Though statistics vary, it seems on average that 10 percent of the population is left-handed. So here’s a little experiment for all you right-handers (and one that shocked both Glen Huey and me, because in our collective 34 or so years of woodworking, we’ve never noticed this):
- Pick up your tape measure in one hand and a pencil or marking knife in the other.
- Now hook the tape over the end of a board, and mark a line at 6″ (or just pretend to, if you don’t wish to mark a perfectly nice board).
In what hand did you hold the tape? What way were the numbers facing?
I tend to hold the tape in my left hand, and mark with my right hand. So I tried this with all the tape measures in our shop that I could dig up (I was surprised we didn’t have more; I think someone is hiding a cache).On every one of them, the numbers were upside down as I measured and made my mark. Is this a big deal? Not really. Even on tapes where the inch markings don’t run through from side to side, I can easily mark at the bottom edge , but the numbers are still upside down.
You’ll notice in the picture above that one tape has the numbers facing the camera , that’s a the M-Power R1 Tape Measure, and it’s made specifically for right-handed people. Now I have a couple lefties in my family, and in my recollection, a standard tape measure is the only product that (now) seems designed for them. For once, it’s we right-handers who have to search for a specialized tool (I just didn’t know it until this morning).
The R1 is a nice 16′ tape, with an easy-to-grip rubber spine, crisp and clear lines and numbers, and a rubber thumb lock that locks tight. The top edge is marked with an Imperial scale; the bottom edge is a metric scale. And at just $14, well, I may have to spring for a new tape.
- You know the mantra, now get the book: “Measure Twice, Cut Once,” by Jim Tolpin.