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Re: stanley tape measure accuracy

#260522 by RFGuy » Sat Jun 15, 2019 8:50 am

dusty wrote:Maybe, since I don't know how the other comparisons were performed, my own observations are to be ignored. But, I compared three heavily used tape measures, (2 Stanley and 1 unknown) and they all agree to within <1/16".

Now I only did external measurements at 48" (using the hook). Why only at 48"? Because I hardly ever measure anything over 48" where precision is necessary.

I think this is a lot of fuss over nothing unless you have money to burn on "precision measuring devices". Call me cheap and practical.

Dusty,

Thanks. Yeah, I agree. I am more interested from an academic curiosity standpoint. Not really looking to purchase a new tape measure at this point...just find it interesting that there can be a good bit of variation on these so it got me wondering how they print the gradations to try to get them close to being accurate. Good to know that you are seeing consistent results across 3 of them to within 1/16" which is reasonable, I think.

Here's a video on how one manufacturer makes tape measures. Since they are using a print plate, I would think it would be fairly accurate for the tape markings (with variation coming from expansion/contraction of print plate). They are only doing a visual inspection at the end, but that should be good enough for 1/16" over the entire length accuracy, I would hope.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISDTK_jPNvo

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Re: stanley tape measure accuracy

#260523 by Gene Howe » Sat Jun 15, 2019 10:41 am

Since I use Farmer's "superimpose" or cut to fit methods most often, tape measurements are irrelevant. But, when a cut is critical, I sure don't use a tape.

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Re: stanley tape measure accuracy

#260818 by masonsailor2 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 10:41 am

I agree with Farmer also. Whenever possible I use story sticks to lay out most projects. It helps to eliminate most errors. When it comes to Stanley rules I was trained to never ever let the rule snap back without having your finger there to soften the impact. It keeps the holes in the tape from elongating and becoming less accurate. I can still hear my father yelling at me about that one. Learning to use story sticks is one of those need to learn things in woodworking. The same concept as using a stop block or jig when you are cutting multiple pieces for a project. Often times the exact measurement of a piece is not as important as having several pieces the exact same length.
Paul

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Re: stanley tape measure accuracy

#260819 by Gene Howe » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:03 am

masonsailor2 wrote:I agree with Farmer also. Whenever possible I use story sticks to lay out most projects. It helps to eliminate most errors. When it comes to Stanley rules I was trained to never ever let the rule snap back without having your finger there to soften the impact. It keeps the holes in the tape from elongating and becoming less accurate. I can still hear my father yelling at me about that one. Learning to use story sticks is one of those need to learn things in woodworking. The same concept as using a stop block or jig when you are cutting multiple pieces for a project. Often times the exact measurement of a piece is not as important as having several pieces the exact same length.
Paul

A man after my own heart.

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Re: stanley tape measure accuracy

#260822 by RFGuy » Tue Jul 02, 2019 12:18 pm

When multiple identical pieces need to be made, I understand making a pattern or template to go off. A story stick, as I understand it is just a unit-less ruler that measurements are tracked on and used for measurement to replicate identical pieces for a project. What if you are only building one unique project and have no intentions of coming back and repeating that project again (does a story stick hold value for this then)? I guess the way I see it is ALL woodworking is good, so it doesn't matter whether you are using story sticks or rulers. Much in the same way that some prefer to use only hand tools, or only power tools, or a mix of both. Some even prefer to do CNC work in their woodworking. For some of us, woodworking is only functional/utilitarian, others focus more on the design aesthetic for a piece, while some make artwork in wood. Lastly, some of us prefer to design our woodworking projects on the computer first where we explore dimensions, proportion and see how everything fits together. When we take this design from the computer to the shop, it is more natural to grab a ruler and try to build each piece as close as we can to our plan. I make fewer errors doing it this way, but I have also gone in the shop for a project and designed "on the fly" with the design and measurements all in my head.

I've heard story sticks talked about a few times and I have seen them used in a few woodworking videos online. If memory serves, Norm Abrams used story sticks in an episode or two of the New Yankee Workshop. If anyone disagrees with my assessment of story sticks, please let me know. I just see it as a different way of woodworking, so not better or worse than using a ruler with clear units marked.

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Re: stanley tape measure accuracy

#260823 by Gene Howe » Tue Jul 02, 2019 1:15 pm

I've only used story sticks to mark out architectural details or, other obstructions to build cabinets or cases, around. Might use several on a complicated job. Red marks for linial. Blue for heights. I don't build cabinets or, install them, anymore. That's a job for the younger guys.
My woodworking now is mostly gun boxes and, gift boxes. And, an occasional jewelry case. Pinch rods are handy for all sorts of inside measurements. Calipers work for smaller stuff. I use open end wrenches to gauge thicknesses out of the planer. And, as stated earlier, the 123 blocks and key way stock for machine set ups. I rarely need widths wider than 12" . But, for those cuts I use one of my steel rules.
All my lumber is purchased rough...all four sides. Breaking it down is the only time a tape measure is used.

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Re: stanley tape measure accuracy

#260833 by BuckeyeDennis » Tue Jul 02, 2019 8:02 pm

RFGuy wrote:When multiple identical pieces need to be made, I understand making a pattern or template to go off. A story stick, as I understand it is just a unit-less ruler that measurements are tracked on and used for measurement to replicate identical pieces for a project. What if you are only building one unique project and have no intentions of coming back and repeating that project again (does a story stick hold value for this then)? I guess the way I see it is ALL woodworking is good, so it doesn't matter whether you are using story sticks or rulers. Much in the same way that some prefer to use only hand tools, or only power tools, or a mix of both. Some even prefer to do CNC work in their woodworking. For some of us, woodworking is only functional/utilitarian, others focus more on the design aesthetic for a piece, while some make artwork in wood. Lastly, some of us prefer to design our woodworking projects on the computer first where we explore dimensions, proportion and see how everything fits together. When we take this design from the computer to the shop, it is more natural to grab a ruler and try to build each piece as close as we can to our plan. I make fewer errors doing it this way, but I have also gone in the shop for a project and designed "on the fly" with the design and measurements all in my head.

I've heard story sticks talked about a few times and I have seen them used in a few woodworking videos online. If memory serves, Norm Abrams used story sticks in an episode or two of the New Yankee Workshop. If anyone disagrees with my assessment of story sticks, please let me know. I just see it as a different way of woodworking, so not better or worse than using a ruler with clear units marked.


The way I see it, story sticks are probably better for one-off projects. Because they don’t have a gazillion marks that you don’t need for that project, that reduces the chances of using the wrong mark.

But as engineers, we are trained for volume-production scenarios, where parts made by different vendors must fit together reliably. That requires numerical dimensions in standard units, specific tolerances, and calibrated measuring instruments.

Personally, I’m accustomed to the volume-production methodology, that’s what I’m comfortable with, and so that’s the way that I usually work. Even on one-off hobby stuff. I find it quite satisfying to hit a dimension to 0.005” on a Shopsmith.

Guys who use the story-stick methods could probably smoke me, time-wise, on a one-off project. On the other hand, I think I’d beat those who cut to approximate dimensions, and then have do a lot of hand tuning to get a good fit. But if they enjoy that process, then it may be the best process for them.

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Re: stanley tape measure accuracy

#260853 by RFGuy » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:13 am

BuckeyeDennis wrote:
The way I see it, story sticks are probably better for one-off projects. Because they don’t have a gazillion marks that you don’t need for that project, that reduces the chances of using the wrong mark.

But as engineers, we are trained for volume-production scenarios, where parts made by different vendors must fit together reliably. That requires numerical dimensions in standard units, specific tolerances, and calibrated measuring instruments.

Personally, I’m accustomed to the volume-production methodology, that’s what I’m comfortable with, and so that’s the way that I usually work. Even on one-off hobby stuff. I find it quite satisfying to hit a dimension to 0.005” on a Shopsmith.

Guys who use the story-stick methods could probably smoke me, time-wise, on a one-off project. On the other hand, I think I’d beat those who cut to approximate dimensions, and then have do a lot of hand tuning to get a good fit. But if they enjoy that process, then it may be the best process for them.

Thanks. I agree with everything you said. I was just trying to point out that there are different workflows and methods for doing woodworking and that we should accept all of them, but you might have said this better (and more concisely) than I did. If someone gets better results with story sticks, that is great. I'd rather have a "good" ruler and know what the accuracy is, but that is just me. Whether it is a story stick or a ruler, I see them both as tools and so how well they are used is dependent on the skill of the user. There should be a lot of commonality of errors for using either, e.g. marking errors are marking errors no matter whether you are using a ruler with units printed on it, or a story stick that is unitless. Now, if you are making 10 or 100 duplicate pieces then a template is needed and a story stick is, in essence, a type of template, so I can understand how a story stick could have a slight advantage in reducing errors there compared to a ruler, but that is mostly due to the fallibility of human memory.

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Re: stanley tape measure accuracy

#260873 by reible » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:01 pm

Check out this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=9&t=22637

Ed

---

{Knight of the Shopsmith} [Hero's don't wear capes, they wear dog tags]

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