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I love precision measuring tools.... so, although owning dial calipers and digital calipers, my mission yesterday was to finally learn how to properly read my vernier-style calipers.

After a few hours of practice, the answer finally presented itself :)

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When I worked in engineering I was never a fan of the vernier, they are easily damaged and unless the jaws are correctly aligned and calibrated errors occur. I still use a micrometer when precision measurement is needed as, in my opinion, these are superior.

Agreed, Steve.  The verniers always seemed "OG" old school and my thinking was "well if it was good 'nuff for the old-timers, it's certainly worth learning".  Hmmmm.

Oh, sure, now I can measure with 'em, but never as quickly or as accurately as can be done with the dial/digital models.

So after a few hours of fussing, I think they've earned a rightful spot alongside my mechanical slide rule!

When I went to school, they wouldn't let us use a calculator until we passed a test on the slide rule, and they wouldn't let us use a dial caliper until we demonstrated competence with a vernier caliper.  Vernier scales show up in all sorts of places, I have a couple of higher end 1" micrometers that have a vernier so they can be read in 10ths of a thou.

Aside - we got marked down on tests if we used more significant digits in either work or answer than the instrument specified was accurate to. 

I keep a stainless steel vernier on the bench and I use it constantly. Granted, it is hard to see the small marks as I age more!
Talking of easily damaged, I can see that's true of the dial type, but for the old straight vernier, I make sure I dont drop it and I look at it as a tool that will be just as useful a thousand years from now, unless there is a conspiracy to ban inches! Or , I guess, meters!

As an apprentice the only calipers we ever used where the internal or external types which we used in machining. You would then use a micrometer to measure the distance between the caliper legs. Each to their own I suppose, Regarding metric v imperial in the UK it is still very mixed. I left engineering for education in 1988 and we still used a mixture of both. Even now when measuring I can slop between the two, recording measurements for the same job in either. I find metric far easier and the kids I teach wouldn't know what an inch is, in fact many don't understated why we still use miles. 

Hi guys/girls,LGBTIQ,

Fascinating topic, I did my engineering in imperial - inches and thou' etc and way back in 1966 we changed over to metric.  Later on I took up aviation which measured fuel in pounds and height in feet etc.......after that I decided to do something useful and difficult with my life and started messing with guitars...and here we are.   But, on topic:   I just looked at our site and note quirks such as our guitars are described as having 25" scale and our fret dimensions are in thou' of an inch but our neck width, depth and taper are in millimetres  as are nut specs etc.   on the work bench its the same - fret heights and widths area all in thou's and nut widths are in millimetres.   Our engineering rulers are in millimetres but the inch dimensions are on white tape on the same rule.   Our drill sets and allen keys are duplicated and our usual truss rods are imperial 9/32 inch.    

Now, way back iin Australia it was made mandatory to plan and record and display and advertise in metric, but I now note that we have become international citizens by using whatever measure is most appropriate to the situation.   I note that the service stations have tire pressures displayed in PSI, but sell fuel by the litre.....It's this kind of quirkiness that makes the world such a wonderful place.  Enjoy yr day, Rusty.

True Rusty. I well remember having my imperial ruler replaced by a shiny blue metric one in 1967 and being told I'd never need to worry about inches again. How wrong that was. In the UK food is sold in metric units, petrol is sold in litres, yet beer is bought in pints, spirits in gills and distance measured in miles. And being an Ozzie you'll know that the dimensions of a cricket pitch are measured in chains. 

Guitar wise,  the weirdest anomaly, which has never been satisfactorily explained, is that pick (plectrum) thicknesses are universally measured in fractions and multiples of a millimeter,  whereas strings are invariably measured in thousandths of an inch.  

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