The French should of switched to base12 instead of bringing Metric to base10



there isn’t a number out there to use as a base in which you won’t encounter running divisions.
the point is that 12 leaves you with the least amount of problematic numbers when using the divisions we most likely encounter in daily life…

if we consider (human) mathematics beyond daily life then, basically, no base offers much of a benefit over another…

i think an interesting way to hear an argument of base10 vs. base12 would be to reverse the scenario…
let’s say our current system is base12.
then let’s hear the argument for switching to base10 instead.

if looking at it this way, i believe the strength of using base12 will become more apparent because there is practically no argument to switch to using base10 over base12…
other than ‘well, we could divide evenly by 5’.

(Giulio Piacentino) #22

In this respect, you’ll have to learn 44 less multiplication table combinations, that’s more than 30% fewer.
That’s why 6 would be particularly cool here, while meeting most of the arguments pro-12.

Sorry I’ll have to refrain from posting more here, your view is clear, it was a fun chat!

(Tom) #23

Isn’t the point of dividing and multiplying by 10 quite simple. You don’t have to divide ever, just shifting points? That’s what I learnt at school. You cannot divide 9/10 cm, just say 0.9 cm or 9mm. That is actually so obvious that people not measure in fractures. I wonder why Americans never adopted this system.


it works like that in any base… if we used base6, you would count:

20 (2 of the base #)

and the decimal point works and moves the same.

(David Rutten) #25

It’s always easy to multiply and divide by the base of your number system. In base-12, it’s easy to multiply and divide by 12.


we use the decimal system

(Tom) #27

sure but the imperial system still uses the decimal system but divides not by 10.That is the problem with it…
I guess this is due to 10 fingers :wink: And this is actually my point. You don’t need to divide at all if your system for measurement uses the same base for division.


sure you do… just got to the shop and i’m about to start working for the day so i likely won’t reply til tonight but, funnily enough, the first thing i’m doing will be ripping sheets into thirds…

since feet are base12, that’s a real easy calculation.
how does this work out in metric?


The English system is a bastardized system in any case. Sure there’s 12 inches to the foot, and 3 feet to the yard (probably should be 12 though), but there’s not 6,000 or 12,000 feet to the mile (OK, a nautical mile is close to 6000 feet). Not to mention other odd measures like rods, acres etc.

The inch system also has no simple relation to any commonly used liquid volume measure like ounces, cups, quarts or gallons - (which are base 2, 4 or 8); ratio of cubic feet to cubic yards is 1:27, etc…

The advantage of the metric system is that the units are inter-related, 1000 cm3 = 1 liter = 1kg of water (density 1.0); 1 cubic meter of water = 1 metric ton, etc.


(Tom) #30

and I’m ripping sheets in 10 pieces. In metric its easy


hmm… i’m not speaking hypothetically.
i really am doing this.
and i do this stuff all day every day for over 25years.

ripping into tenths?
highly unlikely… srry.

i feel like you might just be resistant to change and are speaking from that point instead of really trying to understand what’s being said and basing judgement off the understanding.

(David Rutten) #32


Talking about the tape measure …
Why not base 16 ?
If the base is a power of 2, you can always divide in half without problems …
( which by the way is what I do not like so much about base 10 when using Rhino’s grid snap …
to be able to divide by 2 ( which feels natural to me ) I often end up snapping any 2.5 mm … pretty uncomfortable IMO )

(Tom) #34

no, as Helvatosaur said, the big advantage of the metric system is the relation of units and its scalability. This what I meant with shifting points/commas. That is why US science adopted it as well. But as said, if you choose a base 12 or base 6 system for measurement you shouldn’t use decimal numbers, otherwise you loose scalability.


33,33 centimeters if the sheet is one meter long… Minus the blade width.

But wood sheets are non-standard sizes here anyway, would be nice if they were, say 2m x 3m, but most of the time they are something like 207cm x 280cm, but there are others that are different. Depends on the manufacturer. Go figure.

– Mitch


hmm… again, there is nothing special about the number 10…
it seems like an awesome number and it is… if you’re using base 10.

but if you’re using another base, 10 becomes a single digit number which will have similar significance as, say, 7…

in any base, the base number looks like ‘10’ and acts like 10 etc… (for example, look at binary system…
the number ‘2’ is actually written as ‘10’ in that system.)

if you were to use base12, all of the advantages you think are in base 10 are even more apparent…

idk, maybe that original image i posted is confusing by maybe re-look at the middle proposal and see how it’s advantageous over both metric and imperial…

because it works exactly like metric… AND it works exactly like imperial.
(not ‘exactly’… it’s actually better in both comparisons)

(Tom) #37

I understood this. But human decided to use the decimal system, probably regarding their 10 fingers. If we all would have a hex system, an measurement with base 6 would be the best.
Its just 0.001km=1m=10dm=100cm=1000mm
you cant do this with imperial. But only because human nowadays use a decimal system. If we adding two more numbers between the 10 and the 11 we could scale imperial but not metric. Anyway. its getting late, I’m going to grab a beer and relax…


yeah, base 16 is actually really cool too… that’s how inches are in Imperial system.

but i feel if we were to switch to one single base, 12 would work better than 16.
(basically because you can divide a foot into thirds… but can’t do that with an inch)


oh, i thought 1220x2440 was standard European sheet good sizes…
I use a lot of Baltic/Finland birch sheet goods and they’re always that (or some relation to that if using oversized sheets etc.)

(generally 4, 9, 12, 18 mm thickness as far as what the importers are bringing in at least)

(David Rutten) #40

You’re absolutely right there. Having a base-12 numeric system while only using 10 distinct digit symbols would be really stupid. You’d have to add two symbols to represent the values ten and eleven, in which case numbers might look like ð4.20ð81Ƕ5