortiser] This is what I had wanted to do; however, at the time I bought my machine, Shopsmith discontinued the mortising attachment and chisels. I have checked on other attachments, but no one could tell me if they would fit the Shopsmith. I do know the Delta attachment is designed specifically for their drill press.
Does anyone recommend the carbide-tipped blades that Shopsmith sales? I'm about to buy a couple of new blades and was wondering if they are worth the money or should I go with a Freud or other brand? Any recommendation would be helpful. Thanks. Jimmy J.
The Shopsmith brand blades are good blades. However, I have found that the carbide combination blade is more of a crosscut blade than a rip blade. When ripping, you have to feed slowly or you'll bog the machine down. Although I have not yet tried them, I think the Freud combination blade would be a better combination blade. This is because it's a 40 tooth blade and the SS blade is a 50 tooth blade. You would have to buy the 5/8" arbor, but that's ok because you can shop for best price on your blades. Frank
FWIW, I think SS's blades are pretty feeble as compared to others I've tried. I particularly like the Freud blades - good value for the money, good performance overall. Additional cost: new SS saw arbors for the 5/8" standard diameter arbor holes - about $16 each from SS as I remember. (I bought one for each blade that I use as changing blades on the arbor is not much fun...) Get the Freuds from any decent mail-order source, but compare prices as they're heavily discounted. I think I bought mine from either Trendlines or Woodworker's Supply. ---Phil Matt
Friends, remember that if you buy a blade with a 3/4 inch hole in it you can take it to a machine shop and have them increase the hole to the standard Shopsmith size. I'm sure it wouldn't cost much, perhaps less than a new work arbor. Will Self
having used both SS and Freud brands, IMHO, Freud works better for me. the only problem i've encountered is that the Freud lu82 crosscut blade has a *noticeable* whine. this could possibly have been caused by having the bore changed to fit the Shopsmith arbor, since a SS 5/8" arbor did not exist when i bought the blade. regardless of the cause, *don't forget to wear hearing protection*. now, in the dumb question column: I've tried several times to post things to the list without success. i keep getting an undeliverable message notice stating that there is no local user named Scott McKinnon. who the heck is he anyway? anybody that knows the answer to this question please e-mail--user desperate!! thanks in advance, james hutchings
ames - I also get some fairly impressive noise from the SS whenever I'm sawing, but since I wear a heavy duty ear protector, I'm not aware if this is excessive noise or just plain old SS noise. (I'll admit when I first got the headstock back from a needed rebuild (it was rusted more or less into a solid pile of interesting looking but definitely immobile stuff...) and reassembled it, I was so thrilled with the fact I had no more pieces of the thing on my shop floor that I gleefully reached for the on/off switch and let 'er rip. When I dialed it up to speed I thought perhaps they were landing cargo planes in my backyard. It was LOUD! I would guess that modifying the arbor hole would probably have a rather marked effect on the blade's noise level, as you're basically changing the aerodynamics (if that is the word) of the thing.
I'm having some trouble lately with my table saw. When I rip wood the side between the blade and the fence is getting burnt. The piece that is removed is fine. I've checked the spacing between the fence and blade and I have about 1/64 inch more space at the back of the blade than at the front, but it still burns. Are there some other adjustments that I'm missing that could be causing this? It didn't happen before, but started recently and I don't know what may have changed in the setup. All suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thomas
Check that the blade is 90 degrees to the table. If its not that's probably where its coming from. Check out the Feb issue of Am. Woodworker. They have an article on table saw tune-up that is pretty enlightening. Kevin
I'm not sure what your problem is, but I can offer a couple of tips based on my own experience. Until I REALLY faced up to aligning the saw table and fence carefully, I too had wood bind and burn on the saw. The idea, of course, is to have the fence and the blade absolutely PARALLEL to each other. (I found that the old style rip fence was more or less useless in this regard, as it would lock in various positions other than parallel - had to manually square it up every time! The redesigned fence that Shopsmith now sells is MUCH better....) The other problem involves the work piece remaining square against the fence, which also keeps the wood parallel to the blade. Again, I found the SS featherboard and hand piece to be pretty lame as far as keeping the wood tight against the fence went - using them also scared me a great deal. I felt that I was not adequately protected against kickbacks or the blade itself. When I installed my hold downs (I use the Leichtung units) all of this stuff basically went away. That's about all I can think of. Good luck! Cheers --------------------- Phi Matt
I had a similar problem, however I believe that it was the cut off piece that was burning. Check that the splitter is directly behind the blade, this can easily be off on the Shopsmith depending on how well you put on the saw guard. hope this helps, it helped me. glenn email@example.com
1) follow the five point check described in the SS manual > > For those of us who are manual-less, could someone describe this? Thanks. Or for those who are manual-challenged . . . Actually, these are the steps that I follow 1) Make sure the headstock lock is tight 2) Make sure the table locks are tight 3) Make sure the quill lock is tight 4) Make sure the wheels are retracted (something to do with the darn thing sounding like a jet engine ...) 5) Make sure the splitter/guard is lined up and tight (if appropriate) 6) Make sure the guide fence is tightened and locked. These are the six steps I take. I'm interested in any others that I may not have mentioned. Hopefully, I do them and just forgot to mention them. ;-) Thanks, George Teachman
For a stuck quill shaft: Look at the top of your machine, about 2 1/4 inches from the leading edge of your machine, you will find a small 1/4 inch circle. This is the screw that stops the quill from coming out of your machine head entirely. It is full of epoxy and you need to take a needle and dig the epoxy out of the hole. Remove the set (Allen) screw, loosen the feed stop handles, run the quill out of the machine. Be careful when you let go of the handles because the quill feed pinion is under spring-load tension and will spring back quickly if you just let go of the feed handles. Also, be sure to remember how many times you rotated the quill feed handles until the quill came loose, you will need to rotate them the same amount when you reinstall the quill. Now, there could be a few things wrong with the quill, causing it to stick: Foreign material in the rack - brush out the debris in the rack and wax it using Johnson's Paste Wax. I've found this to be the best wax yet! Set screw that rides in the groove on top may be too tight - back it out a tad for free extension. Burrs on the quill - remove burrs with jewelers files. Hopefully this should do the trick, also, you might want to run some light steel wool over the entire outer surface of the quill, (the part that is recessed in the machine), and then give it a waxing. It is very easy to replace the set screw too tight, hence another sticking problem. I hope this has been of some use to you. -- Greg Loomis
Does anyone own the Shopsmith Mark V router table? I'm in the process of either buying a ready made router table or making my own. From the picture in the magazine I'm not overly impressed with the one Shopsmith is selling for $200 but if someone knows about them, then they might be worth the money. Comments?? Thanks!! Jimmy J
Most books you read on routers will tell you to make your own router table. There are some very good commercial tables on the market. Porter Cable makes one and another is marketed by Cascade Tools and Grizzly. (I think Cascade Tools is either a division of Grizzly or it's owned by the same person who owns Grizzly). You could also look at Delta's router-shaper. A person I with whom I work has a SS but opted for the Delta router-shaper. I'm still trying to decide whether to build or buy, also. Right now, my project is to make more room in the garage for my shop. So I'm going to build the "Workshop on the Wall" so I have room for my tools and my Shopsmith. Right now I'm scattered over one bay of my garage and I want to get my car in for the winter. We don't have severe winters in the Puget Sound, but I'm tired of scraping ice on a frosty morning. Frank
I added a 3/4 inch angle to the right side of the saw table and built a router table (well, top) from 1 1/4 inch ply laminated on all surfaces. I attach it to the table angle and support the right side of the table top on the right table extension. I use a Inca jig and shop made fence with the system. Total cost, excluding the Inca Pro jig, was the cost of the ply and the laminate. Really both were left-overs from other projects. Works very well and takes almost no room when off the SS. I use a PC D handle 1 1/2 HP router mounted in a permanently attached router base casting.
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If you have a better answer to any of these questions, please send it to the keeper of the FAQ, Tom Almy for inclusion. Thank you!