Throughout the building and engineering professions, as well as in the world of DIY, there is one golden rule which really must be followed: always measure up before starting the work. Whatever the scale of a job, whether it is putting up shelves in a living room, or constructing a revolving door for the plush reception of a large company, taking measurements is an essential first step. ‘Winging it’ is not an option.
There is a great variety of measuring tools available, from the most straightforward, to clever and complex digital devices, capable of levels of accuracy way beyond what the naked eye could achieve.
One tool, which no self-respecting handyperson would want to be without, is the traditional steel ruler, or rule. This answers one of a handyperson’s most basic needs: to measure the gap between two points. Meanwhile, the rule simply and efficiently satisfies another purpose, which is to provide a straight edge, very helpful for when drawing a line between two points. For more extended lengths a tape measure is the next invaluable measuring tool in the handyperson’s toolbox.
Another key requirement for any tradesperson is the ability to determine whether a surface is exactly horizontal (level) or vertical (plumb). This need is met traditionally by the spirit level, and, increasingly these days by digital spirit levels.
Indeed, the tradesperson that leaves for work without such vital measuring tools in their toolbox, will almost certainly have to turn back home, for there is little that can be done without them.