An old saying that underscores the importance of measuring tools, and using them correctly, is this: "Measure twice, cut once." This sums up the reasoning that, even with basic, standard measuring tools, a user should acquaint himself with when and how to use them. You typically will find these tools in a professional's toolbox.
A tape measure is a standard tool for general measuring of small distances. Use a tape measure to measure height, width, length as well as inside, outside and around distances. When obtaining a new tape measure, look for one with a length of at least 25 feet and a width of one inch and above. This amount of width protects against the troublesome bending of thinner tape measures while you extend them. You also can find longer ones. A tape measure is convenient because you can store it in a small space, or it usually has a convenient belt clip.
A carpenter's square is a rigid, L-shaped tool. In addition to the markings along each of the tool's blades used for measuring, it offers the benefit of aiding in drawing lines and establishing or identifying 90-degree angles. Used along with a pencil or utility knife, the long edges of a carpenter's square provide a straight edge for marking or cutting lines.
A ruler is a standard measuring tool made of either wood, plastic or metal. Use it to measure distances. It typically comes in lengths from 12 to 48 inches, but can also be in different lengths. Rulers are also called rules or line gauges. The tool is basically used as a straight edge to rule lines for cutting or drawing. A ruler either has English graduations in inches, or metric graduations in millimeters.
A folding rule employs connected segments of wood, that fold out to make the tool longer. It is also called a carpenter's rule. It is useful for inside and depth measurements. One example of when this tool is invaluable is when measuring inside door or window frames. This rule commonly opens to lengths of 6 feet and 8 feet.
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