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Learn the Basic Ways on How to Read a Ruler

Aug 16, 2008
A basic skill that all people should know for a wide variety of applications is the skill of reading a ruler. Learning how to read a ruler can be complicated at first, but just knowing the basic measurements can help one to establish further ability to read a ruler.

In most woodworking plans, learning how to read a ruler is essential. Even in grade school, learning how to read a ruler is a basic knowledge. How to read a ruler properly is most important when trying to get an accurate measurement as in building a structure or even while doing your homework back in school. Inaccurate measurements will result to a disarrayed and unorganized output when working on woodworks such as furniture making.

In learning how to read a ruler, there are symbols that are involved to represent the unit of measurements used in rulers. For instance, the symbol of quote (") is used to represent the unit of inches. The symbol of apostrophe (') is used to represent the unit of feet.

A more concrete example on how to read a ruler will be to represent "three feet eleven and three eighths inches" as represented by the symbol 3'11-3/8". Another basic foundation on how to read a ruler will be to become familiar with the little marks found on it.

In the United States a standard tape measure or ruler is divided into inches and feet. There are 12 inches in one foot. The inches unit is then subdivided into numbers of lines that are of different lengths. The unit of measurement grows larger as the length of the lines grows longer.

In an inch the longest line in the middle marks the half inch and there is only one of this line in an inch. There are two one quarter of an inch line or " which is represented by the next shortest line in an inch. There are four shorter lines that mark one eighth of an inch or 1/8" and there are eight shortest lines that mark one sixteenth of an inch (1/16"). In some more precise rulers, they extend to represent the 1/32" mark on the ruler.

But in most typical rulers, the smallest measurement unit is set to 1/16". Counting the distance in an inch, there are sixteen lines that represent an inch to be 16/16th long. However, in order to avoid complicated measurement, we often express the fractional units into its largest unit hence an inch.

Therefore it follows that when you have 8 lines which basically represent the unit of 8/16 the largest possible unit of this measurement will be half an inch (1/2"). With 4 lines this represents the unit of 4/16" that is equals to a quarter inch or ".

When learning how to read a ruler, it would be hard at first to recognize the various lengths and the different measurement units they represent. But with constant practice and intense study one can easily learn how to read a ruler from the basic measurement to a more complicated reading of a ruler.
About the Author
John Grant is a the author for a how to site where he is writing articles about how to read a ruler.
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