For my first ten or fifteen years in carpentry, Stabila levels were mythical. Most of the time, you couldn’t even buy one, even if you could afford the hefty price tag. There just weren’t many around—only the most discriminating stores sold them, and they were always in short supply. Today you can buy a Stabila level at every professional tool store and lumber dealer. But Stabila’s levels are about to become mythical once more.
|These days, I don’t write too many tool reviews. Someone is always complaining that I’ve got a conflict of interest because of Katz Roadshow Sponsorship. So if that worries you, stop reading right here, because I’ve had a wonderful relationship with Stabila for more than twenty years, and I’ve given them ideas for new products, like the 5-ft. level and the Jambers Set.|
While I’ve never asked or received remuneration for helping them, they’ve shown me enormous respect, and they have supported every educational program I’ve produced.
Maybe that’s why I was one of the first carpenters in the U.S. to get my hands on a Stabila R-Beam level, back in 2011. I have to admit that I thought it was kind of bulky at the time. It wasn’t sleek. And it wouldn’t pack with my other levels.
But once I started using the R-beam, I stopped reaching for my old red-handled set…
R-beam levels are flat on the bottom and won’t tip over. (You can see the R-shape in the end of the level, above.)
|R-beam levels have sharper, crisp corners, so I can see if something is flat and straight, or bowed and twisted.|
|R-beam levels don’t have eased edges, so pencil lines are always scribed straight and true—the lead doesn’t duck under the edge of the level.|
|R-beam levels have “wide-angle” vials—I can see the bubble vial from an oblique angle, and I don’t have to stand perfectly perpendicular to the level.|
R-beam levels have a continuous grip—I don’t have to look for a handhold before picking one up.
And R-beam levels are stronger—I can step on my level without worrying about bending it.
But there are a couple disappointments, too:
|R-beam levels aren’t easy to hang on nails—the holes are small and difficult to thread over a screw or nail.|
|R-beam levels don’t fit in my Stabila level case.|
But all of the negatives can’t compare to the positives. These are the best and most comfortable levels I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve never worked with any other level that has given me the same sense of confidence.