View Full Version : Taking Inside Measurements With A Tape and Other Things !!

Randy Meijer
03-07-2005, 7:27 AM
I watch "THIS OLD HOUSE" fairly regularly and old Tom Silva does something that puzzles me. Not sure if he knows something that I don't or whether it's just his years of experience???

When taking an inside measurement...like a window opening...Tom will stick the end of his tape in one corner, lay it flat on the sill, "break" the tape at a 90 angle, roll the tape into the other corner and call off a dimension to the last 16th??? Is he estimating the measurement or getting close enough for government work since the dimension doesn't need to be exact or using some unknown(to me) technique to read the bend of the tape accurately?? This has puzzled me for many moons and I figured that if anyone knew the answer, short of Tom himself, it would be someone here. My thanks in advance for any comments.

And on another subject, I just saw that Lee Valley sells a tape measure that reads "backwards". The tape reads from right to left instead of the more normal way. Not real crazy about paying $6 bucks shipping on a $10 item si I checked a couple of local places today and no one had one. Anyone ever seen these things at a local retail store??? If so, where?? Thanks.

Doug Shepard
03-07-2005, 7:42 AM
Dont know the answer to the first question, but I've got one of those LV backwards tapes. They are a little easier to use for us righthanders, but unfortunately I've never seen the LV or any other RH tape at any retailers. As far as I know, LV is the only one that sells them.

Halsey MCCombs
03-07-2005, 8:55 AM
I have a fastcap tape from Woodcraft, they have them that you can use left or right and one that the tape is flat. The company site is Fastcap.com. Halsey

Jim Becker
03-07-2005, 9:26 AM
For construction work, the method that Tom uses is generally acceptable. Further, after you do it for "awhile"...you tend to know what the measurment is even with that slight bend in the tape! Experience is what it is...

Jeff Sudmeier
03-07-2005, 9:41 AM
As Jim said, it is the experience that makes it work. For construction work, all you need is the 1/16th... Actually an 1/8th strong or weak in construction terms. Back when I worked construction that is exactly how we would measure window openings, with no problems. The first few times you migh mess up, but with the bend normally the measurement is long, so you get to re-cut, not waste the peice :)

Jim Dunn
03-07-2005, 10:38 AM
I've even heard the term "first mark past a half, leave the line". That's ok for siding I guess but I have to wonder if they really can read a tape;)