Buying a Level


Old 01-01-01, 08:24 AM
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Anyone know / remember the process of "elimination" used to select a LIQUID FILLED, "bubble" (or spirit)level which reads "true"?
Years ago, while in a large chain home project center, I ran into a VERY OLD carpenter who demo'ed this "trick" and -- NOT ALL THE LEVELS in the aisle display READ THE SAME !!!
When finished, he went to the checkout with a level he could be sure was "Dead On".
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Old 01-02-01, 08:43 AM
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Location: Lake Forest, California (Orange county)
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To check a level place it on something that is "near level."
Notice where the bubble is. Turn it end-for-end and if it's accurate the bubble will be in exactly the same place. If not, you know it's "off"
Old 01-02-01, 09:04 AM
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Checking A Level

Thanks! How could I've forgotten SO simple?
Guess my mind just wanted to make it more
complicated than it really is!
Old 01-06-01, 02:52 PM
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Johnboy was right on. I saw somewhere, I don't remember either. To check a new or old level you put up to a wall, level it and draw a line.

Then flip it over end to end, if it matches up you're level.
If you have two different lines, the difference between the two is the true level.

This would be very helpful for levels that are adjustable.

Hope it helped,

Joel Issert
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Old 01-17-01, 06:52 PM
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An adjustable level would never make its way into my tool box.
Old 01-20-01, 06:16 AM
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Adjustable Levels

The two different kind of adjustable levels that I've seen is.

1) A level with a adjustable type dial, great for running and checking repetitive grades/slopes, like highway pitches and slopes for ramps for interstates etc.

2) Is a level like a standard 4 foot. That has a removable site glass, that gives you access to fine adjusting screw. Which is great for fine tuning to correct the years of oops/bangs, instead of the garbage can.

Joel Issert
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Old 01-20-01, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 3,140
You missed the point the Carpenter was trying to make. We are professionals, we make our living on things being straight and plumb. We are talking about 2' or 4' or 6' levels for carpentry work. We do not buy levels that need adjusting. If they need adjusting then they are not built good enough in the first place. We do not buy a level with the idea it will last forever. Sometimes they last a week, a month maybe even a year, but they are a renewal resource. Once we find one of our levels out of level we just junk it and buy a new one.
Old 01-20-01, 12:01 PM
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Is there a top and a bottom to todays newer levels?

Some older levels have vials that were arch shaped, so that the level had to be held right-side-up (arch up) to be accurate. I have a wood level with these arched vials, and the vial itself, only has black center marks on the top half of the vial,(for reading the bubble) and no center marks on the underside(bottom of arch) of the vial. Clearly this level only works right-side-up.

My newer levels have straight mounted vials, with center bubble marks that form completed circles around the vial. There are sight holes in ONLY one straight edge of the level for reading the bubble.

To this day, I always spin my level so I can see the ruler markings on top, or place the sight hole on top. Mostly, I am referring to my Home Depot, 4ft, orange plastic level for $10 or so.
Old 01-20-01, 01:49 PM
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Just thought I would add to the thoughts on levels. In my work a level must be dead level or I'm buying and reinstalling material. This can't happen! When buying I stack 4 or 5 together, check, discard those that don't match, flip, repeat, disgard those that don't match, buy one from the remaining group. Take it home and check it against a plumbob. If it runs with the bob it is true. If it doesn't I take it back and trade for another until I get a "level" level. Plumbobs don't lie...Mike

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