View Full Version : ?? about granite suface plates

06-04-2008, 08:53 PM
I'm still a newbe. Received a new surface plate today. ( I feel sort of bad using the free shipping code from Enco as shipping cost more than the plate did) I know it's just a hunk of stone, but is there any thing special I should clean it with ? Do you all keep em covered up when not in use?

06-04-2008, 09:11 PM
Probably the best info would be found at sites that sell granite counter tops. They know how to safely wash protect them. Ammonia is reactive with a lot of stone so I'd avoid that (Windex, etc). As for a cover - in my shop, and in fact my entire house, any horizontal surface becomes a fair game place to put something, so you probably do want to cover it. Chances are good you can find a plastic cutting board at a super market or hardware store that will work.

06-04-2008, 09:18 PM

I have a black granite surface plate, and I bought a cover & surface plate cleaner for it from McMaster Carr

Forrest Addy
06-04-2008, 09:33 PM
Cleaner: mineral spirits or lacquer thinner for heavy accidental oil or grease. Non ammoniated glass cleaner for general cleaning.

Cover: a hunk-o-plywood cut oversize, with felt glued on to go against the granite and some thin strips of wood arond the edge to keep it from sliding off.

06-04-2008, 10:39 PM
Back in the Metrology lab we try to keep everything off the plate as a general rule. However a 4 by 8ft plate is a bit big to cover but for smaller ones they actually come with a cover from the factory. Cleaning with mineral spirits is fine as well as good quality glass cleaners. Remember that granite is porous and will absorb oils, etc. That can be an issue down the road so keep that in mind.

If you wish to lap parts flat via lapping paper and oil buy a separate plate for that. They are cheap enough these days and you wont get the grit over everything else ;)

06-05-2008, 09:01 AM
There is "surface plate cleaner" you can buy. Check places like www.travers.com or www.mscdirect.com . Or, I'm sure Forrest's suggestions will do fine too.

06-05-2008, 10:12 AM
OhOh, it had a little crud on it when I unpacked it , uhh, I sprayed it with Windex and wiped it off. Didn't let it soak, and plate was warm from being in the truck all day, so it evaporated instantly. I should have posted first before acting :(
Thanks for the replies, I'll be using mineral spirits from now on and start to work on a cover tonight.

Frank Ford
06-05-2008, 11:09 AM
This nice big surface plate is almost covered:


I try to have my camera with me when I visit other shops, and sometimes I get an interesting photo. This one was a bit, er, more interesting than I expected.

I forgot my dang camera for my last little field trip, so I might have to go back. I met this Hungarian guy named Tibor who has a little one man shop where he runs four Swiss screw machines, two Hardinge chuckers, along with CNC lathes and mills. He makes itty bitty parts for watch repairers and high tech assemblies and fixtures. He fired up one of the screw machines and gave me a nice blow by blow of how it's set up. It was spitting out tiny stepped indexing pins for a local chip maker's fixturing.

06-05-2008, 11:20 AM
A google on MSD for Starrett surface plate cleaner will pop up a pdf of the
same showing it is propylene glycol monomethyl ether and isopropyl
alcohol presumably in a water base. Variant Windex IOW.

06-05-2008, 11:53 AM
Your hunk of granite has been around for several million years, give or take, so don't worry too much about it!

Lew Hartswick
06-05-2008, 11:56 AM
Your hunk of granite has been around for several million years, give or take, so don't worry too much about it!
Yes but hasent been surfaced for that period.