A Guide Measuring Tools
Give credit where credit is due
If you ever want to estimate the length of an item but you don’t have a measure around, the simple solution is your credit card. Your credit card can be used as a rough and ready measure for a variety of stock items on sale in hardware stores. Credit cards are 85 mm long and 54 mm wide, the magnetic strip on the back is 11 or 12 mm wide. That makes a very useful measuring tool when conforming that the p.a.r. (planned all around) timber you intend buying really is 22 mm thick or 44 mm wide. The security hologram on some cards is 20 mm wide-which is also a useful measure. Measure the features on your credit card and decide which ones you may be more likely to use. Then bear them in mind the next time you need to check a dimension, but have no tape measure or rule to hand.
Have you noticed that the numbers and graduation marks etched in metal measuring tools become hard to read after a while? You don’t need to replace the tools When this happens, instead paint them white and wipe off the excess paint while it is wet. The numbers and marks will be easy to read again. On aluminum tools use black paint.
For good measure
Rather than discard an old tape measure, snip off a section about 100 mm long and keep it in your wallet. This portable ruler is especially handy for checking the size of small items in hardware stores.
Make your floor work for you
Cutting timber to size is much easier if you have an oversized ruler painted on your workshop floor. Begin one wall and draw lines every 100 mm numbering the lines as you go. Use a ruler to find the intermediate lengths between the floor markings. To protect the marks, paint them with clear sealer. You can also use floor markings showing angles to speed marking of timber, including large sheets prior to cutting.
Be your own ruler
If you need a tape measure or a ruler and there is none to be had, take a cue from your ancestors and use your body to estimate distances from 20 mm to 2 m or more. To achieve more exact guidelines measure your own fingers, hands, limbs etc (be sure you are fully extended when you do so.) Memorize the results and you’re ready to go.
For quick and easy measuring, glue a metal rule to your work bench. If you glue a smaller rule to your toolbox, you’ll find that measuring as you work is always a snap.
Quick and easy transfers
Because an incorrect measurement can ruin a project transferring it accurately is crucial. If you don’t have the right measuring tool handy slip a hose clamp around a dowel and tighten the screw until the clamp fits snugly. Then slide it to the required position and tighten the screw to lock it in position. You can even color-code a number of clamps to give you an number of measurements.
You can also use a scrap piece of metal to transfer a measurement. Mark the place with a small rectangular or squared magnet. It will clamp onto the metal and stay there as long as needed.