On the level

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With pictures I have found that typically what a level indicates may not be what your eyes perceive as level. Basically other objects near the picture or a curved archway may in fact make a level picture look unlevel. I always depend on my eyes to make a picture look level.
I assume that levels with magnets stick to the studs in

Probably not correct, they "might" stick to steel studs that are in some more modern homes but mostly to stick to iron work. The magnets may in fact distort the level if most of the area you are working is non-ferrous and you have an odd object that the level is attracted to. I doubt that magnets on a level will pull through sheet rock.
That said, there are "Gecko" spelling? levels by B&D IIRC. They have a super surface that will almost stick to a vertical wall. Not totally unlike the material used on the guide rails on the new style circular saws that require no clamps to stay in place.
Any other uses for a "magnetic level"? I'm

Are you working with steel pipe or steel beams?
Stanley makes several, basic version from

Do you think you can see the tilt in a picture that is only .1 degrees out of level?
I would anticipate also

Nothing in my shop, 7' long TS, drill press, planer, router table work bench, drum sander, lathe, band saw, etc is level nor do any of them need to be level. Why would you need for them to be level?
I expect that a Starrett combination

The longer the level, the more accurate the results. The shorter levels are good for ball park settings but for larger objects like cabinets or doors yo want longer. Irregular surfaces on what you are trying to make level or plumb have less adverse results when using a longer level.

Reliability is important, if the level is calibrated correctly to begin with and you don't drop it very much there is not much that can go wrong with a liquid in a tube.
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Bill wrote:

While a level is sometimes important for such projects, there are other times you don't want what you are mounting level, you want it parallel to the ceiling (for a flat ceiling). A good example is drapery rods -- installing them level when the ceiling is not will make them look funny -- you want them an equal distance from the ceiling. Same is true of long pictures or other frames that can be referenced by eye to the ceiling. (DAMHIKT).
--

There is never a situation where having more rounds is a disadvantage

Rob Leatham
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Thank you for mentioning this Rob. I've got a set of drapery rods and curtains I need to install. Surprisingly, it has been an intimidating project I have put off (lots of strings, hooks, pleats, etc). I started it one day and, based on unexcusably-poor directions, put it away until I felt more enthusiastic.
Bill
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wrote:

needs to work with gravity.
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On Mon, 14 Dec 2009 23:13:15 -0500, the infamous snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca scrawled the following:

Ditto here, and I always verify that the window was installed level before putting anything up. Working with old, homebuilt houses, I've experienced a few "Mrs. Client, would you prefer that I hang the drapes parallel to the window opening level -or- the ceiling level?" and another one, "parallel with the closet frame or the closet door?" when there was a 1" gap and the door was level and square, and the frame was mudded and painted, no trim to hide it behind. <g> That last one was a 1970s tract home in LoCal.
-- Every day above ground is a Good Day(tm). -----------
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I was thinking about using my jointer plane (and others) on work in a vise (or on the workbench). I thought I read that it was important that the work be level, and this makes sense to me for several reasons. One may be so that one may use ones internal sense of "down" (i.e. gravity) to guide the cut. I speak without much experience; comments always welcome.
Bill
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Bill wrote:

The bench that my large vise is mounted to is "sorta" level. Depending on how much of a hurry I'm in, the piece to be planed may or may not be even with the jaws of the vise.
And you're right. The piece you're working on should be close to being level or at least parallel (kinda) to the floor.
But it's like Leon was saying about the curtain rods. If you mount a piece of wood into the vise and it looks ok, it likely is. When you're pushing through on a plane stroke, the plane sole will follow the edge of the wood by itself. And your push stroke will follow the lead of the plane, within reason.
There are quite a number of things to think about when you're planing a piece of wood, and when you're new at it, some of them are critical if you want a smooth surface. Having the piece dead-nuts level to the floor or the bench isn't one of them.
I'm not trying to talk you out of getting a level. I've had one for years, and if I lost it, I'd immediately get another one. I just never use it inside the shop.
YMMV
Tanus
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Nice post. One thing I've learned from this thread is that one doesn't alway want things to be level, necessarily. I was thinking about arranging some chunks of broken concrete to create curved walls encompassing a tree or flower bed (or both). Is a level good for that or do I need a transit (too)? ; )
Bill
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I don't want to make it seem like I want to post replies to my own post, but the following laser level seems like an easy way of making all of one's "flower beds" are the same height--or at least the same elevation... Not sure which of these is better. My dad, RIP, would have liked to tell me. He was a civil engineer and outstanding at landscaping.
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId#6983-16878-60208&lpage=none
Bill
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wrote:

Mike M
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Yes, yes, yes...your comment is well-taken. But appropriate use of a level may make or break your project.
I was watching a YouTube video on woodworking where someone had built a very large big "wall (storage) unit" and went out of the way to shim it this way and that to make it level--and that seemed counter-intuitive to me, I was thinking it should "fit the room". Frankly, that left me in a confused state.
It seems if you were installing anything that has to do with water (bath, kitchen, a boat) then you would desire certain surfaces to be level. (To me), it seems that anything else should follow the wall or ceiling lines or be balanced in between them.
Bill
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Bill wrote:

Not always. If a bathtub or shower pan or drainboard (do they call them that any more?) should or could have a slope to facilitate run-off.
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HeyBub wrote:

My tub had a slope the wrong way when I bought the house. Rotted out quite a lot before I finally figured out what the problem was and fixed it.
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Your tub rotted?
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Leon wrote:

Nope. The wall, the floor, the joists, . . .
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So was that water that leaked between the tub and wall?
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Leon wrote:

Actually went on the floor and under the tub. Tubs have a lip that is intended to catch water on three sides--you want it sloped so that water runs toward the lip on the back of the tub so most of it stays in the tub. Mine was sloped the other way A bad seal around the valves let water run behind the wall, down into the gap between that lip and the wall, it then ran down the open side of the tub, behind the wall, and out onto the floor under the vinyl. First sign that there was a problem was when I put my foot through the floor. When I got into it I found that the floor was rotted out from above, and water had run down alongside the nails onto the tops of the joists and rotted them between the joist and subfloor. Huge mess. Didn't help that the previous owner had had the same thing happen, done a half-assed job of fixing it and not bothered to check the levelling of the tub.
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I had the subfloor in a half-bath rot out without me knowing it. I discovered the problem when I was pulling the fixtures out preparing to tile the floor. I first noticed the strange aluminum flashing and caulking under the baseboard. Then when I removed the vanity I discovered the subflooring under it had turned to dust. Evidently the previous owners knew about the leak but perhaps thought it was their kid taking a bath on the floor and tried to dam up the walls. The problem was a pin hole in the hot water supply pipe in the wall. I found it by feel; a nail had worked its way from the inside out. Amazingly, it never leaked enough to get to the kitchen ceiling, below.
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Yeah and the fact that water is normally clear makes it hard to notice.

Sounds like a real mess you had.
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