4 Answers to Your Questions about Lufkin Diameter Tape Measures

Here are 4 recent questions about diameter tape measures.

  1. Are the Lufkin diameter tapes in stock?

    Lufkin Pipe Diameter Tape Measures
    Lufkin Pipe Diameter Tape Measure
  2. When do you expect more stock?
  3. What is Lufkin’s problem with production?
  4. Do you have a substitute for the Lufkin diameter tape measure?


Here are my best answers:

  1. Unfortunately, there are none in stock anywhere. Lufkin doesn’t even have any.
  2. They have continually moved back their ship date since January 2022. At this point, I won’t be happy until they tell us that they shipped us some tapes.
  3. I don’t know whether it is a raw material shortage, labor shortage, or otherwise. This problem has existed for 12 months now. I can’t imagine what the problem might be with Lufkin/Apex.
  4. Yes. Definitely. The Pi-Cobra tapes are an excellent substitute. The T217-6654 measures pipe diameters up to 38 inches, in 100ths of an inch. Your imprint can even be put on both sides of the case, at an extra charge. It is also available in metric scale (T217-6657).

Why Are Pipe Diameter Tape Measures So Scarce?

Why Are Pipe Diameter Tape Measures So Scarce?
Why Are Pipe Diameter Tape Measures So Scarce?

In 2021 and still in 2022, there are widespread supply chain issues worldwide. Many products that are made in China have had 2 problems making it to the United States. First of all, is their labor problem. Covid 19 outbreaks have closed down Chinese factories at least twice since 2019. Secondly, transportation issues have been another major issue. The price of shipping has increased drastically, and the port of Los Angeles had a bottleneck issue several months ago.

All these issues have contributed to the dramatic slowdown of raw materials and

Lufkin Pipe Diameter Tape Measure
Lufkin Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

finished products. Pipe diameter tape measures are no exception. Lufkin makes the most popular one, and has shipped only a small amount of inventory in the last 12 months to its distributors. At this point, August 2022, the future of more shipments is uncertain. An alternative diameter tape is made in China, the Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape. Shipments are due in the United States shortly, but maybe not soon enough or big enough to satisfy the need of customers.

A Pipe Diameter Tape Measure is used by oil companies and Water utility companies. The oil companies are doing very well right now, due to the profitability of oil drilling. So their need for these tapes is higher than the supply. This is driving up the price of the Pi-Cobra tapes. Hopefully, this supply chain problem will soon come to an end.

Latest News on the Lufkin Diameter Tape Measure Shortage

Lufkin Diameter Tape Measures are In Sight.
Lufkin Diameter Tape Measures are In Sight.

Since December 1, 2021, the Lufkin Diameter Tape Measure has disappeared from all retail shelves. Why? I am guessing it is because of the widespread supply chain issues. Every industry has been affected by this problem in 2021. The procurement of steel has been a problem, according to “Cheddar News” on October 18, 2021. The price of steel has also gone up.

The good news is here:

We expect to receive inventory of the Lufkin Diameter Tape Measure in April 2022. We plan to fill the back orders that have piled up since December soon. There are Chinese diameter tapes available now, but many customers would rather wait for the beloved Lufkin tapes.

Lufkin Diameter Tape Measure
Lufkin Diameter Tape Measure

Pipe Diameter Tape Measures Are Popular During National Construction Appreciation Week

Using a Pipe Diameter Tape Measure
Using a Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

The 3rd full week in September was “National Construction Appreciation Week” in the USA. It’s not a very old week. It was instigated in 2018 by “I Build America”, which was started in 2016. Mike Rydin, the CEO of HCSS came up with the idea to call attention to all the people who help build this great country. I’m sure many of them have used pipe diameter tape measures in their work. Plumbers and electricians are the most likely tradesmen that use them. Without a doubt, Lufkin makes the best diameter tapes.

Lufkin Pipe Diameter Tape Measures
Lufkin Pipe Diameter Tape Measures

How to Use an Architect Scale Ruler

Don’t be afraid of the unusual scales on an architect scale ruler. It might have 4

Architects Scale ruler
Architects Scale Lufkin tape measure

scales, but you will only need to use one of them for a particular drawing. Let’s make one example. Take a look at the w906a Architects Scale Lufkin Tape. It has 2 scales. One is 1/8 and the other is 1/4. Let’s say that the drawing in front of you is drawn to the 1/4 scale. It says this in the information box at the bottom. The 1/4 means that 1/4 inch on the drawing represents 1 foot in real life. In this case we will ignore the 1/8 scale and use only the 1/4 scale. Set your zero mark at the corner of some part of the drawing. The other corner is even with the 9 mark. That means it is 9 feet long. It’s really that simple.

Answers to the Top 10 Questions Asked About Diameter Tape Measures

Questions About Diameter Tapes Measures
Questions About Diameter Tapes Measures

Top 10 Questions:

  1. How long are they?
  2. Do I have to calculate the diameter, or does the tape tell me the diameter?
  3. Are the tapes traceable to the National Bureau of Standards?
  4. How big of a pipe can they measure?
  5. How soon can I have them?
  6. Can you put our full color logo on them
  7. What kind of an art file do you need?
  8. How accurate are they?
  9. Where are they made?
  10. Do you repair them?

Here are my concise answers about the diameter tape measures..

  1. Most of the pocket diameter tapes are 6 feet long. But the length isn’t really what they are all about. They are not designed to measure length. They measure diameter by wrapping them around the pipe circumference. See answer 4 for a more specific answer.
  2. These tools make it easy for you. You wrap them around the pipe and read off the diameter.
  3. These are pocket tapes. Their size makes them convenient, but they are not traceable to the NBS.
  4. They can measure up to 23 inch diameter pipes. Some go as high as 38 inches in diameter.
  5. Production time is about 3 weeks after you approve a proof.
  6. Yes.
  7. Vector art is the best for this process. That means an eps or ai file are recommended. If you have other types of art, we can convert them.
  8. The inch ones are calibrated to 100ths of an inch, 64ths of an inch, or to one millimeter.
  9. Pi-Cobra tapes are made in China. The Lufkin ones are currently made in Mexico. All are imprinted in the USA.
  10. Sorry, we don’t repair them.

How to Choose the Right Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

Why do you need to choose a diameter tape, anyway? Because you want a quick and easy way to take a tape measure out of your pocket and find the diameter of a pipe or other round object. The best pipe diameter tape measure for your job can be solved by asking these questions:

  • Metric or inch, or both? Some tapes are marked in any of these 3 different scales.

    Lufkin Y906PD pipe diameter tape measure, not Barlow W906PD Lufkin Diameter Tape

  • How big is the pipe? Some tapes stop at 24 inch diameter. Some go to 38 inches.

    Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Inches T217-6654 Pi-Cobra Diameter Tape, Inches T217-6654

  • Does a brand name matter? Lufkin tools have made a name for themselves. Pi-Cobra tapes are made in China, but they are less expensive, and longer.
  • What accuracy do you need? The pocket sized ones are quick and convenient. They are accurate to 0.01 inch. If you need a highly accurate one, check out Pi Tape. They cost about 10 times as much, and they can’t fit in your pocket. But here is their accuracy: Pi Tape metric tapes have a diameter accuracy of ± 0,03 mm up to 3 600 millimeters. Pi Tape inch tapes have a diameter accuracy of ± 0,001″ up to 144 inches.
PI Tape 24" to 48" Range Periphery Tape Measure - 57-065-856PI Tape 24" to 48" Range Periphery Tape Measure - 57-065-856
PI Tape 24″ to 48″ Range Periphery Tape Measure ‑ 57‑065‑856


How to Solve Problems with a Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

I Can Solve It With A Pipe Diameter Tape Measure
I Can Solve It With A Pipe Diameter Tape Measure

A tape measure can solve basically one problem….How long is the item? But a pipe diameter tape measure can solve a short list of problems for you.

  • What is the outside diameter (OD) of that pipeline, without having to cut into it. You don’t even have to divide by pi.
  • What is the diameter of a tree trunk.
  • What is the accurate diameter of a tire.
  • What is the diameter of a beach ball, when fully inflated.

Even if the pipe is distorted, and the cross sectional diameter would be different in different directions, you can do it. The pipe diameter tape measure can tell you what the diameter would be, if it weren’t distorted. That’s because the measurement is based on the circumference. The tape automatically divides by pi (3.14159) for you.

Lufkin Makes the Best Pipe Diameter Tape Measure
Lufkin Makes the Best Pipe Diameter Tape Measure




7 Diameter Tape Measure Tips For the Pros

If you are already a user of a diameter tape measure, these tips are for you.

Tips on Using a Diameter Tape Measure
Tips on Using a Diameter Tape Measure
  1. Keep it clean. If you keep sand and dirt from inhabiting your tape, it will look good longer and last longer.
  2. Line it up straight on the pipe. If you put the tape on a little crooked, you will get an erroneously high reading.
  3. Clean the pipe. This makes sure that surface contaminants aren’t interfering with your measurement.
  4. Use a felt tip marker to mark common measurements directly on the tape. Don’t be a hero. This tip will make your job easier.
  5. Put your name on it. Valuable and handy tools have a way of walking away.
  6. Buy only the best pipe diameter tape measure. Lufkin is a trusted brand name.
  7. Keep one in every location that you work (and leave it there). I keep one in the office, my shop, my tool box, and in all my vehicles and boat. A diameter tape doesn’t measure only diameters. The other side is a regular inch tape (or metric tape). So it comes in handy many times.

Please post your own tips in the comments here. I’d be interested in what you come up with. Thanks.

A Big Secret About the Diameter Tape Measure

The Diameter Tape Secret
The Diameter Tape Measure Secret

Diameter tape measures are made for wrapping around pipes and poles, to find the diameter. That’s a good enough reason to keep one in your tool box, garage, and vehicle. But there’s one feature that no one talks about, until now….

The other side of the diameter tape measure is a regular tape measure, in inches or centimeters. It measures length, not diameter. So, even though it is a special tape, it is also a handy every day tape, too. Lufkin, and the other manufacturers, thought of everything when they designed these handy pocket tapes. Everyone should have one or two.

Lufkin Y906PD pipe diameter tape measure, not Barlow W906PD Lufkin Diameter Tape