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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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Not so much ...

Levels, whether laser or bubble, plumb bobs and the like are "construction" tools rather than woodworking tools. You would have more responses from a site dealing with rough carpentry or a DIY site like this: http://www.diychatroom.com/

While I'm sure every woodworker may have a level or two, like I do, it's not one I use in woodworking, for building cabinets or making furniture. It's used more for installations where the cabinets should be leveled out. JMO.:smile3:
 
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Handheld levels are extremely important for any cabinetmaker, carpenter, architectural woodworker, millwright, etc. We use them both on site and in the shop. Large cabinet projects, for example, need to be set up in the shop level for construction. The most popular brand are the Stabila levels but they are also the most expensive. Levels take a beating. The Stabila levels can take it and remain accurate. Most in the trades will have several different sizes. In addition, laser levels as well as plumb bobs are also used. All of these different type levels are also used by masons. Here is a typical set. http://www.amazon.com/Stabila-196-L...kcompar-20&ascsubtag=56fa7bad48308f0c145bcf10

Personally, I've been in the business a lot longer than Stabila. Longer than lasers, too. My collection of levels is a hodgepodge of different brands and most have been replaced several times due to breakage or malfunction. Some of us may have a 72" level with 5 vials but only one of them is accurate. I've also used digital levels but found them to be too inaccurate, +- 1/4" and they lose their settings if you accidentally touch the zeroing buttons.
 

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I worked in sales for a cabinet shop, selling custom and factory built. A level is necessary for proper installation. Never saw a carpenter use a level or a square in 2-1/2 years. Never even saw one at a job site.
 

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A rather interesting thread.

First I am surprised that a consultant (I presume a person has to be expert in the field to be a consultant) would have to ask a question like this.

Second I am surprised at the woodworkers (vs carpenters) who seem to think a level is necessary for woodworking and not for carpentry. As a hobbyist woodworker I have never considered a level a tool I would nave need to use and do not remember ever using one.

However, as a person who does his own home maintenance and refurbishment I have frequent need for a level. How can a carpenter possibly work without a level?

I would be interested in some examples of where a woodworker uses a level. In woodworking the terms square, even, parallel, rectangular, etc are most common. The floor of my shop(my garage) has a built-in slope for drainage so nothing would ever b e level while it was being built on that floor. However, it would be level on and floor that was level.

George
 

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George,I guess it'll depend on a person's definition of "woodworker".We've done several,rather complicated stairways,to include "flying" curved systems.Levels are just one of the instruments used.I know one thing about curved stairways,we'll never do another without a fixed wire.Meaning,it's great using lasers and all for holding the radius center but,it's kinda hard(impossible),to "hook" a tape on them,haha.Music wire was once std in millshops for accurate measures.When lasers came around they sort of blew the wires off the layout guy's arsenal.

So just because one guy doesn't consider this or that project,woodworking....doesn't mean the next shop see's it that way.But I understand your point.
 

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Can't say I've ever used a level much in WW but as a carpenter for a living it's a necessity.

I own Johnson levels. They've been regularly abused and get checked regularly, still dead on. Like their saying goes, "Jobsite Tough".
 

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Levels are a necessity. I own at least one level of every size between a 10" and 96" with multiples of the 48" and an additional magnetic jamber set. In addition to the standard sizes I have a 78" jamber cut down for Pella and Marvin exterior 6'8" doors to clear the weatherstripping and a 96" cut down for the 7'6" doors that are becoming common.

Brand is important as far as reputation for accuracy and warranty. Most of my levels are Stabila with a couple of Sola's for good measure. Stabila has a great warranty and are very accurate long term and Sola's bubbles are very easy to read.
 

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In carpentry I consider our levels indispensable. All different sizes. We use them almost every day for some purpose or another. I have a cheap but reliable Empire 48", a torpedo and one of those little magnetic pocket levels that come with the Stabila tapes. I'd probably upgrade but my boss already has a set of Stabila's. Most commonly used are 78" (to quickly determine approx. how out walls and floors are), 48" (for various fixtures and appliances and door & window casings) and 2' (for tighter quarters). The torpedoes also always come in handy in a pinch. Some days I practically keep one in my back pocket.

I'm no expert but I know there's a Stabila with an optional extension of sorts. You'd know better than I the model and size but it's on the long side. What I'd like to see is a smaller one piece telescoping level, say 1' -> 3'. I find my folding wood ruler quite handy in certain situations, so a level designed with that principle in mind. I'd buy one if it could be made without being overly heavy or cumbersome.
 

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George,I guess it'll depend on a person's definition of "woodworker".We've done several,rather complicated stairways,to include "flying" curved systems.Levels are just one of the instruments used.I know one thing about curved stairways,we'll never do another without a fixed wire.Meaning,it's great using lasers and all for holding the radius center but,it's kinda hard(impossible),to "hook" a tape on them,haha.Music wire was once std in millshops for accurate measures.When lasers came around they sort of blew the wires off the layout guy's arsenal.

So just because one guy doesn't consider this or that project,woodworking....doesn't mean the next shop see's it that way.But I understand your point.
Stair making/installation would be a crossover job area. How much of each depends upon how much of the stair material you make from raw lumber and how much you purchase and install.

Installation certainly needs a level.

George
 

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I would like to know what you are fishing for. You raised the same question on a professional electrician site that I frequent. Do you (or your client) have something new going on or just researching variants of the same thing. No, I'm not looking for specifics or trade secrets, just curious if I should wait for the latest and greatest offering.
 

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Any good carpenter has at least 3 different levels.
Our woodworking group is made up of a diverse group, but we are not all carpenters. Therefore our need for levels is different from full time carpenters. A woodworking hobbyist may vary rarely have a need for a level. Furniture makers rarely need more than short torpedo level.
 
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I think woodworkers do use levels, just much less frequently than carpenters. After all, we do put shelves and clamp racks and the like in our shops. When I do that, I certainly want them level. I actually have 4 levels: a laser level, a short 8 inch level, a medium 3 foot level that is older than most on this site (inherited it from my grandfather and it's the best one) and a long 5 foot level I got from my father-in-law (who is a retired construction worker.)

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
thanks!

Thanks for all your help! it is very much appreciated!

I was wondering where carpenters usually buy tools. Are there specialty carpentry stores or is Home Depot the place to buy tools?
If there are specialty stores, what are the names of the biggest ones?

Also, are there specific brands used for carpentry tools? What are the most trusted brands in general in the industry?
Thanks!
 

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Thanks for all your help! it is very much appreciated!

I was wondering where carpenters usually buy tools. Are there specialty carpentry stores or is Home Depot the place to buy tools?
If there are specialty stores, what are the names of the biggest ones?

Also, are there specific brands used for carpentry tools? What are the most trusted brands in general in the industry?
Thanks!
This thread gets weirder and weirder.

Just what are you a consultant in/for/with if you do not know where carpenters buy tools.

It is time for you to tell something about yourself.

George
 

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I work in exhibits, and we use levels all the time. Also in store fixtures. When building a 12' display in 3 or 4 sections, being level is a must.
 

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I work in exhibits, and we use levels all the time. Also in store fixtures. When building a 12' display in 3 or 4 sections, being level is a must.
"When building a 12' display in 3 or 4 sections, being level is a must. "

I assume that you are building the displays in the exact spot where they will be used???

George
 
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