5 cool things you may not know about your tape measure

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When I was working as a carpenter I once bought a heavier 30’ tape measure over the 25 only because it was 3" long and I didn’t want to deal with the fractional math from the smaller 2-3/4" every day. Physical labor to save mental labor, so I’m not sure where my laziness lies…


You won’t believe what we found! Carpenters hate us!


Apparently if you order your tape measures from China, you might end up with something measured in Chinese feet, with ten inches per foot. I had no idea that was a thing until relatively recently.


You may notice that when you release the hold lever on your tape measure, the tape rapidly gets sucked back into the housing. This is actually a feature. Let’s say your dog is bored, and all you have is a tape measure to entertain him with. That quick retraction is there to give your dog something to chase.


I bet my cats would like it, too!


Well not if you’re gonna take the fun out of it! Geez. :unamused:


My tape measure clipped to my hip stopped a nail gun ricochet once, I love that tape measure.


My cat goes crazy at the sound of a tape measure being used. She will be across the house and come running for it. It makes working on any projects in the house always a challenge.


“If you already knew all five things, please crow about it in the comments and remark how surprised you are that not everyone is aware of this information.”

Damn you, Frauenfelder! Damn you to helllllll!


Haha. Me too. (-:

[Actually, I also liked that the 30’ had a 1-inch blade, while the 25’ had only a 3/4inch blade, so you could extend it much further before it collapsed of its own weight. Useful when you’re trying to measure how far away something is from the top of your ladder. (-: ]


Hah! Tricksy. (-:

Though I confess, it did leave me thinking, “Do high schools not have General Shop classes any more?”

Because when I was in high school all that stuff was covered in the introduction to basic tools in General Shop, which was a required course for all male HS sophomores. (The girls took Home Ec instead.)

Gen Shop had 3 one-quarter mini-courses: Woodworking, then Electricity and Electronics, and then Metal Shop. Features of the retractable tape measure were covered in the intro to Woodworking, and included all of these ‘cool things.’

Now, mind you, I already knew all those things, because my dad’s garage was a fairly well-equipped woodworking and automotive repair shop. (Dad would have been an auto mechanic, but for the artillery shell that disassembled his leg on a beach outside Anzio, leaving him unable to stand for long periods on the reassembled leg.)

In fact, I really wanted to take Home Ec instead. Basic shop tools I already knew backward and forward - I’d been using lathes and table saws and drill presses since I was about 8 or so.

And I really wanted to learn stuff like cooking and canning and sewing.

But no dice. Sexism still reigned back then.


My high school had a general shop class, as did my senior elementary (grades 6-8) school. Boys were allowed to take both shop and home ec if they wanted, though (and I did!). Though I don’t recall learning these things about tape measures, specifically. I do recall taking a chunk out of my thumb on the broken glass that was covering some sort of notice (possibly a safety warning? Which would have been ironic) on the metal lathe in grade 9, though. Still have the scar nearly 25 years later.

We had both courses at our school, the class was split in two groups and we switched the subject after half a year.

[insert “why not both” gif here]


I had junior high in Minnesota in the 80s and everyone took home ec, and everyone took shop. Bloody socialists up there making everyone take everything. Even the swimming and social dance units in gym were mixed.


Great Little Video,

Using the Tip as a Scribe or holding a pencil against the tip and holding the tape at predetermined length to scribe is a great skill to have for quick marks for ripping sheet goods.


Only if you don’t have a chalk line. (-:

IMHO - If it is for rough work no need to waste the time to use the chalk line :slight_smile:

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Well, personally, I find the chalk line much faster, and prefer it for that reason (among others).

YMMV, obvs.

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SE MI checking in: I graduated HS in 2009 and general shop classes hadn’t been a thing for a few years, and our school district was finishing phasing out vocational training classes for more ‘college prep’ classes, in fact a graduation requirement was to have been accepted to any college/university.

Jump to the other side of the recession, and now the district is scrambling to find qualified shop instructors who aren’t beyond retirement age and repair hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of machine tools and laboratories that were neglected for most of a decade.