Hedge layers measure.

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champ

Member
Dec 20, 2020
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Wessex
An old friend dropped into the nursery last week as he was laying a hedge in the village.His father trained him.I used to join in a little but spent most of the time keeping warm by the bonfire that they always had going to burn trimmings as they went.
Hedge laying was always charged from the "chain" length in those days and i remember his father carried it around in the boot of his car.I mentioned this to my friend and to my surprise he still has it!.It must be over 80 years old and measures 22 yards.
On old forms of measurement. I had a jotter at school that had various tables on the back.One mentioned rod,pole and perch which were terms of length measure these must go way back.Does any one else know of these terms.
 
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Toddy

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Mod
Jan 21, 2005
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I do, but then we researched old paperwork before we'd even think to put a spade in the ground.
Amazing range of scales and sizes across the different trades.
Weights and measures can be a fascinating study :D
 
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John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
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We still used those measurements in maths questions when I was at Prep School!
Not in every day usage much (except in the sale of land etc) in my day - but still in school books :(
 
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Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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Yep, I still have nightmares about them. A Furlong is 10 x a chain (so 220 yds) if I remember correctly.

A lot of my early schooling was in French Schools in N.Africa and consequently was all metric. Then I came back to the UK and had to get my head around 12 inches to a foot, 3 feet to a yard, 16oz to the Lb, 14 Lb to the stone - it made no sense at all, thank god before I went to university we'd switched to SI units :)

Now if we could only work out decimal time and calendar!
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
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Now if we could only work out decimal time and calendar!
Decimal time would be no problem, 10hours, 100 min, 100 s is not that far of from the present second. Calendar would be more difficult to make in a logical way but that is still a matter of convention. ;)
 

John Fenna

Lifetime Member & Maker
Oct 7, 2006
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Yep, I still have nightmares about them. A Furlong is 10 x a chain (so 220 yds) if I remember correctly.

A lot of my early schooling was in French Schools in N.Africa and consequently was all metric. Then I came back to the UK and had to get my head around 12 inches to a foot, 3 feet to a yard, 16oz to the Lb, 14 Lb to the stone - it made no sense at all, thank god before I went to university we'd switched to SI units :)

Now if we could only work out decimal time and calendar!
Revolutionary France tried it - even they could not hack it and reverted to standard, well proven units of time!
 
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Dogoak

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Jan 24, 2009
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Cairngorms
I've had a few chains of the years whilst messing about with antiques, theyre called Gunter Chains, developed in the 16thC for surveying.
The last one I had was a military WWI issue and was marked accordingly.
 
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champ

Member
Dec 20, 2020
18
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Wessex
I have had a look at these measurements online.Here you go.
5 1/2 yards = 1 rod,pole,or perch.
40 poles = 1 furlong.
8 furlongs = 1 mile.
3 miles = 1 league.
4 poles = 1 chain.
10 chains = 1 furlong.
80 furlongs = 1 mile.

The furlong is still used in horse racing.
 

demographic

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Apr 15, 2005
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I like it when someone tells me they're better working in inches than metric so I give em a size like 2'6" and 17/32nds. After a minute or so of them faffing about trying to find it on the tape measure I point out they're just hopeless at measuring and we can get back to metric.
Or I give em sizes in cubits, just out of badness.
 

oldtimer

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Sep 27, 2005
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Having been taught all these linear units together with those for weight and for volome, every time this topic comes up I post the following.

I trained as a teacher between 1966 and 1969. I was instructed by my first boss not to bother with any units other than metric as imperial measurements would be obsolete by the time the children entered the world of work. So it amazes me that 50 years after we went decimal, there are people of working age still thinking in ounces and inches.

By the way, mine's a pint!
 
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Laurentius

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Aug 13, 2009
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Knowhere
Can't tell you what a rod is in metres or yards but I know that allotment plots are traditionally 10 square rods in size. Of course in our allotments the shapes and sizes vary quite a bit.
 
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"Rod, old English measure of distance equal to 16.5 feet (5.029 metres), with variations from 9 to 28 feet (2.743 to 8.534 metres) also being used. It was also called a perch or pole." From Encyclopedia Britannica.

Given the above definition it is unsurprising that your allotments vary in size! But they could feasibly all be "10 square rods in size".
 

Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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I confess that in my 'crafts' I use both imperial and metric measurements. I will often throw a rule over to reveal the other scale when dividing a piece up and in cooking I'll flip between grams and oz weights on the scales; I favour inches when making things like bows but mm for anything working in metal :) But, since giving up wet photography, I never ever use Fahrenheit (68degF was the temperature for developer in B&W photography).
 
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Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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Funny isn't it ? I started school when Imperial still ruled, but we were in transition for much of primary, and then secondary was only metric. Yet, I still weigh in my head and in the 'by guess and by that looks right' baking in oz. My scales are metric though.
I liked the mental arithmetic of juggling the weights on the old scales but Himself loathed them and bought me an, "Accurate, electronic", set :rolleyes3:
I measure by hand and my handspan is eight inches, thankfully that easily translates to 20cms near as, so five's a metre :)
Temperature in C is a blessing. I never, ever understood Fahrenheit, and to this day wonder why on Earth anyone bothers with it. At least Kelvin and Centigrade share the 0 to 100 and are directly relatable.
 
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TLM

Native
Nov 16, 2019
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Vantaa, Finland
The real utility of the SI system becomes apparent when one uses several units in calculation, there are no conversion factors, everything fits together without. One just has to keep the powers of ten in order which sometimes can be a chore. But C'est la Vie.

Of course I was taught the SI system from the beginning with only very light touch of the CGS system that soon vanished. With electronic calculators ten's powers were a lot easier to handle.

By the way last night in Lapland was kind of cold, very near the point where F and C show the same.
 

Broch

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Jan 18, 2009
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Yep, all those conversion constants needed in imperial units are a pain - HP = Torque * RPM/5200 where torque is in ft lbs etc. :)

Power, torque, energy ..... all much easier in SI units; and don't even mention fluid flow and pressure calculations!

Yet, at the back of my mind, I still think we are missing something, some universal constant that makes it all work - otherwise, why is Pi 3.14159.......
 

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