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Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 06-07-2012 01:29 AM 1726 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2419 days


06-07-2012 01:29 AM

I need to get a couple of levels for carpentry and cabinetmaking, I am looking getting some Johnson 524 and 548 Mahogany Levels Made in USA or the Stabila Box Beam Level set 16’’ and 48’’ I am wondering which is better?

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker


19 replies so far

View BentheViking's profile

BentheViking

1755 posts in 1310 days


#1 posted 06-07-2012 01:33 AM

Stabilas are super nice, but whenever I was installing cabinets I found that a 72” was usually good enough, but sometimes it was a little too short. It think that 48” would have been too short many times.

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

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Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2419 days


#2 posted 06-07-2012 01:35 AM

I learn carpentry from a old school guy and all we used was a 24’’ and 48’’ levels.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

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jack1

1952 posts in 2773 days


#3 posted 06-07-2012 01:42 AM

Remember, no matter what else you get, it’s always a good idea to have a big “Johnson”...

Jack

;0)

-- jack -- ...measure once, curse twice!

View Loren's profile

Loren

7822 posts in 2394 days


#4 posted 06-07-2012 02:02 AM

I use a 78” level lots when milling boards. It is a great straightedge
and comes in handy for hanging doors as well.

I have an Empire and a Kapro and have no complaints about either.

In carpentry a 12” and a 48” are additionally useful to have. Again,
I have Empire and Kapro in shorter levels as well with no
complaints about either brand.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Roz's profile

Roz

1661 posts in 2532 days


#5 posted 06-07-2012 03:28 AM

Great! big Johnson jokes are back FINALLY! I can get out my old t-shirts.
I have a few old Stanley levels I like becasue they are old but I use a 3 foot Johnson for most of my in shop work.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View waho6o9's profile

waho6o9

5279 posts in 1323 days


#6 posted 06-07-2012 04:17 AM

Gary Katz wrote an excellent article on levels CJIII. Stabila’s seem to be the gold standard.

http://www.garymkatz.com/ToolReviews/Festool_4-ft.level.html

View kizerpea's profile

kizerpea

746 posts in 1113 days


#7 posted 06-07-2012 11:34 AM

I have a couple of 24.s an a mahogany 48 i bought from lowes way back when..be sure to pick up a plastic sleeve to store your wood level in….i got mine from ace hardware..

-- IF YOUR NOT MAKING DUST...YOU ARE COLLECTING IT! SOUTH CAROLINA.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3581 posts in 2706 days


#8 posted 06-07-2012 02:36 PM

I have a 48” mahogany J’son level that is a treasure, but that puppy is heavy.
For cab install jobs I’d go with a less expensive alloy model.
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

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Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2419 days


#9 posted 06-07-2012 03:03 PM

I think I might just get the Stabila 16’’ and 48’’ level set from Amazon for $120.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

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Loren

7822 posts in 2394 days


#10 posted 06-07-2012 04:21 PM

Lighter weight alloy levels can be handled from one end
with one hand. Heavy wood levels are much more awkward
in this common situation.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 1010 days


#11 posted 06-07-2012 08:28 PM

I like the Stabilas as well.

I have a 96”, 72”, 3 48”, 24”, and few 16”. They are dead simple to read in many orientations and feel solid and well-built.

I had a few laser levels (Bosch GLL2-50, CST, and the Dewalt) and while they were awesome for leveling something like a house or an entire room (or anything where you were not only leveling but aligning too), they were terrible outside in daylight or any really bright room.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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devann

1735 posts in 1438 days


#12 posted 06-10-2012 02:38 AM

I have bought many a level over the years. I used to buy the cast aluminum Sands. But like many spirit levels they can lose their accuracy if handled roughly or dropped. Nearly twenty years ago I purchased a pair of Master Levels. They are similar to the Stabila levels in construction and price. What makes them unique is the level can be reset with a screwdriver. The plumb vials have a worm gear and the level vial is spring loaded. They appear to be the last spirit levels I’ll ever have to buy. I couldn’t be happier with them.

For setting cabinets you really should look into one of the cross line lasers available. I have a Stanley and am quite pleased with it. They are only good indoors, but you get a laser “chalkline”. With a cheap camera tripod, cabinet setting has never been easier. The laser level will pay for itself rather quickly. I’m sure that you’ll find many other uses for it too.

Here’s a review I did for the Stanley:http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/product/2195

And for general carpentry here is my favorite spirit level. A real time saver, the length can be adjusted from 5’ to 13’ 10”
http://lumberjocks.com/reviews/product/1984

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

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devann

1735 posts in 1438 days


#13 posted 06-10-2012 03:54 PM

CJ, I checked online about the Master Level brand spirit levels that I mentioned above and can only find used ones. And to top that, they want as much or more for a used one as I paid new ones. I know, I purchased mine around 1990, but I had no idea that one would cost so much now.

The other spirit level I mention, the expandable kind are made by Plumb It co. out of Arizona. They make a variety of sizes and can be seen here. http://plumb-it.com/ . As far as price increases for the Plumb-It level. I paid around $180 for a five foot model in the mid 1990s and see them going for around $270 now.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View John Ormsby's profile

John Ormsby

1281 posts in 2483 days


#14 posted 06-10-2012 04:05 PM

I have many different levels. My best is called a Levelution system. It consists of 3 levels. two 2’ and one 4’ . They have positive interlocking tongues and slots on the ends and will give you 2’, 4’,6’ and 8’ lengths when combined.
I think the company went out of business so one would have to find a good used system. They come with a plumb bob and line and a heavy duty carrying storage case.

-- Oldworld, Fair Oaks, Ca

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waho6o9

5279 posts in 1323 days


#15 posted 06-10-2012 05:04 PM

http://www.buildeazy.com/fp_waterlevel.html!

l

Not related to the OP’s request, but this may help those that don’t know about water levels.

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