Tonight’s tip runs along to something we all do, no matter if we are hand tools nuts, power tools maniacs or a combination of both. We measure, mark and cut. How we do that is important. One of the most important things in measuring, marking and cutting is consistency. Lack of consistency can lead to multiplication of errors along the way.
If you learn nothing else, and you should something else, learn this——use the same measuring tool throughout your project. When you are rough cutting this is not such a big deal. But when you get to the “this is where I want it to be” cutting, if you start with one ruler and end with a different, the chances are good that you will have different sized pieces. To check this—go to your shop and pick up two or three tapes, rulers, etc. and compare them side by side, chances are they are different. This difference goes to quality of what you buy. Rules with painted-on numbers are generally going to be less accurate than stamped numbers. A $2 tape will be less accurate, generally, than a $20 tape.
While we are on tapes, you know that little metal tip – you know the one—its the one that moves in an out and you are convinced that can’t be right. Well think again. The tip is supposed to move, the movement helps to compensate for the thickness of the tip itself.
The tip is designed to pull out away from the tape for outside measurements and in toward the tape for inside measurements – such as the inside of a case.
The inherent problem with the tip on these tapes is that they get loose over time. Generally because we are abusing our tapes. Would you do that???? Me neither. The more they loosen the less accurate your measurements. If you use that loose-tipped tape to measure an opening and then use a tight-tipped tape to measure your stock—- you are going to be unhappy with the result.
To compensate for the loose-tip/tight-tipped issue I was taught to start my measurements at the one inch line then add an inch to whatever I finish with. I don’t know about you, but I hate that tip. I always have a hard time remembering to add an inch. It’s not a hard concept, but sometimes it can be a hard concept to put into practice. Additionally, sometimes you have to stretch the tape beyond your arm’s length, then what? How do you keep that tape at the one inch line and still stretch yourself to the point you need to measure to? You can do what I do with the steel rule (keep reading) :-) It’s still not my favorite way to measure anything.
Think about this to, if that tip were not there you could not hook it on the end of a board and keep it there while you are stretching it out to make a measurement.
I prefer to have a longer steel rule for most of the larger jobs. This accomplishes a couple of things. First, I’m not wrestling with a tape – keeping it hooked on the end of the board, while stretching it and then marking my line. Secondly, I don’t have to flatten the curved tape to get an accurate measurement. The steel rule is always flat.
Now you say, but I like that hook because a steel rule can slip off the end or slide in on the board and then I’m off again. I solve this generally by using a small clamp to hold the steel rule in place. Takes about 10 seconds to clamp it and I’m assured that the rule will not move. Yep you can do this with the steel tape when you want to use the “start at the one inch line.”
Now that you have the measuring worked out——how about the marking your measurements?
I can’t run out of tips,,,, so that’s tomorrow!
Thanks for reading. As always, your additional tips and suggestions are welcomed to be posted here. I’m doing this blog for fun and to keep my mind in the game while I’m healing up. So anything you can do to aide and abet my endeavors is always welcomed.
Oh – I also welcome controversy—- if you don’t agree with me, please say so. Really. :-)
-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine