Square/Level/Plumb - General DIY Discussions - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > DIY Forum > General DIY Discussions


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 07-04-2011, 09:25 AM   #1
Too Short? Cut it Again!
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 9,634
Rewards Points: 2,000


A comment was made by someone I respect a lot on this site even though he loves hanging paper more than painting. He made a comment, having been brought in to paper rather high end homes, that it seemed carpenters never carry squares anymore.

The last beauty of an old house I worked on gut toward finish, was a balloon thing constructed around 1898 around the shell of a Victorian. I guess with all floors involved it came to 2,000-2,400 sf or so by the time the basement was finished.

The amazing thing about the house? You could take a square to any joint. And up down and across---PERFECT. Every piece of antique trim was perfect to floors and ceilings.

The house had settled, perfectly square but toward one corner.

Things like the steel wheels and tracks for giant and beautiful pocket doors had to be adjusted for gravity of course. But...

The owner ran out of money. He had to sell and I stayed with the project until the the new owner came in with carpenters having pretty levels of all kinds. I just scratched my head as one leveled a floor for new tile and with a very nice laser level spun a line all around the room showing the trim was off, the fixtures were crooked. The paper hanger must have been drunk, etc. I pointed to the ceiling and suggested the angle might look weird if he did it his way.

I spouted off too many times and was finally asked to take my silly square and go home. Chalk it up to level headed thinking I guess.

Anyhow, I thought of commenting on a current thread about how to level a subfloor for tile with the newbie owner admitting he sees things off 1/4" here or there. Anybody ever seen thing off 1/4 that did not turn out to be more?

Was thinking a square a handy thing for people to have. Of course I have all sorts of laser and other levels but I adjust them for the way a house has settled. Especially if it has fallen more or less as a unit. I lay floors and even tin ceilings at times, square, not level. Paperhangers breeze through my projects. One tool.

A square. Levels and blumbobs only establish your relationship to true gravity which exists in no home for longer than minutes.
Attached Images


Last edited by user1007; 07-04-2011 at 09:31 AM.
user1007 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2011, 10:46 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: central virginia mountains
Posts: 1,857
Rewards Points: 1,000

and there is so much useful info on them


The older I get the better I was
tpolk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2011, 10:54 AM   #3
Framing Contractor
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: NE Ohio
Posts: 1,214
Rewards Points: 126

Square, level, plumb, true, straight, and flush.

Trying to get all six is nearly impossible.
sixeightten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2011, 11:54 AM   #4
NACE Coating Inspector
mustangmike3789's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Florida
Posts: 524
Rewards Points: 500

Originally Posted by sixeightten View Post
Square, level, plumb, true, straight, and flush.

Trying to get all six is nearly impossible.
i agree. my house was built in the 50's and things have settled over the years. i added a built in entertainment center with a closet, bi-fold doors and crown molding. the floors were flat but not level, walls were a bit out of plumb and some corners were a bit out of square. if i tried to do this with a level it would have looked out of place. the only true way to make this blend in was to use a square and tape measure to adjust and split some differences. everything looks perfect and i didnt even use a level.
mustangmike3789 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2011, 01:15 PM   #5
Registered User
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 11,730
Rewards Points: 526

Just be sure the square you use is square to use: http://zo-d.com/stuff/how-do-i/how-t...ng-square.html

If any ads are present below my answer or words underlined/colored, I do not condone/support/use the product or services listed/linked to, they are there without my consent.
17,000 dryer fires a year, when did you last clean the inside of the dryer near motor or the exhaust ducting?
Gary in WA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-2011, 11:25 PM   #6
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: BC Canada
Posts: 500
Rewards Points: 500

Personally I get out the old framing square now and then.

When building I will usually rely on 3/4/5 off of whatever I want to be square to. your square is 3 foot by 4 foot, or 6 foot by 8 foot, Whether i'm building a partition wall in an older house, putting down a floor, even a paver patio coming off the back of a house.

level/plumb/square usually the name of the game, but old houses can be tricky.

I remember one place I did last year, was way out, exterior walls often out by a couple inches, each one. I was replacing some rotten exterior trim around corners and doors, and upgrading some door casings inside. What a pain, had to go with a nice reveal and leave the level at home. Have to think outside the box sometimes trying to finish a place where plumb/square/level doesn't exist.

Last edited by chrisBC; 07-05-2011 at 12:28 AM.
chrisBC is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2011, 07:35 PM   #7
Custom Home Builder
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ship Bottom (Long Beach Island), NJ
Posts: 95
Rewards Points: 75

Don't know how the younger boys do it, but us old boys always carry our squares.
I've had mine for a long, long time.
thomasjmarino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-06-2011, 09:58 PM   #8
I have gas!
Clutchcargo's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,975
Rewards Points: 1,374

I've given up on square level plumb. You kind of have to go with the flow of these old houses.
I tear things down and build them up.
Clutchcargo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2011, 09:50 AM   #9
Steeler99's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 120
Rewards Points: 75

I agree totally....I've used a square on every project. Let's not forget the speed square, I love that one
Steeler99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2011, 03:37 PM   #10
jules4's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Halifax NS, Canada
Posts: 262
Rewards Points: 250

When repairing an old house my goal is for my work to look square and level, something which often bares little relation to being square and level.

Trimwork especially needs to conform to its proper frame of reference - namely, the room that it's in. It doesn't matter if a baseboard is perfectly level, or even if it's perfectly rectangular; what matters is that it enhances the wall it's placed on.


jules4 is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Top of Page | View New Posts


Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1