This project will free up the carpenter in many of us who freeze when confronted with the task of leveling an area at the beginning of a project. Easy enough on a small surface…..but throw us a long run and things all of a sudden look a whole lot different. The common level soon loses its appeal in this instance.
If you happen to be in the construction field then this site may not have a lot of value for you as most likely you are in possession of one of the latest gadgets on the market that can level a baseball field if necessary.
Construction-wise we are weekend warriors and I assume most of you are as well so this may well come in very handy over the years.
The water level works on the principal that water always finds its own level….no matter what. How often have you seen a lake with a slanted water line. An artist’s depiction of any static waterway should always be perfectly level as that is how water sits….dead flat. This principal is the defining feature of the water level. Essentially all this level consists of is a hose full of water….no moving parts….so it will virtually last forever and be dead accurate all the while as it will always find its own level. What a refreshing concept!
You can make this as long as you desire but 40 feet should be enough for any project you will likely encounter unless you live on acreage. The components are simple, easy to find and cheap. A bucket, a garden hose, a thru-hull fitting, (explanation to follow) and a small amount of clear plastic hose of the same diameter as the garden hose are about all that is needed to make the level.
Having found a bucket…..its only criteria being water tight and able to hold enough water to fill whatever length of garden hose you have decided to use, you will need a way of getting the water out of the bucket without it leaking all over the place. The thru-hull fitting,available at most hardware stores is what I used and it works quite nicely. All it is is a threaded plastic pipe that goes through a hole in the bucket. One side of it has a gasket with a tightening nut to force the gasket against the wall of the bucket creating a water tight seal. The other side (on the outside of the bucket) has the threaded portion exposed, allowing connection to your standard garden hose. On the model shown I inserted a plastic shut-off on the end of the threaded pipe before the garden hose so I could isolate the water in the bucket and open it when I wanted. At the distant end of the hose I attached a short length of clear plastic hose which is used as a window to see the level of the water within. To make it yet more visible I add a little food coloring to the water in the bucket.
USING THE WATER LEVEL
Start by putting water in your bucket-enough so as to be higher than the outflow you’ve installed which hopefully is only about 3 inches off the bottom. Add some food coloring at this point and it will make your level easier to read. Allow the water to run freely long enough to ensure there are no air bubbles in the line (they will give you a false reading).
To find a level equal in height to the reservoir or below it:
Very simple. What ever it is that you are trying to find the level for…… fence posts perhaps……just place your bucket (reservoir) at a height that could be found on the posts. You don’t want your bucket mounted so high that it is way above your posts or there will be nothing on which to mark your level.
Now just take your hose to the first post and hold the clear tube along side it until the water in the tube stops moving up and down. This resting point is the exact level that your reservoir is at. Mark it there. Go to the next post and do the same thing and keep doing this until you have marked all the posts. This is simply a line that is constant on all the posts. Now you can measure up the post to your desired height and, keeping the measurement the same on all posts, you will have all of them level at your desired height.