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Just a few ways I estimate measurements. If you have any other neat ways to measure things, post them in the comments!
-- Entertainment for mere mortal woodworkers. http://www.WoodworkingForMereMortals.com
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#1 posted 1287 days ago
Good one Steve we tend to forget about some of the tools we have built in for measuring. I regularly use measuring blocks or gauges that come in a set 1/8- 1/2” you can make your own by buying some key stock at a hardware or automotive store. another good way to measure is to use open ended wrenches when turning if you want a 3/4” tenon you just turn it down until the 3/4” socket fits. I’ve also seen people use the thickness of wrenches as a height gauge on table saws and router bits.
-- W James Brokenbourgh Custom furniture maker http://artisticwoodstudio.com/
2718 posts in 1882 days
#2 posted 1287 days ago
Steve,Years ago, at a restaurant I worked at, they were going to buy some new plates (to replenish the stock).I thought they looked to be 8” rounds, but there were various guesses by everyone in the kitchen, ranging from 6” to 9”...One of the Chefs pulled out a dollar bill, held it to the plate, and declared, “These are 8” plates.” Of course I said, “Huh?! What?!” He said his Dad, an avid fisherman, had told him many years before that all U.S. currency is exactly 6 1/4” long.I’ve used that one a hundred times and it’s as accurate as can be… :)
-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.
2184 posts in 1416 days
#3 posted 1287 days ago
Penny = 3/4Nickel = 7/8Dime = just under 1/2 (I forget the exact and I don have one with me)Quarter = 1 inch
-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX
180 posts in 1834 days
#4 posted 1287 days ago
Great question. I think this is something most of us take for granted. I’ve used the dollar bill before (although I rarely carry cash anymore – I should measure out a credit card). I sometimes step off distances – I wear a size 12. Sometimes I use the carpenter app on my iPhone – is that high-tech cheating?
81 posts in 1367 days
#5 posted 1287 days ago
a dollar bill (never find any bigger denomination in my wallet) is 6-1/8” long, 2-5/8” wide. I use the bills to measure short lengths all the time
128 posts in 1380 days
#6 posted 1287 days ago
Luckily my shoes end up being roughly 12” long….I use that all the time, along with the 8 1/2×11 sheet of paper trick…you can always find paper.
Photographs are usually a standard set of sizes as well, 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, etc….
I happen to be roughly 6’ tall, and coincidentally my arm span (fingertip to fingertip) is the same as my height. I believe this is roughly the same for the average person. Of course…I look silly lying prostrate against whatever I’m measuring….but it works.
My last crazy trick is to use a tape measure…. :-)
-- Ian - Life's a game, if you don't play, you can't win.
1433 posts in 2505 days
#7 posted 1287 days ago
My outstretched arm span is pretty close to 6’, which is handy when doing rough “what furniture will fit where?” or “how long is this board from my wood stash” calculations.
And of course as my woodworking gets better I find myself using story sticks or other unitless measurement rather than tapes. A knife nick on a piece of scrap wood is way more accurate than a tape measure.
-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke
327 posts in 1453 days
#8 posted 1287 days ago
Ceiling tiles are usually 1’ X 1’, 2’ X 2’ or 2’ X 4’, rarely 4’ X 4’
I use some others, but you folks beat me to them, or taught me something new.
-- Bob www.singularengineering.com - A sideline, not how I earn a living
614 posts in 1744 days
#9 posted 1287 days ago
I’ll also take note of the length of items or jigs I use regular in my shop. Example from saw blade to the end of my crosscut sled on the right side is exactly 12” on the left it’s 24” on the money so I line a square board up with the edge of the sled using the feel from my fingertips and Voila it’s exactly 1 foot or 2. Later Dudes!
-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott
#10 posted 1287 days ago
You mean I’ve been off by an 1/8” all this time!! No wonder why my stuff never goes together… :)
8073 posts in 1386 days
#11 posted 1287 days ago
I like to use the span on my out stretched pink to out stretched thumb as a guide for approximately 8 inches … i like to call it the italian tape measure.
-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty
448 posts in 1406 days
#12 posted 1287 days ago
bravo on the carol quotes! I have used a few of these before, especially the playing cards one. playing cards are the best!
-- Every neighborhood has an eccentric neighbor. I wondered for years "who was ours?" Then I realized it was me.
1497 posts in 1671 days
#13 posted 1287 days ago
See this post for adventures in using floor tiles as a tape measure.
-- The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. - H.L. Mencken
13703 posts in 2056 days
#14 posted 1287 days ago
I measue wire with my 5.5’ arm span or one arm to nose =3’.
-- "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence
1824 posts in 1377 days
#15 posted 1287 days ago
I few years ago I had a kid working for me. After 3 years of trying to pass grade 9, he quit school. Reading, writing and numbers were a problem for him. His first task was to cut 8ft 2×4 ’s in half. After an hour of failing badly I had to step in and help. 1/2 of 8ft is 4 ft. Whats a foot he asked ?. Okay 8ft is 96”, 1/2 of 96 is 48”. Whats an inch he asked ? I thought to myself,O crap this is going to take time. I grabbed the 8ft 2×4 laid it on my cutoff saw and showed him we will cut in half like this. (Eyeballing, no numbers to confuse him, then use first one to mark out the rest.) So I cut, he wondered if it was in half. I stood the 2 pieces on the floor and they were exact. His jaw dropped and was amazed at how I did that. He folllowed me the entire day listening and learning things. (I was saying to myself, I have more luck than he had brains) What he didn’t know is I have saw cuts on fence of my saw at 16” 24” and 48”. Tricks of the trade that my older carpenters shared with me !
-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"
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