Precision Tools For Your Success
Maybe a tape measure is not something you’d remember straight away as an important part of your toolbox, but it all depends on your hobby. If you’re a woodworker who often works on furniture projects, then you know just how important it is to have a precision tool you can always rely on.
How would you choose a tape measure or a ruler if you went shopping now?
Let’s see some tips on how to choose precision tools.
Buying Tape Measures
- If you’re a woodworker, look for a tape measure that’s relatively light (no heavy casing needed – even if you do knock your tape measure over, it won’t fall from a very high place).
- Imperial or metric? Most tape measures sold in the US have two scales: in inches and feet and inches (Imperial scale). Metric scale tape measures are becoming more common. This is simply a matter of preference.
- Color is also important: some people prefer their measuring tape in a bright color such as yellow, while others want a neutral white color or just don’t have a preference. Colors used on the tape measure affect its readability.
- Another note on readability: tape measures usually read from left to right, but you can also find models that read from right to left or have a dual (reverse) scale you can read from both sides. This makes it easier to measure and work without interruptions.
- The type of projects you usually work on will also determine the length and width of your preferred tape measure. For furniture and projects that require precision, look for a narrower tape measure that’s up to 10 feet in length. You don’t really need more than that.
- Always have a trusty ruler for short measurements. Choose a stainless steel ruler for longevity (they also come in materials such as wood and plastic, but there’s more of a chance you’ll accidentally damage these).
- Engraved markings are far superior to printed markings (they will wear off with time).
- Consider buying a set of rulers of different lengths rather than buying one very long ruler. It’s more convenient to measure with a precision tool that’s approximately the same length as the object you’re measuring.
- Look for specialty rulers (such as hook ruler) for even greater precision.
Standard Tape Measures Sold in the U.S.
You can find many different types of tape measures in the U.S. Some are ideal for hobbyists and DIY-ers, while others adhere to industry standards.
- Did you know that many tape measures not only have a standard Imperial scale, but also special markings every 16 inches? 16 inches is actually a standard interval in the construction industry for placing studs.
- Millimeter-only tape measures are required by law in housing construction. This significantly reduces the possibility of error.
- Imperial scale tape measures are still more popular in the U.S. market than metric scale tape measures, although they are becoming increasingly common.
- On the other hand, precision rulers usually contain both scales (Imperial and metric).