My specialty, Shopsmith Mark V headstock repairs

I will repair and tuneup your headstock to bring it back to proper operating condition. The typical repair is $175 for labor plus average parts costs of $125 to $150. You pay shipping to me (or you can drop it off if local or travelling here) and pay return shipping and handling, usually $35 to $60 depending upon your city. (May, 2016 pricing. See my separate pages for current shipping pricing and policies).

When I have received your headstock, I do a complete teardown and evaluate what parts need replacing, are missing, etc and let you know before doing any work. Payment can be handled conveniently and quickly with credit cards, or you can mail payment to me. After the balance is paid, I rebuild your headstock piece by piece. I clean each part as it goes back together, properly lubing, aligning and tensioning the components. As a final check, I test the machine for amps drawn at startup, and use a decibel meter to check sound level against the norm. Typical turnaround time is only 1 week.

Your headstock is shipped back to you carefully boxed for protection. It is insured against loss or damage with Fedex. You receive a confirmation email from Fedex that the box has been picked up, and the email gives you the tracking number of the package as well.


Customer Thank you email

“The headstock arrived today very safely and also a very quick turnaround, thank you very much. I eagerly reinstalled it on my Mark V and was stunned at how quiet & smooth it ran. Beyond Fantastic!! I can not remember if it ran this good when it was new! To say I was impressed is an understatement. It runs exceptionly smooth throughout the speed range, no vibrations, no strange sounds,no hesitations, absolutely perfect! I thank you immensly for the super job you did!You are a real asset for Shopsmith and perhaps more importantly for EBAY! I would recommend your services to anyone without hesitation, ” Bob




My inspection process includes:

Test motor (I handle 110 volt or 220, 3/4 hp or 1-1/8 hp)
Check wiring condition in and from motor
Inspect electric cord and plug
Test on/off switch
Test ground
Clean motor pan
Check motor bearings
Visually inspect to see if motor windings are packed with sawdust and remove if necessary (if motor needs to be opened up for bearings or cleaning, 1 extra hour labor is needed)
Clean and inspect belts for distortions, cracking, delamination, size, glazing or fraying
Adjust belt tension
Clean and inspect speed control handle gears
Clean, lube and inspect speed control assembly, worm shaft, clip and gears
Clean and inspect speed control dial gears
Clean and check idler shaft and bearing, key and clips
Clean and check fixed sheave
Clean eccentric bushing and retainers, reset correctly (often incorrect if previous user took apart)
Clean and check control sheave, bearing and retainer clip
Lube control sheave
Clean and lube floating sheave on motor. Check for proper functioning
Clean belt cover
Remove drive sleeve assembly and check bearings. Clean thoroughly.
Remove, disassemble quill and check bearing(s) in quill. Clean thoroughly.
Clean interior of headstock casting, including removing impacted grease/dust in quill advance mechanism.
Inspect headstock casting for cracks or breaks
Clean, check headstock lock mechanism & lube
Check quill return tension and set to factory specs.
Check quill lock and feed stop assembly & functions and adjust if necessary.
Replace missing clips, screws, springs, bolts. (parts charges may apply)
Clean exterior of reassembled unit
Reset speed dial settings so Slow = approx. 700 rpm
Return your headstock to you carefully packed (double boxed), insured via Fedex ground service including everything extra you may sent to me (handle, hubs, etc.)
Return replaced parts to you if requested in writing or email in advance.
Work is warranted for parts & labor for 90 days. Ask for details.

It is a complete teardown so that I can inspect each and every part and it’s condition and functioning. I replace only what is needed. This saves you a lot of money.


Parts replaced most often:

This is based on my own experience in repairing over 1,000 headstocks to date. I have worked with headstocks of all ages, from 1953 to ones merely a year old. The older it is, the more likely it is to need more parts. Storage conditions also affect parts and amount of usage too. Lack of use is often worse than regular usage.
Part / Percentage of machines
Drive sleeve bearings Virtually 100%
Quill bearing(s) 90%
Control sheave bearing 50%
Idler shaft 10%
Gilmer belt 75%
Poly V belt 75%
Drive belt 75%
Speed control handle 10%
Quadrant 30%
Switch 50%
Cord or plug 25%
Motor bearings 25%
Motor 5%
Headstock casting 5%

Belts can fray, delaminate, tear, distort, become brittle, or be worn too narrow.

Screws, clips, washers, springs and other tiny parts can always be missing.

Bearings are always needed!

I have replaced virtually all parts in doing over 1,200 headstocks so nothing is guaranteed to be fine. I tear down a headstock completely to inspect all parts. Machines are frequently assembled wrong, too, whether by factory error originally, or by a previous owner working on it. So you can’t take one apart and put it back together the same way. I’ve seen too many factory errors!


Optional services

I can do other things for you (additional charges apply) while I have your headstock in for service:

paint headstock casting and belt and motor pans
replace greenie casting with a gray casting having an inspection port hole for easier maintenance
replace single bearing quill with a two bearing quill (pre-1982 machines)
convert Gilmer style drive to poly-v style drive (pre-1962 machines)
replace burned out motor with a good used one, or brand new.
replace ungrounded or worn out electric cord with grounded style for safety.

While you wait service is available for visiting out of towners (I usually have one person a month at least drive here for service).

Housecalls (shopcalls) available for locals.

I can help you with your headstock, any age, any problem(s), any condition (even in parts in a box). I can help you.


Benefits of a tuned up machine

Good bearings run quieter, run cooler, transmit more of the motor’s power to do the task at hand and have less runout (wobble) in the quill. Good belts keep the insides of the headstock cleaner. A clean motor runs cooler and lasts longer. Properly adjusted speeds give you accurate results from the dial. Properly adjusted drill depth stop allows you to set your desired depth of your hole and get it. A tuned up machine makes your task more pleasureable, profitable, precise and efficient.


The state of the economy and woodworking’s payoff

Your woodworking can help you in more ways than one in today’s squirrely economy. Save tons of money by doing home projects yourself: repairs, upgrades, renovations, additions, storage solutions, building furniture. Save tons of money by making gifts for family and friends. Do work for your favorite charities and churches. Help neighbors with their needs. Plus you can make lots of money by selling your services and your products.

A little money invested now in repairing and tuning up your headstock can pay off many, many times over.

A new headstock can cost $1,200 to $1,800. A used one may look like a bargain at $300 or so but believe me, it will have its own set of problems and will need repair. So the most economical thing to do is to have yours taken care of. Turnaround is quick, the price is right, the payoff is big.