The Shopsmith Mark 5 (number designation) was originally produced by Magna Engineering, which also
Shopsmith profile
produced several other equipment lines. Today, the same castings and basic machinery are used to produce the Mark V (numeral designation) by Shopsmith, Inc., which produces the Mark V and the Mark 7 only.

The original version (MK 5) is now refered to as the model 500 by Shopsmith, Inc., which no longer produces the 500 but does carry replacement parts for it. Under normal maintenance, this machine will last indefinitely and can be upgraded to modern tables, rip fence, and even digital speed control.

Some woodworkers malign the Shopsmith name, often citing tool changover time, table size and motor horse power. But for the hobbyist, the machine fits into a compact space, like a corner of a garage and can accomplish operations that many specialty tools cannot. It has its a few weaknesses and various and expandable strengths, but it is undeniably a piece of Americana that has a loyal and devoted following.

The Five FunctionsEdit

The Mark 5/V has five basic functions from which it gets its name but many more add-ons are available and all are driven by the Mark 5 headstock. It has been said this machine is the "tinkerer's tool" because it allows the user much flexibility in adding and modifying equipment to run off the headstock.

Table SawEdit

The original Mark 5 offered a smaller table than what is standard with most cabinet saws. Today's Mark 5 offers a table capacity of up to 102 continuous inches. It was machined from
Table Saw Capacities
aircraft aluminum, as are all castings on the Shopsmith Mark V. The table saw originally functioned by attaching a 9" saw (the original standard) to a 1 1/4" arbor, which mounted to the main drive spindle on the headstock. The large arbor is more typical for industrial saws and provides greater blade stability. Standard 5/8" arbors are also available. The saw functions in the same way today. The model 500, produced by Shopsmith, Inc. offers a 10" blade as standard equipment. To adjust depth of cut and bevel, the table is raised or lowered as the spinde remains in a stationary plane. Other blades can be added, including modern 10" blades, dado blades, and moulding cutters. When the Mark 5 was originally produced, the saw guards were not a standard feature but are today.

Drill PressEdit

When lifted to its vertical position,the drill press has a the capacity to drill to the center of a 16 1/2" circle with
Drill Press Position
a 26" depth. The main saw table is also utilized, it is simply rotated on its trunnions so it is perpendicular to the headstock, which becomes the drill. In the vertical position, the unit locks into place and is very stable. The base is well balanced so the unit has no greater inclination to tipping than a standard floor model drill press. The headstock locks firmly on the tubes. The table saw slotted insert can be replaced with a blank but a piece of scrap wood is alway recommended to prevent drilling into the table. The fence that the table saw uses is also avaiable for use in the drill press position and since the table tilts, it can be used with the fence as a craddle for drilling round stock. A mortising attachement and overhead shaper, and overhead routing are also capabilities in drill press mode.

Horizontal BoringEdit

The same drill press capability that the vertical position affords the user are also possible in the horizontal position, using the main saw table and even extention table(s) with drills chucked into the h
Horizontal Drill
eadstock. In this manner, end grain holes can be bored into long stock, table legs, etc. This position is also useful for drilling consecutive dowel holes and the miter gauge on the table can be used to hold stock into position for drilling into mitered edges. The two main advantages are the capacities for handling long stock and drilling into edge surfaces while they lay flat, instead of balancing on their side as with a standard drill press. In the horizontal position a number of other tasks can be handled with various arbors such as buffing, polising, grinding, sharpening (also in conjunction with the lathe tool rest) and wire brushing - tasks typically performed by a bench grinder today.


Again, multiple components of the Mark 5 do double duty. The carriage that holds the main work table in place also accepts the tool rest when the table is lifted out. The headstock accepts chucks, as does the tailstock attachment that replaces the extension table and will hold various centers and chuck adapter. At
Lathe Capacities
its maximim capacity, the lathe can handle a workpiece up to 34" long and 16 1/2" in diameter. Sound familiar? That 16 1/2" capacity is the same diameter from the drill press because the way tubes that hold the headstock in place are always in the same alignment position, relative to the headstock. The 34" capacity is something found only in large and expensive lathes. A cup center, drive center, 6" and 3 1/4" face plates were and are standard equipment for lathe use. Today, upgraded tool rests and specialty rests with center mount and wider rests are available. A set of five turning tools also comes as standard equipment.

12" Disc SanderEdit

Once again, the main table is coulpled with the headstock for the last primary function, the Disc Sander. The sander arbor is mounted directly to the main spindle and the table is brought in close proximity to the d
Disc Sander Capacities
isc. The miter slots on the table enable stock to be passed along the disc surface for even and square sanding jobs. The 12" disc was standard and was originally of cast aluminum. Today, the disc is cast of steel and is quite heavy. The headstock has multiple PTOs: one main spindle and two auxilliary on the "back" of the headstock. Another disc can be mounted on a the second top spindle and two grits can be used to finish stock quickly. When the auxiliary table is used, very long stock can be accomodated across the tables. The rip fence can also be used to joint a board to proper thickness (edge sanding). Drum sanding and angular sanding are also capabilities of the Mark 5 and today a condical disc is even offered.


Additional tools can be added to the versitile headstock, inclusing those already mentioned such as the mortising attachement, dada setup, shaper, router bits, abrasive wheels, poishers, etc. There many accessories available that are accomodated by the model 500, 505, 510 and 520. These accessories are referred to as SPTs or Special Purpose Tools.

Band Saw
Scroll Saw
Jig Saw
Lathe Duplicator
Belt Sander
Speed Increaser and Reducer
Independent Dust Collection System

And there are many others. In addition to the accessories that can be used with the Mark 5, there are also special Power Stations that individual SPTs can be mounted to.