What is the finest pocket tape measure available ?

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Forum topic by jsdnnoanybtr posted 09-05-2010 07:42 AM 8028 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View jsdnnoanybtr's profile


24 posts in 3028 days

09-05-2010 07:42 AM

One meter/ one yard or here abouts. With an emphasis on metric if possible.
My eyes are not what they once were (they were fine a few years ago before I started spending all my time looking at computer screens and TV screens rather than wood working ) so I need easy to read. Of course I want it fairly thin because it will be in my pocket not on my belt.

Jyahh I want it all. : )

What I have has all the paint wearing off the tape and I have several of them in drawers here and there (wear was distributed ) so I want bomb proof, baked on, clear coated, nuclear weapon resistant unobtainium and stunningly beautiful besides. I don’t need it to talk to me or lay about on the couch smoking and ordering out for pizzas just durable and readable.

Whadayagot ?

-- jsdnnoanybtr but you can call me jr

13 replies so far

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4097 days

#1 posted 09-05-2010 03:17 PM

Lee Valley

-- 温故知新

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3044 days

#2 posted 09-05-2010 03:25 PM

i always carry a small tape measure in my pocket. I have yet to find one that I really like and that will hold up.

In the shop I use a bigger, bulkier tape that works great, but I don’t want to carry something like that in my pocket all the time.

I’ll be watching this topic to see if someone anyone has a good suggestion.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2953 days

#3 posted 09-05-2010 03:44 PM

I know that there are those who will disagree with me, but I have been having some good luck with the Stanley Power Lock 10’ model 33-115. It fits nice in the pocket not much bigger than a Zippo lighter, and I find I use it more in the shop than my larger tape measures.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3044 days

#4 posted 09-05-2010 03:54 PM

Regarding the Stanley that Greg mentioned. I’ve had 2 and neither one lasted more than a few months. The end spills into the case and then you have to open it up to get the end out. However, once it starts, it happens more and more frequently.

Maybe I’m just too hard on it.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Edziu's profile


151 posts in 3021 days

#5 posted 09-05-2010 03:56 PM

Hobo- he asked for a readable scale, not an invisible scale. Thank you for pointing that out though, that is quite a little tape.

Greg, I’ll second your vote for the Stanley 10’. They are very compact and well made, and the perfect size for furniture projects. I had a friend that owned only that tape, he had more of the Stanley 10’, brand new in the packages—”in case they stop making it, i’m prepared”

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3144 days

#6 posted 09-05-2010 04:32 PM

I’ve got two older 10’ or 12’ Stanleys that have been with me for years.

My go-to, lately, though has been the FastCap ProCarpenter Flatback tape:

I’m finding that—with my garbage eyeballs—the reading of the numbers hasn’t screwed ME up as badly as trying to ensure that the tape is dead flat against the stock.

The flat tape … has the one clear downside of not being self-supporting, when you spool it out, but … for ww … not a problem.

-- -- Neil

View Russ's profile


142 posts in 3169 days

#7 posted 09-05-2010 05:31 PM

I also have a Stanley 10’, it fits perfect in my small pocket in my jeans. Keep trying others but it is the most useful.

-- Happiness is being covered in sawdust

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 2896 days

#8 posted 09-05-2010 05:51 PM

After using the Lee Valley right handed tape measure, I can’t go back.
They are available in a few different lengths, but having the numbers the right way up (they would not be upside down as in the photo above) is so much nicer.

Hold the tape in your left hand, hook it on to a piece of ply, drywall, whatever, and mark with a pencil in your right hand and read it all right side up… Perfect.

Who invented those other ones, maybe a lefty?

(nothing against leftys, some of my best friends are leftys)

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Roger Clark aka Rex's profile

Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 3405 days

#9 posted 09-05-2010 06:16 PM

The flat tape with the Story tape portion that NBeener shows is a very good product and one you might add to your collection. Another Story tape Hobomonk points to at Lee Valley is also a must have because it is more useful than you think. Another tape you should investigate would be Doubletape 25’ Two Sided Measuring Tape, sold by Amazon for $6.95 – it has the measurements on Both sides so that you can still read it even it the tape is over your head – very handy at times.
I think most people have a mix of tapes that fulfill certain tasks well, but of course you will need the regular standard tape with desired length for most everything else. Visit a store and choose one that has the quality and length you require, but be wary that most great brand names are not so great anymore.
If you are wanting the “creme de la creme” of tape measures then the Starrett DP1-25 25’ DigiTape Plus Digital Electronic Measuring Tape is waiting for you.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2820 days

#10 posted 09-05-2010 09:04 PM

Fastcap makes a righty/lefty too. And yes, the tape measure has been one of the secret triumphs of the sinister lot of which I’m proud to be one.

-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View jsdnnoanybtr's profile


24 posts in 3028 days

#11 posted 09-05-2010 10:21 PM


Thanks; not what I asked for but you reminded me about the tapes I can mark on. I had totally forgotten there was such a thing. I have recently, last couple of years, learned that often a “story stick” can be as good or better than a numerical measurement so will probably order one of those along with what ever else I get
Thank you

You got it; small tape in my pocket. Probably I should call it a “gents” tape. You know as in ’ Wy a real man wouldn’t be caught dead with a namby, pamby, little , wee tape like that. What’s it good for any how ?”
Often I use it for other things at work besides woodwork. Things like is this part I am looking at over 300mm because that is what I need it to be longer than etc. Not too precise.

Thats looking more like it. I was hoping for over three feet so that’s good. four or five feet would be perfect. 10 is a bit tall for me pockets though I agree that tape could be the perfect tape for furniture. I am going give the Stanley line a look through.

Nice eye wear man !
White tape with place to mark on tape and flat. Good stuff. This could be my new wood shop tape. I am in a shop with no windows so white would be easiest to read for sure. The no support is not a prob because the pocket tape I want would be the same way. I have a very nice Craftsman 25” er that is terrific when I need self supporting to get up or out there.

How do you erase it ? Obviously can be erased with an eraser but can I just wipe it off with water or better yet alcohol also ? Don’t want to get eraser crumbs into the tape. Or maybe that is not a problem.
What is your experience ?

Ok I might have to take another look at the narrow Stanley if it fits in small pocket. The Amazon description indicated it is five inches tall ! ! ! Can’t count on their specs in the past.

Thank you for reminding me about the “wrong” way tapes. Yep I have often wished I had one. I have so many nice regular way ‘round tapes I never could justify getting more of the larger tapes. Hmmm may be time to donate a couple of old tapes and move into the twenty first century.

I feel kind of dumb asking about this before looking in the catalogs that are stacked next to the couch here. It is just that yesterday at work I finally got to the point I could not see the tiny numbers and many were just not there from wear so I happened to think of it while in the chat room.

The Starrett company is a good suggestion. That particular guy seems to be not available on Amazon right now. Way too big for my particular “gent” needs. Looks like it could levitate the stacks of wood for easy selection and make my coffee. Isn’t the modern world wonderful ?

I have recently developed an appreciation for the old school (non battery) measuring devices when I went to get my digital ,”scientific”, quick read, scale converting, thermometer with memory hold and found the battery corroded and dead. I had put a new battery in it “just the other day”, OK about eight months ago and hadn’t used it but twice. Grrrrr

I think I am still waiting for the tape I have in my mind. Maybe some one from Germany etc. has a suggestion. You guys don’t put up with “aahh well that brand isn’t what it once was”. Otherwise we need to go into production. Must be lots of professional people of all types that count on a good tiny pocket tape measure using it every day.

I found this stashed away, my worn out ones are at work, I have no idea where I got it. Any body recognize it ? Sorry about the poor photos.

Thank you every one . You have got me enlightened on the new developments.

-- jsdnnoanybtr but you can call me jr

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3144 days

#12 posted 09-05-2010 11:19 PM

a) I’m very into fashion. The surgical loupes … really bring out my eyes ;-)

b) I’ve … literally … just wiped off the pencil marks with my thumb. I’m sure water or isopropyl would work, too, but … haven’t needed it, so far.

-- -- Neil

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 2953 days

#13 posted 09-05-2010 11:58 PM

I’ve had mine for about 3-4 years keep meaning to pick up some extras, but this wonderful memory I have doesn’t help me much. I’ve heard that Rich, that’s why I said up front about that there would be some that disagree with me . I just couldn’t remember what other’s said their problems were. Maybe I’m just lucky I don’t know.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

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