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What is a plumb bob and how do I use it?

When taking on DIY projects such as tiling walls, fitting cabinets, installing door and window frames, or any project where you need to determine the level of a vertical surface, you will need to use a plumb bob, spirit level, or laser level.

For a big job you're probably going to want to invest in a laser level, but smaller occasional jobs can be done with a plumb bob.

 

The plumb bob has been in use for centuries, and was even believed to have been used by the Egyptians when building the pyramids. Originally made of lead, the plumb bob gets its name from the Latin word, "plumbum" meaning lead.

A plumb bob is a brass weight that has a screw top, into which you thread a piece of string, tie and knot and secure the screw top in place. Using a panel pin, the string is fastened at the top of a wall, door or window frame, and then the bob is lowered. The brass weight swings around, until finally settling into a true vertical. This is one of those basic tools every serious DIYer should have in their toolbox. It's not expensive, nor fancy, but comes in handy when you need to determine whether or not a wall is vertical.

 

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