3 Benefits of a Folding Level on the Farm

For Farm Projects, You May Want to Add a Folding Level to Your Arsenal of Tools

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: J. Keeler Johnson

The benefits of a folding level are numerous. Depending on the types of projects you tackle on your farm, you may want to add one to your arsenal of tools.

A folding level is much like a beam level, but with a big difference: it’s hinged, usually in multiple places. When the level is fully unfolded, it stretches out to a decent length (perhaps a couple of feet) and can be used like a beam level. But the hinging ability expands its versatility and usefulness.

Here are three benefits of a folding level:

1. Compact size

A folding level is easy to carry around since it folds to such a compact size. If you have a large pocket, it may fit inside. It’s convenient to toss inside a small bag of tools, or in the tool compartment of a tractor.

The compact size of a folding level also comes in handy if you need to take a measurement in a tight space where a longer, regular level won’t fit.

2. Ability to measure multiple angles at once

Compact size is nice, but the biggest benefit of a folding level is its ability to measure multiple angles at once. A typical folding level comes with several bubbles mounted in different orientations, such as horizontal, vertical, and 45 degrees. By folding the level in various ways, and by utilizing bubbles on different sections, you can quickly and conveniently measure multiple angles at a glance.

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Let’s provide an example. Suppose you’re installing a wooden fence post and want to make sure it’s standing perfectly vertical (plumb). Facing the fence post, you need to make sure it isn’t leaning left, right, forward, or backward. So long as your level offers multiple horizontal bubbles, you can fold it at a 90-degree angle so one horizontal bubble measures the left-to-right lean and the other measures forward-to-backward lean—just like a post and pipe level does. It’s faster and easier than constantly switching back and forth from one side of the post to another, as you have to do with a regular level.

By offering horizontal, vertical, and 45-degree bubbles, a folding level can cover a lot of different combinations. If you need to measure multiple angles simultaneously, there’s a good chance you’ll figure out a way to do it with this level.

3. Usability as a regular beam level

As mentioned previously, by unfolding a level to its greatest length, you can use it just like a beam level. This shouldn’t be underestimated, because sometimes sheer length is helpful.

For example, if you want to make sure a long piece of lumber is level, but the lumber itself isn’t perfectly straight (with little bumps and inconsistencies along its length), a level that’s only a few inches long can give a false reading if one end happens to be sitting on a bump or in a dip. A longer level can ride over these subtle variations and give you a more accurate indication of levelness.

Combining all three of these benefits into a single tool moves a folding level onto the must-have list if you commonly tackle small building and construction projects.

This article was written for Hobby Farms magazine. Click here to subscribe. 

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