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mccpe

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I've recently started to use imperial measurements in projects - I am of the generation that was taught both imperial and metric systems so I find it easy to switch between them. Apart from the fact that my last few projects have come from drawings with imperial measurements, I have realised that it is far easier on the eyes when working in eighths and sixteenths than in millimetres (as long as the rule isn't trying to show 1/64ths on the same scale).

My biggest problem has been that all of the rules I have with imperial markings have 1/16ths (and 1/8ths) on one edge and 1/10ths on the other. It has caught me out more than once when I've tried to set a gauge to 3/8ths say, and ended up with 3/10ths.

I have since discovered that you can buy steel rules with different variations of markings. 4R has 1/64ths and 1/32nds on one side and (joy of joys) 1/16ths and 1/8ths on the other. I almost never need anything finer than 1/16th, so a rule marked with a 1/16ths scale on one edge and an 1/8ths on the other is perfect. I'm surprised at how much easier it makes it.

It's not easy to find nice 4R rules in the UK. My favourite rule is a Shinwa satin chrome rule, which is very easy to read because of the satin chrome, but it's metric. I have a cheap unchromed 6" x 3/4" 4R stainless rule, but I can't find a nice satin finish 6" x 3/4" 4R rule. Let me know if you know of something. In my searches though, I did find a great 4R double square from igaging which can be ordered from the USA via Amazon for £25 or so. I expect the Starrett equivalent is nicer, but it's also much more $$$.
 

D_W

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I don't have a specific suggestion, but in the US, I've found two sources for steel rules that aren't as expensive as woodworking:
1) office supply places generally have stainless rules for drafting
2) tinner's supply houses (those rules are ultra flexible, but most of them are marked with inches and then for diameter or radius (Circumference) on the other part of the scale, which isn't very good if you confuse it for CMs or something (as inch on one side and CM on the other is also common in the US).

All of the office supply rules that I've found are accurate, and usually really cheap, but also often corked and with a lead in bit of metal on the end (that needs to be filed off carefully if wanting to use them to measure from zero).
 

IWW

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mccpe, I've been a steel rule devotee for many decades. When I started woodwork in grade 7, at the ripe age of 12, we each had to have a 2 foot folding boxwood rule. Out of habit, I used that rule for many years, but one day, for some reason, I picked up a steel engineers' rule & measuring suddenly got a whole lot easier & more accurate. Not just because the marks are sharper & a little more precise, mainly because with a thin ruler you get far less parallax error. (And yes, we were taught to hold the boxwood ruler on edge to avoid parallax, but it's often very awkward to do that!.

I have never managed to figure out how manufacturers decide on how to apply the various divisions to their rulers - the combinations seem to be endless, & none makes sense to me. I have a couple with all mm divisions on one edge & all half mm on the other that suit my needs well. Both have Imperial on the reverse side (decimal on one edge, whole-number fractions on the other - the decimal scales being for the engineers, not for us woodies...). I do still often have need to measure 1/8" but both rulers have the 1/8" divisions on the second half of the scale, with much finer divisions at the start, which makes them more awkward & less convenient for setting a gauge against.

I certainly empathise with your least-practical-unit-of-measure problem. I switched to metric in the 90s when my unaided eyes were still comfy with even half a mm, but once my vision started to slip in my late 40s, the half-mm divisions soon became superfluous and eventually, even with my reading specs on, I struggle to see the 1mm divisions clearly unless the light is very bright. So nowadays, when I walk into the shed, I pop on my "Optivisor" immediately, so I can flip it into play whenever required (which is increasingly often :( ).

I retired my faithful vernier calipers (no batteries required!) about 10 years ago because I could no longer read the vernier scale easily. I must admit, a good quality digital set is a joy to use and much quicker than the verniers, even if your sight was good. I bought a small metal lathe when I retired, so I had to up the accuracy of my measuring - an error that you wouldn't even notice with a wood joint makes the difference between a very tight & very sloppy fit with metal!
Cheers,
Ian
 
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Bojam

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I've recently started to use imperial measurements in projects - I am of the generation that was taught both imperial and metric systems so I find it easy to switch between them. Apart from the fact that my last few projects have come from drawings with imperial measurements, I have realised that it is far easier on the eyes when working in eighths and sixteenths than in millimetres (as long as the rule isn't trying to show 1/64ths on the same scale).

My biggest problem has been that all of the rules I have with imperial markings have 1/16ths (and 1/8ths) on one edge and 1/10ths on the other. It has caught me out more than once when I've tried to set a gauge to 3/8ths say, and ended up with 3/10ths.

I have since discovered that you can buy steel rules with different variations of markings. 4R has 1/64ths and 1/32nds on one side and (joy of joys) 1/16ths and 1/8ths on the other. I almost never need anything finer than 1/16th, so a rule marked with a 1/16ths scale on one edge and an 1/8ths on the other is perfect. I'm surprised at how much easier it makes it.

It's not easy to find nice 4R rules in the UK. My favourite rule is a Shinwa satin chrome rule, which is very easy to read because of the satin chrome, but it's metric. I have a cheap unchromed 6" x 3/4" 4R stainless rule, but I can't find a nice satin finish 6" x 3/4" 4R rule. Let me know if you know of something. In my searches though, I did find a great 4R double square from igaging which can be ordered from the USA via Amazon for £25 or so. I expect the Starrett equivalent is nicer, but it's also much more $$$.

Do @Wood Workers Workshop not stock that particular iGaging rule you like? They have a lot of iGaging stuff. I’ve bought various bits and pieces from them including a 100mm double square which is a nice bit of kit.
 

Peter Sefton

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@mccpe we have three products that might suits your needs including the iGaging double square, currently on back order but should be in soon.


1643265656481.png




Our 6" Fisher satin chrome rule may suit your needs but not ideal as it has 10ths on one edge, You may be able to black this out with a black marker.


1643265825165.png


The Incra imperial rule may help but again you may wish to cover over the fractions you are not using.


1643265939639.png


Just let us know at Wood Workers Workshop if we can help.

Cheers

Peter
 

the great waldo

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@mccpe we have three products that might suits your needs including the iGaging double square, currently on back order but should be in soon.


View attachment 128016



Our 6" Fisher satin chrome rule may suit your needs but not ideal as it has 10ths on one edge, You may be able to black this out with a black marker.


View attachment 128017

The Incra imperial rule may help but again you may wish to cover over the fractions you are not using.


View attachment 128019

Just let us know at Wood Workers Workshop if we can help.

Cheers

Peter
Fischer rules are tops. I've been using 60cm 2FT ones for years. Easy to read and don't rust and accurate and well priced. I even bought some shorter and longer ones because I liked them so much. Just a shame they don't do an 18" one. (I'm not connected to the company apart from usin the rules every day)
Cheers
Andrew
 

Adam W.

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I use a £4.50 cheapy 2" steel ruler from the local stationary shop. It's flexy, so good for going round curves and clearly marked out with 8ths and 16ths on one side and 64ths on the other side.

Like this, except mine have etched markings not painted on ones.


 
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mccpe

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@mccpe we have three products that might suits your needs including the iGaging double square, currently on back order but should be in soon.

Thanks, Peter. That double square is a great tool, I bought the 4R version from the US, but I’d have happily have bought it from you. The Fischer rule also looks good, very similar to the Shinwa that I already have.

I guess that it doesn’t make sense for you to stock imperial only rules, but I find the one 6” rule I have, with 1/8ths on one edge and 1/16ths on the other, my go to rule for most things these days.
 

pe2dave

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Directly above my workbench I have a (cheap) 6x magnifying glass. Equally to hand a 10x glass.
I retain metric (simple accuracy) and just about always use the glass when I need to be accurate.
I find a steel rule so much more easy / accurate (parallax) to use. I agree about metric side (please
some of the people all of the time....) being a nuisance. Who measures in 1/10th? Not me.
(age, eyes).
 

Jacob

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Take a look at cheap combination squares. Mine was less than a fiver but can't remember the brand or seller. Has a good quality 12" SS rule very nicely made with inches down to 1/32 on one side and mm on the other. No need so spend much - it's cheap easy to make a good ruler, it just needs to suit your requirements.
 

mccpe

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Do @Wood Workers Workshop not stock that particular iGaging rule you like? They have a lot of iGaging stuff. I’ve bought various bits and pieces from them including a 100mm double square which is a nice bit of kit.
They do, and it’s a great tool. The version they stock has metric and imperial scales, which is perfectly fine, but I wanted the version that is imperial only which has 1/8ths on one edge and 1/16ths on the other, like this Starrett:

1643450336439.jpeg
 

mccpe

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Take a look at cheap combination squares. Mine was less than a fiver but can't remember the brand or seller. Has a good quality 12" SS rule very nicely made with inches down to 1/32 on one side and mm on the other. No need so spend much - it's cheap easy to make a good ruler, it just needs to suit your requirements.
Thanks @Jacob, I don’t mind spending a bit, but I‘m looking for a rule with 1/8ths and 1/16ths only for ease of seeing and use. Most metric/imperial rules start their scales with 1/2mm or 1/32” divisions. I find these a pain if I’m trying to set a gauge to 5/8ths, say.
 

thetyreman

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my favourite two metal rulers are moore and wright and starrett, don't go cheap with rulers, they are important.
 

Ttrees

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my favourite two metal rulers are moore and wright and starrett, don't go cheap with rulers, they are important.
You need cheapies too!
Never paid much for one, but have a nice thin satin shinwa for delicate stuff,
Last one I got for a fiver in homebase was silverline,
not as nice a polish on the stainless, and no markings on the back.

The longer Fisco one I bought there few years back for twice the price is much nicer.
I'd buy one again if it were available.
Never found it was lacking, but at the same time, not swapped the silverline one for the same size Fisco I have at the folks.


SAM_4714.JPG
 

thetyreman

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if you get a starrett ruler you will understand, with respect there is just no comparison and I have both from the cheapest available to the most expensive, the difference is the quality and how it feels.
 

Spectric

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It is something you learn quickly if you have ever worked in or with metrology, precision, linearity and repeatability do not come cheap and although many just see a ruler as a bit of metal with markings there are differences, an obvious misnomer is when someone advertisers a professional plastic ruler. I find in woodworking that another useful item to be used in conjunction with your rule is a rule stop, really great for repeat markings.
 

Ttrees

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No doubt they are lovely rulers, glad I've never handled one, as my Fisco one seems to me as good as I could get, (bar a fancy satin finish)
I nearly bought this 72" ruler on adverts, although no good as a straight edge.
  • eyJidWNrZXQiOiJtZWRpYS5hZHNpbWcuY29tIiwia2V5IjoiZTIyNmE4MzkzZDZkNWY2MmNmZjc5ZGY3NDZmM2ZhOWJhMzU4MmMzMGE1MjNhYjYwNjhlYjg4ZTc5ZjNjODA5Yi5qcGciLCJvdXRwdXRGb3JtYXQiOiJqcGVnIiwiZWRpdHMiOnsicmVzaXplIjp7IndpZHRoIjozOTUsImhlaWdodCI6MTE1fX19
  • J. Rabone & Sons - 72 inch Steel Ruler
  • J. Rabone & Sons - 72 inch Steel Ruler




I find this little Shinwa one great for its clear indications when looking at something 1/64" which isn't too often,
Just looking for an excuse to use it in this case, possibly a bit delicate for use all of the time.

Have some short very rigid cheapie homebase "lufkins" which are metric and have thick indications, quite fuzzy on the eyes looking at mm's compared to crisp 1/64"s on the Shinwa, bought them as you don't often come across low and stout rulers for cheap.
Could be bolted onto various machines and the likes.

SAM_5109.JPG
 

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