You'd think the guys that make them would have figured out how to do it
right my now. You and I know better. Flatten out that bent end first. Then
beat the rivet with a hammer a few times until the loose end doesn't move.
Just curious, what kind of fishing line do you use?
As you've already heard, the loose hook on the tape measure is "a
feature not a bug." The big thing in accuracy is to use the same tool
for measurement or make sure all your tools measure the same.
If you have a yardstick, tape measure, framing square, etc. laying
around compare the marking of each. You're probably (I'd say almost
positively) going to find differences among them. I just read some
test where a guy bought several tape measures (some were the make and
model) and compared the sizes and found them all to have slight
differences in accuracy.
Try to use just one measuring tool for one project or compare them and
realize that an inch isn't always an inch.
I use a variety of measuring tools depending on what I'm measuring. I
usually use a tape measure for larger measurements and a Union 12" and
Craftsman 6" square (they both measure the same). I also use a small
cheap brass sliding caliper, a slightly less cheap plastic dial
caliper, and a digital caliper (less than $20 from Harbor Freight and
works great). I have a dial indicator and a set of micrometers along
with inside and outside calipers, not to mention 6" and 36" metal
rulers. I also have protractors, both fixed and adjustable; framing
squares, circle gauges and screw templates.
And sometimes I just mark a piece of cardboard.
Do I need them all? Naw, but they're cool to play with :-P
A while ago, I bought a 6" dial caliper that's marked in fractions of an
inch on the dial (each 1/8" is marked on the dial, with, IIRC, tick
marks at 1/64" increments between). Lately I've become very fond of
using it for measuring. Not so much because I care about 1/64th
accuracy, but just because it's so much easier for my middle-aged eyes
to read than anything else I have.
I just wish somebody would make a left-handed version of it.
Yes, but the better tapes are more consistent.
Tape measures? 1) The end on most (all?) are slightly bent back to the
blade to aid in hooking on the material being measured. 2) Letting the
tape slap back into the case tends to straighten this bend back and / or
break the tape and / or put undue wear on the rivets. 3) Better tapes
have an extended tang for the hook and 3 (or more?) rivets.
I check my tape(s) against a steel rule. If you do this don't forget
about the bend back on the hook. I've found tapes have gotten much more
accurate, at least between the numbers. Most need tweaking of the hook.
What do I use? Mostly a tape (Latest is a Fat Max, didn't like it at
first but has come to fit my hand), 12 and 24 inch steel rule. The rules
are Blue Point and Lufkin, not the scrap found at BORG.
I've heard this since I was a child, use the same tool from beginning to
end. Doesn't matter much with quality steel rules and better (machine
tooling), makes all the difference in wood tools.
On Sun, 04 Jan 2004 02:12:10 +0000, Nick Bozovich wrote:
Tapes are cheap. When one begins to wear, get another.
Another solution is to clip off the lose tab. Use the tape as is or
add/subtract the difference each time you use it.
The measuring device or scale you use really doesn't matter as much as
consistency in using it. Units of measure are no more than a convenience.
They do not change distance but merely try to define it.
| What does everyone else use?
For an inch or less, vernier calipers. For 1-24 inches, a steel rule. For
24 inches or more, a Stanley tape measure. I own several tapes, but I tend
to use the same one for any particular project. And I tend to intentionally
err on the side of leaving material so that I can deal with long cuts
instead of short cuts.
When I can, I "cut to fit," meaning I build the project on the bench and
just concentrate on making it square/flush without paying a lot of attention
to exact measures according to the tape. I'd much rather scribe the actual
piece in place than to measure where it's supposed to go and then measure
the stock. That's two measurements that both have to go right.
But at work I have to deal with metal and plastic, and we farm out parts of
the designs to fab shops and do the rest of the fabrication in house. You
need to work off actual measurements in that case. If I specify in a
drawing a feature with a thickness of 0.500 inch and it comes back from the
fab subcontractor as 0.501 or 0.498 inch, there'll be a phone call. And so
I have to make sure we both have tools that will tell the actual dimension
so I don't embarrass myself in that phone call. He and I have to be on the
At home, in the shop, is where I get to cut to fit. The organ-builders I
know use story sticks for their standard windchests.
The slop in the end of the tape is there by design - it is equal to the
thickness of the piece of metal that is used as the hook on the end. Of
course that only lasts until the first few times you unlock the tape while a
few feet are rolled out and let it snap back throwing the end out of whack
(especially by the standards of some of those around here with really high
expectations for accuracy - another story).
I prefer a steel rule. It may be out of whack but I use only one measuring
device so everything will be out by the same amount. While the tape measure
is designed to be more accurate for house framing, you can use it too, as
long as you use only the one tape measure, the same way, for everything.
I use the same tape (12' Stanley) for most everything. It's
hooked onto my britches every day of the world. Most of my
right-hand pockets show wear from constantly wearing the
damn thing. It's been calibrated at the hook using a six-inch
machinist's rule. I never let the hook slam home, brake with
the fingers and cushion the hook with finger. I also occaisionally
use a metric/inch 16' Stanley I've calibrated the same way.
I'm shocked at the number of the posters who don't understand
the function of the sliding hook--I thought everybody knew.
Another real handy one is a 60" x 2" steel rule. I have 2 of
them, they're real handy for marking sheet stuff. Because I'm
a gun crank, I have from 4" dial calipers to 12" digital.
Roger--peanut gallery, Montana
My favorite band tape and length also. Have two for the shop, one for the
vehicle I use to go to the lumber yard, and one for the office ... all the
same model 12' Stanley, and all 'calibrated' to a foot when I bought them.
(I used a steel rule in the store to get four that read as close as possible
against the rule ... I really didn't care if the steel rule was accurate or
not, just used it as an index)
It's amazing how little understanding some folks have of the tools they use.
Someone here not too long ago had been using a miter saw blade backwards,
and another had been _pulling_ his compound miter saw like a RAS to make a
The hell of it is, I have so many tools that I may well be doing something
equally wrongheaded out of ignorance myself.
I use a tape measure for anything over 3 feet or so. It has a loose
edge so that it measures the same when you hook the end over
something, as when you are pushing the end against something. Try your
tape measure hooked over the end of a ruler, then put the ruler end
down on the bench, with the tape measure end next to it on the bench.
If the tape measure is not worn or damaged it will read the same.
I just try to keep everything the same length. I don't know how
many tape measures I have, but I lose em all the time. I just try
to use the same one for the same project. As far accuracy goes,
I don't think it matters. Even if I could get a NIST (National Institute
Standards and Technology - formerly NBS-) calibrated/certified
tape measure it wouldn't do me much good, because then my table
saw fence would just decide to act up on me at that moment and time
and screw the whole thing up fractions of an inch. It's a no win
situation unless you can afford one of those industrial computerized
thingmeees that remotely adjust everything , set it up, and cut the
wood for ya. And just where would the fun in that be?
Joey in Chesapeake
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