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An unpleasant experience from a few years back

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Active Member
Active Member
Jan 23, 2017
I was hired to straighten out a metallurgical testing laboratory's sample preparation operation. What a mess.

Anyway, we needed a small square check notch impact samples. All our measurement tools had to be NIST certified.

I went ahead and ordered a little solid beam square with beveled edges from a supposedly reputable tool making company. I called the company to request the certification process, and they were surprised, but willing to take my money. It made a 20$ square into an 80$ square.

3 weeks later, I got it, with papers. I had pieces to test, so I got to it. Hmmm, something ain't right here. Flip the part and see daylight both directions? Get out the mics and start sorting out why. Use my old non certes square and the part looks good. Hmmmm.

Check the new certified square and the outside looks OK, but there is daylight on the inside. Check the parallelism of the beam and oops, it isn't good. Out 3+ thousandths over the inch an a half.

I call the company, and finally end up talking with some higher ups. They refuse to make it right with me, as since I ordered it certed, it's a special order and hence non returnable.


If you have a touchy job, use a reputable company.

All I will say here is that it WASN'T Starett, Mitutoyo, or Brown and Sharpe.

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H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Aug 8, 2011
Sounds like we both shopped at the same company back then. Bought a couple of squares from Westhoff when they were in business around 1990. Calibrated them in our lab where I worked back then. The 6" one was out about .0016" in 6" and it was not consistent. Started out out of square and as it got to the end of the blade, got better. The 8" blade square was just a little worse. Still have the squares too. Have a 18" B & S square I picked up second hand a while back. Had it calibrated, it's within half thousandth in the full 18" of length.

Tony Wells

Former Vice President - Administrator Emeritus
Staff member
H-M Supporter - Commercial Member
Jan 22, 2011
They should have gotten it back with an NCR and a debit memo since it was certified. They would have simply passed it through to the lab they used. You do have to be careful when dealing with traceable instruments.


Active Member
Active Member
Jan 11, 2014
That is why yiu always use plastic to pay

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