Skip to content

Competencies covered

MSFGN2001: Make measurements and calculations

Using tallies

Image for slide 1
Audio for slide 1 (mp3 |6|KB)
Tallies are used to record quantities of particular items or products.

For instance, if you wanted to write down how many power tools you had taken onto a jobsite, your tally might read:

1 x jigsaw; 1 x circular saw; 3 x cordless drills; 2 x claw hammers ...

and so on.

hearing icon
Image for slide 2
Audio for slide 2 (mp3 |6|KB)
But if you had a product that was already expressed in terms of its cross-section size, such as 70 x 19 skirting board, it would get very confusing if you started to use the 'x' ('times') sign to also indicate the number and length of the pieces.

Set out below are some examples of how to record tallies when you're working with items that are referred to by their cross sectional dimensions.

hearing icon
Image for slide 3
Audio for slide 3 (mp3 |6|KB)

Example 1: skirting boards

Let's say you have 15 pieces of skirting board, 70 mm x 19 mm in size.

We'll say that 5 pieces are 2.4 metres in length, 7 pieces are 2.7 metres and 3 pieces are 3.6 metres.

To show this as a tally, you would write it as follows:

        70 x 19 skirting: 5/2.4, 7/2.7, 3/3.6

Now let's say we wanted to know how many lineal metres this tally represents.
Note that 'lineal' means 'in a line' - so to put the question another way: What is the total metreage of these pieces if they were all laid out in a line?

hearing icon
Image for slide 4
Audio for slide 4 (mp3 |6|KB)

The easiest way to find the answer is to use a calculator with a memory button. Although not all calculators work in exactly the same way, the sequence of numbers and function buttons would be similar to that shown in the image.

To see this process written out in more detail, click on the link below.

Detailed description of calculation

hearing icon
Image for slide 5
Audio for slide 5 (mp3 |6|KB)
If you don't have a calculator with a memory button, you can simply multiply each line separately and then add the subtotals together, as shown in this image.

hearing icon
Image for slide 6
Audio for slide 6 (mp3 |6|KB)

Example 2: plywood sheets

Sheet materials sometimes have their dimensions shown in metres and sometimes in millimetres.

For example, if you had two sheets of ply that were 9 mm thick, 2.4 metres long and 1.2 metres wide, it could be written up as follows:

        9 mm ply: 2 / 2.4 x 1.2

or alternatively:

        9 mm ply: 2 / 2400 x 1200

hearing icon

Learning activity

Audio 7 (mp3 |6|KB)

How many lineal metres (l/m) are in the following bundle of aluminium angle lengths? Enter your answer into the cell, and click on the 'Check your answer' button to see if you were right.

hearing icon

19 x 12 aluminium angle: 5/3.0, 3/2.4, 2/1.8 25.8lineal metres