buying a level


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Old 06-21-08, 01:17 PM
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Question buying a level

The level I have now is a hand me down from my father. I am going to be installing several interior doors so I thought a new level might be in order as I don't know the accuracy of the old level. I'm looking at Craftsman or Stanley, 24" I-beam, but would like some imput as to their reputation on making decent levels. Any pros or cons on these 2?
 
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Old 06-21-08, 05:40 PM
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I've got several old levels but unless I went and looked - I couldn't tell you the brand. I've always heard that when buying a level to check 2 levels against each other - if they both agree, they are supposed to be accurate.

I'm sure some of the carpenters will be along later with better info on the brands and purchacing
 
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Old 06-22-08, 02:57 AM
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For a homeowner the Craftsman level is a good choice, they make a good product. You can take it back if it ever gets beat up and have it replaced. If you are going to be hanging doors you want a 48" level. The most important thing is to make the hinge side "plumb" (the vertical equivilant of "level").

Hope this helps
 
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Old 06-22-08, 07:52 AM
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For the record Craftsman (Sears) doesn't "make" anything.All of the products they sell under any brand name are other companies products with a Sears brand name applied.

As for Stanley,there are a whole series of qualities in almost all of their product lines.I'd stay away from the lower priced lightweight aluminum levels as they are fairly easily bent,twisted etc so that they lose accuracy.I don't think you need a top quality mahogany either so a mid grade heavier metal should do you well and hold up.

As for Craftsman same applies.The products are of similar qualities as they are probabaly made by either Stanley or a similar company.

As for return policies,you find similar policies almost everywhere now as a competative response to others.You also find the human element everywhere as different people at different businesses will interpret policies different ways.

I have heard stories from customers of Sears.Lowes,HD and on and on of widely varying experiences to returns.
 
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Old 06-22-08, 01:27 PM
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The test for a level is to see what it reads on a surface and then turn it around 180 and see what it reads then - they should be the same. If not, don't buy that one.
 
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Old 06-22-08, 01:35 PM
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Level

I agree with Mitch. On a vertical surface, place one edge of the level on the vertical surface and note the reading. Rotate it and place the opposite edge on the vertical surface and note the reading. The bubble should be in the same position for both readings.

When hanging doors, use your 2 foot level to check the floor for level in the doorway between the jambs. This will tell you if you need to adjust the length of either of the jambs.
 
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Old 06-22-08, 03:45 PM
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Just to add fuel to the fire. If you can afford one, a 6' level is ideal for hanging doors, but if you aren't doing it for a living, then a 4' for plumb and a 2' for the head would work fine. I am still using a 2' level manufactured in the early 1900's, all mahogany, brass banded with pop up peep sights on either end. I also have modern ones for my helpers to use. My old one is accurate, so why buy another one. Besides, it just feels good to use it. Hand me downs can be better than their replacements, so check the level before you buy another one. It may just save you some $$$.
 
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Old 07-15-08, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
Just to add fuel to the fire. If you can afford one, a 6' level is ideal for hanging doors, but if you aren't doing it for a living, then a 4' for plumb and a 2' for the head would work fine. I am still using a 2' level manufactured in the early 1900's, all mahogany, brass banded with pop up peep sights on either end.
Did you steal that from the Smithsonian?

I recently picked up an Empire 12" that is doing ok for what I needed at the time (testing the washing machine for lvl). When I need to test the lvl of greater expanses, I'll get a 48" but I don't need one yet.

Now, that the group has established a difference in the applications of different levels, one they haven't discussed is laser levels.

These would probably be more appropriate for drawing a free standing level line, as when hanging a shelf or cabinet. An engineer that inspected my foundation walls showed me one that does both horizontal levels lines and vertical plumb lines, either seperately or as a converging cross hair. They can run as little as $20, but $80 is nominal.
 
 

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