Precision rule - etched backwards?

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Forum topic by RobSC posted 05-21-2020 09:09 PM 1118 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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12 posts in 2753 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

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13585 posts in 3716 days

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

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

-- Rick M,

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6256 posts in 4579 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.

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5071 posts in 1241 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


128 posts in 632 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…

-- Give a someone a piece of wood, they'll make fire. Teach them to work with wood and they'll buy saws, hammers,planners, chisels, and more.

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20673 posts in 2474 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.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

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12 posts in 2753 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.

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3257 posts in 1924 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


1416 posts in 722 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

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331 posts in 1752 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!

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20673 posts in 2474 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 ;-)

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

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3726 posts in 3974 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.

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View HokieKen's profile


20673 posts in 2474 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.

-- I collect hobbies. There is no sense in limiting yourself (Don W) - - - - - - - - Kenny in SW VA

View SMP's profile (online now)


5071 posts in 1241 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

455 posts in 2111 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 598 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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