The Spirit Levels Made for Masons

Words: Sabrina Bowgren

In the intricate world of construction, precision isn't just desirable—it's non-negotiable. When it comes to determining whether a surface is truly level, settling for anything less than perfection simply isn't an option. The durability of our tools directly impacts the reliability and accuracy of our measurements. The Type 196-2 K Sprit Level from STABILA was built to handle the tough masonry conditions. 

At the heart of every mason's routine lies the crucial task of taking measurements, a ritual repeated multiple times throughout the brick laying process. Whether it is checking the starting brick for level, finding the plumb line with the foundation, or checking the finished project, the accuracy of these measurements determines the integrity of the final product. STABILA recognizes the fundamental needs of masonry and has crafted a diverse range of Mason spirit levels to meet the unique demands of this industry. 

The most important part of the spirit level is the vial. STABILA spirit levels are constructed with locked vials that measure accurately even under demanding conditions. The locked vial system starts with a quality acrylic glass vial and a well-designed mounting system that is integrated into a high-quality aluminum frame. During the manufacturing process, the vial and mounting system are aligned and permanently bonded to one another to prevent the vial from moving within the level. Special liquid synthetic resin is distributed between the vial, mounting system, and profile. Once this is done, all components are precisely aligned and tested to meet micrometer accuracy. This process ensures that during repeated drops or heavy use, the vial will not move within the frame. The STABILA vial installation technology ensures long-term accuracy, measuring accuracy in normal and reverse positions of ± 1/32" at 72" / 0.5mm/m. Having a spirit level that reads accurately each time can save a mason valuable time during their projects. 

What makes the STABILA Type 196-2 K Mason level unique is the durability of the frame, the protective blow shield on the level, and placement of the vials and handles. The STABILA Masons level utilizes the industry standard type 196 frame due to the ultra-ridged aluminum profile with reinforcing ribs for high stability. The electrostatic powder coating on the type 196 frame allows for easy cleaning to prevent buildup on the level. When working with material such as brick and mortar, it is important that the level frame has the strength and durability to handle the jobsite conditions. 

The Mason level was developed for masons who prefer to tap or hit the level with their trowel when setting bricks in place. Over time damage can occur to aluminum frames after excessive or consistent use of trowel strikes to the frame. In order to protect the level from trowel taps, STABILA added two blow shields to the top surface of the type 196-2 K Mason level. 

For the longer Mason levels, 36 inches and 48 inches, the handle and vial placements are different than the normal type 196 spirit level placement. The two handless are centered in the middle of the level near the middle vial. This allows for the blow shields to have a larger zone for trowel tapping. Centered handles also enable the mason to move the level more swiftly and with greater ease using just one hand, without being hindered by uneven weight distribution. Regarding vial placement, there is always a vial at eye-level. The Mason level contains one centered horizontal vial, and two plumb vials; one plumb vial near the end of the level and the second towards the center. Having an additional plumb vial located near the center of the level makes it easier to read in all measurement positions.

For added durability to withstand tough jobsite conditions, all STABILA type 196 frames, including the Mason levels, come with shock-absorbing, removable end caps. These end caps protect the level frame from repeated drops and falls. In addition, the end caps can be removed to allow the mason to get exact positioning and marking right up to the corners. These shock-absorbing end caps can also be replaced if they become worn down or damaged. 

STABILA recognizes the pivotal role of precision for jobsite measurements, particularly in rugged environments like masonry. With a steadfast commitment to quality and durability, STABILA's Mason level is engineered to meet the exacting standards of professionals worldwide, ensuring reliable and accurate measurements every time.

Technical Specifications:
Available lengths: 16 in., 24in., 36 in., and 48 in. 
Measurement accuracy in normal position: ± 1/32in @ 72in
Measurement accuracy in reverse position: ± 1/32in @ 72in
Number of measuring surfaces: 1
Profile: Rectangular profile with ribs
End caps: Removable / Wall Grips / Shock Absorbing 

For 135 years STABILA has been a well-known, distinguished manufacturer of measuring tools of the highest quality. The product range is comprised of spirit levels, lasers, electronic measuring tools, rules, and tape measures. STABILA can be found in over 80 countries, and in many of these, it is the market leader in important measurement technology sectors. It owes its worldwide success and sustainable growth trajectory to its innovative strength, application-oriented product development in close cooperation with construction and trade professionals, modern production techniques, and the constant development of its sales and marketing activities.

Further information is available at 

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