The Johnson Level 1812-0025 Stud-Squared is the love-child offspring between a tape measure and a square. The general idea is that you can use the tape to both measure and mark a straight line on dimensional lumber with relative ease. No more making your mark and then looking for a square or straight edge to complete the perpendicular cutting line. Without even having to extend the marking ruler, you can scribe across a regular 2×4 since it shares the same width.
Johnson Level 1812-0025 Stud-Squared Features
The Johnson Level 1812-0025 Stud-Squared arrived in a clear plastic package with paper insert that visually explain its intended uses. The tape measure case is black and made of what appears to be ABS plastic but, in order to keep its size constrained as designed, it lacks any rubber” overmold for extra cushion or grip. Case dimensions of this tape measure are 1-1/2″ wide by 3″ tall and 3-1/2″ long which are measurements that should sound familiar to anyone who has done any framing, since they relate to the size of common framing materials used to build virtually any structure. Unlike a traditional tape, each of the corners of this tape’s case are square and three different sides of the Stud-Squared have an 1/8″ lip so that when the case is placed with the lip tight to the edge of a board, the edge of the case creates a 90 degree straight edge. One of the most noticeable things about the Stud-Squared (besides the unusual squareness of the case) is the two yellow sliding rule extensions that make drawing precise layout lines an easy task – even on wider materials. Both of the sliding rule extensions are made of ABS plastic and each have 3″-long scales with 1/16″ graduations marked in black for easy reading. With the sliding rules are extended, a straight edge can be drawn on boards up to 12 inches wide by doing one half of the board at a time. The sliding rule extensions stay very square to the case thanks to a dovetail guide built into the case and the back of the extensions which decrease any side to side movement.
The blade is 25 feet long by 1 inch wide and has a durable, corrosion-resistant nylon coating for long life. Reading the blade should be easy even in dim lighting conditions thanks to the extra large numbers. Every sixteen inches on the blade is marked in red to make marking stud spacing easy and there are 1/16 inch graduations along the blade for precise measurements. There are also handy centering V-notches on the lip of two sides of the case that correspond with single and double framing members. The blade lock on the Stud-Squared has small ridges molded into it to keep the user’s thumb from slipping. When pushed down it snaps into place and holds the blade securely. This tape also has a nice feature that allows the user to draw an accurate radius by securing the dumb end of the blade with a small nail through a hole on the one inch line on the blade. Then, you can simply extend the blade to whatever length is needed, lock it, and place the tip of a pencil in the off-centered V-notch on the side of the case.
Johnson Level 1812-0025 Testing and Use
After using the Johnson Level 1812-0025 Stud-Squared tape for several weeks we found it works great for doing small framing projects. When first looking over the Stud-Squared, it seemed like it would not fit well in my hand or handle well because of its shape, but we were pleasantly surprised. By placing my thumb on the lock, my pinky on the back of the tape and my three middle fingers on the bottom of the tape it was actually quite comfortable to use. One thing that was somewhat of a nuisance was that, when engaging or disengaging the blade-lock, the sliding rule extension on the right side of the tape’s case would extend because the palm of my hand was resting against it.
The Johnson Level 1812-0025 Stud-Squared turned out to be a good tool for laying out small framing projects in a shorter amount of time than just using a standard tape, especially when working with 2×4’s. Also it eliminates purchasing and carrying two tools since you get a square and tape all in one. For someone that is doing a lot of framing or layout work, we think that some of Johnson Levels more traditional power tapes might serve you better. For Our Performance rating, we gave this tool a 6/10 since it worked great for smaller projects but lacked the ruggedness for heavy use. For our Value score this tape measure earned an 8/10 as you get a very versatile tool for a minimal price.