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While buying some dowels at Menards this weekend I lucked into finding some of the Stanley 175th Anniversary tape measures for $7.99 each.

According to Stanley’s website, this product (STHT36175) isn’t out yet. But Menards seems to have them.

These tape measures are great for woodworking. They are compact (3/4” thick x 2” diameter) and contain a 10’ tape. The case is substantial in weight – plated steel – with no locking mechanism.

According to Stanley, this anniversary tool is based on a 1933 design. I’m not a tool collector, but after trolling my books on Stanley tools, I’d say it looks most like the company’s popular 1266 line, which was made from 1932 to 1948. I’m sure a more knowledgeable collector can straighten me out. (One amazing fun fact about the 1266s – they sold for $10 to $40.)

I love this little tape measure as it fits in my pocket and fails to exude the machismo of modern tape measures. The tape’s standout is a pathetic 30” (yay – that means it’s not overly curved across its width). It doesn’t have a belt clip, a laser, a carabiner, flashy colors or rubberized grips.

The only dings for this little tool: It’s made overseas in Thailand; plus, on one of the tapes I inspected, the printing of the numbers and graduations was a little light.

I have no idea how long this tool will be available or how many Stanley is going to make, so if you see one – grab it.

— Christopher Schwarz

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