A couple of months ago, I was working on a dining table in a corner of a buddy's shop -- an old unheated warehouse, all concrete and dripping pipes. It was freezing cold, and he drove under the roll-up with his pick up truck, loaded with a vintage Shopsmith. As I helped him wrestle it out of the truck, he told me all about this amazing all-in-one shop. The beast was fifties-era, all steel, heavy as hell, and featured a table saw, a jig saw, a drill press, and a lathe. It was missing a few other parts, but apparently you could jack on an air compressor too.
It sounded improbable. The imbalanced, spindly machine looked utterly incapable of doing much of anything. Over the next few weeks, my friend dusted it off, cleaned it up, and put it to work. I never saw it in direct action, but it was frequently snowcapped with sawdust, so I took him at his word. And, of course, it made me curious. I was skeptical (as I often am), imagining the work to reconfigure it for each separate task must outweigh its general utility and compactness. So, I went to the Internet (typical mistake) and fell down a rabbit hole of epic proportions.Read More