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Machinists Level

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:45 pm
by Douglas1968
Being new at this, I’ve recently learned about the art of Hand Scraping. I’m also in the market for a reliable Machinists Level for my recently purchased lathe. A guy wants to sell this level to me for $60.00. I’m concerned about the Emory cloth scratches on what was once a perfectly leveled surface. Can you guys help me out?

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:42 pm
by stephenc
I'm sure it could be saved with some work , but I'd say at this point it is a project and not a precision tool .

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:46 pm
by Douglas1968
Thanks for your help.

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 9:12 pm
by wlw-19958
Hi There,

That is either the Starrett 97 or 98 level.
Both the 97 and 98 used the same base but
the vial is different. The 97 has a plain vial
and the 98 has a ground and graduated vial.
If there are a series of graduation lines, it
is the ground vial. The graduation lines
denote .005" per foot deviation.

For scraping. you would be better served
with a Starrett 199Z.

Good Luck!
-Blue Chips-
Webb

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:05 am
by John Hasler
stephenc wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:42 pm
I'm sure it could be saved with some work , but I'd say at this point it is a project and not a precision tool .
How can you tell anything from those pictures?

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:41 am
by stephenc
Well you sure can't see much .
But in the second picture I can see shiny along with what's either patina or rust .
So someone has either done some polishing or sanding or something .
I can't see any of that being good for a precision level ... so project it must be .

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:47 am
by Harold_V
I own one of those levels. They are not known for remaining flat, as the relief in the casting and resulting finishing of one face causes internal stresses to be uneven, eventually resulting in the base curving. It's not a lot, but it's more than one should consider acceptable.

As has already been suggested, that model of level is not suited for use in scraping, as it lacks the degree of resolution that is required. The 199 or 199Z, as well as the equivalent levels made by others are all suitable. They resolve to .0005" in 12".

H

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:27 am
by RMinMN
If you require a certain level of precision, you buy that and pay the price. If your lathe has never been leveled, the precision of this level is better than any guess. You decide if the price for this level matches its presumed level of precision.

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 8:43 am
by SteveM
I can't make any comments for hand scraping, as I do not know enough, but if the level will sit on a surface plate and not rock, it should be good enough for leveling a lathe. A carpenters level is not sufficient.

You can check that the level is set correctly, by putting it on a reasonably level surface, noting the reading, marking on that surface where it is located (you can outline it with tape) and then reversing it. It should go back to the same spot. If not, adjust and repeat.

Steve

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:15 pm
by Mr Ron
Given the real condition of the level is not known, I would offer $30. If he counters with a lower offer, it would send a signal that all is not good with said level. At this point, I would either stay with the $30 offer, or pass on it.

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:39 pm
by SteveM
12" Starrett 98's will sell all day / any day on ebay for at least $75 (the median sale price is more like $100).

I can't see the condition in the picture, but if the base is flat and usable, $60 is pretty reasonable (but bargain as much as you can). If you get it at $60 and it's not up to what you want, you will at least get your money back on ebay, so I think it's a zero-risk chance.

Steve

Re: Machinists Level

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:47 pm
by wlw-19958
Hi There,

The picture is not a 12" model. It is either 6" or 8"
model. I have a 12" model that I bought years ago
with a broken vial. I sent it to Starrett and had the
vial replaced and the base re-ground and clean to
"like new" condition.

I cannot tell if this is the 97 model or the 98 from the
pictures provided.

Good Luck!
-Blue Chips-
Webb