spirit levels

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Fred

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Jun 30, 2012, 5:15:51 AM6/30/12
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Hi,

Does the group have any recommendations for a good spirit level, or
any tales of bad spirit levels best to avoid?

I ask because some years ago, I bought a 4' level from Screwfix. It
was a cheap, unbranded one. I have used it to put up shelves and
radiators without problems but the other week, I was trying to install
a door frame.

The level said the wall was plumb, the frame was plumb, and the door
was plumb. But the door would not close; it fouled against the frame.

Standing back, I noticed that the wall (and thus the frame) were not
truly vertical. I put a packer between the top of the frame and the
wall, which bought the frame true and the door shut perfectly.

I cannot understand why the level said the frame and wall were plumb
when they were not. Is it that they are less accurate when used
vertically than horizontal? Is it that unbranded ones are just less
accurate?

I notice that branded ones say they are accurate to 0.5mm/m but
unbranded ones keep quiet about their accuracy!

TIA

Roger Mills

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Jun 30, 2012, 5:28:27 AM6/30/12
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It's best to check *any* spirit level periodically by putting it on a
levelish surface and then turning it round to make sure that the bubble
is in the same relative position. The same applies for vertical
measurement, by putting each edge in turn against (say) a door jamb, and
checking that it tells the same story both ways round. Some levels have
the bubble bits in circular housings which can be rotated slightly to
make them read true.

The only trouble I've had with the cheap Screwfix levels is that if you
put one down a bit heavily, the bubble breaks up into hundreds of little
bubbles and takes ages to re-combine.
--
Cheers,
Roger
____________
Please reply to Newsgroup. Whilst email address is valid, it is seldom
checked.

NT

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Jun 30, 2012, 5:32:03 AM6/30/12
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I've used levels from fancy quality quality to poundland, and they all
work perfectly well. Is good practice to check the level before each
job - just put it on a level surface both ways round, if it reads the
same each way its good.


NT

The Medway Handyman

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Jun 30, 2012, 5:41:05 AM6/30/12
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On 30/06/2012 10:15, Fred wrote:
As others have said, check the bubble by turning the level.

Cheap levels work OK if treated gently. I did have a Magnusson B&Q own
label level which was shite as the vial frequently fell out!


--
Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

ARWadsworth

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Jun 30, 2012, 6:46:52 AM6/30/12
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As I am an electrician I have to ask "what is a spirit level and why would
you need one?"


--
Adam


F Murtz

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Jun 30, 2012, 6:49:21 AM6/30/12
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If the vertical has only one bubble unit it may or may not read upside down.

charles

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Jun 30, 2012, 7:08:38 AM6/30/12
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In article <jsmles$k9l$1...@dont-email.me>, ARWadsworth
You might want to install eitehr a socket outlet or a switch and have the
top edge hoizontal - you know it makes sense.

--
From KT24

Using a RISC OS computer running v5.18

Hugh - Was Invisible

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Jun 30, 2012, 7:23:43 AM6/30/12
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or make a cable run vertical or horizontal

John Rumm

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Jun 30, 2012, 7:36:00 AM6/30/12
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On 30/06/2012 10:15, Fred wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Does the group have any recommendations for a good spirit level, or
> any tales of bad spirit levels best to avoid?

Depend a bit on what you want to use them for... For example, my medium
sized level (approx 90 cm) I have found great for many tasks, but not
good for brickwork, because the vial is not as easy to see from the top
- being partially enclosed.

> I ask because some years ago, I bought a 4' level from Screwfix. It
> was a cheap, unbranded one. I have used it to put up shelves and
> radiators without problems but the other week, I was trying to install
> a door frame.

With any level it is worth checking from time to time. Draw a line on a
surface, then reverse and draw again - the lines should be parallel!

> The level said the wall was plumb, the frame was plumb, and the door
> was plumb. But the door would not close; it fouled against the frame.
>
> Standing back, I noticed that the wall (and thus the frame) were not
> truly vertical. I put a packer between the top of the frame and the
> wall, which bought the frame true and the door shut perfectly.
>
> I cannot understand why the level said the frame and wall were plumb
> when they were not. Is it that they are less accurate when used
> vertically than horizontal? Is it that unbranded ones are just less
> accurate?

It could be its always been out on the vertical vial, but since that
gets used less it has not been noticed.

Better levels are adjustable, cheap ones might be stuck wrong!

> I notice that branded ones say they are accurate to 0.5mm/m but
> unbranded ones keep quiet about their accuracy!

That's before they have been dropped and kicked about a bit as well.


--
Cheers,

John.

/=================================================================\
| Internode Ltd - http://www.internode.co.uk |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
| John Rumm - john(at)internode(dot)co(dot)uk |
\=================================================================/


Bill

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Jun 30, 2012, 8:19:01 AM6/30/12
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In message <jsmles$k9l$1...@dont-email.me>, ARWadsworth
<adamwa...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes

>> I notice that branded ones say they are accurate to 0.5mm/m but
>> unbranded ones keep quiet about their accuracy!
>>
>> TIA
>
>As I am an electrician I have to ask "what is a spirit level and why would
>you need one?"

They are handy for leaning on, when I hurt my back earlier this year I
used one as a walking stick for a couple of days.

Handy for beating the apprentice with?


>
>

--
Bill

ARWadsworth

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Jun 30, 2012, 8:39:29 AM6/30/12
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I spent an hour last week teaching an apprentice to use one. He is OK with
new builds where the back boxes are surface mounted but he struggled with
rewires where the boxes are sunk flush and he could not rest the level on
top of the back box. He got there in the end. I double checked all the boxes
he installed and only one had to be altered.

I was rather pleased with his work. In fact I was so pleased with his work I
sent him to the shop in the pouring rain to buy 2 massive bacon, sausage and
egg sandwiches for us (with my money). I even let him use my hi-viz
waterproof jacket and my hi-viz waterproof trousers for the trip:-)




--
Adam


pcb1962

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Jun 30, 2012, 8:41:32 AM6/30/12
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On 30/06/12 11:46, ARWadsworth wrote:

>
> As I am an electrician I have to ask "what is a spirit level and why would
> you need one?"

That would explain this :-)
http://s428.photobucket.com/albums/qq6/adamko2020/?action=view&current=100_0886.jpg

ARWadsworth

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Jun 30, 2012, 9:10:09 AM6/30/12
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That was on yesterdays snagging list.

It is still not my problem:-)

--
Adam


Jo Stein

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Jun 30, 2012, 9:32:48 AM6/30/12
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On 30.06.2012 11:32, NT wrote:

> I've used levels from fancy quality quality to poundland, and they all
> work perfectly well. Is good practice to check the level before each
> job - just put it on a level surface both ways round, if it reads the
> same each way its good.

If it do not reads the same each way it is still good.
You just make a note in your head where that bubble must
be located in order to have a leveled surface.
As simple as that!
--
jo
"The universe we observe has precisely the properties
we should expect if there is, at the bottom, no design,
no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind,
pitiless indifference." --Richard Dawkins


Steve Firth

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Jun 30, 2012, 10:00:28 AM6/30/12
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ARWadsworth <adamwa...@blueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

> I was rather pleased with his work. In fact I was so pleased with his work I
> sent him to the shop in the pouring rain to buy 2 massive bacon, sausage and
> egg sandwiches for us (with my money). I even let him use my hi-viz
> waterproof jacket and my hi-viz waterproof trousers for the trip:-)

You're all heart, Adam.

PeterC

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Jun 30, 2012, 10:07:55 AM6/30/12
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On Sat, 30 Jun 2012 20:49:21 +1000, F Murtz wrote:

> If the vertical has only one bubble unit it may or may not read upside down.

I've a 2m level where the vertical is only a couple of inches from one end -
my eye-level is about 1m 83 and I can't read the vial thing!
--
Peter.
The gods will stay away
whilst religions hold sway

PeterC

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Jun 30, 2012, 10:15:58 AM6/30/12
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On Sat, 30 Jun 2012 10:15:51 +0100, Fred wrote:

> Hi,
>
> Does the group have any recommendations for a good spirit level, or
> any tales of bad spirit levels best to avoid?
>
I recently got a set of four (300, 600, 1200 and 2m) from Axminster as a
special offer. The set is still here:
http://www.axminster.co.uk/levels-and-accessories-dept208102_pg1/#page=2
but seems expensive compared with the set of three plus the 2m separately (I
haven't compared the details).

They seem to be OK when checked and I've just been using the 600 on a new
fence[1].

[1] Bit redundant for vertical as the posts were such that a banana would
have been of more use!

Stephen H

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Jun 30, 2012, 12:09:30 PM6/30/12
to
Shame on you!!!

When I do electrics, I use a spirit level to make sure my back boxes,
surface mount boxes wall sockets, light switches, are all level.....
There is nothing worse than standing back and spotting a crooked
faceplate or box...

Same goes for when I do plumbing, I use a spirit level on the radiator
wall brackets, on vertical pipes, and for checking that there is a fall
or rise on certain types of pipes such as gravity fed circuits.

Stephen

Stephen

harry

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Jun 30, 2012, 2:11:19 PM6/30/12
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On Jun 30, 1:39 pm, "ARWadsworth" <adamwadswo...@blueyonder.co.uk>
wrote:
> Bill wrote:
> > In message <jsmles$k9...@dont-email.me>, ARWadsworth
> > <adamwadswo...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes
> Adam- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Don't you get the backboxes with the moveable screw fixing to get
round that problem?

harry

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Jun 30, 2012, 2:14:19 PM6/30/12
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> Stephen- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Very few pipes should be level.

Andy Champ

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Jun 30, 2012, 3:38:58 PM6/30/12
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On 30/06/2012 11:49, F Murtz wrote:
>>
> If the vertical has only one bubble unit it may or may not read upside
> down.


Use the other edge. You have no reason to believe that the two bubbles
will show the same level.

Come to that, I don't think I've ever seen two for opposite levels. Mine
all have a vertical and a horizontal bubble, and a couple have a 45
degree one.

Andy

Rick Hughes

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Jun 30, 2012, 3:48:09 PM6/30/12
to
On 30/06/2012 10:15, Fred wrote:
Most you are in Wickes / B&Q etc are only 1mm/1m accuracy .

Worth paying the extra and getting 0.5mm / 1m aqccuracy .... much more
accurate ..

I have a 300mm, 12000, 20000mm level ... the first 2 are DRAPER expert
range and the long one is a FISCO Big X



John Williamson

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Jun 30, 2012, 4:04:13 PM6/30/12
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Blimey, those last two are longer than our buses... :-)


--
Tciao for Now!

John.

Brian Gaff

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Jul 1, 2012, 4:09:03 AM7/1/12
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I'm looking for one of those audible ones that used to be everywhere a few
years ago. I found one and ordered it but nothing has turned up though I
suspect the company has got my dosh. I feel a fight going on.

Brian

--
--
From the sofa of Brian Gaff -
bri...@blueyonder.co.uk
Blind user, so no pictures please!
"Bill" <Bi...@birchnet.demon.co.uk> wrote in message
news:w+9yqe71...@birchnet.demon.co.uk...

Jeremy Nicoll - news posts

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Jul 1, 2012, 6:55:45 AM7/1/12
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Fred <fr...@no-email.here.invalid> wrote:

> I cannot understand why the level said the frame and wall were plumb when
> they were not. Is it that they are less accurate when used vertically than
> horizontal? Is it that unbranded ones are just less accurate?

If you put a level on a flat surface, then lift one end very slightly, it's
worth noting just how much the bubble moves by. Conversely, you need to be
careful looking at the bubble to be certain it's properly aligned between
the marks in the tube.

Do you have perfectly sharp vision? (I was soldering something small
yesterday & found my reading glasses no longer show me things crisply
enough...)

As a matter of course I've always used the longest spirit level that will
fit into/onto whatever I'm levelling AND have always tried it in the reverse
orientation as well, just to cross-check each reading.

Also in a lot of situations something that's technically level/plumb will
look wrong if some part of the adjacent furniture/fittings is not perfectly
level/plumb. It's not always clear what to do.

Someone else mentioned always using a level when eg fitting back boxes; I've
seen people using a 6" level for that - I wonder if that's really accurate
enough.



--
Jeremy C B Nicoll - my opinions are my own.

Email sent to my from-address will be deleted. Instead, please reply
to newsre...@wingsandbeaks.org.uk replacing "aaa" by "284".

neil

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Jul 1, 2012, 7:54:15 AM7/1/12
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"F Murtz" wrote in message
news:WQAHr.8966$%E2....@viwinnwfe01.internal.bigpond.com...
But it would read back to front

fido

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Jul 1, 2012, 7:30:34 PM7/1/12
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No doubt that's why all your sockets you install look wonky.

John Rumm

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Jul 1, 2012, 9:59:34 PM7/1/12
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Can't you make it your problem and bill the client for a nice
Multimaster Top to fix it ;-)

Rick Hughes

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Jul 2, 2012, 1:07:56 PM7/2/12
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ooops a 0 too many ....

dochol...@gmail.com

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Jul 2, 2012, 1:31:31 PM7/2/12
to
On Saturday, June 30, 2012 10:15:51 AM UTC+1, Fred wrote:
> Hi,
>
> Does the group have any recommendations for a good spirit level, or
> any tales of bad spirit levels best to avoid?
>
> I ask because some years ago, I bought a 4' level from Screwfix. It
> was a cheap, unbranded one. I have used it to put up shelves and
> radiators without problems but the other week, I was trying to install
> a door frame.
>
> The level said the wall was plumb, the frame was plumb, and the door
> was plumb. But the door would not close; it fouled against the frame.
>
> Standing back, I noticed that the wall (and thus the frame) were not
> truly vertical. I put a packer between the top of the frame and the
> wall, which bought the frame true and the door shut perfectly.
>
> I cannot understand why the level said the frame and wall were plumb
> when they were not. Is it that they are less accurate when used
> vertically than horizontal? Is it that unbranded ones are just less
> accurate?
>
Some levels have a longer vial for horizontal than for vertical, which should make them more accurate. I'd tend to agree with the other suggestions, though, and say it's not the basic accuracy but the setup of the vial used for vertical measurements that's out. You can usually adjust this, though some levels I've had are better than others...

Onetap

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Jul 2, 2012, 1:46:18 PM7/2/12
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On Saturday, June 30, 2012 11:46:52 AM UTC+1, adamwa...@blueyonder.co.uk wrote:


> As I am an electrician I have to ask "what is a spirit level and why would
> you need one?"
>
>
> --
> Adam

Do please tell me that was a wah.
Please.

ARWadsworth

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Jul 2, 2012, 2:37:04 PM7/2/12
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wah?
way above head?

I just considered it to be a joke.

--
Adam


ARWadsworth

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Jul 2, 2012, 2:44:05 PM7/2/12
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And one that Dave Plowman would usually comment on:-)

--
Adam


The Medway Handyman

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Jul 2, 2012, 4:01:45 PM7/2/12
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But when do you need that degree of accuracy? Can't think of anything I
do where 0.5mm over a metre would make any difference. You certainly
wouldn't be able to see that with the naked eye.


--
Dave - The Medway Handyman www.medwayhandyman.co.uk

js...@ntlworld.com

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Jul 2, 2012, 7:07:13 PM7/2/12
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Buy a Bosch Quigo from Amazon or somewhere.
Self Levelling Laser, paints a cross-on a wall, acrow, floor, lintel, door, shelf, tiling, wallpaper, sockets, wood panelling, anything. Suspect it is not good enough outdoors, but it is absolutely wonderful otherwise.

A good cheap spirit level is a Stabila 24", 0.5mm/m accuracy, german, about £12 delivered if you shop around (sometimes better).

The Quigo is a wonderful tool though.

dochol...@gmail.com

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Jul 3, 2012, 7:21:41 AM7/3/12
to davi...@blueyonder.co.uk
I would argue that it can be a mistake to go for too accurate a level, as it reduces usability. My most accurate level is a Hilger and Watts level with 0.05mm per metre divisions. It's great for getting say a large machine, which has already been levelled with something cruder, to be as level as possible - but it's absolutely useless for general work, as the bubble just zips from one end of the vial to the other with an almost imperceptible movement. The fact that the body is a couple of kilos of cast iron doesn't help, either...

whisky-dave

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Jul 3, 2012, 8:54:13 AM7/3/12
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On Saturday, June 30, 2012 1:39:29 PM UTC+1, adamwa...@blueyonder.co.uk wrote:
> Bill wrote:
> > In message <jsmles$k9l$1...@dont-email.me>, ARWadsworth
> > <adamwa...@blueyonder.co.uk> writes
> >
> > > > I notice that branded ones say they are accurate to 0.5mm/m but
> > > > unbranded ones keep quiet about their accuracy!
> > > >
> > > > TIA
> > >
> > > As I am an electrician I have to ask "what is a spirit level and
> > > why would you need one?"
> >
> > They are handy for leaning on, when I hurt my back earlier this year
> > I used one as a walking stick for a couple of days.
> >
> > Handy for beating the apprentice with?
>
> I spent an hour last week teaching an apprentice to use one. He is OK with
> new builds where the back boxes are surface mounted but he struggled with
> rewires where the boxes are sunk flush and he could not rest the level on
> top of the back box. He got there in the end. I double checked all the boxes
> he installed and only one had to be altered.
>
> I was rather pleased with his work. In fact I was so pleased with his work I
> sent him to the shop in the pouring rain to buy 2 massive bacon, sausage and
> egg sandwiches for us (with my money). I even let him use my hi-viz
> waterproof jacket and my hi-viz waterproof trousers for the trip:-)

That sounds serious, are you in love ;-)

>
>
>
>
> --
> Adam

ARWadsworth

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Jul 3, 2012, 2:35:38 PM7/3/12
to
No. It was pissing it down and I was starving. And rewarding good work is
just as satisifying as bollocking them for lying to you.


--
Adam


Grimly Curmudgeon

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Jul 3, 2012, 7:45:49 PM7/3/12
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On Sat, 30 Jun 2012 10:15:51 +0100, Fred <fr...@no-email.here.invalid>
wrote:

>I cannot understand why the level said the frame and wall were plumb
>when they were not. Is it that they are less accurate when used
>vertically than horizontal? Is it that unbranded ones are just less
>accurate?

It's easy to check - place it against a vertical, then turn it around
and try again - it should be the same.

Fred

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Jul 4, 2012, 1:33:02 PM7/4/12
to
On Sat, 30 Jun 2012 10:28:27 +0100, Roger Mills <watt....@gmail.com>
wrote:

>It's best to check *any* spirit level periodically by putting it on a
>levelish surface and then turning it round to make sure that the bubble
>is in the same relative position. The same applies for vertical
>measurement, by putting each edge in turn against (say) a door jamb, and
>checking that it tells the same story both ways round.

Thanks everyone. Pretty much everyone said to turn it around and try
it both ways, which I have never heard before nor thought to do. I
shall do that from now on, thanks.

> Some levels have the bubble bits in circular housings which can be rotated slightly to
>make them read true.

Yes, I will go and see if the vial can be rotated a little.

I'm probably about to ask another daft question but why is the bubble
shorter than the gap between the two lines? I always try to get the
bubble an equal distance from both lines and whilst I suppose that is
easy to do by eye, wouldn't it be simpler to have the space between
the lines the same width as the bubble, so that when level the bubble
touches both lines?

Or do the lines signify something? Are they a 1mm/m slope or
something? Why don't they put this information on the packets, to save
me asking embarrassing questions on Usenet?

TIA

John Williamson

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Jul 4, 2012, 1:52:38 PM7/4/12
to
On 04/07/2012 18:33, Fred wrote:
> I'm probably about to ask another daft question but why is the bubble
> shorter than the gap between the two lines? I always try to get the
> bubble an equal distance from both lines and whilst I suppose that is
> easy to do by eye, wouldn't it be simpler to have the space between
> the lines the same width as the bubble, so that when level the bubble
> touches both lines?
>
It's designed that way because the size of the bubble changes with
temperature, and it's easier to judge the size of the gaps that way than
if the bubble is bigger than the gap between the lines.

Oddly enough, the least accurate way to judge the position is when the
bubble is exactly the same size as the interline gap.

Fred

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Jul 6, 2012, 2:40:52 PM7/6/12
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On Wed, 04 Jul 2012 18:52:38 +0100, John Williamson
<johnwil...@btinternet.com> wrote:

>It's designed that way because the size of the bubble changes with
>temperature, and it's easier to judge the size of the gaps that way than
>if the bubble is bigger than the gap between the lines.

Thank you, that makes perfect sense.

>Oddly enough, the least accurate way to judge the position is when the
>bubble is exactly the same size as the interline gap.

I can see how having the bubble expand larger than the gap could make
things difficult but I never thought having it the same width as the
gap would be difficult too.

Perhaps I always use mine in the cold but the bubble is always smaller
than the gap, which means you can have the bubble in the gap but not
be level, i.e. it is nearer one line than the other. Still, like you
say, it is easy enough to judge it by eye until the bubble is central.
I'm probably thinking too much about it ;)

John Williamson

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Jul 6, 2012, 4:32:11 PM7/6/12
to
On 06/07/2012 19:40, Fred wrote:
> On Wed, 04 Jul 2012 18:52:38 +0100, John Williamson
>> Oddly enough, the least accurate way to judge the position is when the
>> bubble is exactly the same size as the interline gap.
>
> I can see how having the bubble expand larger than the gap could make
> things difficult but I never thought having it the same width as the
> gap would be difficult too.
>
The problem is that the ends of the bubble are hidden by the lines if
it's the same size as the gap, so you've always got an uncertainty in
bubble position of the line width.

> Perhaps I always use mine in the cold but the bubble is always smaller
> than the gap, which means you can have the bubble in the gap but not
> be level, i.e. it is nearer one line than the other. Still, like you
> say, it is easy enough to judge it by eye until the bubble is central.
> I'm probably thinking too much about it ;)

Or not enough. Then again, I looked into this in detail at school
<mumble> years ago, out of curiosity. Until then, I thought the same as
you did. :-)
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