The Measures of a Man

 A veteran house-framer helped out in our class this week. He taught us many things, not the least of which is that I don’t need my tape measure as much as I previously believed.

This revelation comes as a blow, because I love my tape measure. Even if it isn’t a fancy Stanley LeverLock like the pros have and it’s just some household rookie tape that my mom gave me. Actually, that is precisely why I love it. That, and the fact that tape measures are, generally speaking, nonviolent tools. Sure, I’ve pinched my thumb a couple times when the tape snapped back, but that’s nothing compared to what, say, the powder-actuated Ramset could do.

Anyway, the veteran framer taught us a few tricks that all but eliminate the need for a tape measure. For example:

When mapping out plates for a stud wall, you can use a carpenter square, measuring along the blade, then using the 1 1/2-inch width of the tongue as proxy for the 2×4.

Another helpful trick: Instead of pulling the tape measure 92 5/8 inches along the 2×4 each time you want to cut a stud, simply nail a block of wood onto the end of a 92 5/8-inch piece of lumber, then butt your 2 x 4’s up against the jig, mark the end line and cut. No tape measure necessary.

Finally, if it’s 16-inch increments you’re after, there’s no need for a tape measure if you have a 16-inch hammer, like our visiting veteran framer has. So elegant and simple.

My runt of a 20-ounce hammer clocks in at just over 14 inches and is feeling rather sheepish. After working with our incredibly skilled classroom guest, who can frame a wall in minutes, by himself, with little more than a hammer and a handful of nails, I know the feeling.

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2 thoughts on “The Measures of a Man

  1. And kmkat those 14″ centres will be so helpful when hanging drywall or exterior sheathing🤔 Go invest in a new hammer or hang on to your Mom’s tape. That’s what learning is all about. You never make mistakes, you just create opportunities to learn from experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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