Keeping Things On The Level

By: Chuck Lunsford

Levels in their basic form have been used for thousands of years. Ancient South American Indians used a crude form of the level, utilizing water in a bowl to form a bubble, to design and build their irrigation canals. Modern researchers have marveled at the engineering of these canals, none of which would have been possible without the use of a level. Since then this handy tool has evolved into the implement we see today in most do-it-yourselfers tool boxes, as well as the larger commercial job sites.

Without the common level as we know it we would be seriously challenged to build above one-story without fear of the whole structure coming down on our heads. In this article I intend to cover some of the types of levels in use today as well their care and storage.

Types of Levels

Wood, aluminum, or magnesium is the materials commonly used to make most levels.

During the 1800's these tools were often made using iron as the frame. The better wood-framed devices were made using beech and oak, with teak being used for the highest-quality levels.

Shortest of all is the line level, which is used suspended from a string that has been pulled taut. This is done for long-span leveling, as in road grading or foundation work on homes or buildings.

Longest of all is the , typically four feet long (although some models today range up to eight feet in length ) and used to cover broad spans in concrete work to show which cement blocks need adjusting,

The is about two feet long and is equipped with both plumb vials for checking vertical surfaces and level vials for checking horizontal surfaces.

The torpedo level is popular and handy in that it fits where its longer cousins won't. It is also equipped with both plumb and level vials.

Taking Care of A Level.

Although having no moving parts a level is still susceptible to damage caused by rough handling or neglect. Considering the price of a quality level it is in ones best interest to take care of it. A simple wipe down and keeping it stored in a carrying case is more than enough to keep most levels on the job for decades.

Few jobs could be completed without this humble, but necessary implement. Whatever the job there is a level available to aid in the completion of it. Choose the right one, take care it and it will take care of you for years to come.

Kitchen Design
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