Tool review – rolling tape measure
How to measure in a straight line
While they didn’t re-invent the wheel, Strait-Line did reinvent the tape measure by using the wheel and some basic mathematics. With the new Rolling Tape, it’s easy as pi-3.1416, that is-to roll out measurements on flat surfaces.
The Rolling Tape measure is a battery-powered, handheld device about the size of a cordless phone with a display screen that reads out linear distances-in metric or imperial-as it’s rolled along a surface. The keypad has options for surfaces either with or without inside corners, so you can start at, for example, the end of a plank or from the inside corner of a wall. It measures either to the left or right, and subtracts as it’s rolled back.
It was accurate in the simple test I performed, with eight out of 10 measurements exactly the same on a seven-foot wall, and the other two off by only 1/16″. The Rolling Tape also worked on a plank floor with small separations between boards, but it couldn’t handle the pebbled surface of my moderately rough garage floor. Held carefully, it could measure the circumference of a wheel or the inside surface of a broad archway between rooms, but since it only glides linearly, it wouldn’t sweep over an arc. The tool can be programmed to divide a length into equal intervals-half, third, quarter, etc.-which makes it useful for hanging pictures with uniform spacing.
Its practicality? We’ve all walked hand over hand down a wall, pressing a metal tape to the surface in hopes that it won’t slip or droop. If you do enough of that, here’s the solution. Wall work seems to be the tool’s niche; I’d stick to conventional tapes for planks and plywood. With a number of steps in the programming to remember, and the way it rolls with an almost “slippery” feeling, it’s a device you need to use frequently to stay familiar with. Every art gallery owner should have one.
It costs $60, and you can learn more by calling 800-464-7946 or visiting www.strait-line.com.