Do It Yourself: Properly Using A Level

Do you know how to properly use a level? Or even how one works? Find out this and more by reading this informative article!

Whether you are a professional carpenter, excavator, or bricklayer, or you are just a "do - it - yourselfer" around the house, a level is one tool you can't often work without. A level does just as its name implies. It helps you to ascertain whether an object, whether it be vertical or horizontal- is level or even.

There are many different types of levels, such as torpedo, carpenter's, string, combination, specialty, water, bull's eye, and laser. The laser is the newest type of level, and with its use of modern technology, possibly even the truest.

Three of the most common levels are the torpedo level, carpenter's level, and the bull's eye level. A torpedo level gets its name from its looks. It's long body and rounded ends resemble another torpedo - an explosive, underwater device that is fired from ships or submarines. Torpedo levels are typically six to eight inches long, making them the perfect size to slip into your pocket when it's not in use. The carpenter's level is the largest of the levels available, as it usually measures a full four feet long. It is also available in a two-foot size. The bull's eye level doesn't need to be held. Instead, it has a strap attached to it that secures it to the object that needs to be level. There is another type of level, the post-and-pipe level, which basically works the same way. It is attached to a post with rubber bands.

Now, what these levels have in common is the way in which they work. They all have at least one vial and a bubble. (The torpedo level has, in fact, three airtight vials. Each one gives a different reading. One is for level, one is for plumb, and the third is for measuring forty - five degree angles.) The vial is airtight, and it is filled with a colored liquid. Inside the liquid is a permanent bubble. When the level is laid on an object or surface, or placed against an object or surface, the location of the bubble tells you whether or not the object, or surface, is level. If the bubble floats to the middle of the vial, then it is level. But, if the bubble floats to the left side, that means the object is low on the left side. On the other hand, if the bubble floats to the right side, that means the object is low on the right side. To adjust the object, depending on the level reading, you will need to raise either the left or the right side up until the bubble inside the level floats to the exact middle of the airtight vial.

The laser level works altogether differently in that it incorporates some modern technology into its workings. It contains no airtight vials with bubbles. Instead, the laser level emits a straight, visible, laser beam. To use this type of level, you point its laser beam at the object or surface that you want to be level. The laser level will blink as long as the object or surface is not in a level position. Therefore, you must adjust the object or surface either up or down until the level quits blinking. When it does, that means that you have found a level place.

In a pinch, you can check the levelness of a surface or object by placing a round object on top of it. You can use a golf ball, marble, tennis ball - anything that is perfectly round. Simply place the round object on the object or surface. If it rolls to the left or the right, or back and forth, that will tell you it is not level. But, if it stays in one place, you will know it is relatively level.

Whenever you use a traditional level, you must make sure that it is placed directly on the object or the surface you are checking. That is, if there is dirt, or other debris, or any stray objects underneath the level, it cannot give a true reading.

© High Speed Ventures 2011