How to Use a Plumb Bob – Parts, Guide, Cost & Alternatives


how to use plumb bob

Even in the 21st century, you can find more than 20 professions who use plumb bobsOpens in a new tab. for its simplicity instead of laser levels.

Levels are pretty common when plumbing things up. When we are talking about plumb, it means straight up and down or vertical. The level would be horizontal, and the plumb is vertical. But today, we are explicitly talking about plumb bob, whether it’s a wall, a doorframe, or something like that. But we have a much simpler, much older, and less costly option.

After reading this article, you will know a plumb bob and how to use a plumb bob.

Plumb Bob Overview

A Plumb bob is a small and heavy object used to hang a string or a rope straight. The plumb bob or a plumb line uses the law of gravity to determine what is “plumb,” which is the test to determine what is vertical.

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Parts of a Plumb Bob

As you have read earlier, a plumb bob is used to determine that something is precisely vertical. Parts of a plumb bob include the pointed end, weight, hole for the string, and yes, of course, string.

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  • Pointed end: The pointed end of most plumb-bobs makes it easier to match the tip with a ground marker. The more refined your plumb-point, bob’s, the easier it will be to mark accurately.

When the plumb-bob is not in use, some versions come with a cap to cover the weight’s tip.

  • Weight: The portion of the plumb-bob suspended by the string is known as the weight or “bob.” For balance, the weight is symmetrical, and it usually has a pointed end for precise alignment. A hole at the opposite end allows the string to be fed through and attached.
  • Hole for string: A plumb-string bob’s feeding and tying hole may be a simple hole, a ring attachment, or a removable threaded cap that allows the string to protrude directly from the center of the weight for greater precision and balance.
  • String: The plumb-bob weight is suspended from the string, a simple piece of thin cord attached to a stationary object or construction. The string would be vertical (plumb) and perpendicular to the level (horizontal) ground due to the law of gravity.

Where Do we Use a Plumb Bob?

To detect whether something is upright or not, we can use a plumb bob. The very first use of the plumb bob is to check whether something is vertical or not. Plus, you can use it to measure equal distances.

Next, we can use a plumb bob to transfer points from floor to ceiling. It helps move points from top to bottom and vice-versa. When you are installing walls or doors internally, you can use a plumb bob.

The most popular use of the plumb bob is that it helps in hanging wallpapers. hence when you need to hang off the wallpaper and if you want your wall coverings to look natural, hang them against a plumb lineOpens in a new tab..

Apart from this, more than 20 professions use plumb bob.

How to string a plumb bob?

We can use a plumb bob to move points from below or above a preset point into vertical alignment. A plumb bob is a long string with a piece of weight. To use a plumb bob, mark the location above the area where you want to draw a vertical line. Loop the plumb bob string around a nail or other object. And lower the plumb bob until it is very close to the working surface but not touching it. The pointed end of the plumb bob will be precisely in line with the point above when it stops swinging. The alignment of both points is perfectly vertical.

Step 1: Remove the adjustable top from the end of the plumb bob on the other side of the pointed end.

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Step 2: Thread the string or dryline through the opening in the portable top with the plumb bob. The line should be at least as tall as the distance between the floor and the ceiling, usually 8 feet.

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Step 3: Make a dual knot at the string’s end. Pull the remaining string through the plumb bob top to tuck the knot within the cap you can remove.

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Step 4: Reinstate the lid on the plumb bob’s heavy end.

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“I am facing issues attaching a plumb bob.” Could you please guide me?

Thread the cord through the center top hole of the plumb bob. Out the side hole underneath the knurled head to tie it to the plumb bob. If you put a double knot on the end of the cord and pull it taught. You can now use your plumb bob.

How to use a Plumb Bob?

For using this method for plumbing, you have to set the string at the point of plumbing. The weight, or bob, then starts swinging and stops precisely below the point where the line is preset.

The plumb bob helps create vertical for a wall or a door jamb while hanging a door during construction. While a spirit level can complete specific tasks, some jobs are much easier to finish with the tool. The plumb line, for example, may be used to locate fixtures or decorations concerning an object or surface below (or above). Once it is hung and still, the top and bottom points can be labeled and used as guides.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XXiSC7Kq54Opens in a new tab.

How to use a plumb bob to frame a wall?

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Transferring points from floor to ceiling

  • Mark a point.

If you’re moving a point from floor to roof, make a mark on the floor in the exact location you’ll need it.

  • Allow some string to escape.

If you need to mount a stepping stool to get to your roof, it’s a good idea to have someone else keep the plumb-sway steady.

  • Make sure everything is in order.

Check the perfect alignment of the plumb-weave with your floor mark.

Transferring a point from ceiling to floor

  • Mark point and join string. Make a mark on the highlight that will relocate from the roof to the ground. Connect the rope to it either by holding it there or by protecting it with a pin.
  • Allow plumb-weave to quit swinging.
  • Permit the plumb-weave to quit swinging.
  • When the plumb-weave has reached a dead stop, mark the point beneath the tip.

Should I trust a plumb bob when it comes to constructing a straight wall?

When more than 20 professions including expert masons, carpenters, stair and cabinet builders, architects, astronomers, ship builders, bridge builders etc. trust plumb bob to measure the distance with accuracy to their work, you should definitely trust it. However, it is important to learn the right way to use plump bobs. Here’s a video that might help you:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qzxu2Ttr2dkOpens in a new tab.

How to use a plumb bob for wallpapering?

With a basic plumbing bob with a string but no automatic retrieval, we can accomplish wallpapering. You can tie rope and weight to a nail about 50 cm from the internal corner and left to swing till the line is straight. It is helpful if one person can hold the weight. Another draws the first line for the wallpaper to pencil along this line perfectly to avoid the pencil from slipping. It is even simpler to apply colored chalk powder directly to the string and then gently press it against the wall.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJBTqcl2HAIOpens in a new tab.

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How to Make a Plumb Bob Line for Painting Wall Stripes

A plumb bob line is a perfect way to ensure that your guidelines are truly vertical. If you don’t already have it, you can easily make it at home:

Attach a small weight to one end of a heavy thread, such as a metal washer. Then tie a knot in the opposite end and push a push pin through the top knot.

The plumb line will hang plumb from each chalk mark at the top of the wall when you tack it to it.

How Much Does a Plumb Bob Cost?

The cost of an object varies from brand to brand. If you are selecting one which is from a highly reputed company, definitely it is going to be expensive. And if you will buy a plumb bob from an unbranded company, it will cost less than that. On the whole, a plumb bob costs from $8 – $20.

Alternatives for Plumb Bob?

Yes, there are many alternatives for plumb bob. Laser levels, spirit levels, chalk lines, and many more options are available.

Spirit levels

Spirit levels are used to determine whether a horizontal surface is a level. We can use spirit levels to determine whether the vertical surface is plumb or not. First, to check whether the vertical surface is upright or not, keep the spirit level against it. And if your surface is plumb, the little bubble should line up directly in the center of the two lines.

Laser Levels

We can use laser levels for fast and simple reference lines, and they can be set for vertical and horizontal planes. It is the high-tech tool of marketing out in the world. Therefore, they are costly. However, the best option for you is, if you are a one-time or infrequent consumer, the convenience and low cost of a plumb-bob.

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