Every little thing You Didn’t Know Concerning the Trusty Tape Measure

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Even should you’re not a grasp carpenter, you probably have a tape measure readily available. It’s one among the 12 important instruments to maintain in your toolbox. I’ve had my trusty Stanley 25 ft. PowerLock Tape Measure for over a decade now, and it looks like not per week goes by that I don’t use it for one factor or one other: measuring wooden; measuring my child’s peak; measuring the size of a room to see if a sure sofa will match inside it.

The tape measure is such an ubiquitous family fixture, you most likely haven’t thought all that a lot about it. However there’s extra to this device than meets the attention. Particularly the attention of the untrained novice. 

Beneath we spotlight just a few belongings you may not have identified about your tape measure, in addition to just a few tips from the professionals on the best way to get much more use out of it.

Solutions to Questions Concerning the Tape Measure You Hadn’t Thought to Ask

Why does my tape measure’s hook slide up and down?

You will have observed that the metallic hook on the finish of your tape measure slides up and down a bit. No, the hook hasn’t inadvertently come unfastened. It’s really made to do that.

The primary inch of the tape is brief by 1/16 of an inch. Sure, that’s proper. The primary inch of your tape measure isn’t really an inch.

The tape’s sliding hook and 1/16-of-an-inch truncation create a easy however ingenious means to make sure you get a “true zero” measurement whether or not you’re measuring the skin or inside a floor.

Right here’s the way it works:

Measuring inside/exterior a floor

The metallic hook is strictly 1/16 of an inch thick. If you happen to’re measuring the skin of a floor and hook your metallic finish on the sting, that metallic hook will shift out and create a spot that equals the house the hook takes up.

If it is advisable to measure the within of a floor — like in a window body or inside a drawer — you need to depend the thickness of the metallic piece in your calculations. In order you push the tip in opposition to one thing, the hook is included within the measurement.

If this concept appears slightly exhausting to wrap your thoughts round, this video by Tom Silva from This Outdated Home will assist it click on.

Take Care of Your Hook — Don’t Let It Slam Into the Case

The slide within the tape measure’s metallic hook has been calibrated in order that it strikes simply sufficient to provide you a “true zero” measurement, whether or not you might be measuring inside or exterior an object.

However should you don’t maintain your tape measure, that calibration can get thrown off, leading to inaccurate measurements.

One of the crucial widespread methods to break the slide in your hook is by letting the tape recoil rapidly, ensuing within the hook slamming into the tape measure’s case.

To stop that from occurring, because the tape slides again into the case, place your finger in between the case and the hook to cease the tape’s momentum earlier than letting its the rest retract. That is much less jarring on the hook and can guarantee years of true zero measurements.

In case your youngsters are like mine, not solely do they wish to play along with your tape measure generally, they like to increase the tape all the best way out to 25′ after which let it roll again in as rapidly as it could actually. If this didn’t already annoy you, now you could have a reputable purpose to inform them to knock it off.

What’s the divot in your tape measure’s hook for?

You may need observed that your tape measure’s hook has a small divot, and also you may need by no means thought that the divot was there for a purpose. However, expensive reader, it’s.

That little divot matches completely over the pinnacle of a nail or screw. Why would it is advisable to place that divot on a nail or screw?

Permits you to take measurements once you’re by your self. If you happen to’re alone and have to take a protracted measurement however don’t have a option to anchor the top of your tape, you may drive a nail or screw into the wall/flooring/piece of lumber and hook the tape onto it. Bam! Prompt second hand!

Permits you to use your tape measure as a compass. You may also hook that divot onto a nail and switch your tape measure right into a compass to measure out circles or arches.

Why do some numbers have crimson squares round them?

You may need observed that your tape measure has crimson squares across the numbers each 16″. So that you’ll see that 16, 32, 48, 64, 80, and many others., all bear this marker.

What’s so particular about 16″?

Nicely, in america, framing studs and flooring joists are normally spaced with 16-inch-on-center spacing. Which means the middle of 1 stud to the middle of the subsequent stud over is 16″.

The crimson squares simply let you see that 16-inch-on-center spacing rapidly.

Whereas this characteristic is significant to framers and drywallers, it could actually additionally come in useful for the common dude making an attempt to mount a TV or bike rack on the wall. If you already know the place the middle of 1 joist is, you may rapidly discover the middle of the subsequent one by glancing at your tape measure.

What are these small black diamonds on my tape measure?

This marking in your tape measure is a bit esoteric, and certain received’t be utilized by the common DIYer, nevertheless it’s cool to know.

On most tape measures, you’ll see a small diamond each 19.2″.

If you wish to obtain equal spacing for five framing members inside a 8’ span (some carpenters wish to put 5 trusses per 8 ft, so the sheathing over the framing is stiffer), these are helpful markings: 8 ft = 96 inches, in order that if you wish to place 5 studs equally distanced aside, you’ll place them each 19.2″.

As I mentioned, the common DIYer most likely received’t use these markings, nevertheless it’s a cool factor to know.

Measuring Tape Methods From the Professionals

Understand how far your tape measure can prolong earlier than it collapses. While you had been a child, you probably tried to increase your dad’s tape measure so far as it may go earlier than the tape bent and fell over. On most 25-foot lengthy tape measures, the tape will collapse previous 7 ft.

That’s good to know should you’re making an attempt to measure lengthy distances between gaps. If the hole is wider than 7 ft, you’ll need a second hand to maintain the tape measure taut.

Burn an inch when measuring. Some carpenters don’t belief the “true zero” characteristic on tape measures. If the hook doesn’t slide appropriately, all of their measurements can be off. So to make sure they get an correct measurement, some contractors will maintain the tape on the 1-inch mark and make their mark precisely 1-inch past the specified measurement.

Keep in mind your tape measure’s case when measuring. Let’s say you’re measuring between the size of your room. You’ve acquired the metallic hook pressed in opposition to one finish of the room, however then you could have your tape measure’s case pressed in opposition to the opposite aspect.

How do you issue within the width of your tape measure case in that measurement?

If you happen to look in the back of your tape measure close to the underside, you’ll see some engraved lettering that claims one thing like “+3 inches.” That’s how lengthy the case of your tape measure is.

So going again to our room-measuring instance, when you have the tape measure case butted in opposition to one aspect of the wall and your tape measure is displaying 93″, add 3″ to take into consideration the case of the tape measure. So the width of your room is 96” or 8 ft.

Measure Up, Not Down. If you happen to’re measuring the peak of the wall, it’s simpler to put the hook on the ground and press it in opposition to the wall along with your toe. Prolong the tape measure up after which eyeball the measurement.

Use your tape measure as a tough and prepared straight edge. If it is advisable to draw a straight line for noticed marking, you need to use the sting of your tape measure as a tough and prepared straight edge. It received’t be as correct or straight as utilizing an precise straight edge, nevertheless it works in a pinch.

Use your tape measure as a scribe. Drywallers use this tactic to attract fast, straight reduce strains. Let’s say it is advisable to take 4″ off the underside of some drywall. Mark off 4″ along with your proper hand and maintain it in opposition to the underside of the drywall you’re going to chop. Maintain a pencil tight in opposition to the hook along with your different hand, after which run your palms down the underside of the board. Try to be left with a straight line 4″ above the underside of your drywall.

Use your tape measure as a slide rule. If it is advisable to do some fast fraction calculations, you need to use your tape measure as a slide rule.

Let’s say it’s important to subtract 5 ft, 1 ⅛  inches from 8 ft, 2 ¼ inches.

Measure out 8 ft, 2 ¼ inches. Fold your tape measure in order that it doubles again, and the metallic hook strains up with 8 ft, 2 ¼ inches.

Holding that in place, transfer the tape measure again up till you discover 5 ft, 1 ⅛ inches and see the place it intersects with the opposite aspect of the tape.

It simply so occurs to intersect with 3 ft, 1 ⅛ inches, which is the distinction between 8 ft, 2 ¼ inches and 5 ft, 1 ⅛ inches.

Who knew the standard tape measure was able to such cool calculations, and much more?

The publish Every little thing You Didn’t Know Concerning the Trusty Tape Measure appeared first on The Artwork of Manliness.

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