Tag Archives: shopsmith

Restoring a 1981 Shopsmith Belt Sander Part 2

A Loooooong time ago (October 2013) I bought a belt sander attachment for my ShopSmith and disassembled it.

Outside view of the belt sander
Outside view of the belt sander
Rusty plate
Rusty plate

It sat in this plastic bin in my office since then doing nothing…

Disassembled ShopSmith Belt Sander
Disassembled ShopSmith Belt Sander

…until tonight! Tonight the kids and I cleaned it up and put it back together.

We didn’t figure out electrolysis like I had planned, we ended up just using WD-40 and sandpaper to get it all cleaned up.

Since we were just sanding and not doing anything crazy with electricity here’s the final shot. Everything spins smoothly, and I replaced the screws that broke with bolts and they mostly seem to be working for now. Now it’s time to buy some sand paper!

Cleaned up belt sander
Cleaned up belt sander
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Restoring a 1981 ShopSmith Belt Sander – Part 1

I broke a piece on my first ShopSmith, and bought a beat up second ShopSmith to cannibalize for parts. The second ShopSmith came with a few extras I didn’t have, like a beat up jig saw and belt sander. The belt sander would be super handy to have running, so I started restoring it tonight. It’s going to be a big project.

The serial number makes this belt sander a July 1981 belt sander. It attaches to the ShopSmith and uses the ShopSmith motor to run it.

Before I really got a good look at things I thought I’d probably just have to sand the fence and replace the belt.

Outside view of the belt sander
Outside view of the belt sander

As I tried to unscrew the second screw I found out that this was going to be a big project. The hex screw was stripped, so I doused it in WD-40 and used a torch to heat it up. I then gently used a hammer to tap the next larger allen wrench into the hole (as I have done successfully many times before!). I added some elbow grease and after a moment of pulling I heard a sharp “crack”.

I thought my allen wrench had broken, and I really wish it had. It was the head of the screw. Looks like it cracked in 4 places.

Cracked hex screw
Cracked hex screw

An hour and 5 drill bits later I had this. I drilled through the screw, chipping the cast aluminum crown around the screw in the process. I then used a very small triangular hand file to score the rest of the screw
so I could put a standard screwdriver in there. Although that didn’t let me turn the rest of the screw like I had hoped, it did crack the rest of the screw so I could get a few more pieces out. A little bit more drilling and filing and ended up with a clean smooth aluminum hole.

It might finally be time to buy a tap and die set.

Almost done removing the screw
Almost done removing the screw

So that was screw number 2. Screws 3 and beyond were much more friendly, although I did leave one very tight screw soaking in WD-40. Hopefully it’ll loosen up so I don’t have to deal with this again.

Eventually I got to taking the belt off. More rust! At least the screws weren’t stuck.

Rusty plate
Rusty plate

Believe it or not, this screw actually came out pretty easily. The barrel it’s going through isn’t threaded, so I was able to use a wirebrush on the aluminum wheel, some WD-40 and put a lever in the holes in the wheel to force it off the lower end, then the screw slid right out.

A rustly tension adjusting screw
A rustly tension adjusting screw

After about 2 1/2 hours, here’s my progress for the night:

Disassembled ShopSmith Belt Sander
Disassembled ShopSmith Belt Sander

There’s enough rust on that thing that I think it’s time to learn how to do electrolysis safely. That’s the thing where you put your metal object and both ends of a battery charger into a tub of water. So that’s something to look forward to.

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Walnut Cheese Board

I made a small cutting board from a walnut branch. It was a present for my little sister Abbey. She got it yesterday so I can finally post pictures of it.

Another view of the finished bowl
The finished cheese board

It started with these walnut log circles. I cut them a couple months ago and immediately boiled them. Then I wrapped them in a paper grocery bag and let them dry slowly.

If you don’t boil them they’ll split and crack while they’re drying. I don’t know why it works, but work it did.

Walnut log discs
Walnut log discs

I used the bandsaw on my ShopSmith  to cut them roughly square. You can see the mold that was growing on them since they were drying slowly in a basement. It’s OK though, because it’s all going to get cut off in the next few steps.

Planning the square layout
Planning the square layout

I used the disk sander to flatten each edge so they’d glue nicely to each other.

Flattening the edges of each square for gluing
Flattening the edges of each square for gluing

Next I glued each set of 4 or 5 blocks into single strips. I only have 3 long clamps so I had to do this in two phases. What I need to do is get some of these pony clamps and long pipes. Then I could clamp anything.

Clamping the squares into strips
Clamping the squares into strips

Once they’d all dried I went back to the bandsaw to even up the edges, making 4 strips with flat sides.

The 4 strips cut flat along their edges
The 4 strips cut flat along their edges

Once those were sanded I glued the four strips together and clamped them again.

Clamping the 4 strips into a single board
Clamping the 4 strips into a single board

Now I had a rough uneven board. I don’t own a planer, so I put a flat router bit in the drill press, cranked the speed up and passed the board under it again and again. It was a bit sketchy, but after several passes, taking 1/8 of an inch off at a time I ended up with something close to flat. I used the belt sander to clean up the tool marks and make it smoother.

Using a router bit to flatten the board
Using a router bit to flatten the board

I used my router to round over the edges, and then started applying butcher block conditioner to it. Butcher block conditioner is just mineral oil and bees wax. I did about three coats with that, then a coat of just bees wax which I buffed with a rag.

Oiling and Waxing the board
Oiling and Waxing the board

And that’s how it’s done!

The finished Cheese Board
Another view of it on a white counter

The last step is to give it a good coating of mineral oil every month for the next 6 months or so until the oil has really soaked in well.

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