This is a guest post that was submitted to us by a Tools in Action user.
The Plumb-Rite arrived attractively packaged in an easily opened non clam shell type package (thanks Tajima). It contains the Plumb-Rite retractable reel, a 14 ounce plumb bob with tip cover and an instruction sheet.
My first impression of Tajima’s plumb bob was that it was a little bit odd, it has an articulated top piece allowing the plumb bob to swing around on its mount. I’m assuming that this is to help in settling the set. Some informal testing seems to bear this out. A line tweak with the Tajima bob does appear to settle out quicker than my plain plumb bob does, although a swinging set does tend to settle out at about the same rate for both.
The Plumb-Rite plumb bob is constructed out of steel with rubber bumpers integrated into its design, the mount point is made from hard plastic with a metal pivot pins and comes with a split ring for easy line attachment. The rubber tip guard slips over the tip to mate up with a groove in the plumb bob and should not slip off accidentally when stored. The plumb bobs tip is not replaceable.
The self retracting reel incorporates a few different mounts. It has a magnet built into one side for use with steel studs or other types of iron work and may come in handy for those working with steel door frames. The magnet attaches the Plumb-Rite very well, holding securely, I have no doubt that it would hold even the largest optional plumb bob that Tajima offers for this set. There is a push pin built in near the top edge of the reel for working with wood or other softer surfaces. The pin is self retracting and can be spun for easy extraction. A ratcheting clamp that can be used to hold the Plumb-Rite to objects up to 2 3/4 inches wide. This mount can also be pivoted at full extension to be used as a hanger, although with the hanger mount option additional means will also be needed for a secure attachment as the reel will not sit right. There are holes placed in appropriate places for this purpose.
There are a few options for setting the stand off with the Plumb-Rite, adjusted by slipping the string over pins. It can be set for 2 or 2 3/8 inches and flush with the mounting side. There are also provisions to adjust the holding tension so that other optional weight plumb bobs can be used.
I found this tool very pleasant to use, offering quite a bit of convenience and time savings over using nails and a wooden block as a stand off. The magnet mount was particularly time saving over my usual method. The push pin mount works well, penetrating wood framing easily and detaching almost as easily. I didn’t get a chance to try it on drywall, but it would appear to work well for that purpose. The ratcheting hook slipped over 2 x material easily but could not be clamped over 4 x material. This could be a slight inconvenience if you were to try and attach it to a top plate with this method. The 14 oz. plumb bob is a good compromise weight for both indoor and outdoor use. Tajima does offer optional bobs in in 7,10, or 21 ounces. I would opt for the heavier bob if I were to be using this outdoors only, where wind may be an issue. The reel held the bob at the level it was set quite well, allowing both large and small adjustments in height with ease. It retracts the line as quickly as you can raise the bob, with no tangles or jambs to worry about. It sure is a pleasure not to have to go scavenge a line and deal with the usual mess that found line is in.
An old man I used to work with told me on occasion that “gravity doesn’t lie” so even in this day of laser levels and fancy plate levels there is still a place in your tool box for a plumb bob, if for nothing else, to insure that your more modern tools remain true.
As a side note to Tajima, I could only ask that they would add a center mount and target so this tool could be used like a gammon reel as well.