In the United States, there is a holiday called National Construction Roulette Day. Well, we also know what roulette looks like. Most of us at least once had to use it at work or at home to find out the length, height or width of an object. But this seemingly simple tool is not as simple as it might seem.
In fact, tape measures have a number of non-obvious features that allow the master to significantly expand the measuring capabilities, thanks to which measurements become easier and more accurate.
For more than 150 years of history, roulette has ceased to be just a flexible analog of the ruler. From the moment of its appearance (the first sample with a metal curling canvas was presented by the British James Chesterman in 1865), it has gone all the way to expensive high-tech devices with electronic modules and displays. They integrate lasers, bubble levels, cutting elements, marking devices. But now we will talk about the most common roulettes .
Most users, picking up a new tape measure, pay attention to the rather strong backlash of the metal hook attached to the end of the web, and to the strange cuts in the metal near the rivets.
Some craftsmen consider it their duty to correct the situation, so they fix the hook with their own hands, finishing the rivets to full compression.
In fact, such mobility is not a bug, but a feature. The fact is that a tape measure is measured either by clinging it or leaning it. The toe itself is made from a curved plate that has its own thickness (about 1mm) that needs to be compensated somehow to get accurate results. This “limited” backlash just serves for such compensation.
The hook has a complex double-sided shape
It is sometimes necessary to measure or markup in an uncomfortable position, in cramped conditions on uneven objects. To achieve stability and good readability of the canvas, some manufacturers have moved away from the simple L-shaped toe. The result is a more practical element with legs or with one petal.
Sometimes it is very convenient when the toe is wider than the canvas – you can easily see the divisions from the side.
One well-known tool manufacturer went a little further, releasing a tape measure with removable hooks of various shapes.
Sharp toe edge
Sometimes the hook of a construction tape measure has notches on the edge or a kind of point. This solution allows you to make markings on soft materials (for example, on a gypsum board or putty) with the tape measure itself without using a pencil – drawing lines on the surface with a metal edge.
It is more convenient if, in addition to the pointed hook, the body also has a special metal tooth. Using these “anchors”, you can act as a “scratching pattern”.
The notch in the toe is used so that you can put a mark with a pencil at the desired point.
For those who often work with steel parts, the magnetic hook has become a real find. With its help, you can easily fix the tape measure web end-to-end with a metal profile or, for example, hang the tape measure in a stretched state from the ceiling.
This option is implemented in different ways. Some manufacturers install small neodymium magnets in the holes of the hook, others have made a separate removable assembly. The solution turned out to be very useful when one of the magnets is located directly under the canvas, which makes it possible to measure such inconvenient materials as pipes without any problems.
Good magnetic tape measures are able to support their own weight, and some of them can easily hold heavy objects such as a hammer on the magnet.
If necessary, with a tape measure tape with a magnet at the end, you can get small metal parts and fasteners that have fallen into some hard-to-reach place.
Hole in hook
An elongated hole can often be found in the metal plate of the L-shaped toe. It is necessary so that you can fix the edge of the tape measure behind the head of a free-standing fastener. Among other things, this feature can be used to outline a circle – you just need to first screw a self-tapping screw into its center, and then, moving the tape measure in a circle, outline the necessary contour.
Circle marking devices
We are talking about the ability to fix the tape measure at one point (which will be the center of the circle) on a relatively soft surface. There are several solutions to this issue:
Retractable sharp tooth on the body of the construction roulette.
A rivet with a through hole, located somewhere on the edge of the canvas. Through this hole, an awl is stuck into the surface, which allows you to outline a circle (it will also help, without outside help, to simply stretch a well-fixed canvas over a long distance).
Ability to accurately measure inside corners
When measuring the distance between opposite walls in a room, it is quite difficult to get accurate data due to the impossibility of completely bending the tape measure tape in the corner. Of course, there is no such problem if you use a laser rangefinder, but here you have to put up with some error.
But, as it turns out, there is a way out. It is enough just to know the dimensions of the roulette body and put it right next to the wall. And then you just need to add this figure to the result. By the way, some manufacturers indicate the width of its body on the tape measure for this purpose.
Measuring the circumference of an object
To measure or copy a rounded object, you need to wrap it with a tape measure. And to make it easier to read the results, a special markup with a separately rendered zero is applied on the back of the canvas.
In general, the presence of markings on the back is now considered a good form rule for well-known foreign manufacturers. Often here you can observe the vertical arrangement of numbers – for a more convenient measurement of height.
Wide curved blade
To take measurements with a tape measure, builders working without an assistant often have to stretch the canvas on weight. In order for the canvas to keep its shape well and not to bend under its own weight, it is made of increased width and with a noticeable longitudinal bend. The good self-supporting ability of the tape measure is a definite plus.
The distance to which the canvas can be freely released from the body on weight is sometimes additionally indicated on the scale.
Auxiliary risks on the markup
In some roulettes, on the back and front side of the canvas, the manufacturers put dots or some other special icons. These are cyclically arranged according to generally accepted standards (on average about 30, 40, 60 centimeters) marks, according to which craftsmen quickly mount the supporting elements of various building frames. For example, roof rafters or floor beams.
Roman numerals on the working scale
On the front side of the roulette web (near the edge), the CE certification mark can be applied, here they also indicate the accuracy class, which is indicated by Roman numerals. The accuracy class indicator displays the errors that occur in the process of marking the tape measure during production.
As you can see, modern construction roulettes in capable hands are capable of much. They are practical and informative, accurate and durable. However, when choosing a measuring tool, you should not save without looking back, because, as practice shows, a truly high-quality tape measure will bring real pleasure from work and will definitely justify the money spent.