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#192376 - 02/11/10 05:38 AM US guys, do you use metric yet  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,115
I am working on another renovation and doing a lot of measuring, cutting and placements. I have metric on my Fat Max tape and I just stumbled into using it. Those boys might be on to something there.

Example I have a wall 6 feet 6 3/4" long and I want 4 evenly spaced lights on it (5 equal intervals counting the ends)
I could convert this all to 1/4" segments and divide that, then reconvert back to inches (like they taught you in school) or I could just say this is 200 cm, divided by 5 so I measure 40 cm between each light and off I go.
At a certain point I am really only using the metric scale as an arbitrary decimal measurement but it does work pretty neat.
Since things like "1/2" plywood, trade marked '15/32" is really 12mm this transition may even start to get easier.

"Them furriners" may win me over here. wink

Greg Fretwell

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#192379 - 02/11/10 11:12 AM Re: US guys, do you use metric yet [Re: gfretwell]  
ghost307  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 910
Chicago Illinois USA
An old draftsman (modified for carpenters) trick is to hold your tape at an angle so that the overall length is some even number that you can divide easily. Mark those points along the tape, then use a plumb line to transfer those makrs to the top of the wall. 80" would work nicely in your example.

Sounds weird...but works every time.


#192380 - 02/11/10 11:33 AM Re: US guys, do you use metric yet [Re: ghost307]  
twh  Offline
Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 918
Regina, Sask.
One problem with metric in Canada is that so much comes from the US. I once put up pegboard for store shelving that hung on rails on the wall. The pegboard was metric and the shelves were 4 feet, so each pegboard had to be cut by a few millimeters.

Next, the writers of the Canadian Electrical Code did a soft conversion. A hard conversion is when the gas is sold by the litre. a soft conversion is when devices in boxes that are greater than 2.54 centimeters (1 inch) deep have the volume calculated in litres. Try measuring .4 of a millimeter.

Be careful what you wish for. You could be carrying two sets of sockets and hex wrenches and screwing up measurements that need to be converted.

#192381 - 02/11/10 01:35 PM Re: US guys, do you use metric yet [Re: twh]  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,115
We have been carrying two sets of sockets for 20 years. Anything we get from abroad is metric.

Greg Fretwell

#192382 - 02/11/10 02:22 PM Re: US guys, do you use metric yet [Re: gfretwell]  
brsele  Offline
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 91
Northern Ontario
Yes, I know that working on my Ford truck requires 2 sets of sockets.

#192388 - 02/11/10 03:37 PM Re: US guys, do you use metric yet [Re: brsele]  
HotLine1  Offline

Joined: Apr 2002
Posts: 6,863
Brick, NJ USA
I found out the hard way that the stern ground block on my boat had metric terminals! Beside being in a bxxxx location, it's metric, & I had no metric nut drivers!!

PS: That afternoon I had to get metric nutdrivers!!


#192389 - 02/11/10 03:40 PM Re: US guys, do you use metric yet [Re: brsele]  
Alan Belson  Offline
Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Mayenne N. France
And the reverse is true here in France where metric measurements were "invented". Most board materials, esp. US or Canadian softwood ply, come in 1220 x 2440 [8'x4'] sheets, but are 'metric' thicknessed! The UK went metric in the late sixties, including our money, but we still officially use the pint, the mile, yards, horsepower and a few others there. The money was more difficult to get used to than you can imagine, and forty years later, I still confuse my kids by talking in shillings, tanners, bobs, florins, pounds, tuppence, new-pence, stones, euros and both old and new francs- plus stones, bushels and fluffteenths.

Most UK tapes have both imperial and metric markings and I use both with ease, being an adult when we changed over, but also because whenever you want to measure in an awkward corner the markings are invariably on the wrong side of the tape! Imperial is far from dead, because it's designed around practical human units. Here in France over 200 years after forced metrication of everything, you can still buy market vegetables in livres, and buy a tv in pouces.

Wood work but can't!

#192390 - 02/11/10 03:41 PM Re: US guys, do you use metric yet [Re: brsele]  
wa2ise  Offline
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 783
Oradell NJ USA
In a sense, the USA is metric, in that the official standards refer back to the metric system. Like "an inch shall equal 2.54cm".

Nowadays, stuff in the supermarket has metric measurements alongside the English units. Which makes things easier for me, as I can never remember how many oz's to a pound (is it 12 or 16?) or what a fluid oz is, or how many to a half gallon. And I grew up in the USA. With grams or liters, it's easy.

#192391 - 02/11/10 04:00 PM Re: US guys, do you use metric yet [Re: wa2ise]  
mikesh  Offline
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 613
Victoria, BC, Canada
The US has been the biggest obstacle in getting the known universe to adopt metric. Once we get you to accept the rest of the world has changed and that your steadfast adherence to an archaic English system (wasn't there a revolution on following English standards?) you and the rest of the work will save money and it will be easier to sell American Cars in Europe.

We tried to go full metric in the 70's but the huge amount of US manufactured goods stifled that.

#192392 - 02/11/10 04:09 PM Re: US guys, do you use metric yet [Re: mikesh]  
ghost307  Offline
Joined: May 2005
Posts: 910
Chicago Illinois USA
Technically it's called the Imperial system.
I guess it was named back when England's head was big and they had outposts and colonies all around the globe.

With practice, it works fine...after all, we went to the Moon several times using mils (thousands of an inch). We even left 3 junked cars up there.



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