Why You Need a Post and Pipe Level

Do you plan to install wooden posts as part of a building project? Ensure that they stand perfectly upright by using a post and pipe level.

by J. Keeler Johnson
PHOTO: Daniel Johnson

I am continuously amazed by human ingenuity. Just when I think I have all the useful tools I need in my arsenal, I stumble across another clever device that makes me marvel at how solutions exist for problems I never would have thought to address. My most recent discover? The post and pipe level. I’ll explain.

My latest farming project is building an imposing deer fence to protect a young orchard, and I’m currently working on building the front fence line—a 250-foot stretch of welded wire attached to 8-foot wooden posts spaced 10 feet apart. Because I’m a perfectionist when it comes to the placement of posts—OK, I’m picky—I want to ensure that every post is standing perfectly upright, level in all directions, not leaning at all. Otherwise, I’ll cringe every time I look out toward the fence and see a leaning post.

To achieve this level of perfection, I keep a level handy while I work to ensure that the posts I’m setting are plumb. I originally planned to use a standard level—the long, narrow kind typically used for construction projects—but this would have required me to constantly shift the level from one side of each post to the other, to check whether each post is standing straight in both directions.

Fortunately, my father (who knows tools even better than I do) suggested I instead try a post and pipe level, a recommendation that will save me a lot of time and effort.

A post and pipe level is exactly what its name suggests—a level specifically built for use with posts and pipes. The level has two sides connected at a right angle, which lets you place it flush against a post or pipe; furthermore, mine has a rubber strap I can stretch around the post to secure the level in place and free up my hands.

The key to a post and pipe level is simple: three bubbles, one on each side, and one on the joint where the sides connect. Having a bubble on each side lets you determine the proper angle for both sides of the post at once, saving you from constantly switching your level from one side to the other. This makes it considerably easier to accurately set posts in their proper position.

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The third bubble on the joint comes into play if you’re working with horizontal posts or pipes rather than vertical ones, allowing the level to be used in either orientation. I’ll find this handy if I wind up running horizontal beams across the top of my fence line.

I’ve tested my post and pipe level and am pleased with the results—I believe it will significantly speed up the post-setting process, and for busy hobby farmers, increasing efficiency and saving time is always a positive. Even better, a post and pipe level costs only a few dollars, so if you have a fencing project coming up, I encourage you to add this specialty tool to your collection.

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