The reason to hone with the torque plates is so the cylinder walls are stressed and honed properly round the same as when the head is installed.
That said,If all you are doing is a clean up hone, then no its not really needed,but if you are honing to an oversize ei:10 over then ideally it should be done.
in Car Craft from a few months ago they bored some engines, died the walls, then bored with a torque plate. on the chevy engines you could see a distinct difference. in the 302 they bored (the only for i believe), the difference was almost negligible. take this to mean however you'd like it. i take it to mean chevy engines are weak
my shop torque plate bored for an additional $35. worth it for the peace of mind i think.
Just read an text that I saved some time ago that agrees with your post:
The longer stroke and shorter rods will increase the side loads on the cylinders, so I prefer to keep as much metal in there as possible. After boring the block will have to be honed. Some shops use torque plates. The small Ford isn't plagued by the bore distortion problems of, say, the small Chevy, so it's not really necessary to use torque plates.
Copyright 1998, Dave Williams. All rights reserved.
Hope you don't mind this, Dave.