As a general rule, you are better off marking the length directly in its final place, rather than measuring its length. Whenever you're measuring and you mark a piece of material for cutting the length, there will always be a degree of variation in the way the dimension is transferred to the piece of work. By marking the size of a piece directly in its final location, you reduce the chance of errors.
When measuring, the type of tools you use is very important. You need accurate measuring tools. There are many types of measuring devices out there, but here are some standard ones that can help to accurately measure, in basically any home project you choose to undertake.
- The Try Square: This is a tool used for marking and measuring the accuracy of a right angle on a piece of material.
The Tape Measure: This is a length of tape or thin flexible metal, marked at graded spaces for measuring.
The Carpenter's Square: This L shaped square is a very useful tool, and can be used to measure effectively in many projects.
How to measure?
You might want to ask a friend for help when measuring. This is so that you can measure with one type of measuring tool, your friend can measure with another, then you can compare results. When measuring with the the above listed tools, remember that you should always record your measurements and check more than once, just to make sure that your figures are accurate. Don't forget to calculate your figures and subtract and add where necessary. Measuring is quite easy!
For more on measurement read "Accurate Measuring: Finish Carpentry".