Saturday, December 3, 2016

Stanley's FATMAX 6', 1/2" Blade Tape Measure

For reasons that I cannot fathom, the tool-making industry has lately gone gaga over big, bulky tape measures with blades at least 3/4" wide. 1/2" wide blades are rare birds these days.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I came across Stanley's little FATMAX 6' tape measure at the local Canadian Tire outlet yesterday. I don't do construction carpentry -- my work is mostly done inside the shop on things of moderate size, and I find the big tape measures to be awkward to use for my purposes. I recently lost a favourite 1/2" blade tape measure, and I've been cursing its 3/4" blade replacement ever since. Stanley's 6' item is just what I needed to replace my lost tape measure, and as a bonus, it was on special for $5.24 from regular $6.99. I would have happily paid the regular price to have a 1/2" blade tape measure again. Here's a view of the thing I've just been on about.

The tool has an attached keychain/ring that I consider to be a gimmick. That's easily deleted by backing off the three screws that hold the shell together, and spreading the shell open a bit until you can ease the chain off its retaining stud, like so.

Be careful not to over-tighten the screws when reassembling the shell.

With the keychain removed, the tool can do inside measurements, although that's a bit iffy with this unit. The length of the rubberized shell is just a hair over 1 3/4", so you'll have to take that bit of imprecision into account.

Anyway, the little keychain and inside measurement quibble aside, it's a sweet tool. I hope Stanley sells a million of them, and gets the message that 1/2" blade tape measures are a good thing -- not to be obsoleted.

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Update --  THURSDAY, MARCH 2, 2017

I was perhaps a bit hasty in writing off the attached keychain/ring as a gimmick. I bought a second one of these tape measures to keep right by my table saw, and the keychain/ring affair turns out to be just the thing for hanging the tape measure on a nail.

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