1. ## Inches or sillymeters?

Who here measures 'things' on a daily basis and believes that the metric system is either more workable or more accurate?

I just had a discussion with a friend who's a retired chemistry professor and he tried trumpeting the talking points of the metric system that I've heard for my whole life.

I started doing weight conversions back in HS, 7gm=1/4oz and so on, now I'm using equipment manufactured in Italy so I take measurements using an Imperial tape measure and then do the conversion in my head into sillymeters to set the equipment........Then to make it even more interesting the Gumbha's have scaled the sander in 10ths of an inch?

Personally I find the Imperial system easier to deal with, 1/2-1/4-1/16-1/32-1/64.........Scales are readily available to do layouts to 1/64th precision, less if you sharpen your pencil on fine paper, but the metric offerings stop at 1mm or 1/25.4 of an inch, less than the smallest graduation on a Stanley tape measure.

I'm not interested in theory about how easy it is for the simpleminded to work in 10ths, if you measure things daily what's your preference?

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3. I don't use anything marked in tenths of an inch or ounce. Ever. If I liked base ten better than fractions where the denominator's root is two (cube root, whatever root), I'd go metric.

And sometimes I do, especially if I know I can't do the math I need to do in my head.

4. I don't speak French. That one side of the tape measure is useless to me, and the biggest travesty is when historical American events are expressed in Frenchie measurements.

5. If they just stick to either one, everything is fine.

When the two are mixed in the same machine, it means you have to have a bigger toolbox.

6. Originally Posted by Dr.3D
If they just stick to either one, everything is fine.

When the two are mixed in the same machine, it means you have to have a bigger toolbox.
It means you have a Triumph..

7. I'm going to give an unpopular opinion based on my own personal observations -- I think decimal measurements (in whichever unit system, Metric or English) are better for laboratory work, and binary (division-by-2) measurements are better for crafts, industry and other applications where measurements need to be quick and are often verified by eye-balling (even if only as a last-resort).

For laboratory work, the benefit is that breaking things down by powers of 10 generalizes across all meters -- volt-meters, pressure gauges, etc. For field measurements, however, division-by-2/4/etc is much easier to visualize in the brain. I don't think any human can reliably estimate a 10th of some arbitrary interval. Just about anyone can eyeball a half/third/fourth, maybe even sixths if you divide by 2 then 3.

8. When did everybody give up on cubits?

9. Originally Posted by Voluntarist
When did everybody give up on cubits?
When all but about half a dozen of the people who used them drowned.

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11. Obligatory:

12. Originally Posted by tod evans
Who here measures 'things' on a daily basis and believes that the metric system is either more workable or more accurate?
As I'm a native 'metric user', I think it's good I share my comments. The imperial system is more accurate in a very theoretical way, 2/3=an endless number, in reality this is not really a practical concern with daily use of the metric system.

I just had a discussion with a friend who's a retired chemistry professor and he tried trumpeting the talking points of the metric system that I've heard for my whole life.
One thing I think we can learn from this; How much of your opinion is formed by your environment? Kind of funny that people from metric countries prefer metric and the other way around... That should give us more respect for people with horrible cultures, or at least some form of understanding ? IDK, that's a tangent but I think a fair one to explore.

I started doing weight conversions back in HS, 7gm=1/4oz and so on, now I'm using equipment manufactured in Italy so I take measurements using an Imperial tape measure and then do the conversion in my head into sillymeters to set the equipment........Then to make it even more interesting the Gumbha's have scaled the sander in 10ths of an inch?
Having worked with U.S. engineers before, I've learned to also use imperial. By the way, the official definition of an inch is 2.54cm. The centimeter is derived from the distance covered by light in a vacuum in 1/299 792 458(seconds). This is not to say that imperial is stupid because its units are defined as something metric. It's a very good thing this is the case, at least this way we can reasonably cooperate without floating standards. But I'm right there with you that it's kind of stupid that even in Europe we'll use some imperial... Like some of the pipe couplings etc.

Personally I find the Imperial system easier to deal with, 1/2-1/4-1/16-1/32-1/64.........Scales are readily available to do layouts to 1/64th precision, less if you sharpen your pencil on fine paper, but the metric offerings stop at 1mm or 1/25.4 of an inch, less than the smallest graduation on a Stanley tape measure.
This is only a scaling issue. Really.

I'm not interested in theory about how easy it is for the simpleminded to work in 10ths, if you measure things daily what's your preference?
I don't see the problem in using imperial. It makes things slightly more interesting sometimes... Especially when I try to convert fuel economy, prices between US and here. Different currency, volume, distance measurements, so lots of converting, which I don't mind, keeps the mind active.

13. I think imperial is preferable for measurements that are within the range of size of things that laypeople typically deal with.

But for laboratory work dealing in small quantities of things metric units are preferable.

14. Originally Posted by luctor-et-emergo
As I'm a native 'metric user', I think it's good I share my comments. The imperial system is more accurate in a very theoretical way, 2/3=an endless number, in reality this is not really a practical concern with daily use of the metric system.

One thing I think we can learn from this; How much of your opinion is formed by your environment? Kind of funny that people from metric countries prefer metric and the other way around... That should give us more respect for people with horrible cultures, or at least some form of understanding ? IDK, that's a tangent but I think a fair one to explore.

Having worked with U.S. engineers before, I've learned to also use imperial. By the way, the official definition of an inch is 2.54cm. The centimeter is derived from the distance covered by light in a vacuum in 1/299 792 458(seconds). This is not to say that imperial is stupid because its units are defined as something metric. It's a very good thing this is the case, at least this way we can reasonably cooperate without floating standards. But I'm right there with you that it's kind of stupid that even in Europe we'll use some imperial... Like some of the pipe couplings etc.

This is only a scaling issue. Really.

I don't see the problem in using imperial. It makes things slightly more interesting sometimes... Especially when I try to convert fuel economy, prices between US and here. Different currency, volume, distance measurements, so lots of converting, which I don't mind, keeps the mind active.
I bought my equipment knowing it was scaled in mm, and I use Blum and Soss hardware that require tooling in mm, my old panel truck is all SAE while the Volvo is metric...

Point being two sets of tooling are required and in some instances when working on the same item.

I guess you're right that doing the conversions time and again throughout the day keeps ones mind nimble but I'm beginning to believe that some of my limited capacity might be put to better use.

15. Originally Posted by tod evans
Who here measures 'things' on a daily basis and believes that the metric system is either more workable or more accurate?

I just had a discussion with a friend who's a retired chemistry professor and he tried trumpeting the talking points of the metric system that I've heard for my whole life.

I started doing weight conversions back in HS, 7gm=1/4oz and so on, now I'm using equipment manufactured in Italy so I take measurements using an Imperial tape measure and then do the conversion in my head into sillymeters to set the equipment........Then to make it even more interesting the Gumbha's have scaled the sander in 10ths of an inch?

Personally I find the Imperial system easier to deal with, 1/2-1/4-1/16-1/32-1/64.........Scales are readily available to do layouts to 1/64th precision, less if you sharpen your pencil on fine paper, but the metric offerings stop at 1mm or 1/25.4 of an inch, less than the smallest graduation on a Stanley tape measure.

I'm not interested in theory about how easy it is for the simpleminded to work in 10ths, if you measure things daily what's your preference?
In defense of your tape measure, or at least of how it would be used by someone more comfortable with metric units, it doesn't need markings smaller than millimeters. At that level, the user would eyeball the distance between two markings and estimate the distance to the nearest tenth of a millimeter with just as much accuracy as can be done by the naked eye. Marking the tape down to half-millimeters would be better than just millimeters (are there no metric tape measures that do that?), and facilitate even better interpolation of measurements between marks. But tenth of millimeter marks would probably be impractically small.

16. Originally Posted by Invisible Man
In defense of your tape measure, or at least of how it would be used by someone more comfortable with metric units, it doesn't need markings smaller than millimeters. At that level, the user would eyeball the distance between two markings and estimate the distance to the nearest tenth of a millimeter with just as much accuracy as can be done by the naked eye. Marking the tape down to half-millimeters would be better than just millimeters (are there no metric tape measures that do that?), and facilitate even better interpolation of measurements between marks. But tenth of millimeter marks would probably be impractically small.

I'm not interested in theory about how easy it is for the simpleminded to work in 10ths, if you measure things daily what's your preference?
I measure hundreds of things daily and specifically asked for others who do to comment on their experiences.

Bakers and seamstresses have to convert between metric and Imperial and like luctor said pipefitting is becoming a challenge.

Yesterday I made pot-pies and used the universal 3-2-1 piecrust recipe I was taught a long time ago, I used a small coffee cup, not cups/ounces or grams just a simple coffee cup.

Do you measure 'things' ? In my kitchen I have measuring cups and spoons, both digital and counterbalanced scales and am comfortable using all of them but I tend to gravitate to the measuring cups/spoons I was taught with.

Do you reload? If so how do you measure your powder? Bullet weight?

Is the copper line on your A/C unit 13mm or 1/2"?

Car tires are a mixture, height and width are metric while inner diameter is Imperial.

So what do you measure and do you find one method easier or superior? (No theory please)

17. Originally Posted by tod evans

I measure hundreds of things daily and specifically asked for others who do to comment on their experiences.

Bakers and seamstresses have to convert between metric and Imperial and like luctor said pipefitting is becoming a challenge.

Yesterday I made pot-pies and used the universal 3-2-1 piecrust recipe I was taught a long time ago, I used a small coffee cup, not cups/ounces or grams just a simple coffee cup.

Do you measure 'things' ? In my kitchen I have measuring cups and spoons, both digital and counterbalanced scales and am comfortable using all of them but I tend to gravitate to the measuring cups/spoons I was taught with.

Do you reload? If so how do you measure your powder? Bullet weight?

Is the copper line on your A/C unit 13mm or 1/2"?

Car tires are a mixture, height and width are metric while inner diameter is Imperial.

So what do you measure and do you find one method easier or superior? (No theory please)
I measure things for my work all the time. I won't get specific about what kind of work that is. I typically measure in imperial (feet, acres, miles, pounds, tons, pounds per square foot, tons per square foot, pounds per square inch, inches per second, inches per hour, cubic feet, cubic yards, and so on).

But I also work closely with a lab that uses both imperial and metric units (particularly grams/milligrams, millimeters/cubic centimeters), when working with small quantities, and I think that on the scale they work on when doing those particular tests, metric is easier. We have to convert results into imperial, and vice versa, which is a slight disadvantage. But for the tests themselves, I don't think that using weights measured in tiny fractions of ounces or pounds would be an improvement.

18. Originally Posted by pcosmar
It means you have a Triumph..
Only two?

Let's not forget Whitworth.

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20. Originally Posted by tod evans
So what do you measure and do you find one method easier or superior? (No theory please)
My only formal training in this regard is as a machinist, so I have always tended to measure in thousands of an inch.

One of the handiest tools I have are a series of inside and outside digital calipers that convert to whatever I need.

Any simple carpentry is in inches.

Cooking is in teaspoons, cups, ounces, although I can see the metric advantage there.

21. I have strong opinions on both systems but none of them is enough to throw all my weight in one direction.

I have used metric where it is handy. For instance, if I have a plan for something in inches and I want to test it, I can use the same numbers but change to milimeters and get a roughly 1/25 scale. That has come in handy for sewing, particularly gigantic things with a huge materials expense, like tents.

Most of what I do is in SAE but that's only because SAE fasteners and SAE measured materials are what's available. I don't even know how stud center distances would work in metric. It seems like a 3 meter framing stud would result in more waste given our building habits and codes.

As far as fasteners, this is where metric pisses me off. In this context I don't care that metric exists or that there are two systems. What I hate is that I have to have foreknowledge that in a particular situation I have to verify what system is being used and it's not clearly advertised. I drive older cars where there is no guarantee it's going to be one or the other. If there was some sticker on the door panel that clearly says "METRIC", the way socket and tap sets do, that would go a long way to soothing the anti-metric crowd IMO.

The argument about SAE being better suited to everyday purposes is, in my opinion, unanswerable. I hear overseas YouTubers complaining "Crikey, it's bloody 34 out!" and I'm sitting here like "Who cares?"
Metric temperature is objectively stupid for everyday use: when it's 0 out it's kinda cold, and when it's 100 you're dead. Kelvin is worse.
Fahrenheit makes sense. When it's 0 it's life-threateningly cold, when it's 100 it's life-threateningly hot. I see the sense in pegging a system to the most plentiful substance on the planet, but we deserve a system that's designed around us, not a liquid.

Likewise, a foot is roughly the length of a foot. An inch is roughly the diameter of your thumb. Obviously we can get used to meters but again, it's a system that's not serving and geared around people.

If you're talking longer distances, both metric and customary US measurements lose. The objectively correct customary measurement for long distances is nautical miles. I would be pretty happy deleting the existence of the statute mile altogether, and not just because I'm biased against anything set forth by statute.

I will say though, to further muddy the waters, that I was surprised to learn a few years ago that the US inch has been defined as a number of millimeters since 1893. So SAE lovers should understand that the entire system is essentially a derivation of metric.

22. Originally Posted by Invisible Man
I measure things for my work all the time. I won't get specific about what kind of work that is. I typically measure in imperial (feet, acres, miles, pounds, tons, pounds per square foot, tons per square foot, pounds per square inch, inches per second, inches per hour, cubic feet, cubic yards, and so on).

But I also work closely with a lab that uses both imperial and metric units (particularly grams/milligrams, millimeters/cubic centimeters), when working with small quantities, and I think that on the scale they work on when doing those particular tests, metric is easier. We have to convert results into imperial, and vice versa, which is a slight disadvantage. But for the tests themselves, I don't think that using weights measured in tiny fractions of ounces or pounds would be an improvement.
I'll agree that lab work is best done in metric, however distance and volume are easier for me using the Imperial system, but I was raised with it.

Even in the EU PSI is often used over Bar, I've never had occasion to convert inches of mercury to bar but assume they do on the other side of the pond.

23. Originally Posted by fisharmor
I have strong opinions on both systems but none of them is enough to throw all my weight in one direction.

I have used metric where it is handy. For instance, if I have a plan for something in inches and I want to test it, I can use the same numbers but change to milimeters and get a roughly 1/25 scale. That has come in handy for sewing, particularly gigantic things with a huge materials expense, like tents.

Most of what I do is in SAE but that's only because SAE fasteners and SAE measured materials are what's available. I don't even know how stud center distances would work in metric. It seems like a 3 meter framing stud would result in more waste given our building habits and codes.
Our standard plywood sizes are 4x2ft (244x122 cm), most carpenters use thumb measurements for wood (like 'a 4x2'), pretty much the same as an inch. So the whole thing is very inconsistent...

24. Originally Posted by Anti Federalist
Cooking is in teaspoons, cups, ounces, although I can see the metric advantage there.
I forgot about that, and probably because I cook like I do woodworking: Measure when necessary but if I can't eyeball it I'm not interested. I'm not much of a baker, and this approach works perfectly for steak, gumbo, and stir-fry.

I think I'd argue that the teaspoon/tablespoon thing is stupid and if we could have a new tablespoon that's 1/10 of a cup that would make more sense, and then 1/2 divisions of it, and get rid of the teaspoon. I don't know, maybe cc's would actually be ideal there.

But gasoline, milk, and water, now there's where we win again. We already have something the size of a liter in our system, and we don't use it because gallons are a much more useful and person-oriented measurement.

25. Sorry to babble but after thinking more about it, the fundamental problem with metric is that so much of existence deals with proportions.
The scientist makes statements like "a human eye ranges in size from X millimeters to Y millimeters with such-and-such eccentricity and focal point of Z" and so forth, but grade school art students are all taught that eyes are generally one-fifth of the width of the head, noses are around four eye heights, etc.
Stock exchanges used eighths to determine stock prices up until my youth.
Even moving up to a celestial scale, things orbit each other in resonance.

Going back to woodworking, when you're designing a piece of furniture, you start with what kind of space you want to fill, and use measurements to determine the best use of that space in the house and also the best use of space within the piece, but the difference between a guy who can nail boards together and a craftsman who makes things you actually want in your house starts early on in the project when the craftsman stops measuring and starts paying attention to the proportions of the design elements. It's not long before the measurement tools get put away altogether and the dividers come out.

US customary measurements aren't the best for that but they clearly were adapted for their ability to be divided, and therefore are more appropriate for proportion based tasks... and when metric was concocted that clearly wasn't on anyone's map. Metric is great for science people but no matter how much they want us to worship them, they're still just a subset of society working on a subset of society's problems. The overwhelming majority of us have a different set of problems we're working on every day and we need a system that caters to us.

26. Originally Posted by fisharmor
The objectively correct customary measurement for long distances is nautical miles.
I'm knot sure I fathom why.

Originally Posted by fisharmor
I would be pretty happy deleting the existence of the statute mile altogether, and not just because I'm biased against anything set forth by statute.
Aye, aye.

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28. I was adjusting a tilt in space wheel chair yesterday. Many adjustments are made with metric allen wrench. The foot rest needed adjusted. The foot platform was held on with philip head machine cap screws. That need to be removed so that the torcs screws under the platform could be loosened and adjusted. I also ran into an allen that none of my metrics would fit but an American fit perfectly. Why so many different tools needed? Everything could have been Allen of the same system.

29. Originally Posted by GlennwaldSnowdenAssanged
I was adjusting a tilt in space wheel chair yesterday. Many adjustments are made with metric allen wrench. The foot rest needed adjusted. The foot platform was held on with philip head machine cap screws. That need to be removed so that the torcs screws under the platform could be loosened and adjusted. I also ran into an allen that none of my metrics would fit but an American fit perfectly. Why so many different tools needed? Everything could have been Allen of the same system.

"Made in America" stickers require that some percentage of said gizmo be assembled here and some minute percentage of parts must be made here.

I keep two separate roll arounds one for SAE and another for metric. I also keep fresh taps in NC and NF so that in a pinch I can rethread foreign stuff in order to put it back in service because I don't keep a metric bolt bin and metric fasteners are days away.

30. Originally Posted by Anti Federalist
I don't think even the magic of metric can fix that level of stupid.

Originally Posted by GlennwaldSnowdenAssanged
I was adjusting a tilt in space wheel chair yesterday. Many adjustments are made with metric allen wrench. The foot rest needed adjusted. The foot platform was held on with philip head machine cap screws. That need to be removed so that the torcs screws under the platform could be loosened and adjusted. I also ran into an allen that none of my metrics would fit but an American fit perfectly. Why so many different tools needed? Everything could have been Allen of the same system.
Subcontractors.

Or worse. There was a time when GM decided to go all metric, or rather, to appear to go all metric. Chrysler, at that time, was producing rear wheel drive that was all SAE and front drive which was all metric. GM decided that made Chrysler appear to be doing things half-assed.

But upon studying the thing, they decided converting all the machinery that was producing engines and transmissions to cutting metric threads would either take too long or cost too much. So they started buying bolts with SAE threads and metric caps.

So, if you lost or damaged a bolt, you might have a replacement for it. But even though you used a 13mm socket to remove it, you needed to look in your inch size bolt bin to replace it, because no real metric fastener will thread into the hole.

Remember, children, you're not supposed to monkey with these things yourself. You're supposed to go to a shop and a technician who have paid the manufacturer a good deal of money for training and certification. Or better yet, don't repair and recycle, replace! It's better for everyone's economy but yours!

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