How to Avoid Complicated Fractions When Measuring a Workpiececomments (7) January 6th, 2012
Video Length: 1:53
Produced by: John Ross
If you need to divide a piece of wood by some inconvenient fractional number like 11/64, you could do some fractional conversions in your head or on paper, but there's a better way.
David Kalin, from Oahu, Hawaii, likes to take the lazy man's approach to this by dividing numbers that are easily divisible in his head.
Other Video Tips
What I'm doing is simply taking my tape measure, and instead of measuring straight across the workpiece, I'm taking it at an angle until I find a number that is easily divisible by 2. In this case, there's 18 inches. So I'll line up at 18 and mark 9 (though in the close-up you'll notice we split 16 into 8s instead of 18 into 9s). That is the halfway point in this board.
Let's say I need to divide this into 5 equal increments. So I find something that's easily divisible by 5, like 20. Then I mark at 4, 8, 12, and 16, and I've got 5 equal divisions.
Now let's pretend this board is a room, and we need to find the center point of this room. We take our tape measure and we measure out to a point that we know is a little more than halfway, or a little bit less than halfway (it doesn't matter which). We've got a 47-foot room here (representing feet with inches for this demonstration). So we're going to come out to 24 feet. Then we're going to go the other way and measure 24 feet. And now all we have to do is measure the distance between these two marks and split that short distance in half. That's the halfway point of our room. And we haven't had to do anything more complicated than that.
Thank you, David. That's a great tip.
posted in: measuring and marking tools
If you have a tip that you would like to share, visit our new Readers Quick Tips blog to post text, photos, and links to videos. Or, send us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
About this Blog
Have your ever been frustrated building something and mumbled to yourself, "There's got to be a better way"? Then we've got just what you need.
Watch our There's a Better Way videos to see Fine Homebuilding editor-at-large Chuck Miller demonstrate his favorite tips sent in by readers like you.
If you've got your own creative solution to a home-building problem, post it in our submit a tip blog, or email it to Fine Homebuilding, and we might put it in the magazine or in one of these videos. Thanks!