How Tools Work

Lasers and Levels and Squares, oh my!  The goal of Johnson Level's "Levelpedia" is to teach you about tools.  In "How Tools Work", you will find descriptions for the most common laser levels, spirit levels and other types of squares; measuring, marking and layout tools; and other construction tools used by the professional contractor, but available to the do-it-yourselfer.

For instructions, visit the how to use Johnson Level tools guide.

  • LevelsBack To Top

    Box LevelJohnson knows levels have been around for hundreds of years but that doesn't mean common knowledge is always common.  In "How Levels Work", you will find descriptions for the most common types of levels.

    Levels 101: Spirit Level Vial Quiz

    Questions Q1: Why is a level called a spirit level? What is a spirit level? Q2: Is the shape of the level vial a cylinder shape or a barrel shape? Q3: How big is the bubble in the level? Q4: What is the bubble in the spirit level or bubble level made of? Q5: Why do some levels, particularly woo...

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    Q&A on Levels

    Q:  Does the Johnson Level & Tool limited warranty apply to items purchased on on-line auction sites such as e-Bay? A:  No. Our warranty states "Seller extends the following limited warranty to the initial purchaser and first end-user only..." We consider anything sold on auction web ...

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    What’s the Difference Between I-Beam Levels and Box-Beam / Box Levels?

    Before looking at the differences between these two popular types of levels, it’s important to know the similarities. I-Beam and Box-Beam Level Similarities I-beam and box-beam levels aren’t the same tools. However, they do share enough qualities to earn a section in this article det...

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    Hand Sight Levels

    Hand Sight Level Definition and Uses A hand level (also called a sight level or hand sight level) is a tool used for ‘rough leveling’ – that is, estimation and not precision. A hand level is essentially a spirit level inside of a telescope. The device is generally used by grading ...

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    String Line Level Information

    How to Use a String Line Level How to Use a Line Level for Pavers How to Use a Line Level to Level Ground Shop all string line levels and other special purpose levels from Johnson Level. Line levels (or "string" levels) are a special brand of spirit level used for leveling across longer...

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    Spirit Level Information

    How to Read a Spirit Level How to Use a Spirit Level How to Check a Spirit Level for Accuracy How to Level a Scope with a Bubble Level Shop all spirit and bubble levels from Johnson Level. There are many manufactures of spirit levels including Johnson Level, Empire Level, Stabila and ...

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    How to Use the Billet Level Table for Offsets and Kicks

    Proud Johnson Level billet level owner, John, in Red Bluff, California asks: Just bought your magnetic billet torpedo level and noticed table of offsets and kicks, and reference to your web site. Found the table, but could not find an explanation of what, why or how to use the table. What have I mi...

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    Box Levels | Box Beam Levels

    Box Beam Level Overview Box beam levels or box levels are a type of spirit level and are called such because of the shape of the level frame. If you were to cut the box level in half, you would see the aluminum is formed (extruded) in the shape of a rectangle(or box)and is generally hollow in the m...

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    I-Beam Levels

    I-Beam Level Overview The I-Beam level is a specific type of spirit level. If you need a primer on how to use a spirit level, see our online guide. I-Beam levels got their name from their shape; if you look at the level on its end, you can see it looks like the letter "i".  I-beam levels ...

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    Post Level

    A post level is, simply put, a spirit level that finds both level and plumb in a post or other type of 2x4. It has a simple, easy to use design: two-sided molded plastic forming a 90° angle, a height of 5.5 inches and 3.5 inch width on each side, and three spirit level vials. The inside edg...

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    Torpedo Level

    How to Read a Torpedo Level How to Use a Torpedo Level How to Use a Magnetic Torpedo Level Shop all torpedo levels from Johnson Level. A torpedo level is a spirit level designed for use in tight spaces. Johnson Level offers torpedo levels made in the USA in lengths ranging from 6 to 12 i...

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    Wood Levels

    The wood level has been around for over 100 years. Over the last 15 years in the U.S. however, there are fewer wood levels sold as professionals begin replacing wood levels with box beam levels. A Wood level is specific type of spirit level. It can be made either of a solid piece of ...

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    Hultafors Group Acquires Johnson Level & Tool

    Press Release: April 30, 2018 Mequon, WI. – Today, Hultafors Group of Goteborg, Sweden announced the acquisition of Johnson Level and Tool Mfg., Co., Inc. of Mequon, WI. For over 70 years Johnson Level has been supplying innovative solutions across a broad spectrum of customers in the Layout...

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    Spirit Levels Vials, Pitch Level Vials, Bubble Level Vials

    The heart of any level is the vial.  And without a strong heart, it doesn’t matter how strong your body is, you will not be effective.  This article is all about spirit level vials, pitch level vials and bubble level vials. Typically levels are referred to as spirit levels or bubble...

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  • Laser LevelsBack To Top

    Laser Level

     

    Johnson understands some people are intimidated by laser levels initially while others just don't know how to use a laser level. Once we show you how laser levels work and give you a few ideas of how laser levels can be used, your entire world will change. In "How Laser Levels Work" you will find descriptions for the most common laser levels used in construction today.

    Lasers 101: 27 Question Laser Level Quiz

    QuestionsQ1: What are the three most common laser level types?(a) Rotary Laser; (b) Line Laser; (c) Power Laser; (d) Dot Laser; (e) Cordless LaserQ2: True or FalseRotary laser levels project a beam of light 360° allowing the user to establish a horizontal or vertical plane?Q3: True or FalseRotar...

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    Story Poles

    Story Pole A story pole, is the simplest type of leveling rod. Story poles are constructed as needed on job sites and simply consist of only the measurements that are needed for the job. Story poles should be constructed of a sturdy material such as lumber and construction netting; they should also...

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    Q&A on Laser Levels

    Q: Where can I get my Johnson laser level serviced when it is out of warranty?A: Please click the link for Service Centers under Support in the main menu for a complete list of Authorized Non-Warranty Repair Centers. Q: Does the Johnson Level & Tool limited warranty apply to items purchased on o...

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    Magnetic Pulley (Sheave) Alignment Lasers

    Magnetic Pulley (Sheave) Alignment Defined All Johnson pulley (sheave) alignment systems are accurate enough to exceed belt manufactures' recommendations for drive belt alignment. This includes Standard V, Synchronous, Polyflex® and Micro-V® belts that should be aligned within ¼°...

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    Glossary of Laser Level Terms

    ACCURACY The tolerance of the laser beam at a certain distance from the tool (i.e. ± ¼" per 100'). This indicates how far the beam may deviate from 'perfect' measurement. APERTURE The location from which laser light is emitted from the laser tool. AUTO-LEVELING A method where...

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    What is a Tripod? How do Tripods for Laser Levels Work?

    Tripod Components How to Set Up a Tripod How to Use a Laser Level with a Tripod How to Use a Laser Level Detector Shop tripods, detectors and laser accessories from Johnson Level. A tripod is a three-legged stand, important in providing the foundation for laser levels and other leveli...

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    Grade Rods: All About Grade Rods

    Grade Rod How to Read a Grade Rod How to Read an Engineer's Grade Rod How to Read a Builder's/Architect Grade Rod How to Read a Direct Elevation Grade Rod Shop all grade rods for sale from Johnson Level. A Grade Rod or leveling rod, is a graduated rod used to determine differences in eleva...

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    Transit Levels: All About Transit Levels

    Transit Level How To's How to Read a Transit Level How to Set Up a Transit Level How to Use a Transit Level How to Focus a Transit Level How to Choose a Transit Level Tripod Parts of a Transit Level: Anatomy of the Transit Level Shop all optical levels from Johnson Level. What ar...

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    All About Theodolites

    Theodolite vs TransitHow to Use a TheodoliteHow a Theodolite Works Types of Theodolites There are two different kinds of theodolites: digital and non digital. Non digital theodolites are rarely used anymore. Digital theodolites consist of a telescope that is mounted on a base, as well as an elec...

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    Laser Levels: An All-About/How-to Compendium

    Laser Level How To's How to Choose a Laser Level How to Use a Laser Level How to Use a Laser Level Outdoors How to Use a Laser Level to Hang Pictures How to Use a Laser Level to Level Ground How to Set Grade with a Laser Level Shop all Laser Levels from Johnson Level. Laser Levels from ...

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    Rotary Laser Levels

    How to Calibrate a Rotary Laser Level How to Use a Rotary Laser Level Shop all rotary laser levels from Johnson Level. Check out our how-to guide to choose a rotary laser level. Rotary laser levels are used for construction projects indoors to shoot a 360-degree horizontal or vert...

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    Automatic Levels: All About Automatic Laser Levels

    Automatic laser levels, or self-leveling levels, have become a much more common optical instrument on construction sites. These levels are replacing alternatives, such as builder's levels, because they are easier to use and quicker to set up. Automatic laser levels remain level and accurate no matte...

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    Dot Laser Levels / Plumb Laser Levels

    Today, the three most common types of laser levels are Rotary Laser Levels, Line Laser Levels (or Line Generators) and Dot Laser Levels (or Multi-Point Lasers). This article focuses on the technical specifications of Dot Laser Levels. Dot Laser Level Output Dot Laser Levels project two, three or f...

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    Line Laser Levels

    How to Use a Line Laser Level How to Use a Self Leveling Laser Level Shop all line laser levels from Johnson Level. Today, the three most common types of laser levels are Rotary Laser Levels, Laser Line Levels (or Line Generators) and Dot Laser Levels (or Multi-Point Lasers) This article focu...

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    What is a Builder's Level? How do Builder's Levels Work?

    How to Use a Builder's Level How to Check a Builder's Level How to Calibrate a Builder's Level Shop all optical levels from Johnson Level. A builder's level is used in the construction field to set up level points and to check elevations. It is an optical instrument used mainly in surveying ...

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  • Other ToolsBack To Top

    Although Johnson is the leader in levels and lasers, there are more tools in the toolbox than that.  In "How Other Tools Work", allow us to expand your knowledge of a variety of squares, measuring tools, marking tools, layout tools and other hand tools.

    Johnson Level 98-Inch Aluminum Cutting Guide

    Johnson Level & Tool J4900 98-Inch Aluminum Cutting Guide The Johnson Level & Tool 98-Inch Aluminum Cutting Guide is a rip guide that is designed to give you a straight edge for ripping plywood stock, doors and other large objects that may be too big to put through a table saw. It is made ...

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    Plumb Bob

    A plumb bob is a pointed weight attached to the end of the string, and is used to find a vertical reference line called plumb. Plumb is the vertical equivalent to a spirit level. Plumb bob have been around for thousands of years, dating back to Ancient Egypt. The tool is also used in surveying, allo...

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    Try Square

    A try square is special purpose square in wood- and metalworking used to mark or measure material. The name ‘try square’ comes from the concepts of ‘trying a surface’ (to check a surface’s straightness or correspondence to an adjacent surface) and ‘square’ (...

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    Flagging / Barricade Tape

    Flagging and barricade tape are two types of brightly colored tape used to indicate work areas and levels of triage or potential danger or a hazard to passersby, respectively. Barricade tape generally featuring bold lettering alerting the potential safety concern, and as a minor impediment to the ma...

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    Drywall T-Square

    A T-square is a tool used in technical drawing, primarily as a guide for drawing straight horizontal lines on a drafting table. It can also be used in conjunction with a set square to draw vertical and angled lines. Its name is derived from its resemblance to the letter ‘T’. A drywall T-...

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    Carpenter's Pencil

    Carpentry Pencil vs Regular Pencil A carpenter’s pencil (also called a ‘carpentry pencil’ and ‘carpenter pencil’) is a pencil made for carpentry work. There are some important differences between regular pencils and carpentry pencils. The shape of a typical pencil is ...

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    How To Choose Construction Measuring Tools

    How to Keep Track of Construction Tools How to Read a Construction Tape Measure Shop all construction measuring tools from Johnson Level. There are many construction measuring tools available to those on a jobsite. You might wonder which type of measuring device are used on construction s...

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    Laser Distance Measure

    How to Calculate Distance Using Laser Distance Measure How to Calibrate a Laser Distance Measure How to Use a Laser Distance Measure Shop all laser distance measures from Johnson Level. Accurate Measuring: Fast & Easy How many times have you stood there thinking "How am I going to t...

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    Straight Edges and Cutting Guides

    How to Read a Straight Edge How is a Ruler Different from a Straight Edge How to Use a Straight Edge How to Use a Straight Edge with a Circular Saw Shop straight edges and cutting guides from Johnson Level. A straight edge is a cutting guide tool for copying a straight line from o...

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    Carpentry Tools: T-Bevels

    A sliding T-bevel is an instrument that is used for both laying out and transferring angles. These tools are pivotal for many different kinds of construction jobs, especially for those in which the ideal 90° angles are not possible. With the sliding T-bevel, one is able to conform his/her projec...

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    Carpentry Tools: Framing Square

    How to Read a Framing Square How to Use a Framing Square How to Cut Stair Stringers with a Framing Square How to Layout Rafters with a Framing Square How to Use a Framing Square for Angles Shop all framing squares from Johnson Level. Also known as a steel square, the Johnson framing sq...

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    Measuring Wheels

    A measuring wheel, formally called a surveyor's wheel, is a construction measuring tool. The origin of the measuring wheel dates back the 17th Century alongside the evolution of the odometer. While a rudimentary-looking tool, measuring distances while walking with a surveyor’s wheel is an effe...

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    Combination Squares

    How to Use a Combination Square How to Use a Combination Square for Angles Shop all combination squares for sale from Johnson Level. Parts of a Combination Square What is a Combination Square? A combination square is a multi-use measuring instrument which is primarily used f...

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    Elevation Grade

    How to Calculate Elevation Grade How to Set Grade Stakes Shop for stake flags for sale from Johnson Level. What is Elevation Grade? Grade of an object’s physical feature, a landform or a line (plane) is used to indicate the slope of the thing being measured. Applications of...

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    How to Read a Tape Measure

    How to Read a Tape Measure How to Measure Using a Tape Measure Tape Measure Test Understanding Tape Measures A tape measure, also called measuring tape, is a type of flexible ruler. Tape measures are made from a variety of materials, including fiber glass, plastic and cloth. They are among...

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    How-To Guides from Johnson Level

    Welcome to Johnson Level's collection of How-To Guides. Below you will find convenient how-to instructions on various Johnson levels and other tools.   --> Laser Levels --> --> Squares --> --> Optical Levels --> --> ...

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    Service Manuals

    Digital Levels 406028406048 40-6060 40-6080 Replace per Service Policy Replace per Service Policy Replace per Service Policy     40-6065  40-64   Replace per Service Policy  Replace per Service Policy   ...

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    Service Policies

    Non-Warranty Repairs and Service Guidelines Are there any signs of physical abuse? If Yes, then Non-Warranty Repair Some situations could exist where unit has been clearly abused, but cause of product failure is manufacturing defect.  These situations should be dealt with on a ca...

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    Carpentry Tools: Rafter Angle Squares

    Rafter Angle Square How To's How to Read a Rafter Angle Square How to Use a Rafter Angle Square How to Use a Rafter Angle Square for Roof Pitch How to Use a Rafter Angle Square for Rafters How to Cut Rafters with a Rafter Angle Square Shop all construction squares from Johnson Level....

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