I have a fascination with measuring tools — especially steel rules. I seem to collect them. I think it’s partly because I can never find one when and where I need it. And partly because they’re so inexpensive, I don’t break out into a cold sweat or have to come up with an explanation for my wife whenever I buy one.
But there’s a problem I’ve always had with steel rules. I have a hard time seeing the graduations. At least in my shop, I have to angle the rule just right in the light to be able to see what I’m doing. That’s true even for the better-quality rules that are etched (instead of stamped) and have a matte chrome finish.
I finally found something better, at least for my poor eyes. Enco sells a line of EZ-View® Rules that I really like. What’s different about them is that they have a matte black finish and filled white etchings for the numbers and graduations. You can see them on this catalog page. I have the 6″ pocket rule and the 12″ and 18″ steel rules. All of the ones I have are type “4R” (8th’s and 16th’s on one side, 32nd’s and 64th’s on the other). The ones I have are rigid, but they’re available in flexible versions, too.