Advantage of a carpenter's rule?


I've noticed that a folding carpenter's rule is often included in lists of essential basic tools. I'm not sure I understand how a folding ruler differs from a tape measurer. Could anyone explain what the advantage of a folding ruler is?
Thanks, Richard
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No that I use mine much, but they are better than a tape for measuring interiors... like the width of a doorway.

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If you turn the rule on edge to make your mark, all parallax is eliminated. I have a 6 footer that I cut in two pieces so that I could have a folding yardstick (actually two folding yardsticks.) I also have two 8 foot rules, including a plumbers rule that reads inside.

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"Richard" wrote in message

Allows you to take, or transfer, inside measurements better than a retractable tape measure.
It will also 'stand out' almost as far as a Big Max, and it is great for wiping the sweat off your brow, as my cabinetmaker grandfather often used his for.
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You don't need someone to hold the "dumb end" of the rule when making long measurements, as it will support itself, within reason.
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Whatever the rule you use, you'll get the best results if you use the same one for all measurements in one project. If you use a couple of rulers make sure you compare them. You'll probably find that they are all off a little bit. So if you use the "long" one to measure one part and "short" one to measure a matching part, you'll probably not be able to fit them together.
wrote:

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"Richard" wrote...

The rule with the little brass sliding extension is better than a tape measure for getting accurate inside measurements.
http://www.taunton.com/finehomebuilding/pages/h00036.asp
-- Timothy Juvenal www.tjwoodworking.com
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Metal tapes expand and contract with temperature at a different rate than wood. If you want to be real accurate, a wood carpenter's rule would expand and contract nearly the same as your wood would. (However, I'd be the first to admit that, over the usual 6' or so, the difference wouldn't be much to speak of.) Over long distances, steel tapes stretch a little, too. Between temp and tension, the difference can be 1/4" or so. Some longer tapes are made of fiberglass, and probably are best used with a "calibrated" tension, too.
But mostly, I find that a rule with the extender eliminates the guesstimating required when doing inside measurements -- no trying to "read the curve."
"Chip"
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As everyone has mentioned, taking inside measurements is the real advantage. One thing I've noticed is when new, they are not always accurate to a tape measure. If you lay your tape along the rule, sometimes you notice that all of a sudden one section will start to run off. This can usually be corrected by tapping on the joint of that section to get it back in line. We always check them. Lufkin used to make one with the sliding extension on both ends. I think it was the x6x model but I'm not sure if they even make it anymore. With that model it doesn't matter which end you un-fold you always have the extender on that end.
Mike O.
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None. That's why they invented the tape measure. For short accurate measurements, a steel 24" rule is my tool of choice. The only time I saw one in actual use was by a male interior decorator.
Dave
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I use both folding ruler and retractable tape in my daily work. They are both useful. For accuracy the folding rule is superior. Retractable tapes use a metal end that is supposed to slide back and forth for outside measure and inside measure. If this feature is working correctly the tape should be more or less accurate. They are probably accurate to 1/32-1/16. If the feature is not sliding correctly measurements can be off by 1/8 plus. The folding rule is more accurate and as based on the users skill.
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Well, you look like an interesting guy when you're using one. Generally speaking, a rule is more accurate, but I wouldn't count on a folding bit of wood to be signifigantly better than a tape, especially considering the stepped nature of the extended rule- if you're doing layout work, that thing is not going to lay flat, and it doesn't make a good straightedge.
AFAIK, I've never seen a folding rule in a list of essential basic tools- they've been replaced by tape measures, for the most part. For things requiring a really accurate measurement, I usually use a metal 4' rule or one of my smaller cabinetmaker's rules, and even then I get funny looks if I'm on a jobsite. My guess is that those old folders were around as a good solution to fitting a long ruler in a short toolbox until retractable tapes were widely availible, kind of like braces- they were, and still are, just fine- but you don't see them much anymore now that cordless drills are so common.
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wrote:

But! If you turn the folding rule on edge it does lay flat and as I mentioned in an ealier post, all parallax is gone. A tape is one of the least accurate measuring devices in my opinion.

I use a folding rule or a cabinetmakers rule, however I use story sticks more than either. About the only time I will use a tape is to check diagonal dimensions, and then I turn the tape on edge for accuracy. I don't care about funny looks when I'm working. :-)
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On Fri, 18 Aug 2006 02:17:11 GMT, "Lowell Holmes"

It can be, but doesn't have to be inaccurate. If you've got three guys using different tapes and yelling measurements to one another, then they can vary by up to 1/8" sometimes- but if it's one guy using one tape, you can always run it an inch by and rock the tape so that one edge is laying flat- then it is as accurate as a story stick or rule, provided you don't forget to always run it an inch by. (Though I will admit it's easy enough to measure an inch by, and then cut a piece with the tape hooked on the end, DAMHIKT)

Nor do I, generally, but sometimes it's a matter of avoiding the boss or foreman's irritation. Even though it's more accurate and takes no more time to use a rule, it's amazing how many carpenters think it's a waste of time- and assume that you are being fussy and lazy if you use them. Of course, most of the framers I've worked with contend that a sixteenth is a non-existant measurement- to those guys, parallax does not exist either.
Now if you're talking about working in my home shop, I'd have to agree- anyone caught making funny faces can get out and leave me to my own devices! But even then, I just use the inch-by method for anything over 4', and so far, it's always worked fine.
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"Your First Toolkit" by Frank Klausz (Popular Woodworking, August 2006)
His "Basic Kit of Tools" includes one, as well as a tape measure.
--
I was punching a text message into my phone | Reed Snellenberger
yesterday and thought, "They need to make a | rsnellenberger
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Tue, Aug 15, 2006, 3:27pm (EDT-3) snipped-for-privacy@msn.com (Richard) doeth query: <snip> Could anyone explain what the advantage of a folding ruler is?
None for me, I've managed to break every one I've owned.
JOAT Justice was invented by the innocent. Mercy and lawyers were invented by the guilty.
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I use both but use folding ruler for close, accurate work.
Walt Conner
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Younger kids generally think a folding rule is a lot more fun than a tape measure.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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