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No, you can tell a lot about a craftsman by the condition he keeps his tools not by his choice in tool, what works for me and you might not work for the next guy.
I am hard on my tools, I throw them off the scaffolding, bang on them with hammers. I have no sentimental attachment to any tool.

That said a glass on a level should be able to exist in the environment in which it is created.

Wooden levels cant go off into the woods and die off quick enough IMO.
 

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I am hard on my tools, I throw them off the scaffolding, bang on them with hammers. I have no sentimental attachment to any tool.

That said a glass on a level should be able to exist in the environment in which it is created.

Wooden levels cant go off into the woods and die off quick enough IMO.
J you are too funny.....perahps if you had a parent in the trade to teach you how to care for stuff? IE I often heard "It's not how much you make only...it's what you do with it!"

I suppose you throw your mason string away rather than wind it :no:
 

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I meet lot of masons that will spend ten minutes playing with a Gordian Knot made out of piece of 3 year string line worth 53 cents... Not on my job, cut it, and get back to laying units please.

Its funny how a 1000 ft of line will last years when working by yourself or on a small gang, but the larger crews, guitar players and catfishermen, and of course the he-man super puller just burn through it a couple of weeks

An old Norwegian brickie taught me to always have a bobbin of dark line for light units and a light/white line for darker units...he even showed me how to wrap the line on a piece of rubber hose so I could "wind" up faster at Quitting time, and every time I moved during the day... saved a couple of weeks the last 30 years for sure.
I try to have a couple balls of line for sale to my workers, along with the essentials, a new hubbard jointer, a 5/16ths or 3/8ths tucker, knife blades, spacing and modular tape rules, and couple of old levels for truly sad sacks

But I'm anal about not dropping nylon string lines, they will last decades, eventually they all seem drawn into expensive bearing seals or other rotating equipment causing damage$.

I'll admit to being attached to my old man's tools, mostly a reminders of him, some though are still superior to what is commonly available, such as his W. Rose hammer set. Why do new brick hammers have rounded edges? that take over an hour to regrind for proper cutting?

Any one that has cut heavy dura-wall with some crappy Chinese bolt cutter has to love their H.K. Porter cutters.
 

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No, you can tell a lot about a craftsman by the condition he keeps his tools not by his choice in tool, what works for me and you might not work for the next guy.
No, you can tell a lot about a craftsman by his tools and his finished product:rolleyes:
 

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I can't see how a level that reads the same when reversed, not match every other level that reverses...also show the same reading on the same location? School me please.



Real simple,the 2' and the 4' do not reverse and they do it differently from each other.

I will say it again. I love everything about Crick and Smith levels,except their accuracy ! I wrestled almost endlessly with the idea of switching to a solid block acrylic level. After I did,I will never go back. The accuracy out of the starting gate,easier to read vials along with the durability sold me. Oh and by the way,mortar does cling to them more than wood however,take a soft brush and a hose and they clean up right now. And imagine this,you do not have to rush home to re-oil them.


For those young guys just entering the trades who have been convinced by the "old timers" that a wood level with curved glass vials is the way to go,buy a truck load of them.Reason being,they are on a greased board and will soon join ranks with the buggy whip makers.
 

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4G I never had more than 7 men working on a job....but throwing line out seems gaudy. Heck I use my old lines for tomatoes:thumbup:

Marking a level was key in avoiding tapping corners / speed as no level I know of will stay fully true in masonry for long.
Just the hanging of a wood level in a truckwindow rack will give slight warps etc...Yes aluminum are not warp prone but they take badly to bangs/drops etc and are lousy to range with in comparison to a good light weight mahogony 4ft-er with grip holes.

Take a corner with a hollow on 4' and place the ever so slight warped level into it and it reads good as will it when reversed for the time being. As you build up from this keeping the convex warp inward, it will be hard to keep plumb while having the bottom against the brick.
Don't tell me yo have never walked up to a guy pressing hard on his level and seen him flip it if it didn't read spot on, to show you!

I dropped an aluminum level once and it warped immediately where as the wood is quite forgiving, depending how high and what it lands on. i.e. an alum will warp landing vertically or any way imaginable except hay or snow!

The give / flex that wood exhibits is nice to keep a bubble spot on. This sound like a gyp but I was taught to keep a foot against the level and press if the bubble read a tad off....rigid levels wont do it... you'll find guys tapping corners or simply meandering the corner.

The old man would teach to take the level and sweep the corner from those little brick particles between the level and the corner etc....aluminum wears but ''does not wipe well ''.

Ranging? I'd get the level on my head if I tapped bricks downward that aint ranging it's battering...heck what brick has tops that are clean and evenly square to the faces to mention humped...old v's for example.
We often laid up 4 or 5' chimneys with two masons ranging with the same level but never placing it on the tops...
If alone the free hand gasps the level and holds it against the corner brick...the level being at a slight angle [it's higher side/edge outward] The far end is started high and tapped down until it's barely above the far lead brick....tapping the brick;watching their bottoms for lips and trowel tipping from under the level which is elevated making vision easy. Immediately after flattening it by pressing the level square against them, upwardly parging the inner mortar. Mostly the ranging is initially done watching the bed joints besides top banging on 4' is going to need face ranging any how.
What a mess in the winter not to mention moving lower courses doing it banging down on a 4 or 5 bricks.

Again,slight level warps will produce on spot corners albeit minor repeated hogs every 48'' BUT not visually picked up... AND only if one matches the warp in a repeating cycle via the level ''always used one way'' and having most of it's 48'' length down and against the laid corner.. ''the convex side outward''.
It is in essence a ''repeating scribe'' if kept plumb and the vial is perpendicular to a line drawn through the center of ''each end'' bypassing any warp. However if reversed and the convex side is inward it will amount to chaos; rocking rolling and tapping,contstantly needing excessive inward pressure at the top, while placing a foot at the base ...a sure sign of this!
If done right level will then slide it's way up reading plumb all the way but with the same in out tolerance every 48'' as the level itself!

Mark the level and forgetaboutit and keep those guys with an ocassional two footer away from the long corners!

now before I catch grief I'm not talking about a home depot 2 by 4 warp! this is in the 1/16 area but it will work on any hog. zoom zoom!
 

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Fjn...be carefull whats goes out today will come back.
I'm hanging tough waiting for the new "genetically modified wood level''
Warp free and ultra light,.. 100% shock resistant both impact and electricity wise!...:jester:

so tell me, what happens if your level drops on pavement from 20 ft or better. ... how accurate are you looking for? Perahps I can call Lisa Silverstein and get you out on the freedom tower!...lol
ps be carefull, that steel work is very often out of plumb and pulled at floors....you may be cutting block despite the new level.....:laughing:

unoilikeyoufred....nice to see you redfaced onceinawhile:eek:

Here's a level story of a mason from straight from Israel I hired.. He came with his 4' mag level wanting a job. I hired him and he soon started complaining and demanding the lead over my brother!.etc etc. Come to find out he bid the job and cost me 50 g's because I took it for cost because of my brother not having work at christmas time.
It gets better...I gave him the lead and he soon started racing me on 8'' block...I picked up the paced a bit repeatedly as he did and always timed him 2 bocks past the center and even buttered the ends. One day The owner came and I stopped with the block in hand to talk ...next thing I knew he ripped it from my hand!
Well he was fired that night and a week later he came with a peice of paper itemizing all the "cents" I gyped him over a month or so. I looked at it and it came to some 2 bucks and change.......my lab yelled out ''we all bought coffee''... "you never did" He stood his ground and wouldnt leave without the money!
My brother quit leaving me to the winter job I never wanted in the 1st place! :censored:
 

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Fjn...be carefull whats goes out today will come back.
I'm hanging tough waiting for the new "genetically modified wood level''
Warp free and ultra light,.. 100% shock resistant both impact and electricity wise!...:jester:


I truly believe Crick and Smith have it down pat in many regards. I say this cause as I mentioned,I own 2 of each. I have taken the end caps off both,they reversed annual growth rings on mating pieces of wood and the glue available today is way stronger than the wood it bonds. What all that means,warping and stability of their levels is a minuscule part of the rub regarding their products.The problem lies in the antiquated curved glass vials.


The "genetically modified wood levels are here "They are the Starrett aluminum I beam wood infill solid block vial levels.


If Crick and Smith were to use those vials(will not,I already pleaded my case to them,fell on deaf ears) I would buy their levels in a heartbeat !


As far as a level not reading correct,Stabilia and Sola will give you a new level,no questions asked if it ever reads off,as long is it is not bent.
 

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Fred you are bit of a sleeper ;)

I still have doubts about ranging with those levels and forget dropping them.

I have a pic for you It's my dad's frst 4' level. No corner beads and still straight and reads well, less the empty vial. I did attach a batter when I did a tapered stone chimney, other than that I never use it as you can tell.
 

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J you are too funny.....perahps if you had a parent in the trade to teach you how to care for stuff? IE I often heard "It's not how much you make only...it's what you do with it!"

I suppose you throw your mason string away rather than wind it :no:
I chop mason line up into as many pieces as I need then throw it away, yes.

I thought giving a level an acid bath was caring for tools :whistling
 

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Just to share a perspective of a huge contractor from my home town 14th. largest in Nation regarding tools. At the end of every job,the foremen have orders to GIVE all tools away to the crew,best workers have first dibs. That means drills,saws,lasers,chop saws,extension cords etc. Their logic,if the job did not make enough money to pay for tools they did something wrong,not to mention the chance for an OSHA inspector finding a frayed wire.Also,they say to load up,categorize and ship back to base of operations is just not cost effective.


The yellow iron is about the only thing that gets hauled away. If the foreman caught a guy "playing" with a line,trig or corner block,he would go get the guy his money.
 

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Reference FJN's comment re giving away tools by monster contractor:

I observe many small masonry companies use 'small'tools long past their design life, and some refuse to replace functionally obsolete tools that are still functioning, even though the cost $ to use every work day.... Wheel barrows that look like they fell off a 7 story building, Old school "speed" leads that take 2 or 3 x the time to erect/ raise up, or even fools that won't use ergonometric dimensioned material hops and scaffolding.

If you can't replace all your worn out tools as you go through the year, You are not charging enough.

Yet I label all my equipment clearly with the date it was put in service, cords, shovels, drills, saws etc... punish the ones who abuse, and reward the good stewards of my equipment.:thumbsup:

Bricklaying is tough enough without using a bunch of wore out crap, or standing on rotten planks, praying one won't break.

Don't forget you can always sharpen an iron tool with your grinder, or even metal chop saw if needed, no sense beating your arm up using a dull hammer or chisel. In the old old days, every big job would have a blacksmith sharpening/making tools on site.
If there is a lot of hammering, use an power hammer, save your arm for love making...:whistling or have the apprentice do it....
 

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If there is a lot of hammering, use an power hammer, save your arm for love making... or have the apprentice do it....

My apprentice ain't going near my wife. 😘


If you can't replace all your worn out tools as you go through the year, You are not charging enough.

I always replace worn out tools or banged up wheelbarrows, I ain't afraid to spend money when I NEED to, but to give equipment away when it is still in good working condition is nuts, a lot of your posts forth gen you speak about cost savings etc, not even you can believe this makes sense.
 

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Regarding the pot I stirred by mentioning the Huge contractor giving away perfectly good tools at end of job,let me say this. As in most things,it boils down to perspective and what works for one person,may not work for the next. This company I referenced ,at last count operates in 38 states and is expanding to International markets via a Great Lakes deep dock that is literally the gateway to the world. Does it really make much sense for them to box up a bunch of hand tools and ship them back to their base camp at the end of every job. For them to go from never doing road work in 1979 to the worlds largest bridge builder by 2013 they are not prone to making many false moves. They have been in business since 1898 ,they have had plenty of time to assess what business model does and does not work for them.


I do not feel it is appropriate for me to name other companies,however,if one is curious,google worlds largest bridge builder and the "mystery" company will appear .
 
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