ShopSmith Drive and Ring Replacement

I’ve been having some ShopSmith problems. It was juddering and making clacking noises at high speeds when I’d apply any pressure to the disc sander or table saw or lathe.

I thought I might just have a loose Poly V belt so I took off the cover and tightened it and started lubing up everything with 3-in-1 oil since I was in there anyways…and then I saw it.






The plastic coupler that goes between the drive sheaves axle and the quill was cracked. I’m not sure how it happened, maybe it was because I used the SS when it was cold out last Winter and it’s just been cracked since then, or maybe it was during a catch while turning something. In any case it was obvious that this was my problem.

Fortunately this was one of the pieces of which I had a spare on hand. At first I thought that I’d need to do a complete tear down, which you have to do to get the Poly V belt out. Then I realized that I could just remove the quill, saving myself something like 4 hours.

I loosened the set screw on the top, extended the quill as far it could go, and then pulled it out by hand. The only trick when doing this is to control the springback of the quill retractor springs.


With the quill removed I was able to use a long screwdriver and some patients to pry the broken plastic coupler off and replace it. The ShopSmith is now running much smoother, even at low speeds.

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Oak and Maple Salt Shakers

I made a set of salt and pepper shakers for our kitchen.

I started by cutting squares of maple and oak and gluing them together.  I glued up a single stack with the salt and pepper shakers all together. One they were dried I then turned them on the lathe to get them round.

I had some end grain tear out so I sanded it starting with 80 grit and went up to 1200.



I used the miter box to cut the two shakers apart.


Then I used the belt sander to flatten the top and bottoms and to make both shakers the same height.


I then used the drill press to drill out the hole for the salt and pepper.


I used a spade bit for the initial hole and then used a forstner bit to create a recess for the top of the cork.


I also used the drill press to drill a P and S on the tops. Sophie asked who the S one was for and was disappointed that it wasn’t hers and that I wasn’t going to make her one.


The pepper shaker is oak with a single maple band, and is a bit darker than the salt shaker which is maple with a single oak band.

I finished the outsides with a couple of light coats with Watco Danish Oil. The insides are unfinished.


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Modular Oak Spice Rack

One of the things we were planning for the kitchen was a spice rack. We’ve got lot of spices and they clutter up the cupboard, so a spice rack seemed like just the thing to help us get organized.

I wanted to make something that was a bit unique, which would help us be more organized and which would look good.

Here’s what we built.

01 - Final Photo First

This is the space I had to work with. Between the side of the cupboard and the moulding on the sliding door was a 4 inch space, plenty of depth for some spice bottles.

02 - The Space

I started with a 4×1 maple board and spent some time with our spice bottles to see how far apart the shelves should be. I made sure to take into account the thickness of the shelves and to give a little extra space to get the bottles in and out with ease.

Once I had the measurements I used a framing square to mark the start of each line and a smaller square to draw a straight line across the board for each shelf.

04 - Measure twice

Next I made a mini-dado with two saw blades stacked side by side, with a washer in between. This worked out to be about the same thickness as my shelves.

I used my mini dado with the cross cut sled to cut slots for the shelves all along the 1×4.

05 - Cut Once


I then set up the table saw fence and cut three 1-inch wide strips from he 1×4. These strips will hold up the shelves.

06 - Cutting the supports


Now on to the shelves. Home depot had some 4-inch wide, 1/4 inch thick oak boards that seemed suitable. I the shelf design by drawing a curve that I liked.

03 - Measure once


Then cutting the shelves all to length in the cross cut sled.


07 - Cut the shelves with the crosscut sled




Next I used traced the curve in several different positions on different shelves and cut them out on the bandsaw.

08 - Cutting out the shelf shapes

I only had a 1/2 inch bandsaw blade which didn’t let me cut tight curves so I used the belt sander to round out some of the rough spots.

Here are the different shelf designs. There’s a whole shelf, a hole in the middle, a hole everywhere but the middle and varying lengths of left and right shelves.

09 - Sanding


Here I’m doing a test before finishing or mounting the spice rack.

10 - Testing it

Looks good! I finished everything with watco danish oil, and then screwed the long strips to the wall. The shelves can be removed and repositions from the slots.

11 - After applying Danish Oil and Hanging 12 - Angle shot13 - Top down


So there you go, there’s our new spice rack!


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