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Imperial cf Metric

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  • Imperial cf Metric

    James,
    Your site would be so much friendlier if it contained empirical <-> metric conversions as a matter of course. Mate, I try to go empirical for USA, but use metric in other threads.
    Hope it's possible.
    Thanks eh.
    Jeff.

  • #2
    Re: Imperial cf Metric

    There's a problem with inch / meter systems, in that they are far from universal in building materials. We have the countries, like continental Europe, that have been using the French yard for generations, where building units are native metric, and countries like the UK/austrialia which are recent converts to the cult, where things are nominally metric, but in truth the systems are full of things measured in multiples of 25.4mm. Then you have the US, where we use inches and like them.

    The plans are in US measurements because they pre-suppose the use of USA building materials. Even here, we have to adapt, adopt, and re-use because of regional differences and cost-related scrounging for used materials.

    Like it or not, we live in a metric world. We're lucky because the world caters to our US eccentricities. We suspect it's because, deep down, they wish they had feet and inches too!
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Imperial cf Metric

      Originally posted by dmun View Post
      ...

      Like it or not, we live in a metric world. We're lucky because the world caters to our US eccentricities. We suspect it's because, deep down, they wish they had feet and inches too!
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Views: 2
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      I don't think it's a problem with masonry but with lumber 2x4 no longer actually means 2 inches by 4 inches - they're actually smaller than that. Wouldn't that complicate matters as you tried to convert from one country's standards to anothers?
      "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

      "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
      [/CENTER]

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      • #4
        Re: Imperial cf Metric

        Dmun,

        This topic has surfaced several times. Never responded until now. I've given it serious thought and by no means want to appear denigrating, just inquisitive.

        I live in one of those uncertain, uncommited societies that is officially metric and has been for a long time. We drive in kilometres, buy meat by the gram (or pound, depending) and gas by the litre but lumber and brick in Imperial.

        I can't remotely agree that the rest of the world would like to stick to Imperial measurements. Why would it? I'd really like to hear a defence of that. How many sixty-fourths is that anyway? It's a very imprecise system. In woodworking, metric is far superior for division in building, let's say, a picket fence or a side table. No machinist or tool and die maker that I know would willingly work in Imperial. Tens work, sixteenths are a serious pain in the neck and lead to errors; too much iffy division, conversion (thirty-secondths to eighths to quarters, etc.) too much variation in sizes. Sloppy. Metric measurement simply does not have that problem: ten is ten. I'd like to suggest that anybody put a metric measure on a so-called 2x4; the reason, I suspect, is they are the size they are for export, not because the mills are being cheap. You're right, there is no across the board worldwide standard (2x4s [actually metric in section here] are still 8 ft or 10ft long, though plywood is still 3/4 inch thick, but 3/8ths ain't), but it is accurate to say that the US is the only nation in the world that still clings to an 18th century English measurement system that should have gone the way of the gill, the dram and the butt a long time ago. Even the English don't do that, and they're notoriously xenophopic about such things, much like the French in small. Remember the uproar when they changed from pence, shillings and pounds to a metric division? "We're being taken over by Europeans; END of EMPIRE," if I remember the headlines when I lived there. There's another problem: the English or Imperial gallon and the US gallon. Why, then, if the Imperial system is the correct one, are there 100 cents to the US dollar? This is not a straigtforward issue and has little or nothing to do with national identity. There are global realities out there that need to be addressed.

        In baking, gram/kilogram measurements are far more precise than ounces and pounds, simply because the gram division is constant and small. Years ago, I worked on English motorcyles that had an enormous variation in wrench systems and thread pitches. A 1970 Triumph Bonneville had, in order of confusion, British Standard, Whitworth, metric and Imperial bolt and thread pitch systems all at work on a single bike. You can imagine the contents of my tool box. Enter Honda; metric to the bone. Is there a reason that Caputo flour comes in 55 lb bags as opposed to 50 lbs?

        In a global economy, standardization, like ISO standards, is the norm; trade rules. This cannot be stopped and should be embraced. True, there is no accepted worldwide normalization--yet--but for sure it won't be in inches/pounds/miles. Resistance, as the man said, is futile. Metric works; the Imperial system is seriously outmoded, imprecise and error prone. Is it possible that this is a Colonial period leftover? That's a serious question, not being snarky. Don't forget, I don't live in your country. I'm puzzled and would like to know why.

        Bit of a rant, apologies, but I can't see the triumph (sic) of the Imperial system until the next Ice Age. Euros anyone?

        Jim
        "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Imperial cf Metric

          Get a grip, dude - it's called 'good natured ribbing' not 'stomp on someone'.

          Lumber is called by its nominal size and not its actual size. Both are technically correct - a 2x4 is 2x4 prior to finishing. It's just confusing if you don't know that.

          Precision in baking depends on how exactly you measure - not what system you use. Sifted or pressed makes the difference not cups or grams unless you measure by weight instead of volume.

          We tried metric - it stunk. Everybody hated it. You couldn't gauge anything - you had to measure because a liter doesn't look like a quart.

          But if it makes you feel better they sell soda by the liter.
          "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

          "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
          [/CENTER]

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Imperial cf Metric

            Archena,

            Just what I would have expected: blinkers. Well, live with it, I guess. Get wordwide and stop hiding under some misguided xnephobic blanket. You're alone. Nonsense. Just because you're aren't used to it does'nt mean it does not work. Well, you better. This is not what this forum is about. I was exploring, not "stomping." You are completely incorrect about nominal sizing. I've been in the construction industry for thirty years, and I find your comment insulting and right off the map. As a matter of fact, I do "know that." I strongly suspect you don't, other than by hearsay. Seems to me you said somewhere that you've never built an oven. Where, exactly, does that leave you?

            I always measure by weight, not volume. Read the post: I find metric more accurate for the reasons I stated. Don't catechize me.

            You might actually take a moment to read what I actually said. This was a carefully thought out response to an important global issue, not something to be dismissed so glibly because it does not suit your particular point of view. Don't nuke me because I disagree. I find your posts usually offensive and sarcastic for no good reason.

            Jim
            Last edited by CanuckJim; 01-26-2008, 09:10 PM. Reason: Typo
            "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Imperial cf Metric

              Maybe we just don't speak the same language - I wasn't 'jumping on you'. Maybe you didn't mean to 'denigrate' - but you did it anyway.

              That was the first time I'd found your posts hysterical - but that is how it reads. Like you had some kind of grudge against anything not metric. If I was wrong, my apologies.

              This is the first time I've hated being on this forum. Thanks so much for that.
              "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

              "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
              [/CENTER]

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Imperial cf Metric

                WOW!
                My thoughts, for what they are worth (probably very little)
                Being a 45 yr old, born and raised in the good ole USA, American male who cooks, bakes, builds, has worked as a mechanic, and works for a USA based global tool manufacturer...Jim makes many valid points that I happen to agree with. I embraced the metric system in junior high school when we were told the change was iminate, only making it to gas stations where gasoline was sold by the liter - briefly. I too have wondered why we would stick to a system that is confusing and inaccurate; I'm sorry, metric is simpler, more precise, and most importantly - accepted by most of the global economies. Archena, your response leads me to believe you have never taken the time to learn or research the system or have never "worked both sides of the fence" - using both systems.
                Personally I think it is fear of change, arrogance, and the fear of political backlash that is holding us back. Just my thoughts, and I'm entitled to them...you can tell me to "get a grip", "get bent", or "go jump in a lake"...ain't gonna change me or the facts.
                Eventually, the all powerfull US of A WILL have to change, and not so much because of worldwide pressure but because so much of our industry is becoming global (i.e.- outsourcing and moving manufacturing overseas). EVERY manufacturer wants a piece of the China/India pie as they mechanize and come out of the dark ages. As we look to sell and manufacture more products beyond our borders the costs of doing business both ways will eventually lead to a global standard in many industries, you're very naive if you believe the imperial system will win out. Like it or not, we are the minority and will have to change to stay profitable and prosper in this new global marketplace we are pushing ourselves into. Not something that is going to happen overnight, but don't be surprised to see changes in the next few years. The first time, big brother tried to force it on us, this time it will be gradual, with the fear of more lost jobs and profits being preached from the soapbox. It will take yrs, but it will happen.

                RT

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                • #9
                  Re: Imperial cf Metric

                  One last personal note. Before anyone trys to read between the lines and accuse my last post of being "unAmerican" and not patriotic, I AM PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN AND VERY MUCH HAPPY WITH WHERE AND HOW I LIVE.
                  Part of living in a free society allows me the right to NOT agree with the systems and policies we have in place...besides, it won't be little old me who makes the changes, just one of the few who are ready and willing.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Imperial cf Metric

                    There should be no need do feel defensive about this issue. Open forums such as Forno Bravo promote discussion and individual opinions are valued. This is the driving force that has made this forum such a success and an instrument for change in the oven building world.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Imperial cf Metric

                      As someone who has lived through the attempted changeover to metrication in the UK let me put in my '2 bobs worth'

                      The belief that metrication is an attempt to overthrow the status quo in the UK by foreigners is strange. The imperial system was a first attempt to rationalise a lot of different measures either taken from other countries or introduced by invaders. The pound (16 ounces) is actually a French measurement (avoirdupois) The original idea of metrication has been credited to Dr. John Wilkins, a Brit, in 1668. Many British scientists have worked to develop the system and have had measurements named after them. Newton, Faraday, Watt and Kelvin to name a few. It was ,however, first introduced by the French and has subsequently been adopted worldwide. Why............because it is simple and adaptable. A litre is 100 centilitres or 1000 millilitres and a litre of water weighs 1 kilogram which is 100 centigrams or 1000 milligrams. No ambiguity and simple decimal calculations.

                      It will most assuredly come to America for one overriding reason.............dollars. As the global nature of world trade expands standardisation is the most efficient system to get the most 'bang for your buck' The USA and UK are the 2 holdouts on the world stage. The notion that UK is embracing metrication is a mirage. The partial adoption in the UK has cost, I believe, the manufacturing industry that we were so proud of. Cars, shipbuilding and heavy machinery have almost disappeared along with the employment and wealth. If you were educated after 1975 you will have been taught in metric and lived with imperial. Even now we use feet, miles per gallon and acres. Road signs and speed limits are in yards, miles and miles per hour. Heating appliances are in British Thermal Units(BTU's) and electrical are in kilowatts. I once heard someone in a hardware store ask for a kilo of 4 inch nails..........EH?

                      Metrication should never be politicized. That is what happened in Britain. It is a technical issue and if it is approached with openness and masses of information I believe it can be a fairly painless exercise. I hope that is the case in America when the time comes. The last time there was the feeling of stealth and it was kicked out. End of lecture!

                      Last edited by Inishta; 01-27-2008, 08:58 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Imperial cf Metric

                        Inishta,

                        Very clear, well stated. Thanks for clarifying the historical thread.

                        Jim
                        "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Imperial cf Metric

                          First of all, I am not against the metric system. As I've said before, the inch is a METRIC measurement. It is 25.4 millimeters exactly, and has been since the 1950's. The inch is simply a "graphic user interface" to the metric system.

                          I run a machine shop, and still, everything is in inches: the threads, the tool and work holders, the tool sizes, the metal stock, the graduations on the machines, everything. In the tool catalogs, you have pages and pages of inch denominated tooling and supplies, and then, at the end, as an addendum, you have a few metric items, always fewer choices and WAY higher prices. It's a matter of supply and demand. The only native metric tooling I use on a regular basis is clock gear cutters, which come from Europe.

                          I would be all in favor of the metric system, if it were at all practical to use. At this time, in this country, it just isn't practical. It would cost a fortune in sunk tooling and increased operating expenses to take my shop metric. As it is, most of our dimensions are computer generated, and increasingly the machines are computer numeric controlled. The dimensions are calculated to six decimal points (five if working in MM). Our real standard is some infintesimal computer unit, and how you read it out, and how you implement it, is just a matter of convention.

                          It's a myth, by the way, that the French adapted the metric system during the revolution, and never looked back. I hold in my hands a French clock movement from the turn of the last century. On the bottom of the plate is stamped the length of the pendulum, in Pouces and Lignes. That's right, the French royal inch. The pouce is pretty much the imperial inch, and the ligne is one twelfth of same. I think continental Europe had the advantage of having their factories flattened in 1918, and had the opportunity to start over fresh.

                          I close with a quote from someone who WAS against the metric system, Edmund Beckett, Lord Grimthorpe, the Victorian barrister, historian, and horologist, who designed the great clock at Westminster, which strikes on Big Ben:

                          "There are people who want to force upon the world this absurd, inconvienent, and useless measure, invented by a nation whose language is declining all over the world; while the English language, with that standard of measures which every man carries in his arms, his legs, and in his head, is spreading all over the world, so that it will soon be the only universal language to be found everywhere, if it is not so already. Doctrinairnes of this kind may cram penny-school girls with French metres, and centimetres, and kilograms; but our yard grew and will remain as the natural standard of length until the stature of the human race alters."

                          1903
                          My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Imperial cf Metric

                            I think the biggest problem with any conversion is that people dislike change. I work in an oil refinery where we have been in the process of changing over to metric for the last 20 years ! The petroleum industry is very slow to change. All oil barrels are 42 gals, not 55 gals as most people think. This is because they used to move the crude oil from the field to the refinery in old wine barrels ( 55 gal) by horse cart. With the bumpy roads and rough ride the oil would slosh out if there was more than 42 gal. Hence, the standard petroleum is 42 gal.
                            We get some standards from convience using the current technology of the times. You can find a lot of information about railroad widths on the internet. Basically they are based on the old roman roads (and ruts) which were designed to accomodate 2 horses butts side by side . Since we build upon exsisting systems from the past, we carrry forward the same measurements, but with a different scale.
                            Change is always hard, it takes more time and money than anyone expects. Change in a measuring system will probably be generational and gradual. People have too much invested in the current system, both in tooling and emotional investment to give it up at the drop of a hat, even if it is a good idea.

                            Last comment. Communication is difficult face to face, harder by voice only, and most difficult in writting. It is very easy to "read into" someone's comments things that were not intended. This forum is a great and helpful place for all. I urge everyone to continue the effort to communicate clearly and diplomatically in this most difficult format.
                            Sharpei Diem.....Seize the wrinkle dog

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                            • #15
                              Re: Imperial cf Metric

                              Fun thread, Jeff! Look at the blood spilled~! Perhaps religion next time.

                              Great comments all. Very educational and a great Sunday morning read. Having lived in the US, Japan, and Italy, and travelled extensively beyond, I've had plenty of exposure to the metric system. It's very simple to get used to and makes complete sense for all measurements. I'm sure that is why the system is used in medicine throughout the world. Theraputic and toxic doses are all calculated in mg/Kg.

                              I think David makes a very valid point about the cost of retooling to make the switch. I'm sure that is a huge issue in the overall resistance to make the change. Personally, I can live with both systems and never give it a second thought.

                              Have a great day all. Hug your families. Enjoy your friends. Eat well.
                              GJBingham
                              -----------------------------------
                              Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

                              -

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