Ted’s essays

my multi-lingual woodshop

I measure, speak, write and calculate in inch-foot as well as metric. Of course when I am purchasing materials at the hardware and building supply stores I have to use feet, inches and fractions thereof. But when it comes to working on my own, metric is typically easier to use.

Finding the middle of a piece three feet eight and a quarter inches long is not as easy as dividing 112 centimeters in half. Millimeters handsomely split centimeters into tenths. 52.5 is easy to remember, repeat and work with compared to 1 foot 8 and 3/16 inches. I am much more likely to get the right number working with metrics than “a bit over 18 3/4”.

Changing scales is also quite a bit easier in the metric system. For a 1/10th scale drawing, just make meters into centimeters, centimeters into millimeters. Up and down scale is as simple as moving a decimal place.

Happily, my local lumber supply shop has multi-lingual tape measures – of a real nice quality, too.