Level, Plumb, Curvy, Straight and Square

Personal safety workwear and construction blueprint shot directly above

Personal safety workwear and construction blueprint shot directly above

Ironically, in order to construct things better, we have to do a lot of deconstructing to get there. We need to first check the trueness of our structures. We do this by checking to see if they are level, plumb, curvy, straight or square. Here are some questions you might ask:

How do you square a large room or an entire building?
How do you make a long wall straight?
How do you align a whole yard full of fence posts?
How do you hang every picture in a room at the exact same level, or mark the

exact center of the dining room table … on the ceiling?

New Building Permits Shoot Up To Highest Level Since 2009

New Building Permits Shoot Up To Highest Level Since 2009

The problem with leveling and square and keeping straight is one of SCALE … that’s where inconsistencies slip in. Scale is one of the reasons golf is such a challenging game. The tiniest deviation over several hundred yards makes a huge difference.

Level - is horizontal…only horizontal!

Many people use a Spirit level – a sealed vial of water with a bubble set in some length of frame. Why is it called a spirit level?? The answer….Alcohol. Alcohols have low viscosity and surface tension, which allows the bubble to travel the tube quickly and settle accurately with minimal interference from the glass surface.

Plumb - is vertical … only vertical!

Plumb comes from the Latin word plumbus, which means “lead” - same root as the word “plumbing.” Plumb is always pointing to the center of the earth because that is the center of gravity in a massive sphere. Which BTW, is one simple way of knowing the earth is not flat. If the earth were a disk, the center of gravity would be the center of that disk and if you lived out near the outer edge your plumb bob would point inward at a severe angle.

Laser levels - have largely replaced level and plumb bobs.

That doesn’t mean they don’t have issues! The farther a beam travels the larger it spreads. Bright light can make reading a laser difficult, if not impossible.

On the plus side:

Lasers don’t sag
Lasers don’t warp
Lasers draw their own lines

Square - square is determined by a mathematical theorem.

Straight - two nails and a nylon string line can make long lines accurate. Make sure the line is as tight as possible. Want to know how to use a string line? Check out my video BELOW.

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images