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Are there any alternatives to using
a plumb-bob?

Alternatives, other options, plumb bob, spirit level, plumb rod, wonkee donkee tools DIY guide If you don’t have a plumb-bob handy, then there are a few alternatives you can use:

Spirit levels

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Spirit level, marking out tool, plumb bob, wonkee donkee tools DIY guide how to use a plumb bob Using a spirit level is an excellent way to determine whether or not a horizontal surface is level, but it can also be used to tell whether a vertical surface is plumb.
Plumb bob Spirit level, marking out tool, plumb bob, wonkee donkee tools DIY guide how to use a plumb bob By holding the spirit level against a vertical surface and looking at its bubble, you will be able to determine whether the surface is plumb or not.
Bubble Spirit level, marking out tool, plumb bob, wonkee donkee tools DIY guide how to use a plumb bob If your surface is plumb, the little bubble should line-up directly in the middle of the two lines on the vial. If it is more to one side or the other, then your surface is not plumb.

The disadvantage of using a spirit level over a plumb-bob is that a spirit level is only accurate over the distance of its length. For checking over long distances, a plumb-bob would be more suitable.

Laser levels

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Plumb bob, plummet, plumb line, weight, lead, marking out tool, wonkee donkee tools, DIY guide how to use a plumb bob Laser levels are the high-tech tool of the marking-out world. They can be set for vertical and horizontal planes for quick and easy reference lines.

Laser levels are impressive tools, but they can be expensive. If you are going to be using a laser level on a regular basis, then it may be worth the extra expense. If, however, you are only a one-off or infrequent user, then the simplicity and inexpensiveness of a plumb-bob may be the right choice for you.

Plumb bob levels

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Plumb bob level, Spirit level, marking out tool, plumb bob, wonkee donkee tools DIY guide how to use a plumb bob Plumb-bob levels, or “plumb rods” have been used for centuries as a simple and accurate way to determine whether a surface is vertical and plumb.

The plumb-bob level consists of a roughly F-shaped frame with a plumb-bob attached to the top. The plumb-bob’s line is fed through a hole in the uppermost horizontal beam of the “F” frame and the plumb-bob is suspended and allowed to dangle freely below.

Plumb bob level, Spirit level, marking out tool, plumb bob, wonkee donkee tools DIY guide how to use a plumb bob When the level is laid against a truly plumb surface, the line will hang directly in line with the lower horizontal beam. If the surface you lay it against is not plumb, the line will hang away from the lower beam or curve inwards towards it.

The disadvantage of this tool is that it is a little cumbersome and hardly anybody actually sells them. You would have to make it yourself if you wanted one of these tools so you might be better off just purchasing a spirit level as spirit levels can measure horizontal surfaces as well as vertical.

Chalk lines

Plumb bob, plummet, plumb line, weight, lead, marking out tool, wonkee donkee tools, DIY guide how to use a plumb bob Many chalk lines can be used as plumb-bobs as they are essentially a weight tied to a string. Some even have a pointed bottom to make accurate marking easier.

The disadvantage of using a chalk line instead of a plumb-bob is that many chalk lines will not be perfectly symmetrical or balanced and therefore may not give accurate readings.

Smart phones

Smart phone plumb bob app Spirit level, marking out tool, plumb bob, wonkee donkee tools DIY guide how to use a plumb bob Even smart phones have apps that can give you a plumb-bob to use on your phone. As with the spirit level, these may not be accurate over distances larger than the smart phone’s length.