Calculators and Carpenters

Calculators are one of those “tools” you might not imagine being on your handyman shelf. But you’ll be surprised just how useful it can be sometimes. Say you’re building a room with walls, floor, and roof – the whole works. And you’re at the wall phase and are at the point when you need to add diagonal bracing.

How can you find out how long your diagonal bracing needs to be?

Being that you just made your actual wall, you obviously know how high it is. Say it’s 4 meters high. And I suppose we all know that a 45 degree angle is the strongest angle for diagonal bracing right? So how long does a bracing board stretching from a top corner of your wall to the wall base at a 45 degree angle, need to be? Obviously, if your wall is 4 meters high, the base point of your diagonal bracing needs to be 4 meters to the side of the bottom wall corner so as to make a 45 degree angle.

The Pythagorean Theorem

Now comes the fun part! Perhaps we’ve all learned the famed Pythagorean

This equation only works with RIGHT triangles

theorem in school. Well, this is what we’re going to use to find out how long your diagonal bracing needs to be. So to brush up on the equation: a2+b2=c2. In other words, a and b are the 2 adjacent legs to the right angle of your triangle – which in your case is the bottom corner of your room. These 2 adjacent legs should be the same length – 4 meters. Sooo, a and b are both 4 meters, which translates to: 42+42 is equal to the square of your diagonal bracing (c2)! – Hint: Find the square root of 32!

In short, your diagonal bracing should be roughly 5656 mm long. For you to be able to do this equation fast, it’s important that your calculator has the “square root” function on it. Without it, the process is a bit more time-consuming – albeit still doable. So as you can see, you can use this little piece of circuitry called a calculator to accomplish this and many more equations, ranging from simple to difficult. It can save you a pretty major headache – especially if math wasn’t one of your favorite subjects!

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