Carpentry Tool Question! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 03-29-2016, 06:56 AM Thread Starter
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Question Carpentry Tool Question!

Hi,
I am a consultant working on a project in the tool industry and I would greatly appreciate your insight for my project!

I was wondering whether carpenters use levels in their work, and if so, how many levels do carpenters own?

Is brand important for a level? If so, which brands do you like?

Thanks so much for your insight!
Aviva
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post #2 of 16 Old 03-29-2016, 07:36 AM
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I just use a 4' level and a torpedo level. The brand isn't important to me. You can tell pretty quickly if it's made right or not by laying it on a surface and turn it 180 degrees and see if it reads the same.
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post #3 of 16 Old 03-29-2016, 09:21 PM
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I have 6 different levels made by Stabila. From a torpedo to a 4'. They are made in Germany and have machined glass vials that are not only very accurate, but have a bubble that doesn't shoot quickly from end to end in the vial. They are guaranteed to stay accurate even if you drop them off of a 55' tall roof.
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post #4 of 16 Old 03-29-2016, 11:27 PM
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Stabila levels are heirloom quality. If I needed one to rely on I'd get one, but as an excavator we usually work to the nearest foot or two.

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post #5 of 16 Old 01-13-2017, 10:47 AM
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As a trim carpenter, I usually have 4 levels. A 4 footer, 2 footer, a torpedo and a 6'6" level for kitchen installs. Most of mine are Empire brand.
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-13-2017, 11:28 AM
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Depending on the project at hand, (cabinets, table tops, flooring, etc.), a level is usually a positive item. As for sizes most carpenters have a large 4 foot+, & a smaller level in their tool listing. Any top brand, as mentioned, are IMO of better quality, but most can get the job done. Be safe.
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post #7 of 16 Old 01-13-2017, 11:36 AM
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We are a commercial only shop often working in large spaces. Our primary level is a rotary, remote control laser. We also carry torpedo, 2 & 4' spirit levels. Stabila levels are very nice but they get "legs" too often.
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-13-2017, 12:26 PM
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I work on boats. Levels are useless on board...
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-13-2017, 02:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J L View Post
I work on boats. Levels are useless on board...
Not really. I have worked on my own boats and have had occasion to check if something is "level." In calm water a level works fine.

For example a slight list may be difficult to eyeball. I may want to know the running angle.

I may not want to install cabinetry parallel to the deck. I may want it level as the boat sits or even possible level as the boat rides at cruise speed.

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post #10 of 16 Old 01-13-2017, 02:40 PM
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you should ask carpenters...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aviva View Post
Hi,
I am a consultant working on a project in the tool industry and I would greatly appreciate your insight for my project!

I was wondering whether carpenters use levels in their work, and if so, how many levels do carpenters own?

Is brand important for a level? If so, which brands do you like?

Thanks so much for your insight!
Aviva
Some of us woodworkers may or may not be carpenters, so you'll get answers that reflect the type of work it's used on. Woodworkers who make furniture, small chests and cabinets, will have no need for a level. The bench top is the reference surface and things are built and squared on that. For a cabinet installer a level is critical, and a 2 ft, a 4 ft and a 6 ft will all be used. A carpenter who installs doors will have the same types. A mason who is laying a block foundation will have at least a 2 ft. level or a laser level and a string level.

I probably have 8 levels from 6 ft down to a bubble level, but unless I'm doing construction work, I rarely use them. I have a 2 ft laser level that I use to align the exhaust pipes on my Hot Rod Truck project and it worked great. I needed the exhausts to arrive at the rear at the same height. So I jammed the level inside the tube and saw where the laser spot landed, made them the same height and the guess work was eliminated.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #11 of 16 Old 01-13-2017, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeC View Post
Not really. I have worked on my own boats and have had occasion to check if something is "level." In calm water a level works fine.

For example a slight list may be difficult to eyeball. I may want to know the running angle.

I may not want to install cabinetry parallel to the deck. I may want it level as the boat sits or even possible level as the boat rides at cruise speed.

George
In new boat builds, while the hull is upside down, levels are used to set bulkheads. This can be done because the jigs to build the hull were set level. Once that hull is flipped over and set on stands, levels are still able to be used although they are not prominently used at this point. Once the vessel is launched, levels are no longer used. All furniture and cabinetry built after this point is done based on the centerline of the vessel - either parallel or perpendicular. So I'll say again, levels are useless on board. Well, I did use one once as a straight edge. So not entirely useless, just not used as a level.
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post #12 of 16 Old 01-13-2017, 06:46 PM
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OK, here goes! I sold custom and factory cabinetry for about 2-1/2 years. I had the opportunity to visit lots of jobsites in that time. Houses were in the early stages of construction. We basically measured for cabinets after the house was in the dry. I never once saw a lever or carpenter's square at any jobsite at the time. However, the quality of construction in some houses looked like a project for a kindergarten class. Houses were built with the "by-guess and by-golly" approach.

J L, they could be used as door props.

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post #13 of 16 Old 01-13-2017, 07:17 PM
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]J L, they could be used as door props.
A torpedo level with the tapered ends would be a perfect door stop
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post #14 of 16 Old 01-13-2017, 07:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineknot_86 View Post
OK, here goes! I sold custom and factory cabinetry for about 2-1/2 years. I had the opportunity to visit lots of jobsites in that time. Houses were in the early stages of construction. We basically measured for cabinets after the house was in the dry. I never once saw a lever or carpenter's square at any jobsite at the time. However, the quality of construction in some houses looked like a project for a kindergarten class. Houses were built with the "by-guess and by-golly" approach.

J L, they could be used as door props.
I can safely say I never built houses wherever you live. I never met a framing crew that didn't have several levels on site ranging from 2 foot to 6 foot with the 6 footer the most often used.
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post #15 of 16 Old 02-07-2017, 09:46 PM
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I had many different brands from Stanley, Empire, Stabila and a few others. The Stabila have tended to be my favorites. They are a bit more pricey then the others but the benifits in build quality, longevity, and accuracy i think more than make up for that. I have a hand full of sizes from my 6" torpedo, my 15", 2', 4',5'and 6' jamb level that i mostly use while i'm trimming, i also have an 8' and extendable plate level that when closed is around 7' and when fully extended stretches to 12' 6 that comes in handy while framing and setting longer runs of cabinetry. They all have a time and place to be used. Im lucky enough to have a large variety of sizes, but could get buy with half of them if push came to shove.
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post #16 of 16 Old 02-07-2017, 11:58 PM
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