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.