Sunday, April 27, 2014

Installing Cabinet Hardware (or, Fun with Fractions)

So I was installing cabinet hardware today...

...and some math happened! See, I had measured one drawer to be 17+3/8 inches wide. To place the pull correctly, I needed to find the center line of the drawer. So I needed to divide 17 3/8 by 2... not exactly compatible numbers.

Let's look at a few of my options.

Option 1: Use a calculator. 

My laptop is sitting right here. It has a built-in calculator:

Yes! So the center line is 1.25 inches.. from.. the.. edge. Wait a minute.. that doesn't seem right.

I think I need a better calculator. My trusty old TI-83+ should do the trick.

There we go. So I just need to measure 8.6875 inches from the left edge. I wonder how far .6875 inches is. Oh forget it. I will do it by hand.

Option 2: Do it by hand. I did this in school. Ok, first convert the mixed number to an improper fraction. Then change use invert-and-multiply to change the operation from "dividing by 2" to "multiplication by 1/2". It should be easy after that.

Ok, so I admit that 17x8 step took a while.

So the center line is 139/16ths of an inch away from the left edge.

Um... I don't think my ruler goes that high. Shoot.

Option 3: Wolfram Alpha. I hear Wolfram Alpha is pretty cool. Let's try that.

So the final answer is... 47π over 17? What!?

So what did I do? I went with Option 4.

Option 4: Stop and think for a moment. I got a dry erase marker and erased the shopping list on the fridge. (Probably didn't need that anyway...). I divided 17 by 2, and divided 3 by 2. It looked like this...

17+3/8 divided by 2 = 8+1/2 + 1.5/8 = 8+5.5/8

Pretty easy! So I can just measure 8 and 5.5 eighths inches from the left edge. (I figured I'd probably lose points for not expressing my answer as an improper fraction with lowest terms, but it's worth it to have an answer I could work with!)

I measure 8 inches, then another 5 eighths.. no problems so far. And now another half-eighth. Hey, my measuring tape has extra marks between all the eighths! That'll make things even easier!

There we go: 8 and 5-and-a-half-eighths inches.

Mark it, tape it, get the drill, and do it to it!

Now let's check my answer...

Yep, looks right to me!

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