how to use a tape measure

How to Use a Tape Measure – A Beginner’s Guide

If you are someone who enjoys carpentry, then you could be familiar with the saying “Measure twice, cut once”. Well, this isn’t just a talk. A lot of expert carpenters are actually living with this saying. However, unless you know the ways on how to use a tape measure and obtain an accurate reading, your hard work can be discounted. Unfortunately, when working on a project, a certain degree of inaccuracy may not be acceptable.

This article can show you various ways of using a tape measure.

Learning How to Use a Tape Measure

Here are the best ways of using a tape measure:

#1 Use the “True Zero” Feature to Get Accurate Measurements

Use the “true zero”. If you will try to check it, the first inch on your tape measure is short by 1/16 inch. This is because the tang’s metal takes 1/16 inch. Thus, when measuring from the inner edge of any object, the tang slips back across the blade and the tang’s metal is incorporated to supply the lacking 1/16 inch. You will have to execute this manner of measuring when you try to get the length of one wall from each corner.

Nevertheless, this would give you 1/16 inch shorter if you are measuring from the outer edge of an object, like the deck board. Considering this, the tang slips out by 1/16 inch once it is secured toward an object, thus, taking the actual measurement. Always remember to check the tang and confirm that it is completely extended once secured into the edge.

#2 Round up to the Bigger Value

When using a tape measure, there would be some cases wherein the edge of an object would land between the blade’s lines. If that is the case, what will you do?

To make sure you do not come up with a shorter figure, always consider rounding up to the bigger measurement. There can be some trial and error – like you may have to go back with measuring and trim again. This may sound exhausting, however, this is quite better rather than throwing away your material because you didn’t round up and it is 1/16 inch shorter from what you need.

#3 Utilize the Housing when Measuring from the Inside

Many people would tend to pull out the blade further than what is required and curve it to suit across one corner of an object and push the tang across the other side. However, this is something you should not do. It is a common mistake and should be corrected.

Twisting the tape may only result in an estimated figure rather than obtaining the real measurement.  The proper way of measuring from the inside is to place the base across one corner of your object. Draw out the tang and take it to the opposite corner of the object. Get the reading and incorporate the measurement of the housing which is found on the base to acquire the right reading. Doing so will also keep the tape away from being twisted repeatedly, which could lead to premature wear and further damage.

#4 Utilize the Serrated Printing Tool

If there is no pencil nearby, utilize the serrated printing tool that is found at the tip of the blade. Simply run the tool back and forth over the material that is being measured to label the spot.

The tang exhibits a little hole at the edge, right over the serrated end, particularly created to be fixed into a screw or nail. This is very useful if you are trying to measure a smooth surface without having someone else help you out. Just insert a screw or nail into the side, snatch the fastener’s head through the tang’s hole, and draw the blade out to get a fast but precise measurement.

#5 Utilize the Tang’s Hole

The tang’s hole can also be utilized to create excellent circles. Just insert a screw or nail in the center of your object, then clasp the tang into the head. Draw out the blade to the preferred radius and push the lock.

With the use of a pencil, label the first measurement while lightly holding the end of your pencil on the surface of your object. Swivel the tape measure following a complete 360 degrees, securing the tang while it is attached firmly to the screw or nail’s head. Just finish the rotation and you can create an excellent circle. 


Those are common ways on how to use a tape measure. How did you find the listing? Many of you have not yet discovered these ways and it is a good thing that you have spent time reading this article. You have just widened your knowledge when it comes to measurement and this time you become more equip when measuring with a tape measure.



One response to “How to Use a Tape Measure – A Beginner’s Guide”

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