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What You Need To Know About Tape Measures

There are a few things you probably didn’t know about tape measures. For example, did you know that today is National Tape Measure Day? You read that correctly, don’t worry. July 14 is a nationally observed day for the tape measure.

Alvin J. Fellows changed the course of history and the lives of carpenters, seamstresses and craftsmen worldwide when his patent for “Improvements in Tape Measures” was granted on July 14, 1868. So, if you’re feeling appreciative toward the retractable tape measure, you now know who to thank.

And yet, what of the tape measure itself? They can be awkward, bulky and flimsy all at the same time. Thus, causing your measurements to be less accurate. This begs the question of “How do you get the perfect measurement?”. Fret no longer, dear reader. There are a couple of quick tricks to help you achieve optimum precision.


For starters, you should know that your tape measure is actually 1/16th of an inch short. This is to account for the thickness of the metal hook on the end of the tape. Remember this when you’re going to measure something on an edge. Pull the tape measure tight against the edge to get a perfect one-inch measurement. You will see the tape measure give a little bit against the edge as you pull back on the hook. 1/16th might not sound like a big deal but depending on what your project is, that 1/16th could make or break the project.

Now, you probably haven’t realized this, but your tape measure tells you the exact length of its base. It will be written right on the base itself in both inches and millimeters. How is this helpful? Well, instead of awkwardly bending your tape measure inside a window frame or an awkward corner, you can use the base as part of the actual measurement. Simply place the base upright against the corner and begin to extend the tape upward. Adding the length of the base to the measurement you get after this reading will give you a much more solid measurement then bending the tape and making a guess.

Itching for more? See Jane Drills explain the rest of her tape measure tricks and hacks in her YouTube video below:

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