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dumb Starrett 98-8 level question

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  • dumb Starrett 98-8 level question

    Recently acquired a brand new Starrett 98-8 level. It was ordered on Amazon and came with the floor finish upgrade pre-installed. One corner had clearly been slammed on concrete and raised a nice 0.1" tall ding. Completely trashed.

    Returned it and got another new, un-floored one. This one has some twist about the bottom surface, so it rocks slightly. On my pristine Starrett black granite 8x12 toolmaker's flat, it will tip about two corners and move the bubble about a half an increment on the vial. I can get a .0005" piece of shim stock under the middle and the high corner, and the level hinges basically at the two outer corners, so it's definitely concave on the bottom. There are some mirror shiny witness marks on the two corners where it's clearly rubbed a bit on the lowest spots of the surface.

    I've realized that not only does Starrett not publish a guaranteed precision for this product, I have no idea how flat this thing should expected to be from the factory.

    Should one expect the thing to be flat? I'm guessing that it hinging on the two outer corners would mean it's unacceptably twisted, but I really have no real point of reference yet. I shot a message to Starrett to see what their opinion is, but would like to know what anybody else thinks...
    -paul

  • #2
    I think coming off of Amazon I would be questioning if it is legit Starrett or a knockoff.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by psomero View Post

      Should one expect the thing to be flat? I'm guessing that it hinging on the two outer corners would mean it's unacceptably twisted, but I really have no real point of reference yet. I shot a message to Starrett to see what their opinion is, but would like to know what anybody else thinks...
      I don't know really, but please do share what you hear back from Starrett. I might second oxford's remark about questioning the authenticity, tales of various Amazon knockoffs seem to be pretty common.

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      • #4
        I've heard a couple different opinions on "flat". To start with, there should be no twist so that's obviously wrong. It should be scraped on the bottom to mark up nicely on a qualified surface plate. Some people think it then ought to be lowered just a tenth or two in the middle third of the sole so with wear it doesn't very quickly become convex. Others say naw, so take you pick on that. In any case, it needs work to be usable.
        .
        "People will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time they will pick themselves up and carry on" : Winston Churchill

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        • #5
          Originally posted by oxford View Post
          I think coming off of Amazon I would be questioning if it is legit Starrett or a knockoff.
          Not always, but that is a legitimate concern.

          Some retailers like Travers tool and other distributors of stuff out of the PTS tools (super common national distributor for Starrett, Mitutoyo, etc) sell their stuff on Amazon with a couple dollar markup over their catalog prices.

          I have no reason to suspect these parts are not genuine, they simply got f'd up in handling because of poor packaging design on Starrett's part (cardboard box and a wrap of anti-corrosion paper with NO padding or crush zones) and Amazon not knowing or caring better in the DC.
          -paul

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          • #6
            Didn't hear back from Starrett yet, but doing the return because it's still in the window.

            I had wishlisted this on Amazon and my folks who have been trapped in COVID hell at home gifted it to me for Christmas. Guess I'll try my luck with a real MRO / tooling supplier.
            -paul

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TGTool View Post
              I've heard a couple different opinions on "flat". To start with, there should be no twist so that's obviously wrong. It should be scraped on the bottom to mark up nicely on a qualified surface plate. Some people think it then ought to be lowered just a tenth or two in the middle third of the sole so with wear it doesn't very quickly become convex. Others say naw, so take you pick on that. In any case, it needs work to be usable.
              Not scraped, just a ground surface which has been de-shined with some crocus or something. Seems on point for typical Starrett fit and finish. Never seen a scraped model 98, maybe on the master precision box levels, but this is the plain old $165 Starrett machinist level.

              -paul

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              • #8
                Did it say where it was actually made ?
                Beaver County Alberta Canada

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                • #9
                  As soon as I read that I started thinking knockoff. The errors you cite would be bad even on cheap Asian tooling. Very hard to believe it's really Starrett. I bought a 98-12 new in the mid-90s and have been impressed with its build quality every time it came out of the box. Speaking of which - did yours come in the wood box?

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                  • #10
                    I just checked my "old" one on my surface plate and it is dead flat. no wiggle and clean on the bottom when you rub it.
                    Peter
                    Grantham, New Hampshire

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                    • #11
                      I find it hard to believe that it is a real Starrett 98-8
                      But have to ask, if the groove on the bottom is a "V" grove or a standard Starrett Involute curve(s) ?
                      Rich

                      Edit
                      My 98-12 is as flat as a surface plate
                      Can't believe Starrett would release something that could destroy their reputation
                      Last edited by Rich Carlstedt; 01-25-2021, 11:35 PM.
                      Green Bay, WI

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by metalmagpie View Post
                        As soon as I read that I started thinking knockoff. The errors you cite would be bad even on cheap Asian tooling. Very hard to believe it's really Starrett. I bought a 98-12 new in the mid-90s and have been impressed with its build quality every time it came out of the box. Speaking of which - did yours come in the wood box?
                        I also bought a couple of 98-12's around that time. They came without wood boxes. Checking things out I found that if you wanted a wood box it was a different part number, so they can (could) be bought either way. I had to go back and order the wood box desperately and it cost near 1/2 the price of the level.

                        lg
                        no neat sig line

                        near Salem OR

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                        • #13
                          Mine is probably older than me, found it in the effects of one of my grandpas with a broken vial that I replaced. Dead flat on the flattest thing I have, top of my 6" vise. I'm in the 'knockoff' camp on yours. I'm not an obsessive about this stuff, but read some threads a while back on how ubiquitous the Mitutoyo caliper knockoffs were. I actually don't mind cheap calipers for my work, but don't want to pay top dollar for them!
                          Location: Jersey City NJ USA

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TGTool View Post
                            I've heard a couple different opinions on "flat". To start with, there should be no twist so that's obviously wrong. It should be scraped on the bottom to mark up nicely on a qualified surface plate. Some people think it then ought to be lowered just a tenth or two in the middle third of the sole so with wear it doesn't very quickly become convex. Others say naw, so take you pick on that. In any case, it needs work to be usable.
                            I got in a long discussion with one of the Starrett techs a long time ago as I questioned the bottom of my 6 inch level being concave. He said that they are made that way purposely so they sit on the ends.
                            However it shouldn't rock.
                            I don't know where they're making their castings nowadays.

                            JL.....
                            Last edited by JoeLee; 01-26-2021, 08:58 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TGTool View Post
                              I've heard a couple different opinions on "flat". To start with, there should be no twist so that's obviously wrong. It should be scraped on the bottom to mark up nicely on a qualified surface plate. Some people think it then ought to be lowered just a tenth or two in the middle third of the sole so with wear it doesn't very quickly become convex. Others say naw, so take you pick on that. In any case, it needs work to be usable.
                              Starrett actually states that they do recess the center of their high precision levels, but the amount is not specified, it is stated (IIRC) to be a couple of tenths. Somewhere I have a PDF from them with that on it.

                              Lufkin went farther than that. Their precision levels only had "pads" at each end to sit on, the casting was relieved something like 0.25" in between those.

                              I do not know if that extends to the low precision 98 levels. The one I have was anything but flat when I got it. But then it was also anything but new, and I paid very little for it. I scraped it flat, but did not relieve the middle.
                              2801 3147 6749 8779 4900 4900 4900

                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan


                              It's just a box of rain, I don't know who put it there.

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