This paper deals with local 3D descriptors for surface matching. First, we categorize existing methods into two classes: Signatures and Histograms. Then, by discussion and experiments alike, we point out the key issues of uniqueness and repeatability of the local reference frame. Based on these observations, we formulate a novel comprehensive proposal for surface representation, which encompasses a new unique and repeatable local reference frame as well as a new 3D descriptor. The latter lays at the intersection between Signatures and Histograms, so as to possibly achieve a better balance between descriptiveness and robustness. Experiments on publicly available datasets as well as on range scans obtained with Spacetime Stereo provide a thorough validation of our proposal.