Professional Builder’s Lee Jones hears about a simple but effective tool from south coast builder, Stephen Capon
Measure twice and cut once might be the old adage, but there are times when your trusty tape might still leave you short, with only educated guesswork to fill the gap. A time-served builder of over 30 years standing, Stephen Capon is all too aware of how some of the seemingly smallest problems can create significant issues further down the track – and that’s where Matey Measure™ makes its mark.
As any builder can testify, the slightest inaccuracy in a measurement could ultimately call for substantial remedial work in putting it right, and even place the profit in a job in peril. So just how can Matey Measure™ be your friend in those awkward places? Tape measures, will of course, bend in an internal recess, which makes it very difficult to measure accurately. When the Brighton-based builder was struggling to gauge the dimensions of a deep recess at the back of a kitchen in order to cut a glass panel to fit the space exactly, he had his Eureka moment.
“You have to create a template to cut glass and, because of the awkward access, as there always is in these cases, there was an element of guesswork involved. You could be as much as 3 or 4mm out, and the only way to be sure is to make the template bigger to compensate. I was thinking then that there must be a better way – and that was the germ of the idea.”
“The device securely clips onto a tape measure,” he explains. “If you are measuring a window reveal, because the tape will bow where the two perpendicular angles meet, you won’t get a completely accurate number. With the Matey Measure™, however, it’s possible to get hard up against the wall, or cabinet, or under tiles above a kitchen worktop, or whatever marks the end of the distance you’re looking to calculate, and it will clearly show the exact length. It can be used on any tape up to 10m and works with both millimetres and inches.”
Suitably encouraged by the positive feedback he received when he presented the product to his fellow tradespeople, Stephen set about realising his idea into a finished product, but it has proved to be a protracted journey. “Being an inventor in the UK can be a lonely business,” declares the proprietor of SJC Building Services. “You have to make everything happen yourself, from sourcing a manufacturer, and distribution to marketing, all of which takes time. If you file a patent, for instance, you’ve only got a year to make your product commercially viable, which is not really long enough. Given all the barriers there are to getting it out there I was reluctant to pursue Matey Measure™ at first, but I’ve yet to receive a negative comment, and that’s been the great persuader.”
The early prototypes were initially made of plastic, but Stephen always planned on a stronger and more durable stainless-steel construction. “It was difficult to find a maker in the UK who would be in a position to mass produce the Matey Measure™ in the quantities that would make it profitable, so I got on a plane to China and found a company there. With sufficient stock we were able to launch and have since received significant acclaim.”
In fact, Stephen has since received major awards at the British Invention Show two years running, won best stand at Construction Week at NEC Birmingham 2019, and has recently appeared on BBC One’s “The Customer is Always Right” programme, and since then sales have increased. He has achieved distribution through leading builders’ merchants in the UK, and Matey Measure™ has now been launched in the USA, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
“The beauty of the design is its simplicity”, concludes Stephen. “It eliminates any guesswork, and there are a multitude of potential applications on site.” In fact, Stephen is confident that this is one tool that is made to measure for the trades.
How to use Matey Measure
- Position your tape measure so that it bends at the join of the two perpendicular surfaces you want to measure.
- Open the Matey Measure and clamp it on the tape measure making sure the tape sits squarely against the three backstops.
- Slide the device along the tape to the desired length so the specially designed extension touches the end point span of the measure.
- Once the Matey Measure is securely clamped on the tape bring them away together and read the accurate measurement.
For further information on Matey Measure visit mateymeasure.com/