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Inches or Millimeters?

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Blog entry by GaryK posted 03-06-2008 05:12 AM 1223 reads 0 times favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just curious. For those outside the US.

Where do you live and what do you use: inches or millimeters?

A combination of both?

Do your tools use inches of millimeters?

Here in the US we buy wood that is 4/4, 8/4, 2×4 and so on.

If you don’t buy wood that way, how do you buy it?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX



33 comments so far

View RobS's profile

RobS

1334 posts in 3059 days


#1 posted 03-06-2008 05:20 AM

Or Bobs, don’t forget those Gary.

I haven’t got one yet but have always thought the concept was interesting. I think I’ve read some entries on here where people have used this method.

Good question though.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Woodshopfreak's profile

Woodshopfreak

389 posts in 2495 days


#2 posted 03-06-2008 05:31 AM

good question

-- Tyler, Illinois

View DocK16's profile

DocK16

1140 posts in 2839 days


#3 posted 03-06-2008 05:38 AM

I wish this country had gone to the metric system along time ago, I hate working with fractions every time i gotta add and subtract different denomenators.

-- Common sense is so rare anymore when you do see it, it looks like pure genius.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 3052 days


#4 posted 03-06-2008 05:58 AM

I worked with mining engineers doing drafting, & we measured in 10ths, & 100th of feet, & inches.

I wonder why wooden builders have always used this system of fractions?

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 2506 days


#5 posted 03-06-2008 06:02 AM

GaryK,

I have picked up a couple of woodworking magazines for across the pond (they are available at the local Woodcraft) and all o the plans in the magazine are in metric. Bobs system looks to be a very cool solution, that will never (sadly) be adopted.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2741 days


#6 posted 03-06-2008 06:27 AM

I started out life as a machinist, so the only fractions I ever use are in increments of 1/8”. and those
I convert automatically to decimal. I will use a scale in 10ths and 100ths any chance I can. I use dial
calipers for everything under 6”.

So basically I never use fractions. I think in decimal so 4 feet, 3 3/8 inches to me is 4 feet 3.375 inches.
The math is a lot easier.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

13270 posts in 2735 days


#7 posted 03-06-2008 06:39 AM

I work in decimals too. started life as a apprentice machinist too.

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View Eric's profile

Eric

873 posts in 2536 days


#8 posted 03-06-2008 09:26 AM

In Malaysia, I have seen a combination of metric and US standard. When I buy wood, the dimensions are always in inches and feet. Same with when I buy bolts, screws or nails from the local hardware store. Drill bits are sometimes in metric and sometimes in fractions. Stanley exports a lot of stuff here (or maybe contracts someone in this part of the world to make it) so the fractions are alive and well.

I have a few different rulers, and almost all of them have centimeters on one side and inches on the other. I have one that has inches but in tenths, which is occasionally annoying (when I forget) and occasionally useful (just another interval option).

-- Eric at http://adventuresinwoodworking.com

View Blake's profile

Blake

3439 posts in 2627 days


#9 posted 03-06-2008 09:42 AM

Interesting question. I may not be outside the US, but I may still have an unconventional answer. I use an engineers scale whenever possible, which is inches divided into 10’ths and 100’ths. It’s much easier to do the math on a small scale and seems more precise. I like measuring the width of a box side at 5.6”, etc.

I guess it combines the best of both worlds. I wish the entire world would go metric. But since we Americans insist on using inches, at least I can still divide them into decimals.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

950 posts in 2565 days


#10 posted 03-06-2008 10:00 AM

Hello from Europe, and no UK Europe. For me your system is completely ununderstandable. I know what feet or inch is. But the combination and fractions?? Must use calculator.
But on the oter hand – we buy wood of the same size only call it in different way.
Instead 2×4 ve say 5×10 and so on.
Sorry for my English.

-- Jiri

View motthunter's profile

motthunter

2141 posts in 2551 days


#11 posted 03-06-2008 11:14 AM

I lived in Brazil for 10 years and have traveled for business to more than 60+ countries. Most countries use metrics. Tools have metric scales on them and wood is purchased by the cubic meter. Metrics have a strong advantage for simple calculations, but in the inch system, it is easy to work off of the calculations of a kerf equal to 1/16th…. If I had to choose, I would work metric, but the equipment I have only has inch scales.

-- making sawdust....

View davidtheboxmaker's profile

davidtheboxmaker

373 posts in 2558 days


#12 posted 03-06-2008 11:42 AM

I live in the Uk and use both metric & imperial.
I think millimetres are best for fine meaurements – thickness of box sides etc.
When I think sizes (height,width, length) for my boxes I think in inches because that’s what I was taught at school.

View mrtrim's profile

mrtrim

1696 posts in 2633 days


#13 posted 03-06-2008 12:10 PM

i use feet / inch mostly . i have used metric a lot as well . metric is easier for small stuff . longer i think is easier with ft./ in. . i allso have a bobs rule wich is a combination of both without fractions and i think its a very good system

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2913 days


#14 posted 03-06-2008 12:52 PM

we use metric and standard.
Me? I use the “one little line past the big line” method.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View toyguy's profile

toyguy

1373 posts in 2590 days


#15 posted 03-06-2008 01:41 PM

Like Ms Deb, I’m in Canada. I grew up at a time when the Imperial system was in use, so that is what I was taught in school. We went metric back in the early seventies I think. For me this has been a problem mostly because we are so close to, and trade so much with the US. Life would be a lot easier if just one system was in use world wide.
I use both system often. As most of the plans for the toys I like to build come from the US, sometimes I make my own little rules..great for scaling up or down from drawings. But for the most part, I would have to say I use the imperial system, because that is what I learned in school.

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

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