Tom Almy's Workshop

Tom's Workshop

This is my shop, showing my Shopsmith Mark V that I've had since the early 80's, Craftsman RAS (even older), and various other tools in nooks and crannies. Mounted on the wall on the right are the bandsaw, jointer, and belt sander accessories for the Shopsmith. Under the RAS is a DeWalt planer and my old Craftsman router table. Since the picture was taken, I've replaced the router table with a Jointech Cabinetmaker System -- a much larger table with a precision fence. This table would appear at the far right of the picture, if it were there! The shelf above holds various jigs and fixtures and long strips of molding. There's also a dust collector and plywood storage off camera. The shop occupies 1/4 of our two car garage. Click on the images to see more detail.

I've got a FAQ list for Shopsmith products here. It is quite old, and most of the links from it are long gone.

It's not woodworking, but I've got a living room end table that is actually a computer! Look here.

This wooden wedge was my most profitable project and was made entirely using the Shopsmith. It saved the company I worked for $6,000 and weeks of delays by "fixing" a mis-designed IC wafer probe. Alas, I didn't get any of the savings, but it still shows that a home workshop can save money.

Wood Wedge

I always wanted a center finder, so I made this one out of some Cherry scraps. The corner is dovetailed both for strength and to exercise my Jointech system. I use square drive screws from McFeely's to hold the angle piece in place.

Another project I did for the exercise is this CD Shelf. It is made from a scrap 4x4 fir post, resawn to a 3/8" thickness. The corners are dovetailed, and the back pieces fit into routed notch. The sad thing is that fir doesn't stain well at all.

center finder CD Shelf

Here are a couple of shop details. On the left is the Shopsmith set up as a router using the Speed Increaser accessory. I made the table insert and fence myself. The hold-downs are an old Sears table saw accessory. The setup is vastly superior to the router table I've got (which is under the RAS in the first photo). The right photograph shows the dust collection on the RAS. I can't imagine a tool more difficult to dust collect than the RAS because of it's open design. However this collection system works fine, after a few design changes over time. The box in the back connects to the Dust Collector, and is horn shaped to funnel the dust thrown back from the saw blade. A shopvac hose connects from the blade guard into collector hose and picks up the dust that normally would be ejected from the guard. The hose loops around the front of the RAS arm allow free movement of the motor carriage.

Routing on Shopsmith RAS Dust Collector

Can a Shopsmith do accurate work? Yes it can, providing it's correctly aligned and one knows and compensates for its limitations. On the left is the alignment jig I made. Click on the image to see several pictures of its use. The major weakness of the table system is that it will flex to the left and right. This can be greatly reduced by using the telescoping legs on the table alone, reduced even more by using a floating table with the telescoping legs (Shopsmith insists that the legs be used with the floating table), and essentially entirely reduced by anchoring the table to the extension table. The picture on the right shows the best technique for horizontal boring. The main table is anchored to the extension table A brace is used to keep the rear of the fence from moving (another sore spot that apparently is corrected with the new 520 fence) under heavy presure. I also use a clamp to hold the wood firmly against the table.

Dial Indicator Horizontal Boring

I've made lots of different furniture over the years -- stereo cabinets, children's furniture (small table and chairs, dresser, toy box), lots of bookshelves and racks, video game cabinet, various storage cabinets, jewelry displays, drawer and closet organizers... The finer stuff is mostly in oak, with some early pieces in walnut and redwood, and some recent work in maple. Next major project is an entertainment center in cherry, however I'm making molding at the moment. This past Spring I completed a cherry end table with a hidden drawer (the front of the table is actually a full width drawer), and a modified version of Norm Abram's Library Table.

End Table Horizontal Boring

This is my bagel cutting jig in action. A Version Two model, the first one I made didn't work because the bagels were too big to fit. It's made of 3/8" (actual dimension) oak, with a non-toxic "Salad Bowl" varnish finish. Click on image for a different, larger view.

Bagel Cutter

Finally there is my Jack Puzzle. There are some new pictures showing the way I now notch the pieces using my Jointech system. The puzzle pictured here on the left was notched with a stacked dado cutter. The one on the right, shaped as the traditional "burr" puzzle, was notched using the Jointech system. Both of these are made of walnut.

Jack Puzzle Burr Puzzle
Tom Almy

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Last Modified March 30, 2003

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