When I was just starting out in this woodworking thing, some decades ago; I was told to always use the same tape measure for a project. If you're like me, you probably have more than one laying around and grab whichever is closest or most convenient for the job. For me, I have a 25 footer for big projects, a 16 footer for general stuff, and a 12 footer I keep in my coveralls for most of my work. Well, today I went nuts trying to figure something out!
For a new commission I have I needed a bunch of Walnut 2 3/16" wide. Since I didn't put on my coveralls I grabbed the 16 footer from the bench. I set the fence on the tablesaw to the 2 3/16" and, as is my habit, ripped a piece of scrap MDF to double check the setting. It was off a sixteenth so my first thought is that the scale on the rip fence was out of adjustment. Loosened the screws and slid it over but still wasn't right. I grabbed a caliper and found the piece I initially cut was 2 3/16" wide as indicated by the scale on the rip fence and checked out the tape measure, here's what I found:
|Things Don't Match!|
You know, a sixteenth of an inch may not seem like much but if you had a certain area for a cabinet that had a number of pieces in it those sixteenths can add up in a hurry! Just reinforced my belief in using one tape measure for a project starting with the measurement at the clients house and all the way through until the project is completed. It would really suck to make a cabinet to fit a 24" opening measured with one tape measure only to find out that you're 1/2" off and the cabinet is actually 24 1/2" wide when you get there because you used a different tape in the shop then what you used on the site! Might be a good time to check all of your measurement tools in the shop and see if they agree with each other -- sounds like a good New Year's resolution!