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Measurements not measuring up

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Oraclebhoy

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Question. I have a handful of tape measures, rulers etc that I use, I can swap between two or three of them during a project depending on my memory (where did I put that???) and the space that I am measuring in.

was setting up a cut on my table saw sledge yesterday and used an old metal ruler that I bought at the weekend to set my stop block 19” away, as I am a measure twice and still cut it wrong type of chap, I grabbed my tape and noticed that it was about 1/8th out. My ruler looks to start at the edge.

So my question is this. Do you stick to one measuring device/brand all the time?
Or do you just use whatever you have?

I have a mixture of cheap tapes/rulers and then some old school metal rulers that seem to be more consistent with each other.
 

Daniel2

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Measuring devices are all only really reference marks.
To transfer a measurement (with any accuracy), I make sure to
use the same steel rule.
Tape measures are only any good for rough measurments.
 

Inspector

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I have a Starrett combination set with an extra 2' rule and the equivalent metric one. I use them to verify the graduations on other rules match and the tape measures also are correct for the first couple feet. If out a touch they are for rough carpentry use only or junked/returned.

Pete
 

Rorton

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I swap and change between a tape measure, and a steel rule - using callipers when looking at thickness, and depths of grooves etc.

ive always used advent tape measures, and currently have a few of the vice versa (all metric, but can read it any way around - handy)

wherever possible, im always setting up some sort of stop so I can make repeatable cuts
 

D_W

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One device for anything that needs to match, and a pattern to mark off of for anything that's repeated. If the repetitions are few, the first serves as the pattern. Make the first and use it to set the tablesaw thereafter.

1/8th suggests something mechanically damaged as my rules and tapes are all much closer than that, and some are of the "free gift with purchase" type from harbor freight.
 

TomW

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Measure over and trim to fit generally. Better to need to remove a couple mm than need to try and add it on.

I use, two rulers of dubious providence, 2 sliding square, compas, vernier calipers and generally try not to measure if I can just reference once piece onto the next. Still mess bits up all the time though :cautious:
 

Jameshow

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I use anything to hand.

One week at a men's shed meet a chap who was an engineer by profession but loosing it took a tape hope that had lost its hook.

He brought it make a week later "fixed" several cuts later I realised he had shortened half an inch off bless him!!

Cheers James
 

Inspector

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I use anything to hand.

One week at a men's shed meet a chap who was an engineer by profession but loosing it took a tape hope that had lost its hook.

He brought it make a week later "fixed" several cuts later I realised he had shortened half an inch off bless him!!

Cheers James
I took a week long timber framing class ages ago and Ted Benson (the main instructor) it had problems with his crew "burning an inch" when taking and laying out measurements. Burning an inch meant putting the tape at the 1" mark and measuring from there because the hook could not always be relied upon to be accurate. The issue was that they wouldn't always add the inch to the measurement when transferring them so would end up with mortices etc being out of position an inch out. He solved it by having a crate of Starrett tape measures made with the first few inches of the tape blank and the graduations starting with zero. Just the opposite of your "engineer's"tape.

Pete
 

Adam W.

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I use a stick marked out for a job.

Paint the end yellow and you can't loose it in the long grass
 

cowtown_eric

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I don't equivocate/

A tape measure that has been dropped once, may have the hook bent, and will never read accurately again., or some silly person has hammere the sliding rivets wo they don't slide. (I belong to a makerspace, so don't ask me how I know!

For table saw adjustmenst. I use a dial indicator to set it, but then do the trial cut, and a caliper to dubble check it. . as some table saw blades may have a bit of a "dish to them" and only give trueness in the actual cut so when I sset it to 6", and a trial cut is over/under make the required adjustments to within a couplethou.....I'd never trust a tape measure to set TS cuts.After all the truth is in the pudding!

Wana puke? after settin upp TS to within a few thou, a day ater I watched a fella hitting the index gauge with a hammer. WHY...because he didn't think the cursor was accurate cause he used a tape measure, so he wanted to make it more "accurate!"Such is life in a maker-space

To me, if you use the BEST mensuration tools to set up your tools, you will get the best results. Old beat-up tape measures, rafter squares that are out of whack, well how could anyone expect them to yield precision results.

Eric in the colonies
 

Just4Fun

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I generally use whatever is to hand.

Sometimes, particularly when doing carpentry/home renovations rather than fine woodwork, I have had a stack of timber in one spot not exactly adjacent to my bench or whereverI am working. I found this created work. Measure what size I need, carry the tape to the stack of timber, measure & cut what I need. Return, fit that & try to measure the next piece only to find I had left the tape back at the stack of timber. Curse, then go fetch it. So now I keep a tape at the timber stack and another tape at the point of use. Or multiple tapes at each end. No more carrying tapes back and forth and, more importantly, no more forgetting to carry the tape back & forth.

I know it is often said on here that tapes & rules can differ, so in theory my approach is risky. Maybe so, but I have not had any problems. But then I only use tapes for comparatively rough measurements. For anything needing really exact sizing I would use a rule or pattern or story stick or whatever.
 

boggy

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Women have the habit of measuring with a cloth dressmaker's tape. These stretch after many years of use so never rely on a dimension measured with one of these.
 

hairy

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Some interesting points.
Marking stuff outside was the basis of my work, and without getting a 15m or 30m tape out would try and always use a Stanley 8m Powerlock. Changing to an 8m Max would screw up how things went, some reckoned bigger and more stand out were super useful but i think it was just annoying. Accuracy from familiarity.
I would think as long as it was a Class II measuring tape then even if it did change a bit during the day as least it would be theoretically consistant with other similar tapes?
 

D_W

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I would think as long as it was a Class II measuring tape then even if it did change a bit during the day as least it would be theoretically consistant with other similar tapes?
I think a check is always required. I don't deal in the micron measurement stuff (at least not in making big wood things), but a mechanical engineer gave me a run down at one point about how slack the tape requirements may be over a long distance. Not sure how tight they get, but I've generally checked the markings on new tapes with a 4' rule that I have and most are very close (even the cheap ones), and get less close than new if any damage happens to the actual tape.

it'd be nice for the average person to be able to get five tapes from the same run to go with so as not to be concerned with this. For those of us not bound to measure longer lengths that much (especially for repeated parts), it's nice to avoid the whole thing in general and use reference markings after the measuring tools set up the initial dimensions.
 
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