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Let's Talk about Surface Plates

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  • Let's Talk about Surface Plates

    I see Enco has their sfc plates on sale, and the free shipping , so I'm thinking about getting a 12 X 18" one. (..seems like it'd make a nice shelf to pile stuff on , and my table saw always has too much clutter to use for a surface plate)

    The have the toolroom grade B w/no ledge, and inspection grade A w/2 ledges for a few $ more. Where are the ledges? ... I assume on the narrow sides, ie. I'd still have the full 12" width, but the top surface length is reduced by twice the ledge width. Right? ..or no?

    Secondly, what are the ledges for? set my can of beer on, without leaving a condensation ring on the working surface?

    Thirdly, surface plate cleaner - I've always assumed that existed to clean off prussian blue or other spotting media. But it raises the question about the use of general purpose cleaners on granite sfc plates (acetone, brake cleaner etc). Is that a no-no for some particular reason?
    Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

  • #2
    I would use rubbing alcohol to clean it. break cleaner and acetone both will be fine.


    • #3
      The ledges are used to clamp indicators and 123 blocks and set-up blocks for inspection. Really make the plate more versatile. Alcohol is OK for cleaning and drinking!


      • #4
        Nop, the ledges are "overhang." You get the 12"x18" top, but the long sides are the surface plate is a VERY bulky "T" cross section.
        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


        • #5
          Undercut huh? I probably have seen that before, but totally forgotten. Thanks.
          Guess I'll have to set my beer somewhere else. Or rig up a clamping arrangement. Hey, that'll keep it from getting knocked over. Great!
          Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


          • #6
            Surface plate cleaner

            Lynnl --

            The old Rahn Granite Surface Plate Company used to sell a paste-type cleaner that was, as near as I could tell, functionally identical to a smooth (no pumice or other gritty stuff) non-ammoniated waterless hand cleaner that mechanics use. The major difference that I could see was the price, the Rahn sold for five times the regular price of waterless hand cleaner from the hardware or auto supply store.

            For the last 25 or so years I've been perfectly satisfied using any of several different brands (GoJo, DL, LanLin, SBS, Mechanics Brand, and probably others) of smooth non-ammoniated waterless hand cleaner to clean granite surface tables.

            Only one brief note of caution: Even though the hand cleaners are called "waterless", they almost always contain water. You need to allow the granite to dry for a while after you wipe of the cleaner before setting iron or steel parts on it to avoid rusting. The same caution applies if you clean your surface plate with liquid or spray-can cleaners.



            • #7
              Originally posted by lynnl
              I see Enco has their sfc plates on sale, and the free shipping ,

              Watch the weight. They will say it weighs too much and has to go by truck, no free shipping...JRouche


              • #8
                Originally posted by lynnl
                I see Enco has their sfc plates on sale, and the free shipping , so I'm thinking about getting a 12 X 18" one.
                FYI: the 18" toolroom grade surface plate with 2 ledges actually just barely makes the free shipping limit, so it's a bargain:
                12x18" Grade A Surface Plate
                "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


                • #9
                  I use Johnson's paste wax.


                  • #10
                    I ordered THREE of those 12 x 18 surface plates for myself and a couple of pals, using the free shipping deal. The combined weight was WAY beyond the UPS limit, of course.

                    So, I got a call from a nice lady in the ENCO shipping department informing me of the weight issue. She actiually asked me if it would be "OK" with me for them to ship in three separate boxes so I'd get the free shipping.

                    They no doubt lost some dough on the transaction, but they've got a lot more business from me because of that kind of behavior! That, and the free shipping codes we pass around here. . .

                    Frank Ford


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ninthst
                      I use Johnson's paste wax.
                      Anything that leaves a residue will ruin the accuracy of the plate.
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                      • #12
                        I use Nu Finish car wax,it drives the moisutre out of the granite surface and keeps things like blue from sticking in the first place.
                        I just need one more tool,just one!


                        • #13
                          Leigh is correct; clean it but never coat with anything.