I miss my master level

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Forum topic by mervillehomesteader posted 02-15-2014 06:25 AM 2295 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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31 posts in 1593 days

02-15-2014 06:25 AM

Topic tags/keywords: master spirit level

About 3 years ago I was selling my pick up truck. I cleaned it out of old chip bags, coffee cups etc. On the front seat was my trusted and well loved 4ft master level. A good tool, always true and just a plain old good friend of a good 12 years or more. I took it out and went to put it in the garage and the padlock was on the door. I didn’t have my keys with me at the time so I leaned it against the door with intentions of going to get my keys and safely put it away, not because of thievery but because I have small children and did not want them to get it and use it for something awful or worse yet lose it. The guy came to buy the truck and then life got in the way such as getting dinner ready or whatever toddler type chore had to be taken care of. Well long story short went out the next day and it was gone. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I tried to replace it but the company went under due to cheap imports from china, I went to several local tool supplies and tried out several levels all were out of plumb stabilla, empire, mastercraft, couldn’t find a Johnson anywhere. The stabilla for the record was out the worst of them all. In case anyone doesn’t know Master brand levels are by far the best levels hands down. They are adjustable so in the field one can readjust if out or set level for grades. They are a mere 2 inches wide so they will fit between rebar and the panel so you get a true level when setting walls, a big thing for a carpenter that cares about his concrete. it still makes me sick in the stomach to know its gone. I ended up settling for a Sola and well it always seems to give different reading every time I use it. and I check it with my 3ft master and it says its good but I just don’t trust it. It is just a bit to wide to fit in the form so I always have to rely on the whalers being the same thickness (and they never are) So now its just guess work. Did I mention how much it tears my heart apart to think about it? Sorry for being long winded but I guess all I want to know is does anyone out there have that special tool that meant the world and went missing and to this day do you still pine for it? Or am I just being as my wife puts it ridiculous and over sentimental about an old tool? Would love to hear your thoughts. Or maybe a line on replacing an old friend.

-- Perfectly Imperfect. Thats my style!

31 replies so far

View DocBailey's profile


584 posts in 2356 days

#1 posted 02-15-2014 05:08 PM

View bigblockyeti's profile


5112 posts in 1717 days

#2 posted 02-15-2014 06:08 PM

I had a hammer, nothing special, I think it was an old Craftsman. Left it on a jobsite one day, gone the next. Not too surprising, not even that special of a tool, but it was missed none the less. Its replacement just didn’t feel the same and unexpectedly took a while to get used to.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2672 days

#3 posted 02-15-2014 06:42 PM

I think one of the laborers walked off with my Starret 6” combo about four years ago when he came in to use the head. my favorite tool – had it since I was 18. He probably didn’t even know what it was. I was so pissed.

I have the rectangular 6” Starret and several 6 and 12” combo daily users so I never could justify ponying up the 90 bucks to replace that bad boy…. maybe this next Christmas.

And wooden levels are like hammers, you get to know them like a worn pair of work jeans. I found my old levels on E Bay and bought them as collectors just for the nostalgia. Maybe you could find a level like yours there.

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2629 days

#4 posted 02-15-2014 06:52 PM

I have a older Beryillum Copper coated Stanley Square that I inherited from my wife’s grandfather. Its a great tool that I’d hate to lose.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3582 days

#5 posted 02-15-2014 07:12 PM

Why can’t people leave other peoples things alone.I met a few people who claimed to have bought stolen stuff at knocked down prices but they wouldn’t like it if it was their own stuff to come up next on the black market.
Stealing from your friends and work buddies is a shameful thing in my book or from anyone for that matter .I found out my own Brother was stealing stuff from me and selling it to others .He even had the gall to get calor gas delivered to his home and charged it to my garage account when I was in business many years ago.
He was lucky I never called the cops.
Was I a fool ? YES a complete fool.
His excuse at first was very lame he thought he had asked me if it was ok.
He knew damned well it would not be ok and would never be ok.Then he admitted because he thought I was wealthy I wouldn’t mind since he was poor.I told him if he didn’t spend all his money on booze he would be much better off. I never charged him with theft ,and forgave him, time and time again .Then one day he borrowed money from me promising if he couldn’t pay it back he would work it off doing work to my house .
He was full of the joys of spring the day I asked him to start working off the loan/debt suiddenly within fifteen minutes he developed a very painful stomach and I never saw him again till the day he died some fifteen years later.
Was I a fool ? answer yes I certainly was but that’s just the kind of guy I am .Once a bit later an elderly gentleman once told me that my brother and others many of them members of my family,was taking my kindness for softness he was correct too. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4929 posts in 3957 days

#6 posted 02-15-2014 07:30 PM

My Nicholls copper clad square and my 4’ Johnson level are true treasures. Don’t know how old the Nicholls is, but it was my Dad’s. Says Union Made and from Ottumwa, Iowa. Never seen another one. Daughter gave me the Johnson years ago. Laminated mahogany with brass trim.
Someone could be badly hurt tryin’ to make off with either of those puppies.
I feel your pain.


View Knothead62's profile


2584 posts in 2957 days

#7 posted 02-15-2014 07:32 PM

My father used to say people would steal Christ off the cross and go back after dark for the nails.

View mervillehomesteader's profile


31 posts in 1593 days

#8 posted 02-15-2014 08:00 PM

Thanks for the sympathy fellas, I knew I wasn’t the only one. I did try the plumb bob guy that is how I found out they went out of business. I see his stock is getting down there too. Chalk it up to never let your guard down. The worst is, I got to thinking if I lost my Stanley #4, just about brought me to tears. I am the kinda guy who owns tools for 30+ years I have a screwdriver set I bought in 1987, and a bunch of mechanics tools my dad gave me when I was 15 years old. To loose any of what I work so hard to keep just makes a man very upset. All I can say is buy North American or good European and stay away from those cheap imports. And hold on to them tools.

-- Perfectly Imperfect. Thats my style!

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18268 posts in 3672 days

#9 posted 02-16-2014 12:41 AM

Years ago I was driving past a job site in the evening and noticed someone walking around in there. I stopped and asked what he was doing. He said just looking for tools. I told him just because someone left any out, they were not free for the taking. We’d be back tomorrow and continue where we left off. He just had a stupid look on his face. I guess he thought I was crazy.

In 1990, all my tools were stolen out of my truck. The thing I never got over was my tool pouch. After wearing the same one daily for 21 years, every time I reached for something it was not there! The new one never worked. I finally quit using it and just carried my tools in my overalls packets.

Stealing tools of one’s trade is a capital crime.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Kelly's profile


2025 posts in 2941 days

#10 posted 02-16-2014 06:16 PM

I have a set of end nippers, that pulled a gazillion (give or take five) nails, that were lost for over a year, then the lady I’d done a job for asked if it was mine. That was a relief, since I haven’t found another set quite like it.

Then there was my gauge I designed, but let go with my shop, in the course of a divorce. I missed it for twenty years, then tracked down the guy who bought my shop and who sold it back to me for twenty.

My favorite HIDES in my tool box – a Craftsman 5 oz claw hammer I have not been able to find anywhere else. It’s been with me for about forty years. It’s perfect for nailing around fragile glass windows and such.

I’ve had a million opportunities to steal someone else’s property, but didn’t and expect the same from all those around me.

Like Scotsman indicates, there are a lot of idiots who mistake kindness for stupidity. I even had a talk with one of those idiots, to remind him of all he gave up by “jumping over the dollar to get the dime.” More specifically, I explained to him all he’d never benefit from, by way of my help again.

Recently, my now ex boss ripped me off. He was an idiot who almost always bought low end tools, then misused them and abused them, to include leaving them out in the weather long term. He took short cuts on customer projects (e..g., caulk joints 1” deep and wide and, immediately, paint over them.”

I had everything from cabinet saws to angle finders. He’d spend a couple hours trying to remove grout, then I’d go get my Fein Multi Tool and do the job in minutes, but I was ripping him off if I asked for a replacement blade. In the end, he used a roll of my Tyvek and otherwise burned me for around a thousand.

It’s soooooo hard not destroying him, which would be a simple matter of reporting him for burning trash lumber (lead paint, treated wood) etc. in his wood stove, or the unpermitted addition (documented by photos) and so on. However, I know of other people who burned me and, left to their own devices, destroyed their own lives (all or in part).

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2629 days

#11 posted 02-16-2014 06:38 PM

“(e..g., caulk joints 1” deep and wide and, immediately, paint over them.””
I recently had a contractor install crown moulding in my two-story foyer. It was installed in July and initially looked good. BUT, the second the cold weather set in, the caulk in the joints has shrunk (a lot), and it now looks like shit. What really pisses me off is that I specifically told the contractor that I’d be THRILLED to pay extra if he’d use top-of-the-line paint and caulk. I specified Sherwin WIlliams paint and asked for the most expensive caulk available (again, on me). He assured me he only used “the good stuff” on his projects and there was no need for ME to pay extra.
As usual the contractor left the half-full cans of paint behind. All low-end VALSPAR garbage from Lowes. ANd the caulk tube I found in my trashcan- ALEX 1, the cheapest stuff you can buy….also from lowes.
I called the contractor to complain. He said, “I guarantee my work for 18 months”, if the materials fail let me know and I’ll come fix it”. Well i called him and he said “I’ll TRY to get someone out there next week to take a look”. A week came and went and I called again. He said he’d stop by the next day at 11AM. I took the morning off work and waited. 11:15 he calls and says he can’t make it out. AT this point I told him to go screw himself and proceeded to dog his company on every review site I could find.
And all because he wanted to save $50 on materials that I WOULD HAVE GLADLY PAID FOR. He then blew a chance to make things right.

View NoLongerHere's profile


893 posts in 2672 days

#12 posted 02-17-2014 06:20 PM

this thread sure went south.
Yo, Tedstor – You might want to talk to a paint store or another contractor before bashing a Contractor in public.

Fact is, everyone is having a problem this year from cracks and shrinking trim, nail pops everywhere. It’s not his fault your house is so dry from lack of humidity. You can afford crown and two story foyers, I imagine a humidifier would be a good purchase. snarky I know. but so is your public post.

Another fact is Alex plus is a good product for inside trim. That’s what I use. But it won’t keep trim from shrinking. I also hear SW Valspar is a decent paint, comparable to Benjamin Moore. A lot of paints have changed so I don’t know what you’ve heard before.

Here is another fact: most contractors only warranty their work for a year. Sounds like this guy really does nice work he’s proud of and stands behind it. To suggest he uses inferior products to save You 50 bucks is absurd.

I stand behind my warranty too but, it usually cuts into a packed schedule and needs to be squeezed into the chaos controlled mass of wriggling workers, each with their own agenda. Another client will lose a worker on their site. and it will come out of my pocket. You didn’t pay for that.

I’ve rescheduled three times before, a few times. I always call as soon as possible to reschedule and I’m never late (more than 15 min.). Your job will require big ladders and two guys, no doubt.

Is there wind blowing in? is there a water leak? are you in danger? Then give the guy a break.
Your reaction only ended up with you having to fix it yourself…two stories up. Good luck with that, pal.

btw – how do you know we (evil contractors) don’t have secret websites to check on people like you?

People that would write in public where anyone can find it with a simple search:

I told him to go screw himself and proceeded to dog his company on every review site I could find.

nice, real nice.

I liked reminiscing about favorite tools,.... that’s what this conversation started to be about.

I lost a Sheffield 9” rosewood and brass level about ten years ago while installing a kitchen. They had a door that came loose (talk about warranty’s!) so I stopped by after work to fix it. It was magnetized/ stuck to the drawer slide above! I found it! ...yea!

I always hesitate to assume someone took something. Many times the tool shows up a day later, usually because I misplaced it.

View Skippy906's profile


121 posts in 1983 days

#13 posted 02-17-2014 09:17 PM

I know you you guys feel losing tools. While working at a big remodel job, I think I had every tools I owned at the job site. It was a secure building, and the other workers also had their tools there. Well at the time we had other sub contractors coming in that had a key to the building.
When its a complete remodel, you use tools at different times, and there can be times when you wont use a tool for over a month, depending whats going on at the time.
I went to look for my circular saw and could not find it anywhere. Then my co-worker noticed his impact gun and drill was missing. Well after looking all over this 2 story building, and trying to remember all the tools we had on site, this is a list of what we found missing. Circular saw with a variety of blades, drill driver and impact gun with bits, complete hole saw set, hammer drill and 2 complete set of bits and an electrical pouch with all the trimmings. All in all over $1000 worth of tools. This was all noticed after the subs have finished the job.
But this does end well for us, the company we were working for, told us to head to the store and replace what was stolen, and give them the receipts. All tools that we know were stolen, were replaced. But somehow, you just kinda miss the tools you worked long and hard to purchase.

-- Making progress

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1316 posts in 1931 days

#14 posted 02-17-2014 10:20 PM

I was a superintendent for a while and we caught two of our “best” guys stealing copper on the video cameras one Saturday morning at 2 o’clock. It was a solid $600 haul. On Monday, we asked them how their Sundays were and they said they had a grand old time barbequing and drinking beer. Wonder where that beer money came from? It’s the things people do when they think no one is watching that really let you know who they are. We fired them both. If you want scrap, ask the plumber, and he might might just give it to you. If not, too bad.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View MikesProjects's profile


172 posts in 1898 days

#15 posted 02-18-2014 12:14 AM

I got my first master level in 2004, its a 4’ green glow in the dark adjustable booger. Way better then stabila imo. Was about $80 bucks at the time. Well the crash in 2008 made the prices of aluminum increase, construction went south & the master level corporation closed shop temporarily so I was told. I found that out when I wanted to get a new 2 footer & 18 incher. I cherish my 4 footer & hope I don’t lose it but I know that day may be around the corner (knock on wood)......... You’ll never believe this. Last year while at work I went to a new job & the superintendent had a 8’ yellow master level he had been using as a straight edge, jokingly I asked him if he wanted to sell me that 8 foot level & he said sure, 25 bucks & its yours. Well I jumped at that deal & know I can cut it in half if need be to make two 4 foot levels if I ever lost my 4 footer. Yup, I know the feeling. I once drove 60 miles back to a job when I realized I forgot my prybar there. Also 10 years ago I lost my tape measure leather pouch, took months to find a good replacement that worked for me…...

-- -Mike, Southern California, YouTube User ( Give & Take )

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