A 20 cm measuring stick


When I was in Mozambique in May last year I made a 20 cm stick from a piece of wood I found in a woodland survey plot. The purpose of the stick was to measure the height at which a tree tag should be nailed into a tree relative to the height of the trunk diameter measurement. Placing the tag relative to the diameter measurement means that in future years repeat trunk diameter measurements can be made in the same place without having to consult the original data. The stick also came to Angola with me and was very useful. I put it on a lanyard of bailer twine, added a few embellishments to the wood and polished it a bit with some beeswax/paraffin based boot wax.

Measuring stick

This got me thinking about useful measurements for certain tasks. A friend told me about a seamstress they knew that had a 1 foot measurement tattooed on her forearm for measuring the length of material. Maybe I could get 1.3 m tattooed somewhere on my body to mark the default location of a DBH (Diameter at Breast Height) measurement. Maybe measuring from the ground up to a place on my chest would worl. This would be more symbolic than useful I think, as the tattoo would be covered by clothes nearly all the time, but given that I’ve measured the DBH of well over 8000 trees I would say its formed a fairly important chunk of my life over the last few years and might deserve a symbolic tattoo. I thought about getting “1.3 m” tattooed somewhere near the line, but I think actually I’d prefer to leave it simple looking.