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Tips from the Toolbox - Levels

There’s lots of ways to stay on the level. You could use a fancy tool like a laser or water level, but by far the most common and easy-to-use tool for the task is the spirit level.

They’re all pretty much the same:

  • There’s one bubble for checking if a surface is horizontal (or level)
  • There’s another bubble for checking if a surface is vertical (or plumb). Some levels have an extra little window and mirror built in to the plumb bubble to make it easier on your neck.

As a rule of thumb, use the longest spirit level available. This will give you a better overall measure of level or plumb, but if a long one won’t fit, there are shorter ones made for the job.

Take care of your levels, because if they get damaged or bent they won’t work properly. The I-beam style of levels is very robust, and can actually be struck with a hammer to make it easier to knock something into line.

There are some other nifty types: such as the post-level, which straps to a post (say a fence or pergola) to measure in two directions at once; or the tiny little line-level, which hangs on a stringline for paving, concreting or bricklaying.




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