An imperial tape could be more convenient when measuring for a factory
size, such as marking for wall studs. (With a calculator, a metric tape
can do it nicely.)
Most of my measuring is to cut pieces. A couple of years ago, a
neighbor was cutting panels of plastic skirting to cover his brick
underpinning. The panels were 5' (1500mm) wide. As the ground wasn't
perfectly level, he needed a measurement for each end, and he had to add
5/8" for the panels to tuck under his siding.
He'd cut several wrong when I came along. First, he didn't start with
precision because reading a tape in 32nds is a hassle. Second, it's
easy to goof adding fractions. Third, it's hard to keep two mixed
numbers straight long enough to make two cuts.
I got my metric tape and a piece of paper. After that, the measurements
were easy and every piece fit nicely.
My BIL worked as a carpenter, then built himself a house. Once he
showed me how to repair lightning damage to my roof. In cutting a piece
less than 2 square feet, he ruined a whole sheet of pressure-treated
He needed four lengths to cut that piece. He kept trying to remember
four mixed numbers long enough to climb down the ladder and make his
cuts. When he kept goofing, I went up with him with a pad, but he
wouldn't tell me what he measured. Writing the numbers could have
saved time and lumber. A metric tape would have helped because he
wouldn't have avoided mixed numbers.
Shingling alone, snapping a chalk line is more trouble than it's worth.
I make spot checks with a tape measure. A metric tape works best.
It's precise enough to show me if I'm starting to drift, and I don't
have to remember a mixed number.
How about the first example, where my neighbor had to measure for
plastic panels to cover his underpinning.
Suppose he measures 28-5/8" at one end. From 28", he has to scan past
20 marks of varying lengths to pick out the 5/8" mark. To avoid mixed
numbers, he's going to have to get his calculator and convert that to
229 eighths. Then he adds 3 for the underlap to make 232. Now, to see
what that will be on his tape when he marks the plastic, he needs to use
a calculator to convert 232 eights to 29". What luck! No fraction to
read on the tape this time!
With a metric tape, it's 727, 2mm past the 725. He adds 15 for the
underlap and marks 742 on the plastic. He doesn't have to worry about
compromising precision if he reads in mm.
I don't know, but I'd buy one. So long as you cut pieces at the proper
distance, you can measure it in cubits. I found the metric system easier to
use and read, particularly when doing layouts on ornamental metal. Use a
simple decimal calculator instead of a conversion one you buy at the Borg
that's a lot more complicated. Using a base 10 measure and a base 10
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