Before I get started on the main topic, I wanted to pass along that I am now on Instagram as LeeLairdWoodworking as well as Twitter as @LeeLairdWW, in case anyone didn’t know. It’s been a bit since I had time to write a proper article, so if you’d like, you can see what I’m up to on one of the other feeds. Ok, so on with the article.
I was working at my bench a couple of days ago and went to measure a sharpening stone, as I was preparing to make a new honing guide board, since I’d just purchased the new Lie-Nielsen Honing Guide and a few add-ons. (If you’d like to read about the build, hop over to Highland Woodworking and it should be up in the not too distant future, or you can check out some of the other articles I’ve written for Highland).
Ok, so I measured the sharpening stone, using a tape measure that was close, and engaging it’s built-in clip at the end of the tape. It measure almost exactly 8 1/2″ long. I was about to go cut some wood, and I’m not sure why, but I decided to measure one more time starting at the 1″ mark, just for confirmation. Whoa, this time it measure 8 1/4″ long. As you might imagine, I checked both ways a number of times, before believing what I was seeing. As it turned out, the end clip wasn’t bent at a 90-degree angle, but the tip was back towards the tape measures body. This caused the tip to make contact while the measuring tape wasn’t completely lined up with the edge of the stone.
I’ve owned this tape measure for 20+ years, and I can recall over the years that I’d measure multiple times only to end up with the wrong size. Jeez, I wish I’d dug a little deeper back then, to figure out the actual cause.
Since I knew I can always use the tape measure in the second mode above, I decided to see if I could actually fix the problem. I held the tip, as close to the bend as possible, while holding the other leg of the metal piece that makes the tip.
While holding both very tightly, I gradually bent the tip towards the 90-degree mark, and then released. I was afraid it might break if I went to fast, or too far. After a number of small movements, I decided to call it a day. I got the tape so it measures within 1/16″ comparing between the tip and the alignment mode. I found this reasonable enough to stop there.
Mainly, I wanted to make sure everyone checks their tape measures, to see if they are actually reading accurately, before wasting time or resources. Of course, I don’t usually use this when I’m making critical measurements, but, knowing your tools are correct sure helps have more confidence.
I hope you enjoyed the information and please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions.