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Best Tape Measure?

52 Ford

Stainless
Joined
May 20, 2021
I just posted a question about a thing where had a picture with two tape measure for scale. They were the first to I grabbed off the bench. One was a 1/32" divided normal tape, the other was a "self-centering" 1/16" tape. It got me thinking... In the Machinist community, what's the preferred tape?

I have more experience making saw dust than making chips, so I know for a fact that the Stanley FatMax is the king right now for construction. I think Milfucky, D-Wilt, and a few others have some good competition, but.... sorry, I digress, I started making a handle for a rawhide mallet earlier. I guess I inhaled some wood dust and caught the "carpenter" bug...I'll try and fight it while I'm on PM.

TAPE MEASURES! We were talkin' bout those! My current go-to is a Lufkin Control Series. No other reason that it's what was on sale. Turns out that the first foot is in 1/32" scale. I like that.

When I was in residential carpentry, I was going through a Stanley https://external-content.duckduckgo.../converted/076174/076174335965.jpg&f=1&nofb=1 (This model) every 3 months. The tapes hold up great. I'd wear the springs out.

Sounds dumb, but when you're the "cut man" a fast tape is a big deal. At least when you take pride in your job... The springs would get "slow". I'd open up the tape and give them an extra few winds to prolong life. Before you say it, I DID lube the springs. In hind sight, I should've used better lube... or just got a better job.


[emoji849] ignore the oil bottle picture. That was for another thread. I'm tired. Time to go to bed! LOL
 

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Karl_T

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 13, 2008
Location
Dassel,MN,USA
Thanks for this. Just yesterday I sent milady out to buy a better tape measure. She came back with the standard big box crap. ordered a Stanley fat max just now.
 

Ultradog MN

Aluminum
Joined
Jun 14, 2020
Tough to beat a Stanley. Best hook on the end and simplest lock.They have the cleanest markings - no extraneous stuff on them.
I've used this style so long I don't think I could get used to another.
A little story about tape measures.
When I first started working construction the foreman hollered, "Jerry, you got a tape measure on you?"
I said "Yeah." and pulled it out of my apron.
He said "Let's go measure this I beam."
So I went over pulled a foot of tape out for him to grab the end.
I was new and he didn't trust me to measure so he said "No." and snatched the tape away from me and gave me the end and said, "You take the dumb end."
He was a great guy to work for and a good teacher.


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Lewie

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 7, 2018
Location
Albuquerque NM
For so cheap a device the black and red ones from Horrible fright have been great for me. they are 12 ft and for most of the things I do, work. I've had a few for several years and they still retract and hold up well.
...lewie...
 

Cole2534

Diamond
Joined
Sep 10, 2010
Location
Oklahoma City, OK
For the shop I prefer the Komelon auto locking versions, I can buy about 4 of them for one Stanley so when the helper sucks one into the bandsaw I'm not so mad.

For the jobsite it's the Fatmax and it is the better tape.

Programmed via Mazatrol
 

memphisjed

Stainless
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Location
Memphis
Lufkin. Stanleys are inconsistent on the hook (a fat 1/16 difference between two new tapes is normal). I have seen 3/16 out with brand new tape. Lufkin has easiest to read, best hook push/pull accuracy - worst locking and most prone to get the twist in the first few feet. The good is far more better than the bad.
 

Scottl

Diamond
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Eastern Massachusetts, USA
For so cheap a device the black and red ones from Horrible fright have been great for me. they are 12 ft and for most of the things I do, work. I've had a few for several years and they still retract and hold up well.
...lewie...

I bought a couple of the 25 footers to stash away so I could grab one quick outside of the shop. Biggest drawback is they have sharp edges and WILL slice your fingers if you aren't extra careful.
 

13engines

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Location
Saint Paul
As a machinist who has to deal occasionally with measuring something metric, I like my Menards brand Master Force "Force Blade." Dang... makes a guy feel the force just talking about it.

Imperial on one edge and Metric on the other. Yellow and horizontal reading on the top side, white and vertical reading on the back side. Nice finish on the blade. Beefy three rivet hook too.
 

Steven-Canada

Hot Rolled
Joined
Jun 16, 2015
Location
Toronto Area, Ontario, Canada
I like the Stanley yellow ABS body tapes.

All one piece ABS
It's tough it can take a bounce.
No rubber to disintegrate with oil contamination. Those must be made strictly for sawdusters.
The lock works.
No chrome over plastic.
I have a dozen old tapes.
The chrome on plastic all peel and create sharp cutting edges no matter what the brand.

The graduations differ by size.
The 16' has 1/32 on the first foot, which I don't really like.
I like the cleaner larger spacing of 1/16's

The 12' and 25' are different with top sixteenths and bottom thirtyseconds.

They are lightweight.

I like the pretty yellow colour. It stands out.

Available in Home Depot, easy to buy.
cheap $5 to $7 depending on size.



https://www.stanleytools.ca/NA/product/images/3000x3000x96/30-455/30-455_2.jpg

16 ft. Tape Measure - 30-495 | STANLEY Tools
 

John Garner

Titanium
Joined
Sep 1, 2004
Location
south SF Bay area, California
In the general case, there ain't no such thing as "best", as the best for one set of circumstances will almost always be the worst for another set of circumstances.

That said, my all-time favorite tape measure blade was on Stanley made many years ago, which had both edges of its half-inch wide, ten foot / three meter long, blade graduated decimally . . . one edge in inches, the other in metric. Unlike the competition from Lufkin and Evans/Starrett, Stanley numbered every 0.1 inch graduation.

I'm down to the last of a dozen of those Stanley tapes, and have kept that last one set aside for use only when I most appreciate the decimal inch/metric graduations. My everyday tape for the last several years has been a 1/2 inch x 10 foot Komelon in a round case, which lives in my pants pocket.

When I need a longer tape, I generally grab a 1 inch wide, 25 foot tape, but don't have any particular brand preference.
 

wood2steel

Aluminum
Joined
May 17, 2013
Location
georgia
45+ years in the Woodworking, Cabinetry, Furniture trade and by far my favorite and most durable have always been the Starrett (Chrome) # C1-25 Tru-Lok . Heavy built, with reinforced hook plate. Still have a few of those floating around the machine shop
 

boslab

Titanium
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Location
wales.uk
You can’t seem to get the Stanley silver 3m pocket tape anymore, small easy to “concealed carry” ( I have a licence lol) the bloody things on sale are so big you have to clip them on your belt, ginormous beasts
Mark
 

Scruffy887

Titanium
Joined
Dec 17, 2012
Location
Se Ma USA
A very long time ago I was at my laminate distributors open house and there was a Gundlach display table. They had this 25 foot tape and when you locked it a tiny green LED lit up right where the tape entered the body. I bought it as a joke. But part of my job then was field measuring dental offices for cabinets, and most times very little light. That tape paid for itself so many times. Benito J Gundlach?
 

scsmith42

Aluminum
Joined
Jul 28, 2020
Location
New Hill, NC
I use a tape measure every day, and have used almost all of the brands in this thread. My current favorite is a 25' Komelon Powerblade SELFLock. One thing that I like about it is that I can read it from both sides.
 








 
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