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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am working on the ULTIMATE rustic walking stick and Jacob's staff for the fanatical geologist. My 40 year old Jacob's staff from school days was in the attic, sitting unused for 10 years. I removed the Abney level so that I could devise... an attachment device for the new stick. Sadly, the ethanol has leaked or evaporated from the bubble level. This attaches via posts that measure 3.2 cm apart.

The usual suppliers, Forestry Suppliers, Ben Meadows, and Minerox can not replace the bubble. I think that the manufacturer, Mikasa, is out of business.

Any ideas? Where is a really good source of lots of leveling bubbles like this? I could just purchase a new Abney level, but this one has been over outcrops all over the USA and like my trusty rock hammer, I don't want to give it up.

1970 Mikasa Abney level_50.jpg

The goal to add GPS fizzled, but I found a compass that isn't a toy but a durable scuba diver's compass that would work great for the top of the stick, if they will ship from Australia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Update, a repair guy at Forestry Suppliers may be able to find a replacement bubble! Fingers crossed.
 

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If not you could modify a string level from Lowes/Home Depot to fit. May have to make a frame for it that will screw down, but should be easy nuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I could pull one of the end caps off this one, hopefully without breaking it, and if another tube is the same OD, I could insert it.

Several problems - now days I am told they don't make the bubbles out of glass and fill them with an organic liquid (like ethanol). They make them out of a plastic and use another liquid. Sizing is the other potential problem. Yes, I could make a frame, or modify one from the hardware store if necessary. Hopefully I will get lucky. The good news is that I have a long history of being lucky.

The Forestry Supplies repair guy said if I ship him the bubble, he has four kinds of replacements and if one would work he will send it for $10, if not he will return mine. So I'll try that first, but I will not send the Abney just to be safe.
 

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Being of the laity, could you explain why it would matter if it were glass or plastic or the liquid type? Functional issues or just preference?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
JJireh, in an emergency, you could drink the ethanol in the glass one! :rolleyes:

Just kidding.

I'm always suspicious that changes to a perfectly good design are just to reduce manufacturing costs. In general, product quality seems to be deteriorating, not improving. My attitude may be attritubable to premature senility or just old fartedness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

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No, I understand and don't blame you. I just wasn't sure if gravity effected one over the other or if there were some barometric issue.

I am just a scavenger :) If I can make it work and it's free/cheap, I can usually pretty it up enough. We are a single income house with 3 homeschooled children(17 mos, 5, 8 all girls :) ) have to save up for those weddings, if any hairy legs can muster their manhood to come ask for them one day ha.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Good luck JJireh. Remember the words of John Lennon: "Everything will be alright in the end. If it's not alright, it's not yet the end."

My younger (son) is 34 and my elder (daughter) is 38, both finished college and are happily married, and my daughter has rewarded me with two grandchildren with whom I spend nearly every Friday afternoon and evening, and sometimes Saturdays. Somehow, we began saving early and got them through college and married without borrowing. It will work out in the end.
 

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You can call me Sean, and no worries, the Lord has brought me this far, He won't let go :) I'm just a few years older than your daughter.

There is a doctrine among Christians called pre-trib, those people who believe Jesus is coming back before a tribulation period. I tell people I am pre-pub. He has to come back before my girls hit puberty :)

Not trying to hijack your thread, I was just saying I have learned to "make things work"

It's great that you are investing time in your grandkids life! It is important, you pass things that their parents can't. I remember just walking around my grandpa's shop, I can still smell the shavings and pitch he used on the outside. I actually have some of his old tools.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand :D Can't wait to see what you put together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
No problem at all Sean. When the hairy boys come around, point out what that shillelagh that you are working on is used for!

As crude as the two walking sticks that I made for the grandkids are, they are already going on walks with them!

Tomorrow my bubble level will ship to Forestry Suppliers, hoping that one of the four replacements they have will work. A little hitch, but it will work out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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I have been to every hardware store in Tulsa and can't find an ideal piece of hardware to mount my Abney level, which looks a lot like this:
image.jpg

I plan to use a couple of brass shelf supports unless I stumble onto something better.

Struck out on a small and precise enough GPS, even though the technology exists.

Bought small brass screws to mark measure points on the stick.

Stopped by the local dive shop (yes one exists in Tulsa), and bought two of this small compass at about $25 each:
image.jpg

The kiln dried Bois d'Arc staves sold for bow making, at $200 plus shipping would deplete my warrior fund too much, so I don't yet have a suitable, dried stick. Perhaps the Kansas fence post outfit will resolve this issue.

I can't wait to finish this project, and I'd bet a six pack that some geologists will show up here eventually.
 

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Vance, have you drawn a layout of what you are planning? I'm just thinking that you shouldn't need a 200 dollar piece of wood to do this thing, when I nice oak or hickory or ash would suffice and are easier to come by. By the time you finish that sucker it will be 500 bucks just to break even :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I agree, I decided not to buy a lathe or the kiln-dried Bois d'Arc staves, as that adds up to enough to slow down Afghanistan shipments (long story). There are some hardwood dealers locally, where I can pick up something to work on, as I wait for all my green sticks to dry.

The measure marks are easy, #8 brass wood screws every foot for five feet, starting at the bottom. Then #6 brass wood screws every tenth of a foot, the lowermost foot.

The clamp for the Abney os more difficult. It was easy to mount it atop the aluminum tubing that I used 40 years ago. It was mounted so that the lens at precisely five feet above ground level. In order to mount a compass on top at perhaps 5' 4" or 5' 6", easy to view, the Abney must be side mounted and easy to attach and remove for protection in thick woods and brambles, and the steeper rocky outcrops, or just when it isn't needed and there is no point in risking damage.

After looking in all the usual hardware stores, I have up on a brass spacer all the way through the stick, into which I could slip a pin attached to a clamp. Yesterday I bought two small brass bookshelf holders that I can attach by drilling a shallow hole and epoxy them on. Getting them perfectly to fit and perfectly squared is the tricky part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My nearest Lowe's doesn't carry red cedar in 2" x 2" stock, but I think I can get 2" x 4" x 8' and get them to rip it for a nominal cost. One challenge will be to find a piece that is straight and with few knots. After working on taxes today, I hope to have time to look.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
On my lunch break, I stopped by a hardwood vender on a hard-to-find street. He is ordering me some 2" x ??? x 10' pecan stock at $5.50 per board foot, and he will cut square lengths of 6' and 4' for me.

Now, I won't have to come back posthumously as a zombie to compete the sticks that are now curing in the garage.

Still, I will use primarily hand tools to get this down to size, and I should have a fairly rustic looking product.

The cost per stick should be nominal, and the labor will be more than I want to think about right now. But I will enjoy it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Status:

I have been to every hardware store in Tulsa and can't find an ideal piece of hardware to mount my Abney level, which looks a lot like this:
attachicon.gif
image.jpg

I plan to use a couple of brass shelf supports unless I stumble onto something better.
One of those "DUH" moments struck. The Abney level could be perfectly squared and secured, simply by leaving a short square section of the stick (or just one flat side, or not), and using a square to draw perpendicular guides across the stick and then sawing two cuts with a miter saw, just deep enough to set in the Abney, but not too deep. Then a metal or wood strip that slides vertically can secure the Abney in it's slot. The stick will be sufficiently wide near the top anyway.
 

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CAS: if you can, post pictures of the process! I'm interested in how all of this is going to come together!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
CAS: if you can, post pictures of the process! I'm interested in how all of this is going to come together!
Only if you promise not to make fun of me. I'm a very sensitive person. :thumbsu:
 
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