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Which is Your Go To Measuring Tool; Rule or Tape Measure ?

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  • Which is Your Go To Measuring Tool; Rule or Tape Measure ?

    I guess I'm old school when it comes to my default measuring tool, I reach for a folding rule 8 times out of ten if the measurement will be less than 6 feet.
    I've remarked more than once over the years that I prefer Lufkin inside reading rules.

    Probably a carry over from on the job where I felt 'out of uniform' if I didn't have a folding rule in my pocket. I carried a 25 foot tape too, but most measurements I would use the rule if I was looking at something ~6 feet or less.

    I have a Milwaukee non-conductive rule for use around energized equipment. It has no exposed metal parts. I think it's made from fiberglass but not sure. Doesn't get much use as I don't play around or inside energized electrical cabinets much.

    So now when I go in the shop I always stick that folding rule in my pocket. Half the time I forget about it and it makes it into the house with me (which is how this post came to be). I think 95% of the measurements I make in the shop are less than 6 feet. It's just goes with the territory. What I am doing there is of a scale that doesn't need a 25 or 30 foot tape measure. I have a couple tapes in the shop. Both are older Stanley PowerLock? tapes in 16 and 25 foot lengths. Of the two the 16 footer gets used more often.

    I also have a 1/4" x 10' Stanley PowerLock? pocket tape measure that I will grab when I'm heading out the door when I think I might need to measure something. I keep a 25 foot tape in the truck but this little one goes with me into Lowes, HD, or wherever.

    I have a drawer full of other measuring tools, but the 6 foot folding rule is my first choice. If the scale of the job is less than 18 inches I might go to a steel rule or when setting up a saw for a cut I will use a steel rule or when I need to be dead on with the measurements. But if it's rough work the folding rule is my first choice. Calipers, setup blocks, micrometers, I use all those too when appropriate.

    So just curious which one you reach for first; tape or rule; or do you even use both. You can check both boxes if you do and comment on why.
    Tape Measure
    Folding Rule
    Something else (explain in your comments)
    Last edited by Bob D.; 10-25-2021, 05:14 AM.
    "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" ? Bob D. 2006
    "?ǝɹɐ sɹǝƃuıɟ ɹnoʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʍouʞ noʎ op `ʍɐs ǝlqɐʇ ɐ s,ʇı"

  • #2
    I spent decades on the drawing board, so have a variety of measuring 'rulers', some stainless and others wood and plastic combinations with engraved markings. They're great for smaller, precise measurements and for longer (up to four foot), I have both wood, aluminum, and stainless measures. For general carpentry and around the house, I have a variety of tape measures and of course for small precision measurements I use a vernier caliper, which I've had since my early days as a mechanical inspector (way back in 1964).

    So for me, it depends on what I'm doing. In the shop my 'rulers' are first at hand to double check my saw settings. I have a steel tape setup on my RAS and on the table saw there is the fence markings, both of which I double check before and during their use.

    My Dad always had a folding rule (a Lufkin IIRC) and that along with a steel tape was his two primary measuring devices. He much preferred the folding rule.

    Last edited by CWSmith; 10-25-2021, 06:21 PM. Reason: Two typos, 'their' replaced with 'they're and removed a misplace 'I'.


    • Bob D.
      Bob D. commented
      Editing a comment
      Why do you put the word rulers in single quotes?

      I understand one of the definitions of the word ruler is a measuring device, as is the word rule. But the single quotes I don't get.

  • #3
    You have no idea as to how lucky I am as my nose is not 12 inches long.
    If my nose would be 12 inches long it would be a foot!

    I use a folding rule which was actually hard to find and a tape measure. sometimes
    I even use one of those lase type measuring devices

    Cactus Man


    • #4
      LOL, same goes for other parts. :-)
      "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" ? Bob D. 2006
      "?ǝɹɐ sɹǝƃuıɟ ɹnoʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ʍouʞ noʎ op `ʍɐs ǝlqɐʇ ɐ s,ʇı"