• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • PLEASE: Read the FORUM RULES BEFORE registering!

Possibly Buying A Ko Lee Grinder

cs900

maker of chips
Active Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Messages
179
Likes
192
#1
So pretty empty in this section of the forum, haha. hopefully someone will chime in. I have the opportunity to buy a KO Lee grinder locally, but really don't know a whole lot about them. Combine that with the fact that this would be my first surface grinder, and I could defiantly use some direction. The grinder looks to be in fairly good condition, although it does look like some of the hydraulics might have a slight leak. Any other issues I should be looking for? Parts hard to find? Looks like leblond took them over, but i haven't found a good source to confirm part availability.

20160916_190955_zpsyvkuc67x.jpg
 

rgray

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Nov 26, 2012
Messages
809
Likes
353
#2
I have one that looks a little like that. Mine has hyd cross feed as well. I haven't used it much but it seems to grind real nice.
I also have a K O Lee tool post grinder and it has those same kinda controls. The controls and dials are not very nice compared to most. A DRO would be real nice on one of those to increase your "sensitivity/knowledge" of "what/how much" vertical movement happened when adjusting the wheel down.
Only thing I have to compare it to is a Jones & Shippman 540 and a #5 Brown and Sharpe (cylindrical) Both have much better wheels and dials than the K.O. Lee.
 

4gsr

HM Chief Foreman
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Aug 8, 2011
Messages
4,401
Likes
2,662
#3
I have both a Brown & Sharpe 612 surface grinder and a K O Lee tool & cutter grinder. Both are nice grinders. I would say the B & S is a nicer surface grinder than the KO Lee in ways. I'm sure the KO Lee will do good too. One nice thing about the KO Lee, it has roller bearings that the table rolls on that stay lubricated with oil, provided it has been taken care of. As for the hydraulics, well its like all other hydraulic systems I've dealt with over the years, they leak oil over time. May require replacing seals/O-Rings, etc. to get the oil leaks fixed. Depending on price and condition and how much TLC you have to put into it up front, it will make you nice surface grinder. Ken

EDIT: As for repair parts, plan on making your own. If you go to Leblond for parts, take your heart attack medicine with you, you will need it!
The tool & cutter grinder I have, I had to make a new cross feed screw and replace a couple of oil seals and that about it. The super precision bearings used in the spindle are off the shelf bearings, just expensive! I've managed to snag a couple sets off of eBay for under half price of new one's.
 
Last edited:

Bob Korves

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2014
Messages
4,024
Likes
4,172
#4
What size is the grinder? 6x18", or smaller? Hard to tell, the wheel guard looks big in comparison to the table chuck mounting area. Does it come with a mag chuck? If not, that can be a big dollar purchase, figure it into the price you pay for the grinder.
 

Holescreek

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
639
Likes
504
#5
I have a KO Lee S618, manual machine. Thing to watch out for: On my machine there are 6 "wells" under the table (they are cast in the top of the base) that should be filled with way oil. Three in front and three in back. At the top of each well there is a pair of rollers sitting on top of a strip of spring steel. The purpose of the rollers is to distribute way oil from the well onto the bottom of the table. When I got my machine several of the rollers were broken off and several of the spring strips had snapped too. I made my own springs from spring steel strap and the rollers from whatever I had laying around. I probably have photos on my home computer if needed.
I also had to replace my spindle bearings. There again, if the spindle is the same between the models there was a trick I stumble upon when I replaced mine. It's been so many years ago that I forgot I even did the job until I was sent a PM from someone on another board asking questions. I had to go back and read my original thread to refresh my memory.
 

Andre

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2014
Messages
2,123
Likes
579
#7
Yes, that looks to be a 618 size grinder. (At least in the picture, to me.) Great size for sharpening planer blades! My 612 is just a tad too short :(

Sent from my XT1053 using Tapatalk
 

cs900

maker of chips
Active Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2016
Messages
179
Likes
192
#8
thanks for the reply guys. I'm still working with the guy to make the deal. I'm also in the middle of a full home renovation so time is the limitation.

I believe it is a 618 as well, and it does NOT come with a mag chuck (one of my bargaining chips :p)
 

rwm

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2013
Messages
1,048
Likes
1,131
#9
pics:

edit: Just seeing that grinder naked and alone about 14 years ago made me sad so I added a newer one showing it in a more current setting.
He looks happy now with all his friends....
R
 

ranch23

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Mar 12, 2012
Messages
323
Likes
7
#10
I have a KO Lee S618, manual machine. Thing to watch out for: On my machine there are 6 "wells" under the table (they are cast in the top of the base) that should be filled with way oil. Three in front and three in back. At the top of each well there is a pair of rollers sitting on top of a strip of spring steel. The purpose of the rollers is to distribute way oil from the well onto the bottom of the table. When I got my machine several of the rollers were broken off and several of the spring strips had snapped too. I made my own springs from spring steel strap and the rollers from whatever I had laying around. I probably have photos on my home computer if needed.
I also had to replace my spindle bearings. There again, if the spindle is the same between the models there was a trick I stumble upon when I replaced mine. It's been so many years ago that I forgot I even did the job until I was sent a PM from someone on another board asking questions. I had to go back and read my original thread to refresh my memory.
Well fill us in please.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Holescreek

Active User
Active Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
639
Likes
504
#11
I just googled "k.o. lee spindle bearing holescreek" and found the thread from 2008. Gotta love the internet.

Disassembly was pretty straight forward though removing the spindle from the housing was a bit tough. Sure enough there were Barden bearings inside as RJ predicted. I searched the web and visited the Barden site and did not find the bearing number to match the ones I took out (105FF). I ended up calling Motion Industries and talked to a person who understood what I needed and rifled through some catalogs. I was half expecting to hear that they were going to cost >$200 each when I hear her say $120 +shipping. $120 each? I ask. Nope, $120 for all 4. skep.gif
My spindle most likely is different in some respects but here's how it went. After removing the wheel and hub in the front and the motor pulley and pulley spacer in the rear I was left with two spanner hubs on either end of the spindle.
I removed the two hubs and was left with seeing the spindle sticking out of bearings fron and back. The bad news was that the bearings were stuck pretty well. I used a brass hammer to tap the spindle from the back towards the front of the machine. The first bearing (closest to the wheel) was obviously bad and clicked when it spun. I had 4 bearings in total, two in each end of the spindle. Once the front bearings were removed I found a snap ring inside the front bore that would have kept the bearings from being tapped towards the back. I removed the ring and proceded to move the shaft towards the front. I probably could've/should've sent the shaft towards the back at that point, but it worked.

I took a piece of black pipe and turned it on the lathe to fit over the spindle and contact the inner race of the new bearings. After cleaning everything I put the front bearings on the spindle first, reinstalled the snap ring and inserted the spindle and finger tightened the spanner nut. I put the rear bearings onto the spindle while it was in the machine using the pipe and brass hammer to tap them into place. Then it was just a matter of replacing the rear spanner nut, tightening them to remove all end play and putting everything else I removed back.

The bearings I bought were pre-lubed and sealed.
 
Container Above bottom breadcrumb