Whaddya Gonna Do? Start Laughing And Bend Over.

I mean really.

I told The Wifely Unit that all of these measuring tools that I have been accumulating here recently are only part of the total of goodies that I am wanting and then gave her a quick description and explanation of the purpose of a Surface Plate.

She listened, nodded politely and pretty much said, “Whatever”.

Then she went right back to her television show.

Rubbing my hands together like the crazy fiend I am, I took that as a definite yes and commenced shopping.

I have already been doing that anyway but this just gave me more practice.

I hit EBay, yadda yadda yadda and wound up at Shars Tools instead.

You can spend some serious coin on these dang things in a very short amount of time if you are so inclined.

Having never been overly flush with the monies my entire life has taught me to be a little…thrifty.

Maybe just downright cheap if you know what I mean.

I could probably throw way too much money at this want of mine but being somewhat realistic about the whole thing, why should I?

I’m a hobbyist at best and a wannabee either way. Just how often am I going to need to use a surface plate anyway?

Not often enough to justify spending a whole bunch of money and that is an inescapable fact.

So I found one. A Grade A, 9″X12″ Granite surface plate for the what I think is a damn reasonable $34.50.


I had to create an account and all that happy shit so I get all that done, go to Checkout and then we come to the Shipping part.

This is where they proceed to break one square off in my ass.


The absolute cheapest rate they offered.

Then just for fun the State of Washington stuck their hand out for another seven bucks and change.

So my Thirty Four Fifty Surface plate really just cost me NINETY THREE DOLLARS!

Fuck me runnin’.

It wasn’t any better on EBay either.

I found plenty that offered Free Shipping but you were going to basically pay the same amount either way.

So I just did the ol’ Grin And Bear It routine, hit the PayPal button and it should be here by the end of the month.

Mission accomplished, one down .

17 thoughts on “Whaddya Gonna Do? Start Laughing And Bend Over.

  1. Outside micrometer set 0-6″
    Depth micrometer set 0-6″
    Dial bore gauges set 0-6″
    Dial indicator 0-1″
    Dial indicator 0-2″
    Deflection gauge 0-0.030″
    18″ straight edge
    36″ straight edge
    burette 0-100cc
    burette 0-20cc
    pulley laser alignment set
    ……no idea what you are talking about.

    Likely explains why I’m not married any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Surface plates are definitely better bought locally. If you ever find yourself needing a larger size, ground steel plate works just fine. I knew a lot of die makers who did all their layout on die sets or cast flat plates. Granite is nice, but heavy. I bought a 24 x 36 x 6 inch thick one when I was an apprentice and had more money than sense. Ended up in my bedroom as a table till I sold it to a coworkers race car shop for block inspection. Just about ruined myself carrying that out of the house.


  3. I use a 1/2″ thick aluminum plate for my “chassis plate” when I build my little R/C race cars and do the alignment. It’s 24″x36″ and has a smooth, flat surface. Did the steel straight edge across it and corner to corner and saw NO light, so it should be plenty flat for building model cars on!


  4. Again, my mechanic friend has that 2″ steel plate that he uses, 5′ x 10′. Haven’t checked it for surface wrinkles, and he doesn’t really care because he’s a repair service, NOT a machine shop. He can whistle the tune, though!


  5. You sure a glutton for punishment Phil. Are you gonna build a second story loft over your garage for additional storage? We know and have photographic evidence of your carpenter skills… You really need that 40′ X 40′ shop that a small house is attached so you can go out the door into your shop and don’t have to get wet or snowed on.


  6. Little late, but

    Granite counter top. There is probably a shop nearby that makes them. Get the piece they cut out for a sink. Cash and carry, no tax, no fee’s.


    • That is a good idea DDM. My wife wanted a thick slab of marble to use in baking and candy making and I went to a shop that sold them but they wanted two arms and one testicle for cost… I went to a cabinet shop that specialized in marble and granite counter tops for kitchens and bathrooms. For $20 bucks I walked out with a slab of marble 20″ X 32″ that was a left over from a job. No taxes, no receipt. That is the way business should be run.


  7. my oldest brother who is a pretty good amateur machinist scarfed up several pieces of black marble that I was discarding after having to replace the marble fireplace surround in my family room to use for himself and to give to his other machinist buddies. They said they were almost perfect.


  8. When in doubt, go to a headstone supply place. Every once in a while they bork one up…. Usually can be had for about $100 (I paid a bit less) but is 24x36x3….



  9. Just to add to the ideas, plate glass is very flat these days. Float glass in particular (they float the molten glass on molten metal).

    If it’s thin, it will sag if you just support the edges, so put it on a piece of wood as the top and it’ll be fine.


  10. I have a granite slab that was paired with a granite rolling pin for baking–it’s about 24X24X1″. A very nice piece and all I’ve ever used it for is a vibration damper for a turntable. When all the furniture is buzzing from loud music, the turntable is still smooth.
    I also acquired a stone counter top from a chemistry lab remodel. It’s about 3’X8’X1.5″ and weighs about 300 lbs.–a royal PITA to move which I’ve done twice now. One of those things that when I get it done my wife asks “How did you do that?” The answer is always the same: “It took a while.” The thing is a synthetic stone, loaded with asbestos, so cutting it would be a hazmat operation.


  11. I am visiting my mother-in-law right now, and she lives less than a mile from a granite cutting shop. They have piles of ends and scraps, which they charge little or nothing for. I got my surface plate from them, which is about 36×48 inches, and 4 inches thick. And dead flat, or at least beyond my ability to measure any imperfections.
    Some years ago, I had them make a 12 foot granite obelisk for my wife’s garden. I think I paid $400 for it. The hard part was dragging it across the country on a trailer. The bottom is 16 inches square, so it was heavy.
    But there are shops like that anywhere large quarries can be found. At least here, they start with giant blocks that look to be about 4x4x8 feet. There are always lots of ends and cracked pieces. You can square them off with a wet tile saw and diamond grinding wheel.


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