SmithWorks PencilMan 25′ Tape Measure

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Can you really improve the tape measure?

Review of the SmithWorks PencilMan 25′ Tape Measure

I recently put the SmithWorks PencilMan 25′ Lock ‘N’ Mark Tape Measure to the test.  I’ll have to admit when I first saw this tool I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it.  I mean, aren’t all tape measures pretty similar when you get right down to it? An obvious difference was the nifty pencil holder, but then I began to look at the user’s guide and I couldn’t believe what I was reading.

SmithWorks PencilMan 25' Tape Measure

With unique pencil holder, grip cord, and cam-locking brake lever, this isn’t an ordinary tape measure.

Pencil Holder

To begin with, I had underestimated the pencil holder.  This holder can hold a variety of marking tools from the standard carpenter’s pencil to regular pens and pencils, Sharpies, and any marker up to 5/8” in diameter.  It has a quick-release feature that allows you to easily change pencils or pens, and an adjustment screw so that you can clamp it according to what you are using.

A tape measure is one of those tools that can be very simplistic.  You measure, you mark.  But what makes one tape measure easier to use than another is little nuances that allow you to measure and mark in a variety of applications.  The PencilMan has some simple, yet effective features, that make it very easy to parallel side mark, make arcs and circles, mark with a single hand, make consistent multiple marks, and end to end marks.

Additional Features

How does it do it?  Well, let’s start with the pull cord.  To make a parallel mark: measure, then lock the brake lever.  Now use the tape hook to drag along the side of the material you are marking, and use the clever grip cord to hold the tape securely for consistency.

SmithWorks PencilMan 25' Tape Measure

Hold the cord to guide the tape measure while parallel marking.

How about those arcs and circles?  When you look closely at the tape hook, you’ll see some little points.  They kind of look like fangs, but I digress.  These points are designed to act as pivots, so that the hook of the tape stays securely in place while you make the arc.  For larger circles, you can use the grip cord discussed earlier around a nail, and then mark the circle.

SmithWorks PencilMan 25' Tape Measure

The “fangs” or points on the hook are useful when making arcs or circles.

But is it comfortable and durable?

All those things are great, but will it be a tape I will use?  That’s the test for me.  I found it to be very comfortable to hold.  I like the way it fits the thumb and the palm. The cam-action brake lever is easy to push and holds securely.  The tape itself has a really nice high gloss finish with easy to read numbers and I was able to extend the tape to almost 8′ before it bent and fell.  The plastic case and black rubber grip ergonomic in my hand, and the materials feel durable.

Final Thoughts

I’ve seen left or right handed tape measures, but that generally means that the tape reads right to left or left to right.  But it’s a little different on this tape measure: the brake lever, belt clip and marker holder are all fully reversible for right or left handed users.

SmithWorks PencilMan 25' Tape Measure

Reversible belt clip

The user guide that accompanies the tool has very useful information and great pictures.

SmithWorks PencilMan 25' Tape Measure

Comes with a user guide with plenty of pictures.

The only downside to this tool, in my opinion, is it’s a little on the heavy side for my taste.  I’ll have to admit this is one tool that turned out a lot better than I thought it would.  I give it a thumbs up.

To purchase on Amazon.com: CLICK HERE

For more info: CLICK HERE

TEST
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Rick is a former building contractor with years of experience under his belt. He is the creator and host of both Rick's House Radio Show and Rick's House TV. Take a look at Rick's website and find out where and when to see and hear his advice.