Precision rule - etched backwards?

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Forum topic by RobSC posted 05-21-2020 09:09 PM 850 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 2194 days

05-21-2020 09:09 PM

I guess this is the best forum to post this…... I ordered some rulers and when I started to use one, I saw that the divisions were going backwards on the 32nd side. I looked around and found other rulers on the internet with the same convention of marking. What am I missing in this equation? It’s impossible without doing math in your head to use this ruler’s 32nd side, but since I saw another ruler on a google search with the same marking convention, I seem to not know something about rulers. Please help?

18 replies so far

View Woodknack's profile


13397 posts in 3157 days

#1 posted 05-21-2020 09:22 PM

Don’t think I’ve seen that before. What brand rules are they?

-- Rick M,

View MrRon's profile


5913 posts in 4021 days

#2 posted 05-21-2020 10:03 PM

Starrett has rules 12”, 18”, 24”,36” and 48”long that have left-to-right 4R graduations with a double row of inch figures.Their numbers are: C604R-12, C604R-18, C604R-24, C604R-36 and C604R-48. The “C” means it is satin chrome finish and the last 2 numbers are the length and the R indicates quick reading.

View SMP's profile


2132 posts in 683 days

#3 posted 05-21-2020 10:40 PM

From your pictures, the 16ths are the ones going opposite your whole numbers.

View GrumpyGolfGuy's profile


59 posts in 73 days

#4 posted 05-21-2020 10:56 PM

What am I missing, both sides look like the same spacing with different numbers? except for one running backwards to the other…

View HokieKen's profile


14079 posts in 1916 days

#5 posted 05-22-2020 03:28 PM

I have a couple of scales like that too. PEC if I remember right but could be Starrett. It’s aggravating even if it is simple math.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View RobSC's profile


5 posts in 2194 days

#6 posted 05-22-2020 03:55 PM

I got them from Taylor Toolworks. They are unusable to me. Very aggravating.

Their branded rules are marked “correctly” going from small to large.

View Madmark2's profile


1381 posts in 1365 days

#7 posted 05-22-2020 06:01 PM

It’s so you don’t have to flip the ruler 180° when measuring short (under 1”) dimensions. Handy when measuring hole sizes.

I also don’t really rely on the printed numbers as I tend to count the lines.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View Foghorn's profile


519 posts in 164 days

#8 posted 05-23-2020 01:33 AM

I have a few rules with the same conventions. Never noticed a problem till now but my wife is on it as I told her to research and call somebody! :)

-- Darrel

View Just_Iain's profile


326 posts in 1193 days

#9 posted 06-01-2020 06:25 PM

Starrett offers steel rulers marked that way.

My guess is that the numbers are reversed to make it obvious which side you are counting on. But then of course I work with Engineers and arguing with engineering logic is hazardous to one’s mental health.


-- For those about to die, remember your bicycle helmet!

View HokieKen's profile


14079 posts in 1916 days

#10 posted 06-01-2020 06:32 PM

That one that Ian linked from Starrett is the one I have. And I’m an engineer and I don’t like it either ;-)

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View Ocelot's profile


2539 posts in 3415 days

#11 posted 06-01-2020 09:47 PM

That’s the way my IGaging rules are made too. I use 32nds more than 64ths so I’d rather have the 64ths backwards. I wish they hadn’t made them backwards, or had put inches in both directions as PEC does on their rules.

View HokieKen's profile


14079 posts in 1916 days

#12 posted 06-02-2020 01:44 AM

I have a couple of those PEC scales too Paul. They are probably my favorite users. I like the layout and I really like how readable they are.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View SMP's profile


2132 posts in 683 days

#13 posted 06-02-2020 05:25 AM

I just checked and my Starrett is the same. My other Empire on from home depot is not marked at all, only the Inches, which I actually like better since the numbers are more of a distraction anyways. Kind of like when you are trying to count in your head and somebody messes with you by saying a random number. 1 3nd, 2 32nds, 3 32nds, “EIGHT!!!!!!”…

View Richard Lee's profile

Richard Lee

298 posts in 1552 days

#14 posted 06-02-2020 10:30 AM

Its been like that forever, its not backwards.
Turn the ruler 180 and use whichever suits you.

View GrantCrawleyUK's profile


5 posts in 40 days

#15 posted 06-02-2020 11:00 AM

I just wish they wouldn’t put numbers on the divisions. I guess your rule doesn’t have any lead-in, and if that’s the case they mark the divisions that way so you can read from either end of the rule.

Be thankful you don’t have to put up with metric. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get a proper inch rule in England.

I had to import my Starrett rules from the US just so I could have 6” and 12” rules that were actually 6” and 12” long instead of 150mm and 300mm. As you’ll all appreciate, that’s about 3/16” short (over 12”) and even more annoying than divisions going backwards.

-- Blogger | Designer | Maker | Entrepreneur | | IG:

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