Bostitch Box Beam Clamping Level - Review
We're on the verge of renaming the site LevelSnob.com, given the sheer amount of levels we've covered in the past few months (and will be covering in the next few). The latest is Bostitch's Box Beam Clamping Level, which allows you to clamp the tool along a piece of wood, sort of like a magnetized level and a metal stud. Bostitch sent us a sample a couple months ago to check out and we've used it at home and on the site enough to draw some conclusions. Those conclusions are....(ahem)...
The Bostitch is a solid, boxy level, beefier than most box beams that we've used, and certainly chunkier than our stand-by Stabilas. At each end of the level is a funky clamp. The clamp works pretty much like any other spring clamp, squeeze one side closed to open the other, only here you also have to slide the teeth over to they're proud of the level edge. The mouth of the clamp is designed to fit around 2x stock, but there are a couple of extension arms that allow it to open up to the width of a 4x, say if you're building a deck.
As far as functionality goes, this is one of those, "we can't believe someone didn't come up with this idea years ago" items. The level is incredibly handy for stick framing, deck building, and every other instance where you need to level or plumb lumber and need both hands free. If you've ever used metal studs and had the benefit of a magnetic level, you're way ahead of the rest on understanding how helpful this tool is.
It seems that all of this usefulness comes at the expense of using the level as a layout tool. Because of the way the clamps fit into the level, it's difficult to use the level as a straight edge. Our level usage usually rests at 60% leveling, 40% layout, so this is a sizable drawback to us. But we don't really see the Bostitch as being anyone's primary level (and what carpenter has only one level?), so this one is more of a 'special forces' item; to be used (and greatly valued) for certain occasions.
The level is available in a 2 foot version (which we reviewed) and a 4 foot version. The 2 is about $40 and the 4 around $60.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at July 1, 2011 5:11 AM