Introduction: Shopsmith Hack #2: a More Stable Table

Picture of Shopsmith Hack #2: a More Stable Table

I love the Shopsmith because it makes woodworking possible in small workshops like mine. I also love finding ways to make it better. There is more separation between the Mark V table and the motor than there is on a regular table saw, making it harder to get repeatable cuts. Here I will show you how I made an adjustable brace to get some rigidity and repeatability back without sacrificing the Shopsmith's versatility to convert from table saw to drill press to band saw to disc sander, to lathe, etc, etc.

In the video above, I demonstrate how much improvement I get in the table stiffness with the brace and show how it can be used. After you watch the overview, let's move on to the build!

Step 1: Materials

Wood

Slotted angle iron

Steel plate, at least 1/8x3x5 inch (3 x 75 x 125 mm)

6@ 10-24 X 3/4 inch screws (M6-1 x 20 mm)

4@ 1/4-20 washers (6 mm)

6@ #10 washers (or 6 more 6 mm)

1/4-20 threaded rod (M6-1 )

T-nut (M6-1 1/4-20)

1/4-20 (M6-1) Track nut or flag nut (I made mine from a scrap steel bar):

Step 2: Tools

Common Tools:

    Tap handle:

    Cutting Oil:

    You can buy your tap and drill bit as a set:

    or separately.

    Countersink bits:

    Drill bits:

    Forstner bit (1-3/4 inch diameter):

Hack Saw:

Center Drill:

Hammer:

Locking pliers:

Bench Vise:

Shopsmith tools:

  • Disc Sander
  • Drill Press (Jacobs chuck)
  • Table Saw
  • Mitre gauge

Click the pictures above for links to Amazon.

Step 3: Cut Out and Glue the Wood Pieces

Picture of Cut Out and Glue the Wood Pieces

See the attached drawings for dimensions of the cut pieces. Clamp the jaws together in pairs and bore the holes for the ways with a forstner bit as shown in the photos. Drill holes through the spacers and jaws for the threaded rod, as shown in the drawings. Glue the strut together as shown in the drawing. After drying overnight, shape the round end with the disc sander, as shown in the third photo.

Step 4: Drill and Tap the Table

Picture of Drill and Tap the Table

On the underside of the table, you can see many bosses that were used for die-casting when it was made. I found they were just big enough to accept M6-1.0 threads. You may be able to use 1/4-20 threads, but my tap of that size was a little dull and cracked the material. I strongly advise you to test your tapping on a boss you don't plan to use first. That's what saved me. If you are using inch sizes, I recommend 10-24. As you can see in the photo, I actually used M6-1 for the top holes and 10-24 for the holes on the sides of the miter slot below, but that has more to do with the screws I had lying around the garage.

For details on drilling and tapping holes, see my previous instructable on the subject (click here). In that video, I'm actually tapping this same table for this very project.

Step 5: Form the Bracket

Picture of Form the Bracket

See the attached drawing for the finished dimensions and shape. Start with cutting the slotted angle to 10 inches (254 mm) in length. Then drill holes in the corner where you need to make the bends. I used a center drill and a home-made v-block as shown in the photo. Cut one side at each hole with a hack saw. To bend each side, grip one side in a bench vise, grab the free end with locking pliers, and bend to 90 degrees, using a hammer as needed to form a tight corner, as shown in the photo above. Finally, remove the center tab by gripping in the vise and straightening the original bend, then bending again back and forth until it breaks. Remove all sharp edges with a file for safety. As you fit the bracket into the assembly, you may find that the holes you need don't line up with the original slots. If so, you may need to drill additional holes, or widen existing holes with a rat-tail file.

Drill clearance holes and drill and tap threaded holes in the steel plate, as shown in the drawing.

Step 6: Install the Bracket

Picture of Install the Bracket

Install the steel plate first with screws and washers. Install the U-shaped bracket on top of it with longer screws and washers. You need a little support beween the bracket and the steel plate, so I used a couple of 5/16 nuts and washers, as shown in the drawing. The third photo shows how the shorter threaded rod, flag nut, and regular nuts will be installed through the strut in the next step.

Step 7: Install the Strut and Clamp

Picture of Install the Strut and Clamp

Install the strut in the bracket, with the short threaded rod, as shown in the previous photo. Fit the jaws on the ways of the Shopsmith. Then line up the spacers between them and the strut and run the longer threaded rod through them all. Install the t-nut on the back side as shown in the second photo. Use an additional nut on the back side of each threaded rod, as shown. This keeps the threaded rod from turning when you tighten and loosen the nut on the other side.

Now it's ready to use! As shown in the video, you can use the brace to stiffen the table in many configurations- table saw, horizontal drill press, vertical drill press and disc sander. Also you can leave it loose and switch between any of these configurations without removing the brace. If you want to remove the table for use as a lathe, you can just remove the short threaded rod from the bracket and drop the strut down and out of the way. If you need to remove the clamp assembly at the bottom, it isn't difficult to do, either.

Step 8: P.S.

Picture of P.S.

If you like this style of step-by-step instruction, please share and subscribe so you'll be notified when I post more. If you have questions, please post them in the comments. Read about more of my woodworking projects and tools at ChipsWoodShop.com

Comments

Mediadaddy (author)2017-06-07

Excellent! I have a 500 to 520-
Love it. Thank you,
John H. Rice

ChipsWoodShop (author)Mediadaddy2017-06-07

Thanks for the encouragement!

bravoechonovember1 (author)2017-06-01

nice!

I have a 1949 ER so I might try this out in the future

Great! If you do, please click the "I made it" button and post a photo!

jkimball (author)2017-06-01

It seems like you could cut out quite a bit of the process (tools, steps, materials) if you could brace directly against the table.

Do you think you could route channels in a block of wood that would fit the pattern on the underside, and friction fit it in?

ChipsWoodShop (author)jkimball2017-06-01

Interesting idea! I'm sure you could route channels to clear the ribs, but the table is die cast, so it has a draft to allow the die to be removed from the part after it cools. That would thwart attempts to get a friction fit to hold in tension. I'm sure there are great solutions with more wood and less metal. My solutions are generally based on what I have available in my "reuse" piles. If you make a brace with fewer parts or steps please share a photo.

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Bio: Chip's Wood Shop is all about rewarding and enjoyable woodworking projects and ''use what you have''solutions to make all kinds of fun and ... More »
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