what to look for in used surface grinder

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H-M Supporter - Gold Member
H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Dec 10, 2012
I have never used a surface grinder but would like one and am going to look at one locally. Anything to tell to definitely stay away from it? I will be able to run it under power to make sure it works but do I need to worry about the table being worn out or not square? It is a Do All G1, any opinions on good or bad brand or type?

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Turn the spindle by hand, rotate the spindle back and forth. If you feel any roughtness or don't feel right, walk away! It should be smooth as silk. The rest of the grinder will depend on how hard of a life it has had. Wear on the slides is important too. The Doall should have rollers on the table travel, again roll it back and forth, again, should be smooth. Of course, you probably can't check this if it's a hydraulic operated one.
Oh, if the grinder is under power and has a wheel on it, surface grind a piece of metal and see what kind of finish you get. IF under power and the spindle has a horrible wine noise to the spindle, walk away, unless you want to spend $1K plus on a DIY spindle rebuild. Overall, DoAll made/sold nice grinding equipment back in time.


Active User
Feb 17, 2013
Along with what was said above, let that spindle warm up for at least 15 to 20 minutes and listen to the spindle after that as well. It should not whine loudly......just a nice whir.....


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H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Oct 11, 2016
When I bought mine we had to hook it up to power because it had been detached for 2 years. I brought a coupon of hardened steel, 2" X 1" X 1/4" . I ground it on both sides, and then checked it for parallel. With a very quick grind, no coolant and undressed wheel, it read to within .0004 from end to end. I almost ripped my pocket off my pants to pay for it!

Bob Korves

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Jul 2, 2014
On many surface grinders the table just lifts right off, it is only held on by gravity. If so, take it off and see what is in there. If it is full of grit and the ways are scored and worn (plain ways), or shows damage from lack of proper lubrication, then walk away. If it has roller or ball ways, look very carefully for dings in the balls or rollers and the surfaces they run on. If a surface grinder of that type is hauled on a trailer with the table on it, the table can bounce up and down and damage both, and the grinder is then essentially ruined. Do not transport a surface grinder with the table on it, also for the reason that it can fall off. The spindle should also be cribbed up for transport, and the lead screw turned to let off the pressure on it. A damaged downfeed lead screw is also not what you want.
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