LumberJocks

Metric vs. English: Which do you use?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodworking Skill Share forum

Forum topic by pashley posted 04-21-2008 04:00 PM 9371 views 0 times favorited 54 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View pashley's profile

pashley

1023 posts in 2369 days


04-21-2008 04:00 PM

Here in the U.S., we are still stuck in the English system of measurement – inches, pounds, etc. – while seemingly the rest of the world uses the much easier, and more logical, metric system (the U.S. officically adopted the metric system with the Metric Conversion Act of 1975). Which do you use?

I admit, I’m still stuck in the English, just due to habit, I suspect, but am thinking about forcing myself into metric. You might be able to subtract 7 3/16” from 22 7/8”, but I sure can’t, at least not without the help of a calculator. Contrast that to 1051 MM minus 752 MM, which is 299 MM !

As you know, part of successful woodworking is not making dumb measuring mistakes! I would think going metric would be less prone to error.

Thoughts?

-- Have a blessed day! http://newmissionworkshop.com


54 replies so far

View Thuan's profile

Thuan

203 posts in 2470 days


#1 posted 04-21-2008 04:27 PM

I use inches for overall dimension becuase I can picture how long a foot is, and I use dimensional lumbers. My chisel set is metric, so when it comes to detail, i don’t measure, I butt, mark with a sharp pencil, then cut. or use a marking gauge. I’ve given up on fractions past 1/16th.

-- Thuan

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2640 days


#2 posted 04-21-2008 04:42 PM

I use inches. I just think in thousands of an inch never in fractions.

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

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1764 posts in 2642 days


#3 posted 04-21-2008 05:06 PM

Ever since becoming a nurse I’ve found that the metric system is easier than previously believed. Math, measurements, conversions all come easy. But unfortunately, being an American means I’m stuck on inches! I’m just used to it I guess. And I go to the 32’s.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View motthunter's profile

motthunter

2141 posts in 2451 days


#4 posted 04-21-2008 05:41 PM

I use inches here in the states and when I am abroad I use metric.

I find inches to be simple based on the 1/16” kerf on a table saw blade. Base all cuts and dimensions on that, and english system makes sense

-- making sawdust....

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2474 days


#5 posted 04-21-2008 05:59 PM

I am comfortable with either system. In my working life I was a chemist and everything revolved around metric measurements. With me in the shop it just depends on the situation as to what measurement system I will use.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View RusticElements's profile

RusticElements

167 posts in 2377 days


#6 posted 04-21-2008 06:39 PM

I grew up in Canada when it was imperial. Canada changed to metric when I was in my teens and I quickly grabbed hold of it. But any job I got I had to use imperial, after all, all the material was still produced in inches and feet, and that’s just what everybody used. On my own I tried to use metric as much as possible. Everything I built in my own businesses was done in metric.

Unfortunately, I moved to the US ~11 years ago and ended up being like a alcoholic locked in a liquor store. Old habits die hard. I’m looking forward to moving back to Canada where things are now produced (at least somewhat) in metric. It’s sooooo much easier to calculate.

-- Michael R. Harvey - Brewster, NY - RusticElementArt.com - SpaceAware.org - AnConn.com

View Brad_Nailor's profile

Brad_Nailor

2531 posts in 2609 days


#7 posted 04-21-2008 07:26 PM

The metric system is the tool of the devil! You go with what your used to and feet and inches are what I’m used too! Although I was thinking of going with another measuring format but the conversion is killing me..anyone know how many inches in a cubit?

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

View sIKE's profile

sIKE

1271 posts in 2406 days


#8 posted 04-21-2008 08:01 PM

I keep telling every to use the Bobsrule measuring system, best of both worlds!

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

View ND2ELK's profile

ND2ELK

13495 posts in 2426 days


#9 posted 04-21-2008 09:09 PM

I use inches when building a cabinet and metric when using the 32mm system. A lot of the hardware is going to metric.

God Bless
tom

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View fredf's profile

fredf

495 posts in 2362 days


#10 posted 04-21-2008 09:33 PM

David http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=1+cubit+in+inches&btnG=Google+Search

It is a dilemma for sure. The metric system is so much simpler to do calculations but I still think in feet and inches.

We should have started teaching the metric system in the schools back in ‘75 and let the kids get used to thinking in metric. Instead we now have TWO systems to deal with, and the metric sure isn’t going to go away. We should have pulled the plug on the imperial system years ago (IMHO) people wont change until forced to, unfortunately

-- Fred, Springfield, Ma

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2420 days


#11 posted 04-21-2008 11:02 PM

I use inches. I guess that thats what i’ve always used my whole life so i’m used to it now

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2526 days


#12 posted 04-21-2008 11:46 PM

I use inches divided into 10th’s, 100th’s, 1000th’s, etc. Seems like the best of both worlds, easier to calculate and more precise than fractions.

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

View YorkshireStewart's profile

YorkshireStewart

1112 posts in 2553 days


#13 posted 04-22-2008 12:01 AM

Like a number of the respondents, I visualise most stuff in imperial but work mainly in metric.

Most rules here have metric on one edge & imperial on the other, so when finding the half-way point I find myself glancing at both measures to see which is the easiest mental calculation.

When asking for, say, an eight foot length of 4” x 2” (never 100×50!) at a particular local timber supplier, he reminds us that they’re ”metric feet”!! Meaning 300mm, and therefore you’ll be an inch and a half short!

-- Res severa verum gaudium - True pleasure is a serious business. http://www.folksy.com/shops/TreeGems

View Eric's profile

Eric

873 posts in 2436 days


#14 posted 04-22-2008 03:39 AM

During a similar thread recently, I first heard about Bobsrule (as sIKE mentioned above). I have to say, it sounds like a solid way of doing layout. I’m really considering buying one and giving it a spin.

-- Eric at http://adventuresinwoodworking.com

View ChicoWoodnut's profile

ChicoWoodnut

904 posts in 2467 days


#15 posted 04-22-2008 03:45 AM

Blake,

Do you have a rule that will measure 1/8” in a decimal? I know they exist but mostofusdon’thaveone

-- Scott - Chico California http://chicowoodnut.home.comcast.net

showing 1 through 15 of 54 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase