The old saying goes, measure twice cut once. Last weekend it was measure twice cut twice. We are FINALLY getting towards the end of our living room project, the floor is done, but we needed new trim. As a family, we went down over the holiday weekend to buy, cut, and install the trim as well as order carpet for the stairs and upstairs bedroom. Well a project that should have taken maybe 2 hours total, including install, took two days and it took us an hour to realize what the issue was. An incorrect tape measure.

We divided up into two teams for the work, team 1 was my wife and our exchange student Pau, who is always eager to help, and secretly enjoys using all of my power tools. Team 2 consisted of just myself. Team 1 went around and re-measured all of the walls, and how long the segments of trim needed to be, plus which way they needed to be cut so they would overlap, or on the corners meet correctly.

The first two or three pieces I would cut for them were always about a half-inch to an inch longer than what was needed. Baffled I asked them to measure an area again to see if they were maybe not factoring the overlap, or something else. They ended up measuring again, getting the same number, I measured it unsuspectingly using their tape measure and got the same measurement.

I went back to the garage with the measurement in hand, grabbed the tape measure in the garage, triple checked the measurement, and then proceeded to cut the trim. Again it was off!

Finally, the brains of the operation, obviously not me, my wife asked to see the tape measure. Lo and behold, the tape measure, manufactured in a faraway country and was at some point probably a garage sale find, was off by about a quarter of an inch, roughly every inch when she put it next to her tape measure.

Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM

I ran over to the neighbors, as we were out of tape measures at this point, to see which one was wrong. After borrowing the neighbors, it turns out the one I was using was the one that was way off. After borrowing the neighbors for the next day, as it was getting late, we ended up finishing the job in about 90 minutes.

Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM
Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM
Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM
Image Credit: Paul Shea/TSM

The moral of the story I guess is don't blindly trust your tape measure if you are using two during a project as one might be wrong like mine was.

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