Professional Builder’s Lee Jones talks to an inventor who’s developed a product that is quite literally made to measure for the trades.
Measure twice and cut once might be the old adage, but even having abided by that time-honoured precaution you can still be at the mercy of the limits of your tape measure. Long lengths or door and window reveals can all prove problematic, but not so with the Gator Tape. Inventor, Phil Hogan, first identified a gap in the market when setting up an interior refurbishment company with his wife, as he explains: “As well as painting & decorating, we also specified and installed shutters, blinds and curtains. It was when I found myself measuring up rooms for these products, that it became apparent that there wasn’t really a suitable tape measure for the job.”
With necessity the mother of invention, Phil set up finding a remedy that would measure up. “It became a real voyage of discovery because in finding a solution for a very specific task we found that we’d developed a tool that would be useful for virtually every trade.” In fact, Phil would spend four years from initial prototype to finished product, perfecting its features and benefits.
Collaborating with a designer, Phil focused on refining the ergonomics, to ensure the measure is a comfortable fit in the hand, but it is in accuracy and user-friendliness that the Gator Tape makes its mark. “Like other top reading tape measures on the market it works by measuring from the back of the base plate to the hook of the tape,” continues Phil, “with the result viewable in the top viewing window. Existing examples only feature a maximum blade width of 19mm, however, whereas ours is 25mm, which provides a far superior stand-out of 2.3m on a 5m blade.”
“Not only that, the Gator Tape is the only top viewing tape measure with a Class 1 blade, which means it has the highest standard of accuracy available, with an error of no more than +/- 1.1mm over a 10m length. Readings from that hi vis blade can be viewed in millimetres, centimetres and inches and the backplate has been specifically designed so that it will stand up on its own. A powerful snout lock means you can move it around with confidence once you’ve taken a measurement, whilst there’s also a curtain claw available.”
This attachment allows for the highly accurate measurement of the drop of curtains from a pole. It has been designed to fit securely to the blade tip of the Gator Tape, which is then simply hooked to the eyelets or rings on the curtain pole. Unlock the tape, slide it down to the floor, and you have a very accurate reading. In addition, the product’s durable casing can be complemented by a holster which means the tool is always by your side.
As a result there’s no more bending the blade to try and read a measurement. In addition, with the extended stand out the self-supporting blade affords, and a base plate that allows the tool to stand up on its own, measuring the height of an area is a far more straightforward proposition.
Feedback from end users has revealed that the Gator Tape has found a place with multiple users, as Phil explains: “Kitchen and bathroom installers love it because they’re doing a lot of internal measurements. I recently demonstrated it to a carpenter on site and, having taken a measurement of the door lining he was working on there and then, bought three for him and his two lads on site.”