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Vintage Starrett 56a Score

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Dan_S

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#1
I've been watching eBay for a small surface Gage for a while now, and Saturday I finally got lucky and scrored this vintage 56A.

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Bob Korves

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#2
That gage is in very nice condition and has beautiful color case hardening. Even Starrett doesn't make them like that now. That was once an industrial finish, not any more...
 

Dan_S

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#3
Even Starrett doesn't make them like that now. That was once an industrial finish, not any more...
Yea, the new ones are blackened or enameled, and don't even have the ball at the top of the spindle anymore. Considering Starrrett wants $266 for a new one, it makes you wonder what you are really paying for these days.
 

brino

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#4
That is a beautiful tool. Good find, congrats!

BTW, very nice close-up images.......tool porn if I ever saw it!:encourage:

-brino
 

Ulma Doctor

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#5
WoW! nice find, it looks MINTY!
 

gotogojo

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#6
I have one like it but the name is on the rod with the ball on top same name and made in same city. did not what it was used for or how it was used no model no. that I can find. my educ. for this day thanks gotogojo
 

dlane

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#7
I have one , or two of those , never figured out what they did or how they were used
 

master of none

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#8
I have one of those also not in as good of shape,never knew what exactly what it was used for.
 

dlane

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#9
That makes three of us , surface gauge hmm, do u slide it around on a surface plate or somthing , or it looks like u could use it to scribe a line on somthing useing a surface plate.?.
 

T Bredehoft

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#10
do u slide it around on a surface plate or something ,
Or by using the pins, run an indicator along the edge of a piece to indicate it parallel the T Slots on a mill. (the pins drop down into either a T slot or the front of the table)
 
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f350ca

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#11
I have a couple of different sized ones and use them frequently.
With the scriber point you can transfer dimensions on the surface plate but mine gets used mostly with a test indicator mounted on it. Great for setting up work parallel to the face of the mill table, with the base on the table and the indicator tip on the work. They have two retractable pins on the base, with them out you can slide it along the edge of the mill table to set work parallel to the edge the table.

Greg
 

Dan_S

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#12
They are for general surface plate layout work.

Some have no pins, some have 2 in the back, some have 4 pins (1 in each corner), so that you can reference of the edge of a surface. They can hold indicators or a scribe. A lot of people don't use them anymore, becuse a good height gauge can be more accurate, but not as versatile. For example, a surface gauge can reach over features on a part etc.
 
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f350ca

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#13
Setting two holes in a bolt circle horizontal before cutting a keyway between them.
IMG_1727.jpg

The result.

IMG_1728.jpg

Greg
 

Dan_S

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#14
One of the big YouTube guys should do a video on this, I did a quick search and couldn't find anything. I guys surface gauges are like toolmakers buttons, a lost art.
 

joshua43214

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#15
Nice score. Making one has been on my list of things to do, but it just keeps getting pushed back for other projects.

Hmmm,
Seems I picked up some of that 3/8" stainless rod from a Speedy Metals fire sale, maybe a good project for the weekend...
 

Silverbullet

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#16
Nice in the box find. Not too many people know what or even how to use one, I have at least 4 or 5 from the one you have up to one with the base is at least 4 or 5" square . I use to use it to lay out lines on giant bearing blocks for the steel mill. You can do a lot with one of those if ya know how.
 

chips&more

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#17
I think the height gage with scribe attachment pretty much laid the surface gage to rest. But a cute little Starrett surface gage in nice condition is still eye candy. Or, it makes a nice indicator holder…Dave.
 

Dan_S

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#18
I think the height gage with scribe attachment pretty much laid the surface gage to rest.
for measuring height yes, but a surface gauge is capable of a lot more than measuring height.
 

gwade

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#19
I picked up one at a flea market recently very nice condition but missing the scribe. Any ideas on how to make or obtain a replacement scribe at a reasonable cost?
 

Ebel440

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#20
The scribe is just a pointy piece of metal. Just take a rod the correct diameter for the clamp and either turn it down to a taper or grind it. Doesn't need to be anything special. Use drill rod and harden it afterwards if you want.
 

Dan_S

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#21
I picked up one at a flea market recently very nice condition but missing the scribe. Any ideas on how to make or obtain a replacement scribe at a reasonable cost?
if it's a Starrett, you can order parts from them still, but it won't be cheap.
 

dlane

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#22
Guess I'll dig them out and clean them up :courage:
 

EmilioG

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#23
I recently got a good deal on 3 surface gages, two Brown and Sharpe and one Starrett.
All are hardened steel and in good shape. I'll post photos after I clean them up.
They are all vintage with the larger B&S gage made in England.
 

Brian Hutchings

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#25
This has been a very interesting topic. I used to use these 50 years ago to mark out castings for machining. Like others on here, I'm a sucker for old tools, especially ones in good condition.
I've bought 2 recently, both from eBay. The first one was made by Moore & Wright which is about 15 miles from me in Sheffield (England) and is fairly modern in its cardboard box.
The other is also by Moore & Wright but is more interesting as it is stamped "AM 1939". AM stands for Air Ministry which was the government department responsible for the Royal Air Force and 1939 is the year that WW2 broke out in Europe. When bought it was still covered in thick lanolin preservative.
Brian
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Silverbullet

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#26
One real thing for sure , all old time machinist who served apprenticeship know how to use and the many ways it should be used even today. Anyone who uses a mill , a planer , a shaper, and yes a lathe too. Surface gage is so underutilized now . In my ancient youth it was a required tool in minimum of one . That had to be the mid size models 9" + 10" rods , usually came with two back then. Smaller ones for smaller jobs bigger for big of course. I happen to own several one is to me Hugh weighs about ten pounds or so. The rods are 18" + 24" , I used it on many set ups on planners and shapers , back in the seventies . Sure don't seem like that's old to me but it is . With the pins down it could set up a casting with in .020 easily . Add an indicator and 1/2 thou is more then possible for squareness on the table.
 

Brian Hutchings

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#27
This got me thinking about Starrett tools that I have but I could only find the one in the picture. The only other US ones I own are by Slocomb.
This base for this protractor was given to me by someone who had been sent in to strip the workshops when Crossley-Premier was sold to a company that was not interested in the Diesel and gas engines that the company made. When this someone heard that I had worked there he offered be the base because the company name was on it but the rule was missing.
Several years later, I met a fellow Crossley-Premier ex employee and when he found out that I had the base, offered me the rule that had been in his toolbox when the company was sold!
So the tool is now complete again.
Brian
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