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Alternatives to a small granite surface table?

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  • Alternatives to a small granite surface table?

    Are there any workable alternatives for a granite surface table. I was given a small (10") height gage and realized that without a stable, level surface of some kind the gage is worthless. Small (12" x 12") grade B tables are available on Ebay for a reasonable price but shipping can be costly. What is the purpose of a shelf on the granite table?
    Thanks,
    Pat
    WANNABE

  • #2
    Enco has sales and free shipping deals every month. On one of those occasions I bought a parts washer, 20 gallons of solvent, raw stock, a 6" mill vise, and a 9x12 granite surface plate (37 lb), all free shipping!

    The next size surface plate is a 12x18 at 85 lbs, which is the same weight as the 6" mill vise.

    The latest sale flyer has the 9x12 granite plate on sale for $14.75, and they are still running free shipping deals for July ($50 min order). Why not stock up on some other heavy stuff while your at it.

    Jeff

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    • #3
      The more or less traditional alternative has been a piece of thick plate glass, sitting on a padded surface.

      But if you can get a 9x12 granite plate for $14.75, there would be little point to using plate glass.
      ----------
      Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
      Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
      Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
      There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
      Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
      Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie

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      • #4
        A cast iron table saw table could be used in a pinch if accuracy is not too critical.

        Mark Hockett
        Mark Hockett

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        • #5
          I've always heard about folks who acquired a damaged granite headstone from a monument works to use as a surface plate.

          Granite countertops are real popular now; how about contacting cabinet shops for a granite sink cutout?

          Mike

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          • #6
            I've got the 9x12 black granite plate from Enco sitting here near me. With the free freight code you can hardly afford to not buy one.

            Generally, if it can't be UPS'd and fit into Enco's free freight, I don't buy it. But you can get a LOT of stuff that will fit into UPS - reasonably sized tilting T-slot tables, angle plates, big chunks of aluminum, etc etc.

            Enco is always the first catalog I reach for. You do need to watch as sometimes their "set" vs "individual" prices actually cost more than buying each of the individual parts of the set, but in many cases if it is something that they carry and you can break the $50 free freight limit (I seldom have trouble doing that) you come out ahead of the competition.

            Granted, they do have a limited selection of stuff and it is worth shopping around, but for the "run of the mill" items they are often very difficult to beat.

            They've been pretty responsive on returns or defective merchandise issues too.

            cheers,
            Michael

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            • #7
              Grizzly has them very reasonable with even more reasonable shipping.
              I just need one more tool,just one!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Pat Miles
                Are there any workable alternatives for a granite surface table. I was given a small (10") height gage and realized that without a stable, level surface of some kind the gage is worthless. Small (12" x 12") grade B tables are available on Ebay for a reasonable price but shipping can be costly. What is the purpose of a shelf on the granite table?
                Thanks,
                Pat
                First off, it doesn't really matter if it is level or not. What you are after is flatness. One thing that some people seem to forget about that may be sitting in their shop is a milling machine table. Now granted, it's not a surface plate. But if it is in good shape, it can be used for normal layout work. Unless seriously abused, I doubt if most milling machine tables would be out of flat more than a couple of thousandths. This should get you a lot closer on layout work then you were before you got the height gage. I used my mill table a couple of times while I was waiting on my granite plate to arrive. By the way, I have one of the enco models bought with free shipping. One of the best additions to my shop along with the height gage.
                Jonathan P.

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                • #9
                  the bottom of a punch press die works if you get one with out too big of a hole. but like others have said with the price of granites and free shipping. i would just belly up to the bar and spend the money.

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                  • #10
                    Flatness....

                    OK...now the first choice should be the granite surface plate. The chi-com ones are so cheap, about the same price as a piece of thick plate glass.
                    Granite counter tops aren't really flat....and often made in pieces. (I have 3 pieces...nice, black but useless for a surface plate.)
                    I'm still using a piece of 1/2 thick plate glass, 12 x 24. Works ok, so does the table on the Rockwell mill.
                    Rick

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                    • #11
                      Lee Valley ssells a small surface plate for a good price, if you have a store near you.

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                      • #12
                        My "surface plate" is actually a "polished" granite plaque for a corporate building, supposed to be engraved or have psudo gold lettering stuck on. Good price and I just said no thanks when they offered to engrave it.
                        Murphy was an optimist

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