The Gosh-Darn Metric System

Today, let's talk about one of the most frustrating problems with hardware that doesn't have to do with impact, force or other convoluted physics problems.

Instead, it has to do with simple road measurements.

If you've ever spent hours looking for a particular socket wrench head, you know what we’re talking about. Man, what a pain!

Sizing is all-important in many kinds of home improvement projects and other situations where you're using modern, high-quality fasteners to achieve some particular goal or objective. It’s so important that a minor miscalibration can wreck your whole day. And then, also, the reality of the building industry and the common tools used is sure to throw some unanticipated problems your way.

Metric and Non-metric Systems

Here's one reason why you may not be able to find your favorite size of socket head or fastener.

The problem, as most of us already know, is that there are two distinct systems for sizing that are completely different from one another.

Most countries use the metric system, where everything is 10 or 100 of something else. It's a straightforward system: you have 9 mm, 10 mm, 11 mm, and you can go on and on, like as if you're playing “99 bottles of beer on the wall…”

But then this other weird system has inches and quarter inches and 5/8 inches and 3/16 inches, and all of this other weird nonsense that stymies your ability to use metric tools for a non-metric application and vice versa.

Wordsmiths have spilled buckets of ink bemoaning the unnatural mingling of metric and non-metric systems. We’d like to join them in lamenting this unnecessary morasse (no that’s not dirty) of measurement problems that confounds the typical would-be handyman or handy-woman at his or her work.

Hold Them in Your Hands

Here's the good news – with time and experience, you learn how metric and non-metric sizes are at least roughly correlated.

When you get used to holding screws and bolts and fasteners in your hands and eyeballing their sizing, you start to get a feel for how much 10 mm differs from 1/4 inch. If you have a particular aptitude for this, you get to the point where you can know with a certainty whether a non-metric head will fit a metric fastener or not. It's extremely frustrating when you get an almost fit that doesn't work, but it's also extremely rewarding when you get that perfect fit yourself, simply by looking at what you're dealing with.

For the highest quality around, come to Monster Bolts. We got you!

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published