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Sep 28, 2020 - 1:11:36 PM
1428 posts since 4/13/2017

I'm looking for a feller close to me (no more than an hour away) who I could take some rims to occasionally to lathe them down to 11".

I currently do them all with a router, but that is very strenuous, and although I want to buy a lathe, I cannot currently afford one large enough to do rims and resonators (I plan to start making resonators soon).

If someone near me would be willing to do this (when I get a few more rims ready), thatd be amazing! I believe I'd have 4 rims at the most, and I trim away as much as possible with a bandsaw.

I wouldn't think that itd take too long since i trim them pretty close to 11" anyway, but I dont know much about lathe work, so I'm probably wrong.

Sep 28, 2020 - 2:37:17 PM
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beegee

USA

21878 posts since 7/6/2005
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Do you have a community college nearby? It may be worth enrolling so you can use the woodshop

Sep 28, 2020 - 2:57:24 PM
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2939 posts since 2/18/2009

Another possible approach is to buy a ShopSmith on Craigslist and learn to turn yourself. I've bought two now and in each case I was able to sell off the accessories that I didn't want on eBay for enough money to cover what I paid for the whole machine. The low speed is not as low as would be ideal, but I have turned a few hundred rims and a handful of resonators on mine with no death or dismemberment yet, and not even any close calls. In the long run I want to get a real lathe someday, and only use the Shopsmith for sanding and drilling, but I'll never want to be without one, they're very handy for certain things.

Sep 28, 2020 - 7:18:02 PM

371 posts since 5/29/2015

Many larger metropolitan areas have woodworkers guilds, which allow members access to lots of high quality and expensive woodworking equipment. For instance:
 

http://www.greenvillewoodworkers.com/Our-Shop

Sep 29, 2020 - 11:36:55 AM

133 posts since 12/21/2012

quote:
Originally posted by Zachary Hoyt

Another possible approach is to buy a ShopSmith on Craigslist and learn to turn yourself. I've bought two now and in each case I was able to sell off the accessories that I didn't want on eBay for enough money to cover what I paid for the whole machine. The low speed is not as low as would be ideal, but I have turned a few hundred rims and a handful of resonators on mine with no death or dismemberment yet, and not even any close calls. In the long run I want to get a real lathe someday, and only use the Shopsmith for sanding and drilling, but I'll never want to be without one, they're very handy for certain things.


Those indeed are GREAT machines. The lathe especially. I love mine.

I've got both a Jet Lathe and a Shopsmith, and really there's not a ton of difference in performance. The Jet just has a slower speed setting and can swivel out for odd shaped bowls and stuff. But I never those features anyway.

 

Also, I've seen these, and they look decent for the money, ... BUT, sometomes you get what you pay for...

Cheap Jet knock-off Harbor Frieght for $400.

 

Additional 20% off coupon

Sep 30, 2020 - 5:52:27 AM
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3911 posts since 5/12/2010

Hunter,

I have built many banjos using a Shopsmith, a table saw, and bandsaw.

I have three Shopsmith machines right now, and only have room in the shop for one. The other two are spares I keep in a storage building. One needs a new sheave bearing, but they are fairly easy to work on once you understand them. I would sell one cheap, with some lathe attachments.

I no longer use them for rim work because I have a new lathe for that. The slowest speed of the machines, unless you get their speed reducer, is 700 RPM. I was never comfortable turning a rough rim at that speed, but I did use one for years to true up rim blanks, cut them for tone rings, sanding and finishing. They are very useful for other banjo work. My machine of choice for for cutting the heel radius, and drilling the mortice for a dowel stick, and they make a decent drill press.

Until this pandemic hit I went to the music festivals in Glenville, Elkins, and Clifftop each year, and up to Marlinton and Frametown two or three times a year to visit friends.

If this virus don't get me, I'll be heading up to Marlinton and Frametown soon as they get a vaccine that works. I could put one of those machines on the truck if you are interested in one.

Sep 30, 2020 - 5:37:28 PM

kww

USA

575 posts since 6/21/2008

Just wandered by Shopsmith, and I note that their newer Mark 7 model can go down to 250 RPM as opposed to the older Mark V's 700 RPM.

Oct 1, 2020 - 9:27:59 AM

jamesinkster

Canada

240 posts since 5/25/2010
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Not to divert the thread too much further, but a Shopsmith question:
I'm a fan of dedicated tools, so for the most part I haven't paid a lot of attention to the Shopsmiths I see popup for sale nearby.
However, I'm always having trouble finding a lathe with enough swing (> 12")
Would a used Mark-V make for a passable lathe, if equipped with a speed reducer? Are they stable, etc? It seems the swing size is great...

(Side question -- a good tablesaw would be nice, too. Are the tolerances decent?)

Oct 1, 2020 - 10:40 AM

55629 posts since 12/14/2005

Seems to me (a SHOPSMITH owner!) that a fellow COULD cobble up a spindle thingy to hand-crank a rim up against a belt sander, if one is only doing this every now and then.

I'll see if I can produce a picture of the general concept, and post it.

Oct 1, 2020 - 11:16:25 AM

55629 posts since 12/14/2005

By using different grits, coarse to fine, and gripping the plywood disc and turning it against the direction of the belt, it SEEMS as if one might just grind away whatever doesn't look like a banjo rim.


Oct 1, 2020 - 11:44 AM
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jamesinkster

Canada

240 posts since 5/25/2010
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Nice design, Mike. I've done something similar (with a disc sander) to true up steam-bent rims.
However, this doesn't help true up the inside of the rim at all.
Perhaps the design could be adapted to work with a drum/spindle sander instead. But sometimes it's easier to just use a tool designed for the job... like, a lathe :)

Oct 1, 2020 - 12:29:18 PM

WesB

USA

264 posts since 12/17/2014

I own a Shopsmith that I've had since about 1962 or so. I love the thing. My take on the Shopsmith is, if you've got the room, individual tools (lathe, drill press, table saw, sander, etc.) are the way to go. You avoid setup time and the occasional need to true everything up. On the other hand, if you are short of room, the Shiopsmith is great. I'm not sure but what cost might be close to even. All the individual tools can add up the $$ quickly. Shopsmiths, unless you can find one on a yard sale, can be pretty pricey. Mine cost me $150 back in the day, but the dealer was closing it out. The first time I walked into a Shopsmith dealer and saw the prices, I ran home and gave mine a coat of wax.

Oct 1, 2020 - 3:05:07 PM
Players Union Member

DC5

USA

13715 posts since 6/30/2015
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I recently bought a Dewalt Contractor saw because I was never really comfortable with the Shopsmith as a table saw, especially for bevel cuts, but as a lathe, drill press, disk sander, horizontal boring machine, and even a router for occasional use, I think it's great. I do have the speed reducer. For turning heavy, out of balance things you want to somehow secure the machine either by adding weight to the base, or some other method. I know one guy who runs a pipe up through one of the holes for the table and connects it to a joist in the ceiling of his basement. As others have said, they can be found used for pretty decent prices.

Oct 5, 2020 - 7:57:04 AM

3911 posts since 5/12/2010

I no longer use a Shopsmith as a lathe because I bought a good lathe last year, but they do have plenty of "swing" for a banjo rim, and they run true if the quill bearings are good. The only complaint I have about the machine as a lathe is the 700 RPM is too fast IMHO for turning a rough rim blank. I have used it for truing up rim blanks that have already been turned 80%, cutting the tone ring rabbet, and finishing for years. A speed reducer would be worthwhile investment for saftey.

The one I used for rims for years has a shortened bed, and no table. I used it only for rim work. It is the one needing a new Sheave bearing, and is just sitting in the shed not being used.

What I still use these machines for is cutting the heel radius (set up as a saw), and drilling the dowel mortice (set up as a horizontal drill press). I use the same Jig for both of these operations. I have cut heels with all the various methods and find this approach to work best, and would be difficult with another machine.

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