Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level
A metalworking “stick-up” that’s really on the level
Text and photos by Tom Hintz
Posted – 1-18-2011
The Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level is a new idea from the folks who make leveling and measuring tools used in virtually any trade or field. What makes this product interesting to metalworkers is four rare earth magnets set into the bottom edge. Now when you need to make a project level or plumb you can literally stick the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level to the project which is way easier than trying to grow a third arm.
The Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level shown here is 48”-long with horizontal and plumb-measuring vials in traditional locations. Several other lengths are available with the same features. Of course Johnson being Johnson, they even tweaked the vials to make them more user friendly. The addition of a glow-in-the-dark capability makes reading the vials in just about any environment easier but particularly when the ambient light is failing. The center vial is specially domed to provide a 320-degree visibility.
The body of the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level is made from a high quality, extra durable reinforced aerospace aluminum box that features a milled gauging edge along its upper surface. The shape of the body is attractive but also makes the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level easier to handle. That same shape adds structural rigidity that helps keep this tool straight and true on real world job sites. The ends have shock-reducing rubber caps and a pair of rubber-covered “POWER GRIPZ™ built into the box to make handling it easier and more secure.
While this seems like a no-brainer, the addition of powerful rare earth magnets to the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level leans towards revolutionary in the world of levels. Rare earth magnets are five times stronger than mere peasant magnets which mean that the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level stays where you put it on a magnet-friendly surface. (I know, but if I don’t specify a magnetic surface somebody will write or call about this tool falling off of a brick wall because I didn’t specify magnetic-capable metal.)
Four rare earth magnets are spaced along the bottom edge of the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level in an evenly spaced pattern that gives it a good grip on large and smaller surfaces. The magnets are recessed into the body of the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level a bit and are fitted with rubber covers so they will not scratch a fragile surface and you can get metal debris off of them easier.
In the Shop
I have been a fan of Johnson levels and measuring tools for a long time because when I use them, they work and are not lying to me. I know that when a Johnson level tells me my surface is level, it is and I can move on with the job. The Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level may have taken the durability feature to a new state. This is a tough level with the important pieces protected very well without interfering with lines of sight needed to use it.
The rare earth magnets are a big story with the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level. While I thought that this was a good idea from the start, actually having the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level in the shop for a while showed me that the magnetic capability is even more useful than I thought. Just being able to stick it to a piece of metal that is supposed to be plumb makes tweaking the assembly to actually make it plumb way easier because I am not trying to hold the level in place at the same time. Freeing up that one hand makes a world of difference in lots of situations for the two-handed mortals among us.
As is their habit, the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level is very well built and meant to work on real job sites in the conditions that often entails. If you can refrain from running the Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level over or tossing off of tall things it will keep you making level and plumb stuff for a very long time.
The Johnson Magnetic Glo-View Box Level actually is a bit of a breakthrough in the state of levels. The addition of the rare earth magnets along with the other features make this a very handy tool that works better than I suspected. With a current street price of just $63.95 (1-18-2011) this is a value that just makes sense. It is well made, durable and functions as you expect to make your work faster (fewer repeats) and more precise. That kind of help is something I am willing to spend a few bucks on!
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