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How To Use A Spirit Level

How To Use A Spirit Level

This video shows how a standard spirit level is used for Do-It-Yourself projects. There are also practical tips for purchasing levels and advice on storing them.

Okay, so how to use a spirit level. As you can see on the bench here, I have a different range, with different qualities and different lengths. This is called a small bolted level, then they range from a 2-foot, a 4-foot, a 6-foot.

You can also buy spirit levels that come in shorter lengths. But these are the ones that we frequently use in the workshop. I would normally use the large one for door linings and stud work and roof work; also for tight, fine cabinetry-making, as in the kitchen.

This one is just a general purpose level that I would use all around the workshop and all around the home. The two smaller ones are mainly a gimmick really, although they're very useful, I tend to use more the larger ones than the smaller ones just in fine places. When buying a level there are many cheap ones on the market.

The things to look for when buying a decent level is try and get them with the two bubbles top and bottom. On the cheaper versions, you only have the one bubble, so what tends to happen is that when you drop it, if the bubble is out, you won't know if it's out of level. If you have the two and they're not aligned, you know your level is out.

Same here, this bubble can sometimes move, particularly when you're dropping it. In a moment, I'll show you how to check your level is level. We'll run through that in a minute.

What I'll do in a minute is show you how to check your level on that board, basically, just a few tips on how to use your level. Obviously, we're on the side of the workbench here, but just to give you an idea - what I would do - this would be called plumb. When I'm putting in a door lining, I would check that my lining is touching all the side of the level.

I would then move the bubble so then the bubble would be within the two lines, like so. I would then check the bottom level, the bottom bubble, to see if we're level and plumb. If they're both in the same place, then this is level.

If they're not, then I'll adjust the line to make it level. If I'm touching top and bottom but I can see daylight through, that means I need to pack the lining. Also, when levelling flat surfaces, I would just put the level on like so, and I would check that the bubble is in between the two lines.

If the side of the bubble is touching one of the lines and not the other, even though it's a fraction, you may find over the length of the level this is perhaps 3 millimeters out. So make sure that your bubble is in between the two lines. This occurs mainly on a large level, because over a larger length this sometimes goes out of level.

So please make sure that your bubble is in between the two lines, not touching one side. All I'll simply do is I'll get a pencil, I'll check that the bubble is in between the two lines. With a pencil, I would mark there, and I would mark the bottom there.

I would then turn the level around, making sure the level is on the line there and on the line there. My bubble should be about on the same space. If it is, your level is level; if it's not, then it needs readjusting.

On the more expensive models, you can adjust the level, but to be honest with you I don't bother, I just discard it and buy a new one. You must take care when using your level - some of the better companies provide you with a pouch. Even just by dropping it on its end, this can move the bubble out quite a bit.

So please look after your levels and store them either up on a shelf or in your pouch. And there you go. And that's how you use a spirit level. .