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Bobs Rule: Water Craft Magazine (UK)

This article first appeared in Water Craft Magazine (UK)

Review from Water Craft Magazine (UK)

Bob, bob, bobbin' along
Review by Pete Greenfield

Readers of Ian Nicolson's W45 instalment of Design Your Own Boat may recall I added my own fourpenny-(1.66p)- worth about easy scales to work with when using Imperial measurements. In Imperial, 12 inches=1 foot so rather than the ubiquitous scales of 1/2"=1' or 1"=1', I recommended 3/4"=1' or 1 1/2"=1' because they are easier to divide by 12.  After some predictable 'It all went down the tubes when we stopped using spans and els' response, came a call from Phil Swift of Willow Bay Boats, who makes models of all his boat designs, introducing me to the Bob.

Bob Dunstan, a British-born American whose company Whitechapel Ltd manufactures cabinetmakers' hardware, feels that neither feet and inches or metres and millimetres are ideal measuring systems for wood craftsmen: "the Metric system excels at smaller measurements while Feet and Inches are better suited to larger... the Metric system's only real asset is the particular size of the millimetre... smaller than 1/16" and larger than 1/32" it can be distinguished easily without reading glasses yet is fine enough to be a basic increment of woodworking precision... the great failing of Feet and Inches is the multitude of unsatisfactory fractions... nobody can quickly and reliably add 11 7/16" and 4 5/32" and then divide the result by two..."

Bob's answer is to divide the inch into 24 parts: "The 1/24" is very close in size to the millimetre and so has the same natural advantage as an ideal small unit..." He hopes people will forget about the other fractions of an inch and depend entirely on the 1/24" and once this happens: "I suggest this unit of measurement be called the 'Bob'..."

All of which sounds, of course, a very pretty conceit. Except that it isn't. Just a conceit, that is. Bob Dunstan has invested seriously in manufacturing a craftsman-quality 16' locking tape and a range of beautifully-engraved hardened steel rulers from 6" to 36". And they're all of them marked in Bobs which are, indeed, very friendly little units.

Whitechapel Ltd, PO Box 11719, Jackson, Wyoming
83002, USA. Tel: +1 307 739 9478 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              +1 307 739 9478      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
email: info@whitechapel-ltd.com