On The Level: Keson and SOLA: Choosing the Best Level for Masons

Words: Todd Fredrick

Keson’s partnership with SOLA Measuring Tools has brought high-quality levels to North America

When it comes to building and construction, masons have one of the most important and difficult jobs. They build structures, sometimes enormous buildings, from individual blocks or units. 

As masonry usually forms a structure from the base up, it is vital that each unit be perfectly level and plumb. Going out of level, even the smallest amount, can result in instability for the rest of the structure. Therefore, it is important that a mason has the right tools on the job site to help ensure that each project they tackle is sound. 

From plumb bobs to lasers, masons have a variety of tools to choose from, but the one that gets the most use — and is almost always at hand — is the level. A good, accurate level will ensure that each stage of the structure is plumb, level and structurally sound. 

Profile or Level Housing 

For years, levels have been made of wood. You can still find wooden levels made from a variety of species such as walnut, oak or even bamboo. 

Unfortunately, wood is a porous material and has a tendency to warp after prolonged contact with moisture. It can also chip and splinter if dropped. Job sites are often subjected to a range of weather, and tools can often get misplaced, dropped or stepped on. When this happens, the level will lose its accuracy. It is definitely tough to care for a wood level enough to ensure that it stays accurate under professional use. 

Instead, consider a level with an aluminum or aluminum alloy body as they are more durable. They will not warp, bend or crack, no matter the weather, and will help protect the accuracy of the vials, so your level will continue to perform. 

With a sturdy profile extruded to enhance the strength characteristics of aluminum, we would match a box beam against any wood level out there. With a profile weight of 0.61lbs/ft, the SOLA BigRed offers the sturdiness the professional mason will be looking for to get his job done. 

Vials 

If your level is dropped or knocked, you need to know that the vial is going to remain both intact and accurate. Many levels fail at the interface between the vial and the profile. Manufacturers often express their confidence in their products through their warranty. 

You also want your vial to be easy to read, which ensures you get your job done quickly and accurately. The vials should remain fog-free, and the liquid color should not fade for many years, even under the exposure of UV-light. 

SOLA levels have a FOCUS vial made of shockproof acrylic that gives an increased magnification of +20% or +60%. The FOCUS vial contrast is 4x higher than the average ring vial. Magnification and enhanced contrast improve the readability of the vial, making measurments more efficient and precise. 

Accuracy 

Your level is only as good as its accuracy- make sure that you invest in a level that states and guarantees correct measurements. In addition, check whether your level is still accurate when you put it to work, as your job site might be rough on your tools from time to time, even when you are not around. 

The SOLA Big Red is currently the most accurate box beam level in the world, with maximum deviations less than0.3 mm/m (0.017°, 0.0003in/in) in standard position and less than 0.5 mm/m (0.029°, 0.0005in/in) in inverted position. Made in Austria, every level undergoes a 100% quality check before being shipped to professionals around the globe. 

Care 

Clean your level after each use. Periodically check your level’s measuring surface for dings or dents. Ensure that your level is reading accurately before you start each job. A level is a precision measuring device. 

Choose the Best Level for Masons 

Keson’s partnership with SOLA Measuring Tools has brought high-quality levels to North America

“We are very excited about bringing the highest quality level into the North American market under the Keson brand.” 

For years, the spirit and screeding level industry in North America has lacked meaningful innovation. Keson is aiming to change that through its new partnership with SOLA Measuring Tools Co. Together, they are bringing high quality and affordable levels to North America featuring SOLA’s FOCUS vial technology.  
 
A New Partnership 
 
Keson and SOLA are both family-owned, third-generation companies currently led by the grandsons of the company founders. SOLA started in 1949 with a leveling tool invented on the roof of the Scheyer family home in Gotzis, Austria. Keson started in 1968 in the basement of the Nosek family home in Berwyn, Illinois. Both companies are leaders in measuring and marking tools, offer complementary product lines, and share very similar values.  

In early 2018, the Nosek and Scheyer families joined together to form a new company — Keson LLC. With a combined 120 years of market experience, the Keson and SOLA alliance will build upon Keson’s U.S. manufacturing, existing distribution network and strong relationships by adding SOLA’s European manufacturing expertise, precision-engineering and industry-leading technology.  
 
Keson is headquartered in Aurora, Illinois, and is well known in North America for providing reliable, innovative and easy-to-use measuring and marking products to professional tradespeople who are passionate about their work. SOLA is headquartered in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in the shadow of the Austrian Alps, and is a market leader in spirit and screeding levels in 30 countries around the world. Now united, Keson LLC is launching a two-brand North American strategy that will deliver levels with superior durability, unparalleled accuracy and a better experience for the user.  
 

Aaron Nosek (left), President of Keson and Wolfgang Scheyer (right), CEO of SOLA, introducing their newest level, featuring SOLA’s FOCUS Vials.  


The SOLA-branded levels will be positioned at the high-end of the market and will be the best-of-the-best, just as SOLA levels have been in Europe and around the world for the last 70 years. 
 
The Keson-branded levels will be mid-tier priced levels with SOLA technology, backed by the reputation Keson has built over the last 50 years.  
 
All of these new levels will be made in one of Keson LLC’s two European manufacturing facilities in either Austria or Hungary.  
 
“We are very excited about bringing world-class levels into the North American market under the SOLA brand to give users a choice at the high end of the market,” says Keson’s President, Aaron Nosek. “We are also very excited to capitalize on SOLA’s long history of manufacturing excellence and cutting-edge innovation to provide a more affordable version of high-quality levels under the Keson brand.”  
 
SOLA’s FOCUS vial technology will change the way you look at levels. Compared with industry-standard ring vials, the FOCUS vials are extremely accurate and much easier to read. This patented technology gives users a better, faster and more accurate reading even from a distance or in a low-light setting.  
 
Keson LLC’s introduction of more than 60 different level products under the SOLA and Keson brands have been available for purchase through local distributors and specialty stores since the fall of 2018. 

Shown in the map below, Keson is headquartered in Illinois, and SOLA is headquartered in Austria.

 FOCUS Vials show a higher contrast, giving users a better, faster and more accurate reading. 

Masons have an important job that relies heavily on the tools they use. Visit SOLA for levels that can give you the accuracy and reliability you need to get the job done right each and every time. 

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