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Enter the World of the Folding Rule
Many Nordic classics are made from the light wood of the birch tree. Architecture, furniture, arts and crafts. Our classic folding rule, model no. 59 with the red ends, is made of downy birch, which comes from the birch forests of Dalarna province to the factory in Hultafors.
Our folding rule factory ended up in Hultafors because of the outflow of the Sörån river from Viaredssjön lake. The rapids enabled us to generate hydroelectric power, and that power ran the factory. Today the water ripples past as always, and the river runs down towards Sätila and Lygnern lake.
Hultafors primarily uses downy birch to make its folding rules. It is a relatively easy wood to machine, it’s hard and durable but soft enough to offer some flexibility. Another advantage is its light colour, which makes the scale and figures easy to read. Hultafors primarily uses downy birch to make its folding rules. It is a relatively easy wood to machine, it’s hard and durable but soft enough to offer some flexibility. Another advantage is its light colour, which makes the scale and figures easy to read.
Rule or ruler?
A layman will generally call a measuring stick a ruler. But anyone technically minded will know it as a rule, which is why at Hultafors we like to call our product a folding rule. We make one in inches as well, it’s model no. 61.
The best wood for folding rules
Birch is the most common deciduous tree in Sweden, but we have far more coniferous trees in the shape of pine and spruce. Three out of 35 birch species grow in Sweden: silver birch, downy birch and dwarf birch. We also have a mountain version of the downy variety, called the Arctic downy birch. Downy birches are distinguished by their smooth, hairy shoots and their whiter, smoother bark. The downy birch has straighter fibres than the silver birch and is therefore easier to split. The wood is also more even in colour and not as blotchy as the silver birch, which is better for printing. That’s why at Hultafors, we use downy birch.
Contact Meter – a smarter folding rule
A Contact Meter is a folding rule with the scale on the other side. This means it can be placed flat on the measuring surface, even if you’re only using some of the sections. How smart is that? Even so, only 1% of all folding rules sold are Contact Meters. For professionals, there’s simply no substitute for the original.
Birch, aluminium or fibreglass
As well as our classic wooden folding rule, Hultafors also has aluminium and fibreglass models. The aluminium rule is popular with people who work close to heat, such as welders. The fibreglass folding rule is resistant to moisture, so it’s ideal if you’re a plasterer or bricklayer, or work in a wet environment.
The parts of a folding rule
We wouldn’t recommend making your own folding rule. But if you did, you would need the following: