I’ve been doing some renovations at my parents house and one of the most frustrating experiences was using a tape measure on a vertical wall. Especially while on a ladder. Tape kept slipping, moving, had to juggle with the pencil and tape and so on, I’m sure we’ve all been there, so you know what I’m talking about.
To make things easier I made a simple pencil holder, from a small metal bracket, and attached it to the tape using the belt clip screw. It worked well enough, especially for rough work, but it had its limitations, like the pencil was friction fit and it was either hard to remove to sharpen or too loose and it slipped. Also I felt the need to add a pointer, for increased accuracy.
So now, that I have some free time for the shop I decided to make an improved version, using some scrap square tubing I had around the shop. There are many ways to make such a holder, from welding a small section of pipe to a flat bar, using an old circle compass, or using a large rustic hinge, with the pencil fixed in the pin hole and a thousand other possible ways. I decided to use square tubing since it’s pretty much available worldwide so anyone who wants to make one can easily find materials.
As for tools, most of the shaping was done using the hacksaw and a file. A drill is required for the holes, but it does not need to be a drill press since there are no deep vertical holes. A small tap was used for the set screw that holds the pencil in place. This set screw can be replaced with a small wooden wedge, if you don’t have a proper tap.
It’s attached to the tape measure using two screws, but I’ve used the first one with only the central screw and it worked just fine.
I’ve made a video of the whole process: https://youtu.be/-lcov3p4GrQ