Review By Dean Bielanowski  Lee Valley Website -

Tape Tip

By Dean Bielanowski


The humble tape measure is a tool any woodworker, builder or DIY enthusiast cannot do without, and despite new technology in the form of laser measures and the like, the standard tape measure is still the most accurate way to measure distances and lengths.

One of the frustrating problems with the standard tape measure design, however, is that it can be difficult to use to measure diagonals accurately or for measuring over long distances. The tip of the tape always manages to stray from where you want it to stay!

The new Tape Tip device aims to eliminate many of those frustrations experienced with the standard measure tape.

The Tape Tip
The Tape Tip is a device which simply hooks on to the tip end of your standard measuring tape and provides a better and more functional holding design then the standard flat metal tip that comes with almost all tape measures. It is constructed from ABS plastic and its arrowhead style design allows it the many versatile functions it offers...

To begin with, the Tape Tip includes small small rare earth magnets; two on the top surface and one on the bottom surface. Rare earth magnets are far stronger than standard magnets and provide a great hold on any magnetic metallic surfaces, however, they are added to the Tape Tip primarily to hold the measure tape itself onto the Tape Tip more securely.

The arrowhead design provides the means to accurately measure both inside and outside corners of boxes, cabinet carcasses, furniture frames, or any other project where accurate diagonal measuring is required.

There are some considerations with using the Tape Tip. For inside corner measurement, the end of lower arrow portion of the Tape Tip is pushed into the inside corner. Because the tape measure end is set back exactly 1 inch from the Tape Tip end, you have to add 1 inch to the final measurement.

For outside corner measurements, the tail of the lower arrow tip end sits snugly onto the outside corner, and because this is aligned directly with the measure tape's end, the measurement is read directly from the tape, with no additional length measurement required to be added (see below).

(Photos from Lee Valley Website)

For angled corners other than 90 degrees, the top tip of the arrow head is butted against the corner angle and 1 1/2" must be added to the measured length. The photos above (taken from the Lee Valley website) will explain it visually.

The Tape Tip can also be used as a marking gauge by reversing the direction of the Tape Tip and adding 1" to the final desired length. A pencil is then butted into the tailside (V-notch end) and the tape body is run against the edge of the material to mark a consistent line. While this works reasonably well, I definitely prefer a regular wooden marking gauge for this task. It can be tricky at times to keep everything running smoothly and squarely against a board edge as the metal tape component of the tape measure itself is not an overly rigid component. However, if you have no other option, it can work ok.

Additionally the screw hole in the center of the tape can be used as a pivot point over a nail to use the tool as a rough compass type tool, with the pencil running against the tape measure's body. Again, it works reasonably well, but I do prefer a proper compass for this task. It's just a little easier to use for this task and no need to subtract a 1/4" from the measurement.

(Photos from Lee Valley Website)

For measuring long distances, where the end of your tape measure always seems to fall off the edge, and usually when you have arrived at the other end of the length to be measured, the Tape Tips screw hole will accept a countersunk style screw to secure the Tape Tip to the wall or material being measured. The downside is that is leaves a screw hole in your material afterwards. This is ok if you are framing walls or where the hole can be covered easily, but for finished walls or visible finished surfaces, this may not be desirable. But if this can be used, the screw hole fixing is ideal for long distance measuring, especially if there is no-one else to hold that tape end securely!

(Photos from Lee Valley Website)

For US$3.95, the Tape Tip, in my opinion, is a must-have item for anyone that uses a tape measure. It is perfect for measuring diagonals accurately, something which is essential for quality woodworking and cabinetry or fine furniture and it allows these to be measured much more quickly with very little chance of the tape measure slipping off. The other possibilities for measuring that it offers are a nice bonus, and while not ideal, they simply add to the value for money factor and will come in handy in the absence of dedicated tools for those marking functions. A handy addition to the standard tape measure.

Available to Order Online through these companies...
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Tape Tip Photos
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The Tape Tip! Two rare earth magnets up top.

The underside of the Tape Tip. Note the arrowhead design.

The measure tape secured to the Tape Tip.

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