Stanley Tape Measure Review Guide: Parts, Markings, Metric Tape, Digital Tape, Carpentry & Woodworking

Stanley tape measures can be found in the garage of almost any craftsman, be they professional or hobbyist. These tape measures are wonderful tools that can measure pieces of material merely inches long, or those that are a couple dozen feet in length. And with their distinctive, easy to understand and use markings, you’ll never have to worry about miscalculating a measurement. After all, while it’s true that you should measure twice, cut once for every project, it doesn’t matter how many times you measure something if you don’t do it right; you’ll still make a mistake. That’s what makes Stanley tape measures so popular, since not only are they easy to read, but they’re accurate and come in a range of styles and sizes to fit any project you might come across.

Stanley Tape Measure Parts

While Stanley does have a lifetime warranty on their tape measures, this only covers equipment that is undamaged by improper use or handling; in other words, if it didn’t come from the factory messed up, the warranty probably doesn’t cover it. It also only covers your tape measure for the span of the ‘useful life’ of the tool, so if after 50 years it stops working, they probably will not consider that warranted. While it never hurts to try, if your measure isn’t covered any longer, you don’t have to give up and buy one new; you can simply replace the part or parts (as necessary) that need to be replaced. Here is a brief list of some of the Stanley tape measure parts they have for replacement:

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  • Long Tapes hub assembly for 34-350 and 34-400; hub assembly for 34-250 and 34-300; hub assembly for 34-095 and 34-096; blade 3/8” x 15m/50’ for 34-153
  • Belt Clips – adapter plate; matte black powerlock belt clip fits all one inch and one and a quarter inch tape rules (FatMax, Maxsteel, Contractor Grade);  chrome belt clip for all one inch tape rules (Powerlock, Leverlock); chrome belt clip for all half inch and three quarter inch tape rules
  • Slide Locks – black and yellow, wide variety of tape measures
  • Replacement Tape Blades – 3/4” x 3m/10’ for 33-328; 1” x 12’; 1/2” x 12’ for 33-212; 25mm x 7.5m/25’ for 33-428; 1” x 30’ for 33-430; 1/2” x 10’ for 33-210; 3/4″ x 10’ for 33-310
  • Tape Caddy – black and orange

Stanley Tape Measure Markings

If you’re unfamiliar with tape measure markings, or just want to ensure that you fully understand those on your Stanley tape measure, it’s a pretty simple system. The tape blade itself, a bright and easy to see yellow, is emblazoned with black lines and numbers for the easy deciphering of lengths. When using a tape measure with foot and inch markings, the first thing you need to know is that everything is marked in increments of 1/16 of an inch. The smallest notches are 1/16 of an inch; the longest are 1/2 of an inch. As long as you remember that the smallest ticks are 1/16, and you can work your math from 1/2 to 1/4 to 1/8 to 1/16, you should be okay. It may seem tricky at first, but the more you work with it, the easier it will be to understand your Stanley tape measure markings.

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Stanley metric tape measures, of course, are marked to metric increments, not feet and inches. So if you need to use metric measurements, you can either buy a metric tape measure or, if you don’t use metric measures often enough to warrant the purchase, you can look at the bottom of your Stanley tape measure blade. The markings and numbers on the bottom half are in metric measurements. They’re also fairly straightforward, marked in millimeters for the smallest increments, the centimeters, and then meters. The best thing about using metrics is that rather than saying 1 and 11/16 of an inch, you can simply read out 4.2 centimeters. It’s convenient, but as we still use feet and inches in the US, we just don’t work with metrics that often.

Stanley digital tape measures are probably the most convenient and accurate tape measure you can find. Digital tape measures mean you don’t have to count out the little 1/16 ticks on a tape blade; the digital measure tells you exactly how long the length is on a digital readout. That can save you time and trouble, as you’ll never miscount the ticks again. Laser tape measures are also convenient and accurate; by simply pointing at the target to be measured, up to 100 feet, and the distance will appear on the LCD screen.

Carpentry and Woodworking

Stanley tape measures are an old standby in carpentry and woodworking. Although digital and laser tape measures have gone to put most reel tape measures into obscurity, you’ll still probably find an old Stanley tape measure on the workbenches or in the toolboxes of carpenters, woodworkers, and anyone who requires measurements in their projects. Not necessarily out of tradition or sentiment, but because it’s always reassuring to know that you can measure something and know the exact length or size with your own calculations. Furthermore, no matter how accurate a digital or laser tape measure may be, there’s always room for human error. But, because there’s no reason not to take advantage of modern technology, you’ll more than likely find Stanley’s digital and laser tape measures in their tools as well.

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Stanley Tape Measure

Whether you’re a craftsman with decades of experience, or a novice just breaking into a woodworking or crafting hobby, there’s no tool you’ll rely on quite as much as your Stanley tape measure. With a reputation for quality and accuracy, not to mention a warranty that covers damages not caused by misuse or damage, Stanley provides tape measures that professionals and hobbyists alike can rely on for years of work. And, if you’re more comfortable with digital and laser measures as opposed to good old-fashioned reel tape measures, Stanley measures are among the best in the industry. With several different lengths and widths of tape measures, and different features for their more techno-savvy ones, there’s a Stanley tape measure for everyone to use.

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