As I’ve said before, old-school levels are sweet. They have a different vibe that’s difficult to replicate with today’s materials. Though the classic Rosewood levels are out — there just aren’t many rosewood trees left any more — I think mahogany fills the modern role with class and style — like in the 48″ brass-bound mahogany level above.
Though wooden levels are less accurate than modern metal ones when challenged head-to-head via micrometers and a full testing staff, they can serve quite nicely at the jobsite or in the shop. They’re also stunning to look at. The wooden levels do, however, show damage from falls and rough treatment quicker than their new metal, box-beam cousins.
So it’s really a matter of trading beauty for accuracy. For $50 if you’d rather have a mahogany beauty than a laser-straight metal wonder, you can — even today. Just watch out for warping and don’t get it wet.
What do you think? Are wooden levels just too hot to stay gone, or do the aluminum box-beams cool down your need for wood? Let us know in comments.