Easily Add Fractions for Woodworking Projects

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Duration: 1:30

Adding fractions can be frustrating, but it’s a necessary evil in woodworking (At least until we change to the metric system). Here’s a really fast and easy way to add fractional measurements, without even doing any math. All it takes are a couple of rulers. Use them the right way, and you can direct read the answer. Easy peezy.

If you wanna go electronic…

This system works really well, but I get it if you’d rather just grab a calculator and do the math there. If that’s the case, you can’t go wrong with the Home Project Calculator from Calculated Industries. It allows you to punch in feet, inches, fractions…just the way you’d use them in your shop. Add ‘em, subtract ‘em, multiply or divide. It’s a very handy thing to have in your shop and will most likely save you from making mistakes.

But wait, there’s more

Tips, tricks and insider techniques are often what can make your woodworking easier, faster, and more enjoyable. That’s why we work hard to make sure we’re providing you with the tricks of the trade you need to be successful. Those tricks, and more woodshop tips, are definitely worth a look.

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14 Responses to “Easily Add Fractions for Woodworking Projects”

  1. Dale Boyer

    …or, we could all go metric (I wish)! 🙂 It’s totally absurd to me that we are one of only three countries in the world that aren’t on it. And why is that, you ask? Because we don’t like change! But until then–as always–thanks for the tips!!

  2. Dennis

    As others have mentioned, this is a non-problem; just convert to the lowest common denominator and add. I’m an engineer, but this is just basic math (third grade math at that). This also eliminates the problem of “ruler slippage.”

  3. Paul

    Well that was simple enough. No more anxiety attacks over forgetting how to do Math I learned almost 50 years ago. Thanks.

  4. woodley1948

    There is an easier way;no rulers, mental arithmetic only. Join the rest of the world and GO METRIC.

    • Michael

      I’m old enough to remember the discussions when the US was thinking about converting to Metric. Everyone was grumbling because if we switched, everyone would need both Metric and standard wrenches in their toolbox, so they could work on new and old stuff.
      Have you looked in a toolbox lately?

  5. George

    Calculating fractions using a pencil and notepad is the easiest method. Or,
    Use one ruler to eliminate natural variation between two rulers. First, measure and mark the 3 11/16 length, then, using the same ruler, measure and mark 1 5/8 from the 3 11/16 mark. The measurement from the starting point to the last mark equals 5 5/16. Calculating fractions is not hard; find the lowest common denominator (in this case =16, 5/8 = 10/16). No need to switch to the metric system. Your shop, your project. Use the measure that works for you.

  6. Mike Lane

    This whole issue would not be a problem if the US would simply switch to the metric system, a much easier system for dealing with fractional numbers since EVERYTHING is in multiples of ten.

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  7. Mike Watkins

    There is a much easier way, don’t use fractions use metric, it’s ten times, no a hundred times easier. There is no confusion with metric because it’s one system of numbers making calculations so, so, much easier. Having to add fractions to me is an unnecessary waste of time, fraught with difficulties and not necessary. Thanks, I’ll shut up now, Mike.

  8. Tom

    Another way to do this is to convert all your fractions to 16ths and add them together. Then when you have say 21/16, you just convert that to 1 5/16 and then add your other whole numbers to it. Also, measuring instruments are not all the same so you may end up with a slight difference in your results.

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