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Granite surface plate cleaner?

Cannonmn

Stainless
Joined
Jun 25, 2016
Need a decent potion for routine granite plate cleaning. ,in a video, Joe P? Said household ammonia was best. I know it’ll do the job but wonder if it’ll harm the granite, it is a fairly strong base, chemically. What should I buy, or is ammonia perfectly fine?
 

13engines

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Location
Saint Paul
Buy yourself the Starrett Surface Plate Cleaner. I'd say it's the best, and has never let me down under any circumstance. It's almost like a miracle sometimes. Seriously...
 

sfriedberg

Diamond
Joined
Oct 14, 2010
Location
Oregon, USA
Ammonia works. I use Windex, because that's what I use to dilute and clean up Canode. "With Ammonia-D!"

Unless you plan to submerge your surface plate in a vat of household ammonia for days, you can ignore chemical attacks. Household ammonia is 5-10%. Industrial aqueous ammonia is typically 25% and is considered corrosive to zinc and red metals, but not very corrosive to steel. Anhydrous ammonia will cause stress corrosion in steels and stainless steels.

If your granite plate is truly granite (lots of quartz) it will be even more resistant to ammonia, as the quartz is basically unaffected. If your "granite" plate is actually gabbro, lacking the quartz, you might notice some effect if you left your plate submerged for days.

If you are just using ammonia to clean the plate, and don't leave it in a puddle of ammonia for days, don't worry about it.
 

Mark Rand

Diamond
Joined
Jul 9, 2007
Location
UK Rugby Warwickshire
Most of the time, I'm using isopropyl alcohol.

For all liquid cleaners, there is the problem that evaporation will tend to cool the top of the plate and make it sag for a few hours. More noticable when you're calibrating the darn thing. :willy_nilly:
 

Richard King

Diamond
Joined
Jul 12, 2005
Location
Cottage Grove, MN 55016
I used to sell Granite plates for Tru-Stone who Starrett bought. They are up in St. Cloud MN. When I visited the plant up there I got to talking to a worker bee and he was pumping a red liquid into a gallon jug. I stopped and he laughed, this is the $18.00 red Windex we sell as plate cleaner. He said they special order red Windex and sell it as their special plate cleaner. Then he pointed to a rack with 1 pound tins of paste plate cleaner. He said and that's just Goop hand cleaner in our can. I no longer sell granite plates or straight-edges, but I do clean my plates with store bought blue Windex glass cleaner in a spray bottle and Goop hand cleaner. (not abrasive). Use a white rag with the Goop, spread it on with your rubber gloved hand, rub it in and wipe off the dirt and bluing. It will also remove Dykem stained plates with a few applications. Goop Hand Cleaner and All Goop Cleaning Products The white and blue one on the left. Non abrasive. You will be shocked how well it works and the 1 pound cup costs around $1.50. I buy it at Walmart.
 

SRuss

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 26, 2010
Location
New Hampshire USA
Most of the time, I'm using isopropyl alcohol.

For all liquid cleaners, there is the problem that evaporation will tend to cool the top of the plate and make it sag for a few hours. More noticable when you're calibrating the darn thing. :willy_nilly:

Interesting. I don't have the means to calibrate a surface plate, so I'm not familiar with this. I also use isopropyl because, well, that's what the shop has available.

How much sag are we talking, here?
 

Mark Rand

Diamond
Joined
Jul 9, 2007
Location
UK Rugby Warwickshire
Can be a tenth or even two on a 24"x36"x4". That's more than the overall flatness you are working to when calibrating a class A plate.

Having said that, most of the time and in most shop environments, surface plates are nowhere near as flat as people think they are
 

eKretz

Diamond
Joined
Mar 27, 2005
Location
Northwest Indiana
Mostly a problem if you're scraping. A few tenths won't generally hurt anything for most inspection work. If you're scraping though it can cause problems, especially if you're scraping two separate mating surfaces and as a result they're both non-flat the same amount but in opposite directions.
 

jccaclimber

Hot Rolled
Joined
Nov 22, 2015
Location
San Francisco
Windex or way diluted Tide.
You are cleaning a rock. Flushing the divots, tiny holes and gaps clear is the key.

Anything to remove the laundry detergent after, or are you so diluted that you don't need to? I'm thinking of what happens when you mop a floor with too much soap and don't rinse. A bit down the line it gets sticky and grabs dirt faster than if the soap wasn't there.
 

specfab

Titanium
Joined
May 28, 2005
Location
AZ
IPA works well for me for "routine" cleaning, but I also use the Starrett plate cleaner when I really want to get it nice all over. The Starrett product does seem to leave the surface more slippery than just alcohol. Word of advice -- follow the Starrett instructions to the letter.
 

CarbideBob

Diamond
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Location
Flushing/Flint, Michigan
Anything to remove the laundry detergent after, or are you so diluted that you don't need to?.
I was at one time selling Starrett plates and products.
The advice then was "Only use the Starrett cleaner on your plates. Anything else is wrong and may harm things". :)
Right along with "You can not use Mitutoyo gauge blocks with Starrett mics, They don't play well together". Sold some sets this way.

More to the question, acetone or lacquer thinner final wipe with a lint free rag or polishing cloth.
Paper towel leaves fibers so that not great even though is seems "slippery" sliding things around.
Bob
 

Nagol

Aluminum
Joined
May 21, 2020
I used to use Windex to cut the grime then IPA to get extra clean but my wife turned me on to these Norwex brand towels that are high quality microfiber towels and now I just use it lightly damp with water. Towel is seriously impressive. They make some big claims on their towels but one thing I can agree with is that they pick up everything and don't let it go. I find it gets the surface plate as clean or better than Windex and or IPA. Another advantage is that they have silver infused as a natural antibacterial so they don't ever really get smelly, I just wet mine, ring it out and hang when done. I bring it home every few weeks to get it cleaned deeper but it never smells.
 

John Garner

Titanium
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Location
south SF Bay area, California
One of my former employers used Rahn surface plate cleaner paste, which sold for around five bucks (IIRC) per one-pound can in the early 1980s. I thought the Rahn paste cleaner worked exceptionally well, but also noticed that it smelled, looked, felt, and tasted (yeah, I tasted them) like one of the waterless hand cleaners sold in auto supply stores for 1/10 the price.

Sine then, I've used several different brands of waterless hand cleaners -- the no ammonia and no grit versions -- to clean precision stoneware, with complete satisfaction. My current can is GoJo, and I've used Goop, Gentle Kleen, DL, LanLin, Mechanics Brand, and probably a half dozen others.

None of them let me down, and they are almost guaranteed to be in stock at any auto parts store, hardware store, or lumber yard . . . for cheap.
 

gbent

Diamond
Joined
Mar 14, 2005
Location
Kansas
I am pretty certain Rock of Ages aerosol surface plate cleaner a couple decades ago was Dow 409 bathroom cleaner.
 

johansen

Stainless
Joined
Aug 16, 2014
Location
bainbridge island
Dow 409 bathroom cleaner.

brought back memories of boot camp. pretty sure we had gallon sized yellow bottles of 409.. something or another.
regardless what it was they told us many times, don't bother trying to kill yourself by drinking a gallon of it. it won't work!
 








 
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