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Good Bench Grinder?

Bill Moran

Mar 29, 2024
Shepherdsville, KY
My question is: who makes a good 8” Bench / pedestal grinder other than Baldor? I have nothing against Baldor other than the $2,000 price tag. I made the mistake of buying a Dewalt at the local big box store. Complete junk. It literally wants to jump off the table. So much vibration it’s completely unusable. Thought it was the cheap grinding wheels it came with, bought some brand new high quality Norton wheels from McMaster-Carr, still no better. Long term, I’d like to get a nice 5 HP 1800 rpm 3 phase pedestal grinder, but for now a small single phase 120 volt machine will do.
Any suggestions?
Look for a good used Baldor grinder. Not just Baldor, there are many old brands out there that come up for sale now and then. Just have to weed out the ones that think they have a gem and want a new price for a 80-year-old piece of junk. They are out there. I picked up a old Baldor carbide grinder last year. It's 3-phase, no biggie to me. It's in good condition, so far runs good and definitely no vibration.
I also have a 7" Baldor grinder left over from my dad's shop. Slapped new wheels on it and a tune up and good as new.
Is it vibrating even with the wheels removed? I've run into that quite often where the stones are really off out of the box. Dressing the OD helps but even them.
Get a belt grinder like a 2×72 instead. Add a vfd if you are feeling flush. They will make you want to throw rocks at bench grinders. But belt grinders are pretty spendy also if they have to be osha compliant.
I built a 3hp 2x72 last winter. Now my bench grinder just sharpens welding tungsten, and wire wheels bolt threads.
I agree with others, some of the old brands were very good, Rockwell, Black and Decker ,Jet etc.
I have an old B&D 3/4 HP circa 1960's and its as good as any grinder Ive had.
And as stated before if its shaking its not likely the grinder itself.

Ive seen those big 3 phase grinders go cheap here at auctions.
I have a Jet 8" that bought at auction for 20 bucks, a surprising good grinder.
I would recommend 1/2 or better, for me a 3/4 HP or better.
1hp =about 735 watts, 3/4 550 watts ,and 1/2= 370 watts.
A bench grinder should be bolted to the bench.
Very often bench grinder wheel are to fine a grit and too hard for common grinding harder streel, they tend to burn the part and get the part very hot. IMHO
Assume your grinding spindle + washers and nuts (no wheels) runs perfectly smooth. Now you know it's your wheels. Start with dressing your wheel. You're going to need to come up with a way to accurately dress the face of the wheel with a diamond, and then a way to do both sides as far up as you can. That should really help. Beyond that, you can take a trick from my playbook:

http://www.nwnative.us/Grant/shop articles/sharpTable/balancing
I’d just watch for a used Baldor. I bought a crappy looking old piece of garbage table at HGR just after Christmas that just happened to have two 8” baldor grinders on it for $400. Decent deals are out there.
A 5HP bench grinder, IMO, is a death machine. Nothing you need to hold while grinding needs 5HP. I have a DeWalt(er) 3/4HP bench grinder - which seems to not vibrate any more than every other bench grinder out there - and that's plenty.

I also don't use it much.....one side grinds tungsten, the other side has wire wheel which is used to remove crud from threads.
I hate having any JET tools, but I have an 8" pedestal grinder that works just fine. No vibration. I think it is 1HP.

I've found it not uncommon for wheels to have too much clearance on the arbor, allowing the wheel to shift a tiny bit after dressing. Cellophane tape will fix this.

A 5HP bench grinder, IMO, is a death machine. Nothing you need to hold while grinding needs 5HP.

Something like this does seem to be an anchronism, unless you are grinding honking big planer tools. They sell for lots cheaper than a baldor in crummy shape.
The 3 p pedestals are dirt cheap ,because no one wants a 3p grinder .........Ive got a nice one with 14" wheels cost $200 .....one time I bought one with 24" wheels for scrap price .....as new ex air force.
My Baldor carbide grinder is running on a VFD. Nice too! On one end I mounted a diamond face wheel the other end has the typical SC wheel. The diamond wheel is set at a slightly different angle just for putting a nice keen edge on the carbide after roughing it out on the SC wheel. Nice to slow the diamond down for that, too.
Bench grinders with low power tend to glaze the wheels ,and refuse to cut ...............a 5hp grinder with 12 or 14 " wheels always cuts ,and never glazes the wheels.
I reckon the only thing a big pedestal grinder is good for is converting it to a belt sander (linisher). And maybe keep the other wheel for free hand sharpening big drills (still not convinced a belt sander works for drill sharpening).

A bench grinder with wheels for sharpening tools is necessary, but alongside it by far the most used grinder I have is an 8" GMF bench grinder with a "Multitool linisher/belt sander attachment. Belt size 2" x 36" (50 x 915mm).

I can't imagine a workshop without one. The Multitool is a good brand, there are cheap copies out there which will probably disappoint. Linishall is another popular brand in NZ but not as good IMO. Unreliable motors, belt sander attachment not quite as good as the Multitool.

Even better is to fit the Multitool attachment to a 1.5hp (single phase) 10" Ryobi bench grinder, it gives instant starts unlike the less powerful types which take a few seconds to wind up.