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Imperial vs Metric

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Droogs

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I'm a 1.83m, 95 kg bloke if thats any help.😁
So a garden fork rather than a rake :p


I say this as a 185cm 112kg guy thanks to lots and lots of steriods over the last few months. normally I am 105kg and have been since i was around 17. 6' and 15 1/2 stone 34/36 waist but not now 😞 starvation this winter is warranted me thinks
 
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Andy Kev.

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That's about right.

FWIW, I'm with Phil on this: I'm about 1/4" under six foot and probably around 14 Stone (haven't weighed myself for a couple of years).

Even though I'm happy with metric when e.g. reading a book about astronomy (I decided a while ago that it was time to learn something about the universe), I'd still want to know how tall a little green man was in imperial even if I have to convert flubsogs to inches first. And I just give up when I see something in a plan being designated as 770 mm. It's useful to know that a foot is about 30 cm but I reckon that on the whole the woodworker is served better by imperial than metric.
 

Sheffield Tony

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Again, the other responses show that the point was missed, and in my opinion, it's a big reason imperial feels easy for woodworking.
It uses fractions.

I am all for mental arithmetic, working without measuring etc. However, if you have a pizza and 4 people, you cut across and then across again.
If there's 6, you cut across, then each half into 3. if 8 people.... etc....
And if there are 5, or 7 people ?

I think the point has been made that fractions are convenient if you pick convenient numbers. So 1/3 of 3/4 is easy. 1/3 of 1/2" is also easy, but wait, I don't have 1/6" graduations on my tape. There might just be 1/12" graduations on my rule somewhere, or what ? !/3 of 12mm is easy, and 1/3 of 12.7 is easy - 4.2 (to close woodworking tolerances !)

This is why I'd argue for using whatever units make sense for the job in hand. Why make a 812.8mm wide door if you can make a 32" one ? Why worry whether it is a metric or imperial drill bit that makes a snug fit for the tenon I turned on a chair part ?
 

Andy Kev.

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And if there are 5, or 7 people ?
That's where dividers come in, although in the case of a Pizza, you'd have to do the old 2 x Pi x R first.

Come to think of it, there's a challenge for a resourceful type: a pair of dividers designed for working out where to make the cuts in Pizzas.

It's beyond me but I bet some geometry wizard could do it.
 

AES

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Sorry, a pizza is NOT a pie, so I don't see where Pi comes into it at all!

(Hat, coat, creeps unnoticed out the door).
 

Andy Kev.

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If I remember aright, no less an authority than the late Dean Martin would beg to differ with you. Did he not sing about the moon being in the sky being "Like a great pizza pie"?

And he was Italian!
 

AES

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If I remember aright, no less an authority than the late Dean Martin would beg to differ with you. Did he not sing about the moon being in the sky being "Like a great pizza pie"?

And he was Italian!
I think it was indeed Dean Martin, but that was not maths, it was purely "poetic licence" (and there was me hoping to creep away unnoticed). ;)
 

Trainee neophyte

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Twelve is a very handy number. Did you know you can count to twelve on one hand by using your thumb to point at the joints of each finger. 3 joints per finger, times four fingers. You can use the other hand to count the number of twelves, and hey presto you can count to 144 without taking your shoes off. I do wonder if this is why twelve was used as much as it was by ancient types - clocks for example, as well as feet and inches.
 

Sgian Dubh

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Twelve is a very handy number. Did you know you can count to twelve on one hand by using your thumb to point at the joints of each finger.
Well, I can on my left hand, but not using my right because the end of two fingers are missing. I guess that makes my left hand useful for old pre-decimal units, and my right hand decimal. I prefer counting using the joints on my right hand, which I suppose means I prefer the decimal or metric system. I've never seen a need to try and use the knuckle count on one hand to convert to the units available on the other hand. Slainte.
 

ArferMo

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I use metric, and haven't looked back since buying a measure with millimetres on the top edge, the bottom edge and the obverse. 19/32nds, et al, now does my head in!

I knew a guy, years ago, who was the secreatry for the UK Douzenal Society. He was a mathematician and produced a magazine for members on the benefits of counting in base 12. The idea has its merits, especially with packing, but the first rule of inovation is "don't upset an established apple cart".
 

TheTiddles

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I too enjoyed that footnote each time I read whichever discworld book it was.
I was not joking though.
what is 1/3 of 3/4? 1/4?
what is half of 3/4? 3/8.

Again, the other responses show that the point was missed, and in my opinion, it's a big reason imperial feels easy for woodworking.
It uses fractions.

I am all for mental arithmetic, working without measuring etc. However, if you have a pizza and 4 people, you cut across and then across again.
If there's 6, you cut across, then each half into 3. if 8 people.... etc....

Where I think it's actually slower with adding, and I've seen some youtubers adding various measurements, thicknesses, then leaving a 1/64 gap here, and 1/16 there, and end up with 29" 17/64 or something....

However, often fractions are incredibly quick and easy to use, and they seem to disappear in metric woodworking (and many other disciplines using metric).
You could/can have fractions in metric, they're just not used, so my point was not about imp vs metric per se (of course metric is the standard and makes more sense), but that we lost some of the working with fractions, for some reason...
The point is repeatedly missed it seems, what’s half of a metre... it’s 1/2 metre, you can still use fractions in metric, what on earth makes you think that your analogy of the pizza is helpful when you want to divide by 5, or 7? You can also use decimals in imperial, people have been doing that for a couple of centuries. Though as I’ve already pointed out, unless you’re at least 122 years old, your beloved imperial lengths have always been fractions of a metre, so thanks for all using metric your entire lives, we knew you’d get there eventually.

It seems the real question is “what units of a metre do you like using?”, to which anyone with even the most rudimentary of educations would say “any you want, they’re all the same”

Aidan
 

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Well, I can on my left hand, but not using my right because the end of two fingers are missing. I guess that makes my left hand useful for old pre-decimal units, and my right hand decimal. I prefer counting using the joints on my right hand, which I suppose means I prefer the decimal or metric system. I've never seen a need to try and use the knuckle count on one hand to convert to the units available on the other hand. Slainte.
Not everyone has digital digits. It's the sign of a true woodworker.
 

Nigel Burden

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I'm ok with temperature in C or F, but for most other things I use imperial, except for lighter weights, when I use grams.

Nigel.
 

Dr Al

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I'm ok with temperature in C or F, but for most other things I use imperial, except for lighter weights, when I use grams.

Nigel.
I can use inches, pounds and suchlike (although I choose not to in almost all cases), but when someone quotes a temperature in Fahrenheit to me, they might as well be speaking Mandarin for all the sense it makes to me. Similarly the Imperial or American units for thickness of sheet metal or box section thickness. For me it will always be easier to see box section quoted as (e.g.) 25 × 25 × 2 mm (meaning 25 mm square with a 2 mm wall thickness) than 1" × 1" × 14 swg. My calipers don't have an SWG mode...
 

Phil Russell

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I am really enjoying this ... I was raised on imperial but quickly picked metric up at school etc. At work (think agriculture) it was all metric apart for one elderly gentleman who worked in imperial/old English for all measures then back converted when it came to write reports. I still tend to use imperial at home but can happily switch to metric.
But I am surprised no one has mentioned the epitomy of measuring systems, the 'tad'. Quite often when doing some outdoor work where absolute precision is not needed I will use the 'tad' system and its younger brother the 'bit'. So a piece of wood just over 2 ft long could become 24 inches and a bit, or, if a bit longer, 24 and a tad.
Its a lovely world.
Cheers, Phil
 

Lockyear2810

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The crazy one for me is car tyres.
Throughout Europe they are still measured using millimetres for the width and inches for the diameter.
Example. 235/50/18 😂
So everyone who uses both..... You’re not alone.
 
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