10 Hand Tools that Have Real Power

Tape Measure
Taking accurate measurements while working on a project is vital to a successful result. ŠiStockphoto/Thinkstock

The tape measure's use is obvious from its name: It measures height, width and length. It's been around since the mid-1800s, and by the turn of the 20th century, the retractable-style measuring tape we know and use today began replacing folding measuring sticks [source: Alfred]. It may not be a fancy power tool like a table saw or a drill press, but the tape measure gives you knowledge, and knowledge is power.

Measure twice, cut once, or so the age-old carpentry saying advises. Basically, when you double-check your work (measure twice) you're more likely to avoid an error (cut only once).