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Thread: Plumb Level, modeled after early 19th century Nicholson

  1. #1
    wormil's Avatar
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    wormil's Tools

    Cool Plumb Level, modeled after early 19th century Nicholson

    Project page:
    Nicholson Plumb Level - by Rick M. @ LumberJocks.com ~ woodworking community

    This is a modernized reproduction of the plumb level as drawn in Peter Nicholson’s The Mechanics Companion, 1831.

    Nicholson's version:
    Plumb Level, modeled after early 19th century Nicholson-g7wjviul.jpg

    My version:

    Plumb Level, modeled after early 19th century Nicholson-pc7lwyvl.jpg
    Plumb Level, modeled after early 19th century Nicholson-qrgf00tl.jpg

    My version replaces the string and lead weight with a brass rod, attached to a wood axle press fit into a roller bearing. The frame is cherry, the plumb bob is ebony, the inlay strip is American holly, finish is beeswax and oil. There is no advantage to the rod and bearing, I did it simply to modernize the design and be different. I would show a picture of the bearing in place but after pressing in the axle I couldn’t remove it. The brass rod is actually canted back toward the frame and the plumb bob is flat on the back. On a level surface the pointer will be centered on the white strip. Gravity will push the pointer toward the low side. The bearing is a 1/4×3/8×1/8” metal shielded bearing that is press fit into a hole drilled top center. The ebony axle has a small tenon on the back that fits into the bearing. It works like a plumb bob, gravity forces the pointer toward earth and when aligned with the holly strip the base is level.

    Plumb levels have been around for at least 4500 years. They were used by Egyptians to build pyramids and the Romans used variations for surveying and construction. Many variations existed.

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to wormil For This Useful Post:

    kbalch (02-25-2014)

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    Thanks wormil! I've added your Plumb Level to our Measuring and Marking and Woodworking categories, as well as to your builder page: wormil's Homemade Tools. Your receipt:


  4. #3
    Content Editor DIYer's Avatar
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    Interesting take on a tool that has been around for ages.

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    wormil's Avatar
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    Thanks. I wanted to restrict the plumb bob's swing to one plane. I over explained it for this crowd but surprising some people did not intuitively understand how it works.

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    Content Editor Altair's Avatar
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    It sure is nice to see classical tools brought back to life. I salute you for not letting old tools fade into obscurity.


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