Johnson Level & Tool Made In USA Levels?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Hand Tools forum

Forum topic by Beginningwoodworker posted 07-16-2011 07:30 PM 5248 views 0 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3940 days

07-16-2011 07:30 PM

I am planning on buying some levels, I guess I am a poor excuse for carpenter without levels But anyway I am looking the Mahogany Wooden Level a 24’’ and a 48’’ thats Made in the USA by Johnson levels and & tool. I am wondering are they anygood? Here is the link

16 replies so far

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3852 days

#1 posted 07-16-2011 07:34 PM

I don’t have any idea but I have some expensive and cheap levels some of the cheapo’s work just as well. Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3326 days

#2 posted 07-16-2011 07:54 PM

I suppose it depends. I have the wooden levels and love them, they work well and they look good too. I just like wooden tools for some reason. However, they are a little heavy compared to many other designs. I think, if I worked as a carpenter for a living such that I used them on a construction site every single day, I would probably invest in a good set of lightweight, yet rugged aluminum levels such as the Stanley Fat Max or some of the Empire brand. Both make a very good product along with Johnson. Also, if you are going to do much carpentry, but sure to get a good quality framing square and fo truly plumbing a wall, you really need a plumb bob. A level can be thrown off by a little bit of bow in a board, but a plumb bob is always dead on. At least so long as gravity still works anyway.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View lew's profile


12553 posts in 4023 days

#3 posted 07-16-2011 08:28 PM

If you are going to be installing any door/jambs, I’d look at this-

Just my 2ยข


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Mickey Cassiba's profile

Mickey Cassiba

312 posts in 3299 days

#4 posted 07-16-2011 09:39 PM

I have had two Johnsons for longer than I can remember, a 24 & a 48. I can put them up to any modern aluminum level and match bubbles. And Doc is right…the only way to ensure plumb is with a plumb bob.

-- One of these hammers oughta fix that...

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3940 days

#5 posted 07-16-2011 09:53 PM

Mickey are they wooden levels?

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3915 days

#6 posted 07-16-2011 10:15 PM

The 78” level is a tool I use a lot in millwork. Milled metal ones are reliably
straight enough for setting up machines, outfeed tables, and assessing
the faces and edges of boards.

The 24” and 48” are useful for some work I guess, but I use the 78”
in the shop a lot.

You can get a Kapro (made in Israel) set of 78” and 32” for hanging
doors for about $50 on websites. I have a Kapro 78 and a 24 and
they are accurate enough for most work.

As others have said, the only way to be really plumb is to use a bob.

View Roz's profile


1707 posts in 4054 days

#7 posted 07-16-2011 10:33 PM

Charles, I have a good 4 foot in the tools I am going to send you pics of.

-- Terry Roswell, L.A. (Lower Alabama) "Life is what happens to you when you are making other plans."

View Mickey Cassiba's profile

Mickey Cassiba

312 posts in 3299 days

#8 posted 07-17-2011 03:56 AM

Yes they are…the short one is a little ugly now, it’s real old, but the bubbles are true and the brass is still solid

-- One of these hammers oughta fix that...

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3940 days

#9 posted 07-17-2011 05:52 AM

Cool I made just get the Johnson one’s.

View patron's profile


13643 posts in 3608 days

#10 posted 07-17-2011 03:30 PM

i have had these in the past

always liked them
(then a divorce sale)

to check any level
i put it on a shelf or counter at the store
(hard to do over the internet)
and see the bubble
turning it over it should read the same
then spin it around
and check the other end
and flip over too

all 4 readings should be the same
(at whatever level or angle it may be)

then find a post or upright
and do the same for plumb
checking all 4 sides

the wooden ones have always been my favorite


-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Arch_E's profile


48 posts in 2789 days

#11 posted 07-17-2011 04:21 PM

bought, used, and love my 48” Johnson level for remodeling the basement in a previous home. Now days my projects require only 6” to 24”. I’ve got those, too, and really rely on them. Good stuff—though I know there’s better, more costly, as well.

View Paul Miller's profile

Paul Miller

33 posts in 3721 days

#12 posted 07-17-2011 07:26 PM

I have the 48” Johnson level. It’s major drawback is that the vials can only be seen from the sides. There have been many times I would have liked to be able to see the bubble from the top. I wish I had noticed the lack of this feature when I bought mine.

View Stuey's profile


43 posts in 3224 days

#13 posted 07-17-2011 10:38 PM

I reviewed a Johnson wood level over on my blog not too long ago. As Paul said, you can’t read the vials from the top. Furthermore, the dual-vial system, while convenient to read when the level is flipped any which way, requires a little getting used to.

Quality is outstanding, but the level style isn’t for everyone.


View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2960 days

#14 posted 07-18-2011 01:12 AM

Being a framer for many years I’ve tried a few different brands of levels. I settled on using a popular brands cast aluminum levels for many years. Wood levels look nice but don’t hold up to the extreme abuse that the metal levels can take.

Rule number one for making a level puchase is don’t buy mail order. Most level purchases are not returnable. Go to the store and pick out one youself and then in the store check the in all four positions plumb and level to make sure that you are buying a level that reads true. Remember just because it’s a new level doesn’t mean that you can trust it to give a true reading. I’ve found that during shipping the handlers can really be ruff on the tools sometimes.

About 15 years ago I purchased a pair of Master Levels, a two and a four footer. These appear to be the last levels of this type I’ll have to purchase. They’re well made and they’er made to be recalibrated buy the owner with a screwdriver. They were slightly higher in cost than traditional levels but have proven themself to be cheaper in the long run. If I was writing a tool review I’d give the Master Levels five stars. I have written a couple level reviews for other levels here on LJs and these may also be of an interset to you also. Remember for absolute plumb and level readings a plumb bob ( at least a 24oz. ) and a water level can’t be beat. or

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 3940 days

#15 posted 07-18-2011 02:53 AM

I used a Stanley Mahogany Level at school, and I loved it.

showing 1 through 15 of 16 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics