7 Tips How to Use a Tape Measure

7 Tips How to Use a Tape Measure

Construction tape is a tool that almost everyone has. Most people think they know everything about this simple device, but I assure you, it is not. In this article, I will tell you about 7 tips of the usual building tape measure that you probably did not even know about.

Movable hook

Have you noticed that the hook at the end of the tape measure is loose and may move slightly? If so, then most likely they attributed it to a factory defect and were outraged by the manufacturer’s hack. Indeed, how can you make accurate measurements if the hook moves a couple of millimeters ?! But in fact, this is how it was intended.

The fact is that measurements with a tape measure can be carried out in two ways: with the capture of an object or from its edge. In the first case, the toe is attached at the edge of the object farthest from you. This option is most often used when you need to know the size of the object itself. In an alternative method, the hook is fixed at the face closest to you, which allows you to measure not the dimensions of the object, but the distance from it.

The movement of the toe is necessary due to the fact that in the first case it must be shifted by its thickness in order for the measurements to be reliable. Otherwise, the actual dimensions would be distorted, since the thickness of the hook was added to them.

Advice. It should be noted that the movable hook loses over time. To extend the life of your construction tape, try to roll it up smoothly without letting the hook bump into the body.


Hole in the toe

Many tape measures have a small hole on the inside of the hook that can be used to hook onto the head of a nail or screw. This is very useful when you need to measure a large enough distance alone. Of course, this method gives a small error of 1-2 mm, but for long distances, as a rule, this is not critical.

In addition, using this hole, you can use construction tape as an impromptu compass. To do this, the hook also clings to a nail or screw, which will be the center of the circle. A pencil is attached to the tape measure, with the help of which, when rotating, an almost perfect circle of any radius can be drawn.

toe hole

Hole in the tape

Also, a large part of construction tape measures is equipped with another hole, which is located not on the toe, but on the tape itself. Typically, 2.5 cm apart. It serves the same purpose as the toe hole. The only difference is that it does not cling to the head of the nail, but is entirely put on it.

This is convenient as the end of the tape is guaranteed not to come off. However, with most tape measures, this hole is very small, which imposes a limitation on the thickness of the nail used.

Hole in the tape

Measurements in corners and openings

Those who have had to measure openings or corners with a tape measure know very well that when it reaches a wall, the body rests against it and does not allow the tape to spin to the required length. Many in such a situation, for some reason, begin to break the tape of the roulette, trying to press it to the corner. But in the end, they still get results with a huge margin of error.

In fact, everything is much simpler. When you reach the second edge, you need to remember the result, and then add the length of the tape measure to it. The most advanced manufacturers know about this chip, so they write the size on the case. But even if it is not specified, nothing prevents you from measuring it yourself.

measurement in the corner

Writing surface

Another life hack that only professional builders usually know about is that the side edge of the roulette wheel can be used as a field for notes. Pencils with a soft lead can easily write on plastic, from which tape measures are usually made. And after the notes are no longer needed, they can be easily erased with a regular eraser.

Advice. To make it easier to write, the body of the tape measure can be slightly sanded.


The simplest calculator

It is also worth keeping in mind that using a tape measure it is very easy to divide numbers by 2. To do this, simply unwind the tape by the length equal to the dividend, and then fold it in half. The number on the fold will be the exact result of the expression. It may seem that dividing numbers by two is not that difficult. But when it’s not about round values, it’s easy to make a mistake.


Advanced geometry

If dividing by 2 with a tape measure seemed too easy for you, then this secret is for you. Imagine that you need to divide a 23 cm wide plywood sheet into 4 equal pieces. The majority in this case divides the width by the number of parts and begins to measure the corresponding sections, which is not very convenient when it comes to non-circular numbers.

However, you can do much easier. For the advanced method, you need to find the smallest number that is greater than the width and is a multiple of the number of parts. In our case, this is the number 24. Having unrolled the tape measure to the total width, it should be shifted sideways until the length of the tape is equal to the received number. Then you should divide it by the number of parts and mark the corresponding values. In this case, it is 6, 12, and 18 cm.

Thus, you divide the total canvas into equal parts with high precision, which is very convenient when you have to work with fractional numbers, a direct approach to which is fraught with significant errors.

measuring with a tape measure

As you can see, all of the above secrets do not have anything complicated under them, and even beginners can use them. Knowing these little things and “professional tricks” can greatly simplify the repair process without losing quality.


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