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Re: laser levels

To: "Mark Andy" <>
Subject: Re: laser levels
From: "Karl Vacek" <>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 2005 11:34:21 -0500
> Is the proper use of a water level described anywhere?

I don't know how you're "officially" supposed to use one, but I've done this
to level a huge deck and also the foundation for a 38' x 25' hangar, and
they've come out as close to perfectly level as I can tell.

Pick a reference point - i.e. the spot to which you want to level.  On the
hangar, for instance, I picked the highest point of the perimeter, and knew
I could bring the other spots up to that grade.

Fill the tube with water - leaving at least a foot of airspace at each end.
Make sure there are no bubbles in the water.  Last time, I bought some 1/2"
tubing (mainly because I got it cheap), and it was lots easier to fill than
smaller tubing.  I also suspect that if the tubing is too small capillary
action may make it less accurate or slower to level.  With the 1/2" tube I
could quickly lift and drop one end of the tube a little and actually get
the water to swing back and forth, so I knew it was leveling well.

I use masking tape to fasten the tube to my reference point, and another
piece of tape on which to make my master level reference mark.  If you're
leveling to the top of a pipe or a stake, you'll need another pipe or stake
a little taller on which to fasten the water tube, so the end of the tube is
a little higher than the level point.

Take the other end of the tube (note that you have to be careful to keep
both ends of the tube at similar levels or you'll let your water run out one
end or the other - an obvious point that's easy to forget while you're
actually walking around) and carry it to the next point to be leveled and
attach the tube to that place.  Again, having some attachment point taller
than the actual spot you're leveling helps.  Go back to the reference point
and adjust the attachment point of the tube till the water level is back at
the reference height.  Go back to your new level spot and mark the level of
the water, which should now be exactly the same as the reference level.

A variation on this is to mark the water level on both ends of the tube
after you've attached it to your reference point.  Carry the tube to the
second point and adjust the height till the water level is at the mark on
the tube.  Mark that level on your new point.  I still like to double check
each end to make sure that both levels are the same and nothing has moved.

I always mark each spot relative to one main "master" spot so any variations
will not be cumulative.  Then I recheck everything after I'm done, sighting,
etc. and maybe water-level some of my marks against each other to make
doubly sure.  I'm not doing this for speed - just accuracy.

Good luck !!


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