I don't know how many of you are like me, but I hate all of the tape
measures on the market today. I don't want metric on one edge with SAE on
the other. I want SAE on both edges of the tape. I don't think or measure
in metric increments, so I don't want that taking up valuable space on my
tape. I hate it if I have to move my tape to mark a measurement, just
because there is some irrelevant markings along the edge I happened to drag
Likewise - i can read a tape measure. I don't want and I don't like the
clutter of the new generation of idiot proof tapes that actually label 1/8,
1/4, 1/2, etc. for those that don't know how to read the simple marks on a
So... having stopped by the local Ace Hardware to pick up a tape for a
friend, wasn't I surprised to find a basic tape (25' Ace brand) - just 1/16"
ticks on both edges of the tape. No idiot stuff, no metric stuff. Fits
your hand nice, has a really nice positive lock that locks and unlocks
easily holds the tape firmly. The best part - only 7 bucks and change!
Hell - I wasn't going to spend a lot of money on a give away tape...
I agree totally about the idiot tapes. I bought one for one of my
"always counting little marks" fellas. It didn't help him all that much
and I can't stand to use it. I also don't like all the strange ways of
locking the tape. I prefer and will only buy the old original (well,
not metal cased anymore-sadly) Stanley PowerLoc.
It is not as much of a problem when you loose a cheap tape as when you
loose and expensive one.
I am getting old and found that by buying a bunch of cheap tapes and
having them all around the shop and house I can always find one. There
was a point when I was spending more time looking for the expensive tape
than I was doing projects that required a tape.
I was always of the same thought though most of my tapes are Klein as
that's what the electrical supply houses usually stocked. But I've
found with some of the Festool tools its handy to have a tape with
both inches and metric. Actually bought some of the same tapes
Swingman mentioned from Amazon. Don't have to do the math that way.
How is old Max, anyway? What'd you pay for the quantum tape unit?
To use fear as the friend it is, we must retrain and reprogram ourselves...
We must persistently and convincingly tell ourselves that the fear is
here--with its gift of energy and heightened awareness--so we can do our
best and learn the most in the new situation.
Peter McWilliams, Life 101
I am surprised no one had brought this up. When starting in the
trades, I learned to use a tape upside down. So did everyone else.
It wasn't an option, unless you were left handed. Think about it; if
the majority of your dexterity lies in your right hand, this will make
Hold the tape in your left hand, hook the blade (you may have to slide
it out many, many feet when framing a roof or other tasks) after
carefully guiding the hook to the end of the board. You extend the
tape and mark with your right hand, the hand you write with and
perform other detailed tasks. Slip the hook up on the tape, and while
it is retracting in your left hand, put your pencil behind your ear,
then get your speed square with your right hand. It's all one big
motion. You never locked the tape; it was held in your left hand just
long enough to make your mark.
((At this same time, you learn to cut with the shoe of the saw on the
board, not the motor side. This allows you to see EXACTLY the point
of contact and the accuracy of the cut. Plus, you don't have to
change sides from where you measured.))
It was not taught to measure left to right. To do that, you had to
hook the tape, extend it where you need it (so far, so good) but then
there was monkey motion in getting the tape locked with your right
hand, retrieving the pencil with the right hand after locking the
tape, balancing the tape on the material to be cut, marking, then
unlocking the tape (which you would do with your right hand, which
should be putting the pencil behind your ear and reaching for the
square) and then finally get to the speed square for your saw line.
Too much activity for a cut, and imagine all that over the course of
cutting all day. Not to mention all the times the tape will fall over
(which it never does when you are holding it in your left hand) or you
lose your hook if you bump your material or the tape slips when
locked. Then you have to start over with your measuring.
If you could mark perfectly every single time with your left hand
(mine is an untrained idiot), you were allowed to measure left to
right. But if you were slow, clumsy, or needed more practice in your
cutting motion, you went back to being a mule.
I decided to learn as I was taught. Being the "saw man" was a step up
in job site status, plus when I was cutting the headers, rafters,
joists, bucks, etc., was sure a lot easier than having to haul them
all day as a laborer.
With almost 40 years of that in mind, I read my tapes upside down, and
can't easily decipher any tape that has too much stuff on it. I was
confounded years ago when the fractionalized tapes came out as the
clutter confused my dull mind. And I think it was soon discovered
that in the industry that "2 little sticks" was the common description
of 1/8" for some, and I even had helpers tell me that the fractions
they saw on a tape were "for something else". What, they didn't
know. Maybe something scientific. Baking, perhaps?
I was glad when that trend subsided. But the advent of combo metric
tape measures a few years ago muddied the water for me again. Now
most tapes I see are covered with unneeded and unwanted information
and if I don't have my glasses, sometimes I am up against it with
I don't want much. Sometimes I just want a long, retracting ruler
with one scale on it. I have them and can find them, but I just
wouldn't think it would be a challenge to do so.
I guess that's what I do (did). Just never stopped to figure out why I
did it that way. Seriously, I never even noticed the tape was upside
down. (Maybe because I learned to read upside down in French
literature in highschool.. HAD to cheat to get through that course.)
On 2/13/2012 4:12 PM, email@example.com wrote:
And on some tapes, 2 little sticks is 1/5". That played hell on a buddy
and me when He was calling the measurement, from his new 1/10" scale
tape to me, so that I could cut the exterior window trim for him to
attach on the second story. Still Too LONG!
LoREENA Bobbit made up her own rule.
I've been known to use both sides of the tape while measuring. This
board's 61-5/8", that one is 123mm.
Fear not those who argue but those who dodge.
-- Marie Ebner von Eschenbach
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