Measure twice and cut once – it’s good advice, especially for auto upholsterers who are short on time and hate wasting money.
Sound familiar? No worries, I’m the same way. In fact, it often feels like the bulk of my days are spent measuring and re-measuring before making any cuts at all. (My father says I’m a perfectionist to a fault!)
While a yardsticks and carpenter’s square is how I tackle some projects, many times they simply don’t cut it. They’re big, heavy and nowhere near as flexible as I need them to be in order to ensure accurate measurements.
Over the years, I’ve bought and experimented with a range of nontraditional measuring devices that promised to save me time and aggravation. While some were junk and others were just okay, below are my four favorite.
I’d recommend these to any professional trimmer…
1. Tailor Tape
Come to my shop and you’re sure to find me with 120” tailor tape slung over my shoulders and a white pencil behind my ear. In fact, tailor tape is probably the most used tool at my shop – mostly because it’s so versatile. It can be as large or small as you need it to be, fits into tight spots, is easy to transport and much more flexible than a ruler or retractable tape measure – which means it’s also great for sizing up curves.
Price: $4.00 at Amazon
2. Center Finder Ruler
A center finder ruler has two scales. The first is your standard scale, starting with zero at the left end of the stick. The second scale’s zero mark is located at the center point of either the 24” or 48” ruler. While it’s easier to find the center point of a panel using the first scale, the second allows you to mark for pleats a lot quicker than using a traditional single-scale ruler.
Price: $21.99 at Mobile Solutions
3. Point 2 Point Layout Tool
If you find yourself reaching for a calculator when attempting to divide a panel into equidistant sections, buy a Point 2 Point Layout Tool. It eliminates all measuring by extending eight stainless steel points over a maximum distance of 24”, while maintaining an equal distance between each point. No other tool can mark for pleats or center points faster than the Point 2 Point. (Video: watch the Point 2 Point in action!)
Price: $22.95 at Garrett Wade
4. Flexible Curve Ruler
Another great measuring tool to keep handy around your shop is a flexible curve ruler. While it’s useful for measuring and marking curved surfaces, it’s most ideal for repeatedly scribing curves – as it holds its shape after being bent.
Price: $12.86 at Amazon
Add more to the list! We’d love to hear about the different measuring devices you use at your shop. Please tell us about them in the comments section below.