Saturday, March 19, 2011

Making a Level: Part III

The outside of the level still needs some final shaping and sanding. Despite this, I moved onto the next step because, well, I'm impatient.

Levels require a way to view the vial not only from the top but from the sides.  Wooden levels (at least the antique ones I own) have sloped side holes which necessitate a bit of shaping.

 Two arcs create the slopes—a small arc that is closest to the vial, and a larger arc that terminates on the outside surface of the level.

I used a chisel, shallow gouge, and round file to shape the sloped holes—quick and easy.

I bet if I had planned ahead, I could have drilled the inner arc with a Forstner bit before cutting the blank for the level and the channel for the vial.

But that's way too much forward-thinking for someone who's, well, impatient.


Parts I and II for making this level are here and here.


Stephen Shepherd said...


I would like to be square with you and tell you on the level, you have done plumb good.


Jonathan said...

It's looking really good Kari.


Anonymous said...

HI Kari,

Really looking good.
Another outstanding photo essay.
BTW, have you made a decision on how to mount and check the vial for “level’?

The Village Sexton

Eric said...

You got "The Touch" kid.

JimK said...

Look'n good Kari

Anonymous said...

A really stunning toolwork Kari,well done. I like the concave shape on the sides making with the shallow gouge

Vic Hubbard said...

Your skill with a sharp implement always amazes me!! That's gonna be a nice looking tool.

Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

Very nice,Kari.
Do you plan on doing a spot of engraving on the brass?

Kari Hultman said...

Thanks for all the nice compliments. :o)

I've decided to use the bathtub technique to seat the vial. I read about it in a book on restoring antique tools and it sounds like the most accurate way to achieve level.

Black, I haven't had the chance to try engraving but once I've played around on some practice pieces and if I do an okay job I can always go back to this level someday and dress it up. That link you sent me on engraving tools is excellent, and I've found some decent (free) tutorials online.

Pedder said...

Hi Kari

cool project! The hole: you could have clamped a second piece of wood to drill the inner diameter.


Dyami Plotke said...

Coming along very nicely, Kari. I can't wait to see the finished product. Looks like this project is utilizing and building a wonderful variety of skills.