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Fat Max Tape Rant

by PPK
posted 09-05-2018 02:40 PM


30 replies so far

View DS's profile

DS

3163 posts in 2807 days


#1 posted 09-05-2018 02:50 PM

Thanks for the heads up. I have three (older) fat max tapes and I love them. They all check out, accuracy-wise, and I love that I never have to second guess the measurement. The long hold out really helps too.

It only takes one bean counter to question why they aren’t making that extra $0.015 per unit to screw things up by cutting corners.

I sure hope they get their act together once again and decide to return to building quality products.
This is a sad state of affairs… disapointing.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5479 posts in 3630 days


#2 posted 09-05-2018 03:19 PM

How do you know the tape is out 1/32”? What did you check it against? Tape measures are notoriously inaccurate. I can’t believe any tape can be out that much. Worthless.

View PPK's profile

PPK

1402 posts in 1196 days


#3 posted 09-05-2018 03:28 PM

I checked it against my PEC steel rule, as well as my other (accurate) tape measures.

-- Pete

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1392 posts in 3236 days


#4 posted 09-05-2018 04:04 PM

My go to is a Lufkin 25” Self Centering, that has a fractional read and a centering scale on the bottom, I never imagined how often and handy that centering scale would be.

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View AZWoody's profile

AZWoody

1449 posts in 1611 days


#5 posted 09-05-2018 04:18 PM

I used to use Stanleys for a long time. They had some that had a circumference scale on the back which was really handy when I was working on sprinkler pipes for the farm.

Now, I’ve switched to Komeleon brand. Stanley made a tape measure that stayed open and the button was made to feed back, so it was reversed from the standard way tape measures worked. I really liked how it worked that way for woodworking and other things I do but they were getting hard to find. Now, Komeleon makes a lot of different sized and almost all of their’s are like that.

View msinc's profile

msinc

567 posts in 890 days


#6 posted 09-05-2018 05:24 PM

I bought a 35 foot FatMax. I pulled it all the way out one time and it never went back. It will close to about 9 feet and absolutely stop solid. I have pulled it out and cleaned it…nope didn’t work. Pulled it all back out and lubed it…nope still wont retract fully. Will I ever buy another FatMax??? Nope.

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2345 days


#7 posted 09-05-2018 07:43 PM

Do any of you have a tape that is reversed direction for the markings?

Most (almost ALL) tapes are left to right which is correct for right-handed people to pull the tape to your right. But then your right hand is stuck with a tape and you have to mark a line with your left. I hate that.

I would pay $50 for a medium-sized, left-to-right marked, accurate tape from Starret or someone similar. Preferably without a belt loop so you can set it on tools or finished projects.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2345 days


#8 posted 09-05-2018 07:46 PM

Just found this: https://www.amazon.com/Handed-Retractable-Tape-Measure-Right/dp/B076MQF985#customerReviews

Seems like a good idea. I am ordering one.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3986 posts in 2375 days


#9 posted 09-05-2018 08:38 PM

Good idea to check all tape measures. In general, I am careful with any new ones.

I have been very pleased with my FastCap tape measures. For accuracy, I like my FastCap flat tape measure as it is very accurate.

View Kilo19's profile

Kilo19

104 posts in 612 days


#10 posted 09-05-2018 08:48 PM

I as well have a fat max that is about 12 yrs plus. Never had problems with it. I would’ve replaced it when it dies. But now I don’t know.

-- Justin

View AHuxley's profile

AHuxley

874 posts in 3708 days


#11 posted 09-06-2018 06:03 AM



Good idea to check all tape measures. In general, I am careful with any new ones.

I have been very pleased with my FastCap tape measures. For accuracy, I like my FastCap flat tape measure as it is very accurate.

- Redoak49

I have several of the FastCap tapes and really like the Lefty/Righty which reads both directions. They are inexpensive but the cases are also pretty cheaply built but I really like the actual metal tape for in-shop use but they don’t have the standout of some of the more construction oriented tapes.

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

3986 posts in 2375 days


#12 posted 09-06-2018 12:11 PM


I have several of the FastCap tapes and really like the Lefty/Righty which reads both directions. They are inexpensive but the cases are also pretty cheaply built but I really like the actual metal tape for in-shop use but they don t have the standout of some of the more construction oriented tapes.

- AHuxley

Great comment. What tape I used is based upon what I am doing. There are tapes great for construction and can take abuse. The FastCap flat tape is great for shop work and very good at accurate measurements but not any good at all for construction.

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

507 posts in 3581 days


#13 posted 09-06-2018 12:51 PM

OK, so your tape is defective. Doesn’t mean they all are. Take it back and do as suggested: check it out before purchasing.

View JADobson's profile

JADobson

1442 posts in 2498 days


#14 posted 09-06-2018 02:48 PM



Do any of you have a tape that is reversed direction for the markings?

Most (almost ALL) tapes are left to right which is correct for right-handed people to pull the tape to your right. But then your right hand is stuck with a tape and you have to mark a line with your left. I hate that.

I would pay $50 for a medium-sized, left-to-right marked, accurate tape from Starret or someone similar. Preferably without a belt loop so you can set it on tools or finished projects.

- BroncoBrian

Perhaps a bit better quality than your amazon find is this one from LV: http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32563&cat=1,43513,43515 I bought the 25’ one for a small framing job and it did the trick. I have the 10’ one for the shop and find it really handy.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View Snipes's profile

Snipes

405 posts in 2631 days


#15 posted 09-06-2018 04:59 PM

As long as you use the same tape for a whole project it shouldn’t matter if its off a bit, or maybe i’m missing something? is it off a 1/32” on 16’ or is every inch/foot off that far? sometimes the end can be bent a bit causing the problem.

-- if it is to be it is up to me

View PPK's profile

PPK

1402 posts in 1196 days


#16 posted 09-06-2018 06:16 PM

I did take the tape in and get it exchanged. The end is indeed the problem, but there’s no way to fix that short of a new tape measure. That’ll solve the non-accuracy problem, but not the other ones!

And as concerns 1/32nd of an inch… that’s huge to me. And I really don’t think that using the same inaccurate tape for the whole project would go well: for instance, my Tablesaw is dead-on, so I’d have to compensate when cutting on the TS, as well as remember to always grab the right tape measure… etc.

Interestingly, I did check about 6 of the other tapes at the store. I noticed that most of the markings on the blade were either smeared or else not precisely painted on: more to add to the laundry list!

-- Pete

View Glassit's profile

Glassit

1 post in 284 days


#17 posted 09-06-2018 07:00 PM

I’ve used these tapes for 15 years and still do. A guy I work with just bought a 2 pack of 25’ which I’ve used a few times when mine wasn’t handy, and I didn’t notice any of the issues discussed. Maybe the 16’ housing is different since it’s more homeowners who buy the shorter lengths than anyone else, generally. Still the best quality:cost tapes on the market by far IMO, but if anyone has a rec comparably priced and not made in China I’d be interested to hear it.


I bought a 35 foot FatMax. I pulled it all the way out one time and it never went back. It will close to about 9 feet and absolutely stop solid. I have pulled it out and cleaned it…nope didn t work. Pulled it all back out and lubed it…nope still wont retract fully. Will I ever buy another FatMax??? Nope.

- msinc

There are loads of vids online showing how to fix this issue, takes less time to fix than it did to type your comment. Or call Stanley and they’ll ship you a replacement for free, even without sending it in for the 1st one. Common issue with the 35 and 40s (which I usually use as well) because the springs are undersized, prob to keep weight and housing size down. Can’t have it all.

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

1918 posts in 990 days


#18 posted 09-06-2018 07:04 PM



Do any of you have a tape that is reversed direction for the markings?

Most (almost ALL) tapes are left to right which is correct for right-handed people to pull the tape to your right. But then your right hand is stuck with a tape and you have to mark a line with your left. I hate that.

I would pay $50 for a medium-sized, left-to-right marked, accurate tape from Starret or someone similar. Preferably without a belt loop so you can set it on tools or finished projects.

- BroncoBrian

That’s funny. For once us lefties get a break (albeit by accident). I can pull with my right hand and write with my left.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View r33tc0w's profile

r33tc0w

174 posts in 871 days


#19 posted 09-07-2018 02:57 AM

I must be abusing my tape measurers because I have to buy one every year

-- Matthew 13:53-58

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

8646 posts in 2963 days


#20 posted 09-07-2018 01:52 PM

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5479 posts in 3630 days


#21 posted 09-07-2018 02:27 PM

I have Fastcap and a 25’ Lee Valley tape that reads right to left. You hold the tape in your left hand and mark with your right. Funny thing is; I was so used to the standard L-R tape that when I switched to a R-L tape, it felt awkward. If you want an accurate tape, look at this. I remember Stanley had one that was certified for around $150.
https://www.mcmaster.com/1936a2 One must remember, a measuring tape is not a precision tool and should never be relied upon for precision. It is intended for rough carpentry like house building, although 1/32” off is extreme. Also, you should always use the same tape for a job; never switch tapes.
Personally I never liked Fat Max tapes. The case is too large for my hands, so it was hard for me to hold it securely. I would end up dropping it off the side of a ship when trying to get a measurement. Lufkin tapes was always my favorite.

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12802 posts in 2767 days


#22 posted 09-07-2018 04:00 PM

I have a bunch of tapes but a couple years ago I bought a Komelon 12’ which feels kinda chincy but has become my favorite small tape. The blade is 5/8 wide, has fractions marked, and is easy to read.

Also have a centering tape which I really like but the scale is off.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View SMP's profile (online now)

SMP

1026 posts in 292 days


#23 posted 09-10-2018 06:11 PM



My go to is a Lufkin 25” Self Centering, that has a fractional read and a centering scale on the bottom, I never imagined how often and handy that centering scale would be.

- ChefHDAN

I have the same one as my go to, and mine is bright orange so I never lose it. I also stuck one of those post it note pads on it so its super handy.

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

875 posts in 2345 days


#24 posted 09-26-2018 04:40 PM


Perhaps a bit better quality than your amazon find is this one from LV: http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/page.aspx?p=32563&cat=1,43513,43515 I bought the 25 one for a small framing job and it did the trick. I have the 10 one for the shop and find it really handy.

- JADobson

I did not care for the Lee Valley version of the left-to-right tape. I DID order this one.

It is made by the Perfect Measuring Tape Company and it is awesome! The mechanism is very smooth, standout is ok but not the intent. The tape is a good compromise between flat and standout. Plus, the case is very well made and after you remove the clip, it is soft to the touch and I don’t worry about setting it down on anything I care about.

-- A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

View lumbering_on's profile

lumbering_on

578 posts in 877 days


#25 posted 09-26-2018 06:20 PM


Do any of you have a tape that is reversed direction for the markings?

Most (almost ALL) tapes are left to right which is correct for right-handed people to pull the tape to your right. But then your right hand is stuck with a tape and you have to mark a line with your left. I hate that.

I would pay $50 for a medium-sized, left-to-right marked, accurate tape from Starret or someone similar. Preferably without a belt loop so you can set it on tools or finished projects.

- BroncoBrian

They’re actually setup to read left-to-right as that’s the way people read, and how blueprints are drawn. Great for construction, but annoying for a woodworker as you’re trying to mark your boards with the wrong hand or upside down.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5479 posts in 3630 days


#26 posted 09-27-2018 06:54 PM

In the 1996 McMaster-Carr catalog, they have Stanley certified tape rule, 25’ for $232.63; a 100’ one for $352.08; doesn’t make much sense.

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

2233 posts in 3025 days


#27 posted 09-27-2018 07:28 PM


In the 1996 McMaster-Carr catalog, they have Stanley certified tape rule, 25 for $232.63; a 100 one for $352.08; doesn t make much sense.

- MrRon

Must be special ones for the government. :-)

Q: Now, who keeps a 22-year-old catalog? Even if you have a baby you don’t keep ‘em much longer than that.

-Paul

View DS's profile

DS

3163 posts in 2807 days


#28 posted 09-27-2018 07:56 PM


In the 1996 McMaster-Carr catalog, they have Stanley certified tape rule, 25 for $232.63; a 100 one for $352.08; doesn t make much sense.

- MrRon

Must be special ones for the government. :-)

Q: Now, who keeps a 22-year-old catalog? Even if you have a baby you don t keep em much longer than that.

-Paul

- Ocelot

I think the key word there is “Certified”. It still costs $19.99 for the 25’ tape, but $212.64 for the gov’t to certify it.
;-)

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Flyfisherlady's profile

Flyfisherlady

5 posts in 265 days


#29 posted 10-04-2018 07:35 PM

My tapes: I started with Irwin’s. Then I found Craftsman’s and would just exchange when they busted. Then Sears stopped swapping out tape measures. About then I started buying Fat Maxs. I only bought 16”. When measuring crown molding, having a tape to stand out 8 or 10 foot is great.
The Fastcaps—I’ve had everyone except metric. I’ve had one or two that stopped locking the tape out. I like the storystick one and the flat one. I like the pencil sharpener, but I always have a knife in my pocket to sharpen pencils.
I also have a couple tapes that divide things in half. One worked better than the other. Can’t remember either brand.
One thing I don’t like about the Fatmax’s is they are hard for me to lock. I know this is not a problem for most guys. I also have a Milwaukee tape that is nice. It doesn’t stand out as much as Fatmax. What I don’t like about the Milwaukee tape is they put a magnet on the hook and it is sometimes hard to get the tape into a space because they used a very good magnet.
I use one tape for a project. I don’t let other people use my work tapes. If you are a carpenter and don’t have one,
I’m not going to pay for your tools. If you are a loved family member, you’ll get an old tape.
I was surprised when I started doing trim carpentry and started measuring to 32nd marks.
I think not knowing how the hook end works messes people up. Measure either pushed in, or out. If you aren’t careful, the difference adds up. For a wall stud it don’t matter much.

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5479 posts in 3630 days


#30 posted 10-06-2018 02:58 PM


In the 1996 McMaster-Carr catalog, they have Stanley certified tape rule, 25 for $232.63; a 100 one for $352.08; doesn t make much sense.

- MrRon

Must be special ones for the government. :-)

Q: Now, who keeps a 22-year-old catalog? Even if you have a baby you don t keep em much longer than that.

-Paul

- Ocelot


There is a lot of good information in catalogs, either new or old. Believe it or not, there are people who buy old catalogs, so a 22 year old catalog in good condition is worth money. It also give me a gage as to the progression of prices. I can find some things have increased in price from 10% to 50% or more. I have magazines that go back to the 60’s. There is information that is hard to find and still applicable in our everyday projects.

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