I snapped a tape measure 10,000 times. Here’s what happened.

Simply a fun experiment to determine if letting a tape measure snap back into its case will really ruin it … and even decrease its accuracy. Learn start and set up shop for less than $1000. Download my Totally Free GUIDE ►

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Does snapping a tape measure ruin it?

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  1. I just imagine a neighbor walking by, and seeing Steve talk to himself, snapping a tape measure repeatedly, at which point they walk faster

    1. Matt, I’m thinking that Steve’s neighbors all know that he talks to himself and to random pieces of scrap wood. They would not be surprised. They would just walk by while they muttered to themselves, “There’s old crazy Steve talking to a tape measure. I wonder if his mom dropped him on his head or if he sniffed too much airplane glue as a child?”

    2. @E Keller Hey E Keller. I hope that your dad doesn’t watch YouTube. If so, he’s gonna be quite upset with you.
      What other advice from your dad did you ignore? Running with scissors, playing with matches, taking candy from strangers?????

    3. Used to be when I saw someone walking alone, talking up a storm, and gesturing exuberantly, I’d cross the street. Now, I know they are just on their cell phone.

  2. I struggle to keep hold of a tape measure for much more than a week. Snapping the end off isn’t likely to be an issue for me 🤣

  3. I’m ashamed of the amount of enjoyment I got out of watching this video. Great test, looking forward to more unique content!

  4. Never expected to a woodworking channel to make me chuckle this much. Your personality reminds me of Adam Savage from Tested/Mythbusters, and that’s also why your videos an absolute delight to watch. Thank you for brightening up my day.

  5. Incredible dedication! My Stanley 25 foot tape measure has held up for more than 35 years and while the retracting mechanism has slowed noticeably, there is no visual indication of any stress or wear on the metal. I would expect it to last the rest of my life with the amount of use it currently gets.

  6. My dad would likely be in and around your dad’s generation, but this the first I’ve heard about snapping being bad!

    He did however tell me a story about a guy who peined over the tabs to remove that 16th slop. Along with this story was the lesson about why it’s there 🙂

  7. What an awesome video Steve, you’ve demystified so many myths and looks like you had so much fun in the process as can be seen by your taped up fingers. My takeout, yes it annoyed Dad; the tapes last a really long time (9972 snaps), that might have been fun but it must have been hard work too, maintaining its accuracy is a plus.
    Regards, one of the best ways for kids of all ages to learn is to have fun, without hurting themselves. As always, thanks for sharing, stay well and safe.

  8. The only reason I don’t snap them, is because I’ve experienced that excruciatingly painful whip effect a few times too many. My tape measures wouldn’t survive long enough to experience this type of failure. Mostly, they get either gunked up with sand, glue, or whatever, or the printing fades and they become useless. 😛

  9. I appreciate this man’s dedication!! Teaching us all stuff we’ve wondered, but never had the time to try out for ourselves. Steve is the real workshop hero here today.

  10. The score of this film is fantastic. It showed honor to this soldier’s dedication, sacrifice and unflappable consistency to bring us an answer to the age old question of every 7 year old, “why can’t I snap this?”. Steve, your mind-numbing and finger-bleeding work is much appreciated and very entertaining!

    1. Seriously, Steve’s dedication is impressive. The entire video was amazing from start to finish. I’m boycotting Grrr-ripper until they re-sign him.

  11. This was a great video Steve. Only reason I was told not to snap the tape measure as a child was my Dad’s fear that I’d try and grab onto it and cut my hand…it’s actually the same reason I tell my daughter not too.

  12. Steve: “This is not one of those science-y channels…”
    Also Steve: “The dew point is…”
    Thanks for answering all the questions we never knew we had….

  13. For the slow down, to really judge that, I think you’d have to pull the other one out and *not* snap it back. It could be that using the mechanism slowed it down, not the snapping.

    Also, if you look at the cut closely, it was on the right of the black line for the unsnapped tape measure, but it was on the left of the line for the snapped one. Could just be inaccurate from the factory, though. You didn’t try that on both of them from the start to get a good base line.

    And yes, I heard your science disclaimer. 😉

  14. The part of the video where you were recording humidity and temperature made me laugh. Years ago, I worked at a company where everything had to be calibrated yearly. I had a 1m steel rule that sat on a table and was never moved, but it still had to be sent out yearly. When it was returned, it came back with a detailed report that included all of this environmental details.
    One year, it was sent back with a report stating that it had failed calibration. Somehow, it mysteriously grew that year!

  15. If this were a science-y channel, I’d recommend pulling the other “control” tape out the same distance & gently retracting it. The spring may weaken solely from the extension not the sudden impact at the end.

    Since the snap takes about a second to retract 4 feet, 10000 gentle iterations should only take? 4 months? Youtube gold! You should livestream the entire effort, have guest non-snappers come in to take shifts, and….Or just challenge one of those robot-ish channels that they can’t make a build.

    Actually the real question is whether after approx 10000 snaps do you hate that noise so much you’d ban it happening around you too?

  16. Enjoyable as usual. Should have had the temp, humidity, etc window going for the entire testing. Especially the wind. For your next testing video, how many 16d nails can you drive before you wear out a hammer.

    1. I doubt that it will be possible to prove that by hand, Hammers are almost eternal, and the oldest technology in history [if I remember correctly it was the first tool that man invented].
      -not to mention that among several things would depend a lot on the technique and the material used. and the quality of the hammer, for example in the wooden handles would be the first element to come off or give way but it is only a matter of changing the handle or making a DiY with an iron tube and some welding [and that is almost certain to be indestructible].

      although the metal fragments with the pounding or the heads tend to form “mushroom head”, and a grinder must be used to revive them, it is the only way I see possible to wear it down

  17. Steve (like we’re friends *grin*), I absolutely LOVED this! Unexpected, and hilarious! One of the best non-woodworking things I love about you and your channel!

  18. Steve, subtle humor along with practical instruction makes me never scroll past one of your shows. Exceptional as always!

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