Dividing with Tape Measures

The use of relational geometry as the traditional method in dividing and marking temari not withstanding, it's no secret that sometimes a nice, modern tape measure does come in handy at times. However - one should first have a solid understanding of dividing and marking with a paper strip before changing to these short cuts. You still have to have a basic understanding of what is being done.

Using a tape can be especially handy when needing to mark sections that are not divisible by 2 or 4; it can get fussy trying to fold a strip into thirds or fifths (yes, it can be done but it takes practice). Many people will admit that they use paper strips for even divisions and tape measure with calculator for odd divisions. The assistance of a tape measure can go a long way in producing accurate divisions. They can be used in place of the paper strip, or in conjunction with it. A calculator with a repeating addition feature is also a help.

Search out some inexpensive narrow (NOT tailor width - you want the ones that are about 1/4" or 1/2cm wide) plastic tape measures, and purchase several, since you'll be cutting them to various lengths. The little retractable ones that can be found in dollar stores and bargain bins are ideal;  try to find the ones that have a plastic tab at the end and the actual starting point of the tape measure about an inch from the end. They are easier to maneuver on the mari. As one parent said: "Three year old boys can cut a retractable tape measure into about 50 pieces before being caught by a parent. I keep several on hand, just in case". Cut the tape measure off from the case; it will be much easier to use. Cut several according to the most common mari circumferences you find yourself using for even more ease.

To use the tape in conjunction with a paper strip: fit the strip to the mari as usual, pin the north and south poles and the equator line. Remove the strip being sure to maintain the north pole. It is very important to remember that all measuring is done to the pin hole, not the end of the strip.  Measure the length of the strip from pin hole to opposite end; this is the circumference of the mari. Divide the length by the number of sections needed for the division.

There are two options for proceeding from here: mark the section widths on the paper strip, wrap it around the equator at the pins, and adjust the pins to the marks on the strip. This results in the equator now being not only the equator but being marked into the required number of sections; each pin is a vertical line. Alternatively, after the equator line is pinned and the strip removed, the tape measure takes over completely. Pin the tape at the zero mark at one of the equator pins, butting the edge of the tape to the pin. Wrap the tape around the mari equator and note the measurement of circumference. Divide the circumference by the number of required sections for the division. Place a pin at this measurement along the tape on the mari (remember, the tape is wrapped around the mari at the equator). Add the section length to this value and place another pin. Keep adding the section length and placing another pin until you have completed the circumference. (If you have a calculator with a repeating addition feature, all you have to do is keep hitting the "equal" key.)