Sunday, December 30, 2012

Have you seen my 32 foot level?

How do you level a surface 32 foot long without forking out $200 for a laser level? With water and a lesson from Mr. Morneau's 8th grade science class.

(Actually, I'm not certain his name was Mr. Moreau or if we ever got lesson teaching this technique. He did shoot me with a class c fire extinguisher though.)

Anyway, I digress.

I needed to level the 16 foot by 32 foot frame for the geekshop, and my little 4 foot level wasn't cutting it so I popped over to my local (30 minute drive drive) big box store and grabbed 50 foot of 3/8 clear tubing. Not having a faithful assistant, I came up with this contraption to help me.

A couple pieces of plywood butt jointed together allowed my to secure the jig to the one corner I believed was higher than the rest. The other end would sit on the section I was working on.

Once the other end was in place, I would fill the origin point to the line and read the heigh of the water on the far end. This jig worked great for all 15 piers, even the one on the opposite corner.

I am proud to say the frame is now level, although I am a little more than embarrassed at how far off my masonry was. I guess I need to practice on my foundation skills.


  1. I have to admit that i have a laser level for stud work and the like but it's not much use outside as you can't see it! They built the prymids using water levels (although there they flooded the trenchs to get the level line)

  2. I didn't realize that with the laser levels, that is good to know. After talking it over with my buddy Jason, who has been doing this sort of work for over 15 years, he would have used a similar technique. The only change he would have made was to substitute a water hose and have his som hold the first end. I think the water technique is brilliant, but modern society tends to overlook the older, simpler, and completely acceptable methods of getting things done. Thanks for the comment!


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