One thing that is constant in woodworking - there is LOTS of measuring and working with numbers and woodworkers have devised many different ways to quickly do things that doesn't involve sitting down with a calculator or trying to work out some complicated math. And first up are tape measures, probably one of the tools we use the most in the workshop, or at least I do. I am always measuring ...

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For years I always heard the refrain ... measure twice, cut once and for some reason that always bothered me and there are many time I measured twice and still cut the wood too short. I hate that!!  Then one day I stumbled upon a tape measure that when I hold it in my left hand (because I always hold the pencil in my right hand) and low and behold, all the numbers were right way up. I didn't have to try and work the numbers from upside down. That was one of the turning points in my woodworking ... 

tape measure tips

I can say that being able to read numbers the right way up has almost eliminated measuring errors for me ... I NEVER measure twice and cut once, I measure once and cut once and rarely to I ever cut wood wrong anymore ... I'm not saying it will work for everyone, but it sure worked for me. Imagine, something a simple as tape measure with numbers that read the right way up ...
Click here to see the "Task" Left Handed tape measure from Amazon ...


I don't do a lot of wood turning, but when I do, and many other times, I seem to need to find the center of a dowel, a bowl or some other piece of wood and for some reason I have never purchased a Center Finder jig, not that they are expensive, I have just never purchased one, instead, what have been doing for years is using one of my squares and one of my 34 degree triangles and using that to find the center of circular objects ... and it fits most sizes I have needed.

Framing square

It's pretty simple, you simply align the 45 degree angle of the triangle, right in the middle of the squares "V" and making sure that the triangle is flat along the side of the square as well and presto you have  a perfect centre finder. 
Click here to see the "Speed Square" on Amazon ... 

And speaking of finding the center of something, how often do you find yourself needing to cut a board in half, or in thirds or even more. Rather than measuring the distance and dividing by the number of pieces you need, a simple and accurate way is to just measure the diagonal of the board, preferably using a metal yard stick, but a tape measur will work too  just always make sure you are measuring along the same plane ... from tip to end, then use what ever number you want to equally divide the board and mark those numbers.


For example say you have board you want to cut into 5 equal pieces, measure side to side from the tip of measure to the 20 inch mark, 4 times 5 equals 20, and you want 5 pieces so mark every 4 inches and that will be measure to give you 5 equal pieces. 
Click here to see a quality 36 inch long aluminum rule from Amazon ... 

And now that we are on the end to end measures, let talk about measuring inside points. There is a measuring jig for this ( and maybe it's time we made one) but the quickest way to make these inside measurements if you don't have an inside measuing device is to use a couple of steel rules together, or even a steel rule and a steel square. but the two measures together (again I like to use a clamp) and measure and clamp the inside measurements you want.

measuring square

If you are doing some aligning,you can simlply  move the measure to the oposing side to check to see if you project is square. Ether way a quick and easy way of measuring inside dimenssions.  
Click here to see a quality Steel Rule from Amazon ... 

One of the things I like most about woodworking compared to carpentry, is the fine accuracy need in woodworking to get a good fit ... not that carpentry doesn't also need good fits, it just that the tolerances in woodworking are often finer ... for this, even though I have a construction triangle, if normally prefer my architects triangle. They are readily found in most stationary departments and they give perfectly accurate results

Square rulers

They are not expensive to purchase and if you are making any kinds of angles or any kinds of accurate mesurments you are going to need an accurate mesuring deivce for angles.
Click here to see Engineers Triangles available from Amazon ...

Copyright - Colin Knecht

 Measuring Hacks and Tips


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