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#401 - Making Waves - Water Projects

Featured Tool - Levels

A small plastic level can be picked up for about $5 and will more than pay for itself when you no longer need to worry about eyeballing a project. Levels ensure that things such as pictures, counters, and shelves are truly horizontal (level) and that wallpaper and cabinets are actually vertical (plumb). This week we used a level to make sure that the base of our pond would rest perfectly level in the hole we dug.

Regardless of size, most work the same (except an electronic level): a small vial is filled with colorful fluid with a single bubble. The vial is marked with two lines on either side of its center point. When the bubble is perfectly aligned between the lines, it is level. Most levels have two or three vials in different positions - horizontal, vertical, and 45 degrees, to maximize their versatility. When buying a level, look for one with replaceable vials and a "window" so you can see your vial from above.

While it is not unusual to see some tools such as power drills come with built in levels; here are a few different types of levels:

Torpedo most common, smaller about 9" long, has three vials to measure horizontal, vertical, and 45 degrees
Straight Edge 2', 4', and longer, in addition to its vials it also has measurements
Post Level fits around a vertical surface. Used when installing a post for a fence or a gate, measures plumb (vertical) on two sides at one time.
Line Level used where no flat surfaces are available. For instance, a line level can be attached to a string and stretched between two points, allowing the user to make an accurate comparison of heights between the two points
Electronic a devise that uses sensors rather than vials. Will light up and/or beep when it is level or plumb

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