Author Topic: Folks Hate The Metric System  (Read 32629 times)

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Offline leadpipe58

  • Posts: 1
Folks Hate The Metric System
« on: April 20, 2007, 07:19 AM »
 Greeting Fellow Festool Fans

  I show the festools and I get "I hate metric".Maybe just to set it there ways to change.
We all know it  is simple,easer in most all cases. 
 My question is would A custom print out or sticker to go over the scales in fractional be a help to any one?
 I ask because the question was asked of me. 80% of the time I will just eye it up and don't use the scale on A TS55 or depth on a 1400.
  Just though I might get some feedback.
       thank you
        John

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Offline fcraven

  • Posts: 68
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2007, 09:07 AM »
I like the metric stystem, but the materials I use, and everything else around me is imperial, so I think in inches.

I actually did exactly what you mentioned. Using some white low stick tape (I used it because it was white and smooth), I scaled up where inches were. so now, If I need to cut a 1x board I simple look on the Inch side and select...3/4"   :).

I also have my inch marks indexed down about 5mm, or the height of the guide.

Offline Dan Clark

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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2007, 09:24 AM »
Attached is a document in MS Word (2003 and before) format that contains the measurements from 1/16" to 6" in 1/16" increments, decimal inches, fractions, and millimeters.   Also attached is a screen shot so see what it looks like.

I created this so that I could convert back and forth quickly.

Regards,

Dan.

Offline Dan Uhlir

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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2007, 09:33 AM »
Good morning

          i've been servicing downhill and nordic ski's for 30 years, so i'm well acquauinted with the metric system and i really prefer the system no fractions, and over those thirty years things are becoming more global.So if I am using European tools and working on European stuff well as the song say's gonna have to get used to it. peace out, I have some sanding to do, as in a house. ciao

Offline Lou Miller

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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2007, 09:51 AM »
Anyone that is going to use these tools should take the time to learn the metric system. It doesn't take long at all. Its just one of those things that drives people nuts because its different. I still use Imperial measurments far more than I do metric, but I'm comfortable with either. Start out with a chart like the one Dan just posted, and go from there. Eventually, it will be clear as day to you. If we can learn imperial measurements, we can all surely learn metirc. Metric is much much easier. You can learn the metric system in a fraction of the time it took to learn the imperial system.

Offline Dave Rudy

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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2007, 10:02 AM »
Good morning

          i've been servicing downhill and nordic ski's for 30 years, so i'm well acquauinted with the metric system and i really prefer the system no fractions, and over those thirty years things are becoming more global.So if I am using European tools and working on European stuff well as the song say's gonna have to get used to it. peace out, I have some sanding to do, as in a house. ciao
Anyone that is going to use these tools should take the time to learn the metric system. It doesn't take long at all. Its just one of those things that drives people nuts because its different. I still use Imperial measurments far more than I do metric, but I'm comfortable with either. Start out with a chart like the one Dan just posted, and go from there. Eventually, it will be clear as day to you. If we can learn imperial measurements, we can all surely learn metirc. Metric is much much easier. You can learn the metric system in a fraction of the time it took to learn the imperial system.


I have read and pondered many posts (and avoided getting into the discussion) on several forums expressing extreme opposition to the metric system.  For my part, it is irrational.  I have made the decision to go metric, not just with Festools.  Measuring and calculating in whole numbers is way easier than fractions or -- perish the thought -- decimal conversions.  The resistance seems to me to be irrational.  There is a learning curve (really slight) but the ease of use of metric easily justifies it.


Think of the time and energy we are willing to spend learning how to use tools, jigs, techniques, etc.  Converting to metric is a drop in the bucket by comparison to learning to use a Leigh dovetail jig.

I'm for metric.

Dave

Offline VictorL

  • Posts: 576
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2007, 10:09 AM »
Metric system is much more convenient than Imperial. You’ll work with decimal numbers only. Hundredth and tenth of millimeter are not significant in woodworking. You can easily round it to the near whole millimeter.

Regards,
Victor

Offline Dan Clark

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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2007, 10:57 AM »
I'm a big fan of metric.  It's obvious, easy to calculate, and the world-wide standard.  To me, it's dead simple.

IMO, most people who hate metric just don't like change.   They are used to imperial and it feels comfortable, so therefore it's "right".   It's like language.  They learned English (or whatever their native language) and therefore that language is the "best".  It called ethnocentricity.   (Several years ago, during a hot debate about teaching "foreign" languages in schools, one woman wrote to the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, "If English was good enough for Jesus Christ, it's good enough for me!" ::) )   Unfortunately, we're not going to change these people.   

That said, I think there's another issue here - ubiquity.  Ubiquity means it's everywhere and the defacto standard.   The problem with switching to metric is that we are swimming upstream.   I agree that it's MUCH easier to measure and work with in our own shops, but what about the outside world?   Router bits are typically measured in inches.   2X4's are two inches by four inches (sort of).   Plywood is 3/4" by 4' by 8' feet.   Our plywood sheet might be a smidge over 18mm, but you wander into your local score and ask for 3/4 ply.  Most places which carry 18mm Baltic Birch label it as 3/4".   Or take something as simple as the FastCap FlatBack tape measure (I love mine).  Did you know that the imperial version has marks to the edge of the tape (for accuracy) and metric version does not!

It's fairly easy to learn a "foreign" language if everyone else speaks it.    It's much more difficult when you greet your next door neighbor with a cheery, "Bon Jour!" and he responds with "Huh?".  I'd love to walk in to my local Home Despot and ask, "Parle vous millimeter" and get the response, "Oui".   ;D

Regards,

Dan.

Offline Brent b

  • Posts: 89
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2007, 11:45 AM »
I find two measuring tools very useful for metric/ imperial conversions to avoid consulting a chart or the calculator.  One is a fastcap tape with the metric (millimeter demarcation) and imperial scales on either side.  Other company's make this tape but I think fastcap is a great company and I purchase their tools whenever it's feasible (and they send me a toaster whenever I plug).  The other measuring tool is a small combintion square (from Rockler) that has the same dual scaling.  Working with these two tools have allowed me to become semiautomatic in conversion, which I think is the biggest barrier for most tradesman picking up metric.  Metric rescales  a judgement of space that takes years to develop and become automatic with.  If your trying to feed your kid this can be intimidating.
That said, I find metric superior to anything cabinet sized, and awkward (at least in millimeters which is what I've been training in, I know it's base 10) for anything over.  I think and order sheet goods and millwork in imperial and thus think in those terms for products that sized.  If I went into a lumber supplier and ordered a dozen 3 meter sticks of crown I'd get that 'who the heck are you look'
Also a great way that I've found to use the scale on the TS saw is to take that combination square and square it up against the top side of the guide, past the material being cut, bottoming out on the substrate and add 2mm.  A couple more steps than I'm used to but has kept me cutting through my MFT rails.
Good day,
Brent
i bought in
it's paid off
i'm going home

Offline Ted Miller

  • Posts: 234
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2007, 12:26 PM »
Well I have been using the fraction system all my life, so of course the metric is different than what you are raised with. I would not say I hate it, its just a new thing to learn and since I am using the Festools more and more metric will become second nature. Of course its simple to use, 10s are a piece of cake to use but trying to figure out 11/32 into mm is not as simple as it sounds off the top of my head just yet...
Miller's Wood Works

Offline EdL

  • Posts: 106
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2007, 01:13 PM »
I work with both sysyems, back and forth everyday. It really doesn't matter to me what is on the tool.

Ed

Offline Lou Miller

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    • Some of my work
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2007, 02:40 PM »
Guys, trust me, its much easier to convert than some of you think. I've been in construction for over 23 years now. Almost my whole life its been square feet, cubic yards, feet, inches, etc. Those things will probably never change in the US within the construction business. Nor should they, because everything works well the way it is. However, if a knucklehead nail banger like myself can learn the metric system and incorporate it into my daily life, anyone can.

I was installing cabinets 20 years or so ago. They were all European boxes (32mm system). I had no choice but do things in metric on that job. I had 200 kitchens to install in an apartment complex, so I went out and bought a metirc tape. Not one that was both imperial and metric, but just metric only. I put the imperial tape away and just went with it. By around the time I had the fifth or sixth kitchen installed (I was installing 2 a day in the beginning, 3 a day by the end of the job), I had everything down pat. All it takes is a willingness to learn, that's all. Sounds overly simplistic, but that's all there is to it.

Now I gotta get back to work and figure out how many yards of crete are needed on an addition I'm bidding...  ;D

Offline woodshopdemos

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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2007, 03:36 PM »
I am old and would be very slow to convert to metric if it weren't so rational a system. Mrs Carnes my fourth ("4th" metric) grade teacher would be having me stay after and writing fractions on the board for hours if she could. But, while I am old, she is dead. Like Beethoven when he passed on, she is decomposing.
   Now to the subject. What I hate worse than one system or the other is the terrible mixes we get into all the time.
   Right now, today ("20th" metric) I am reviewing a new dado set. It makes beautiful dado's and that should be the entire review. But NO!  The outside blades are marked on their body as 1/8th.  The chippers are 1/8 and 1/16th - no big deal so far.  The chippers have 1/8" body (at the shaft) but a 1/4" kerf. So the old way of assembling a dado set has been changed slightly. So they give you in the set a great assortment of metal shims clearly marked in fractions - great, right but there table that they have printed to help you assemble the real set shows the shims in metric. Houston, we have a problem.
   So I have just completed making a gage block of each and every combination. It is cut out of thick plastic sign material so that I wont have to deal with metric or imps. Just use the guide to measure the plywood to be used and follow the assembly package of chippers - oh and I have labeled them as "A" and "B" widths. Where does it say that setup aids have to help. I will hang it right next to my first 15 free Handyman screw/drill size selectors (13 in white,4 in black.)
   As to Festool, with the earlier ATF55 having a harder to read plunge depth scale (old eyes), I developed a setting system that avoided numbers. (i.e., put 1/4" ply under rail and to top of workpiece and plunge to worksurface under workpiece and set the plunge stop there. It could be Celsius for all I care. With the new TS55 and TS75, the scales are so very readable, I might have to return to metric.
   As an old girlfriend would be saying about now "enough about me, how do you like my dress?"
In memory of John Lucas (1937 - 2010)

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1854
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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2007, 04:38 PM »
i grew up with the metric,so this is nothing new to me.i just don't understand how can anyone say that they hate it. it is far more easier than using inches,witch doesn't make any sense to me.i keep a conversion chart with me all the time, and i put marks on my saw for the most common size.                         " metric system,so easy, a cave man can do it!" :)
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Online Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3529
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2007, 10:39 PM »
I find two measuring tools very useful for metric/ imperial conversions to avoid consulting a chart or the calculator.  One is a fastcap tape with the metric (millimeter demarcation) and imperial scales on either side.  Other company's make this tape but I think fastcap is a great company and I purchase their tools whenever it's feasible (and they send me a toaster whenever I plug).  The other measuring tool is a small combintion square (from Rockler) that has the same dual scaling.  Working with these two tools have allowed me to become semiautomatic in conversion, which I think is the biggest barrier for most tradesman picking up metric.  Metric rescales  a judgement of space that takes years to develop and become automatic with.  If your trying to feed your kid this can be intimidating.
That said, I find metric superior to anything cabinet sized, and awkward (at least in millimeters which is what I've been training in, I know it's base 10) for anything over.  I think and order sheet goods and millwork in imperial and thus think in those terms for products that sized.  If I went into a lumber supplier and ordered a dozen 3 meter sticks of crown I'd get that 'who the heck are you look'
Also a great way that I've found to use the scale on the TS saw is to take that combination square and square it up against the top side of the guide, past the material being cut, bottoming out on the substrate and add 2mm.  A couple more steps than I'm used to but has kept me cutting through my MFT rails.
Good day,
Brent


I agree Fastcap has a lot of good tools and I really appreciate their innovative solutions to common installation problems but I have a problem with their tape measures. I have three or four different Fastcap tape measure with different useful features but the only one worth owning IMO is the storypole tape because I can put the increments whee I need them.

The first problem I found with the Fastcap measures is increment creep. The increments cycle between  being beyond their proper position or short of the mark. But the worst part is the tongue, they are all way off for both inside and outside measurements so the only  Fastcap tape I use at all is the storypole version and I have to remember whether my mark was an inside or outside measurement.

For the past couple weeks I've been using a cheap tape from Home Creepo that costs about $4 and is very accurate in all respects and the increment marks are nice and thin. It is starting to get cranky when retracting so I hope the replacement is as accurate. I think it is Colortools brand (I removed the label) and, you can get it in a black and green color combination. It's only available in imperial increments.

I work in whatever system is better for the project or even a particular operation. I keep a conversion calculator with me where ever I'm working, either an old Radio Shack version or a Construction Master IV which allow you to easilly and clearly work in fractions, decimals, or metric.

Online Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3529
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2007, 10:51 PM »
Greeting Fellow Festool Fans

  I show the festools and I get "I hate metric".Maybe just to set it there ways to change.
We all know it  is simple,easer in most all cases. 
 My question is would A custom print out or sticker to go over the scales in fractional be a help to any one?
 I ask because the question was asked of me. 80% of the time I will just eye it up and don't use the scale on A TS55 or depth on a 1400.
  Just though I might get some feedback.
       thank you
        John

I have the ATF 55 and I simply put a piece of white tape on the housing next to the moving depth indicator and I mark on the tape best setting for the common material thickness' as I discover them by trial. While the scale is in metric the increments do not correspond (except roughly) to the actual cutting depth and the correspondence gets farther off as the depth is increased. This a (minor) problem with the TS 55 as well so, if someone where to take on the task of making a stick-on depth guide in fractional increments they should be sure to use actual cutting depths rather than simply convert the increments from metric to Imperial.


Offline Jim Marsh

  • Posts: 29
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2007, 11:55 PM »
I took a white pencil and ran it across the marks on my ATF 55 so they would show up. So far it seems to work fine. My eye's are not what they once were either.

Offline Joe Jensen

  • Posts: 149
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #17 on: April 21, 2007, 02:35 AM »
Anyone that is going to use these tools should take the time to learn the metric system. It doesn't take long at all. Its just one of those things that drives people nuts because its different. I still use Imperial measurments far more than I do metric, but I'm comfortable with either. Start out with a chart like the one Dan just posted, and go from there. Eventually, it will be clear as day to you. If we can learn imperial measurements, we can all surely learn metirc. Metric is much much easier. You can learn the metric system in a fraction of the time it took to learn the imperial system.

Metric is great, but nearly everything but plyood is in inches.  All of my blades and bits are imperial.  All of one or the other is what is needed.  I wish we lived in a metric world, but in the US we don't.  For the price, Festool should sell imperial versions where that's the standard measurement.

Sure I can look up on a chart every time I need to convert, WOW, that sounds fun.  Why not offer a second scale that would cost less than a buck with the new $660 Domino?...joe

Offline Joe Jensen

  • Posts: 149
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #18 on: April 21, 2007, 02:39 AM »
i grew up with the metric,so this is nothing new to me.i just don't understand how can anyone say that they hate it. it is far more easier than using inches,witch doesn't make any sense to me.i keep a conversion chart with me all the time, and i put marks on my saw for the most common size.                         " metric system,so easy, a cave man can do it!" :)

Yep, way better when using only metric.  Do you have metric drill bits?  How about metric router bits?  Yes you can convert, but not usually to nice round numbers.  I really wish my entire shop and all my tooling were metric, but they aren't.  I'm used to quickly setting the TS and Radial saw fences that are equipped with imperial tapes.  Looking up some conversion factor very time I want to make a cut is a pain in the arse.  If all metric, great, sadly not all metric.

I for one hate having both.  Metric is better but not both at the same time..joe

Offline Joe Jensen

  • Posts: 149
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #19 on: April 21, 2007, 02:48 AM »
Good morning

          i've been servicing downhill and nordic ski's for 30 years, so i'm well acquauinted with the metric system and i really prefer the system no fractions, and over those thirty years things are becoming more global.So if I am using European tools and working on European stuff well as the song say's gonna have to get used to it. peace out, I have some sanding to do, as in a house. ciao
Anyone that is going to use these tools should take the time to learn the metric system. It doesn't take long at all. Its just one of those things that drives people nuts because its different. I still use Imperial measurments far more than I do metric, but I'm comfortable with either. Start out with a chart like the one Dan just posted, and go from there. Eventually, it will be clear as day to you. If we can learn imperial measurements, we can all surely learn metirc. Metric is much much easier. You can learn the metric system in a fraction of the time it took to learn the imperial system.


I have read and pondered many posts (and avoided getting into the discussion) on several forums expressing extreme opposition to the metric system.  For my part, it is irrational.  I have made the decision to go metric, not just with Festools.  Measuring and calculating in whole numbers is way easier than fractions or -- perish the thought -- decimal conversions.  The resistance seems to me to be irrational.  There is a learning curve (really slight) but the ease of use of metric easily justifies it.


Think of the time and energy we are willing to spend learning how to use tools, jigs, techniques, etc.  Converting to metric is a drop in the bucket by comparison to learning to use a Leigh dovetail jig.

I'm for metric.

Dave

Learning the metric system is not hard.  Converting completely to it seems from my vantage point to be pretty hard.  I can seem switching the scales on the Biesemeyer TS fence and the Biesemeyer radial saw fence system, but having to work in partial mm to plan around my imperial sized shaper cutter sets for rail and style doors, and every router bit seems like a major hassle.  Also, I have a lot of Porter cable router equipment and Leigh dovetail stuff that is all imperial.  Having to work conversions all the time for that is a hassle.  I wish it were all one or all the other.

What is amazing is that Festool seems to have a healthy market in the US and they are investing pretty heavily in marketing here.  How much would it really cost them to do the US tools in imperial, or offer scales for either.  They already have to do 110v versions that pass UL listing for this market.  These are premium tools at a premium price.  Meet the market's desire...joe

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1854
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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #20 on: April 21, 2007, 08:41 AM »
joe     no i don't have any metric router bits or drill bits,but what is metric have to do with using your table saw?or your radial arm saw? i know it's not that easy to have to use 2 different system,but you just have to deal with it.  when i work on my nissan truck i have to get my metric set,on the other,when i m putting together an american product i reach for the other.   should i call nissan and ask them to convert all the bolts and nuts to imperial? (hey at least they did put an imperial speedometer!!!! )  BTW:nissan is made in the usa. i don't think making a special tool for the usa is that easy to do. think of the domino.if you change the metric scale to imperial than you would have to change the stop gauge,the plunge stop.and the fence.that means that you would have to change the size of the dominos. all of them!  everything that festool designe is based on metric.all of their calibrations is done with metric.  it will cost a lot more than you think to have tool redesigne just for the u.s.a.   maybe a sticker would do the job,but i just put marks for the most common size and it works great!!                                   p.s.  shouldn't a speedometer be in metric anyway?  speed-o-METER!
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!

Offline Matthew Schenker

  • Posts: 2619
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #21 on: April 21, 2007, 09:16 AM »
I actually like the metric system, and have had projects that are almost completely constructed within that system.  Of course, I was in grade school in the mid-1970s when there was a push in this country to convert, and I suppose that memory has always stayed with me!

But seriously, I do like doing things with the metric system.  The problem of course is when you have to introduce non-metric tools into the mix.

Matthew
FOG Designer and Creator

Offline Brice Burrell

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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2007, 10:05 AM »
 Here's my take on this thread, don't think "convert", think "adapt" to the metric system.
Brice
Check out my new blog, The Green and Dark Blue Blog.

Offline Keedy

  • Posts: 29
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2007, 10:57 AM »

  I will adapt but not convert. I own Festool vacuum and sander....no need to convert or adapt. Do you really need to convert for Festool routers and domino?
    As a machinist, I convert all fractions to decimal in my head ( 1/2" = .500 etc.)  In my mind it is really easy to convert ALL fractions to decimal and use ALL my machinists measuring increments.
      Gary K.

Offline greg mann

  • Posts: 1836
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #24 on: April 21, 2007, 11:39 AM »
Gary is on the mark here. The first step to working in either system easily is to abandon fractions. It is a well known fact that three out of two people have trouble with fractions. :D
Greg Mann
Oakland, Michigan

Offline Lou Miller

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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #25 on: April 21, 2007, 11:51 AM »
For those that struggle with converting metric to imperial and vice versa, why not just get something like this: http://www.amazon.com/NESCO-NM-9560-DIGITAL-CALIPER/dp/B000E227K0/ref=pd_bbs_1/104-1583024-7287109?ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid=1177170319&sr=8-1

I have a Starrett version that I really like, but the one above is pretty affordable. With just one push of a button, you can automatically convert mm into inches and back again.

Offline Tom Ryan

  • Posts: 88
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #26 on: April 21, 2007, 11:56 AM »
My mother was born in 1908.  When she was in grade school, they taught the metric system to the kids because this country was going to convert "soon."  Are we slow or what?

Offline Corwin

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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #27 on: April 21, 2007, 02:13 PM »
I'm converting more and more to metric.  And I like it -- metric, not changing over.  But I sure do not want to see Festool have both Imperial and metric scales on their tools.  And optional add-on is fine, but I really prefer not to have both.  I do have a tape measure with both -- don't really like it, but it was all I could get in metric in this one lumber store town -- but it will work okay for now.

Corwin
Looks like your rabbit joint is a hare off! ;)

Offline Mike Chrest

  • Posts: 386
  • N.W. New York State
Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #28 on: April 21, 2007, 04:37 PM »
   I don't get it. Festool is willing to change the tooling for all the motors built for the US market(that's expensive retooling) but not the markings on the plastic cases? >:(
   That is bad ergonomics. I should be able to reach for a tool, set the depth almost without thinking(I think in inches) and cut. Every time I have to convert from one system to another it introduces the chance of error. I have to work in Imperial. Architects give their drawings in Imperial units. I build what they draw. I don't want to work in two systems on one job (think Space probe crashes).
   How about a digital depth scale on the routers similar to what Lou posted. Then we could push a button and get a readout in our favorite system. I like fractions :D. How about an optional accessory($$$$$)
   For the plunge saw I hang the blade over the edge and add a smidge. I like the white tape idea but it seems like holding the mirror on a Porsche with duct tape.
  Can you tell this really annoys me? ::)

Offline mastercabman

  • Posts: 1854
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Re: Folks Hate The Metric System
« Reply #29 on: April 21, 2007, 04:43 PM »
yes!
I don't understand!?! I keep cutting it,and it's still too short!