Builders in History (Part 3): Keeping Things Straight

July 9 , 2021

As we continue to study articles about ancient, biblical building techniques, we come across the use of two necessary items, the plumb bob and the string line.

The Plumb Bob

The Book of Amos teaches us about the importance of straight walls, comparing them to a “straight nation.” Keeping walls level is an essential part of the construction process. These days, builders employ the use of a plumb bob to judge the straightness of a wall.

The tool is fairly simple. Tying a small, weighted object to a string, you can allow the string to hang naturally, and judge your walls and posts by it. If the top and bottom of the wall are the same distance from the string, you have a straight wall. Plumb bobs are useful because anything can throw off the balance of your structure. Slight, sloping variations in the ground can tilt objects one way or another. You cannot trust your eyes to judge how straight something is. Optical illusions are all around us. Any shadow or distant object can throw off your perception, making you believe something is level when it isn’t.

The Civil Engineers Honor Society hands out decorative plumb bobs to its members. They serve as a reminder that builders must have the character to do their jobs correctly and with honor.

The String Line

Another technique for ensuring straightness is the string line. Plumb lines keep structures vertically straight, and string line keeps it horizontal. String line is another simple, time-honored tool. Simply set two locations, your starting and ending points, and stretch a string across. Now you can use this string as a guide for your walls. Walls should be kept close to the string without touching it, just a fraction of an inch away. Touching it can disturb its levelness.

Even the ancients used this technique. Isaiah 44:13 talks about workers using measuring lines, and string lines were employed to keep the slanted walls of the Egyptian pyramids level.

Why Level Walls Are Important

To remain structurally sound, straightness is imperative. Any miscalculation of angle can add strain to the wrong parts of a building, causing damage. At best, this could result in cracked or warped areas; at worst, the building could collapse.

On the job, level walls provide safety for workers. If structures collapse, workers above and below could be seriously harmed. Each work site should be its own “straight nation.” If you have been injured on the job, make sure to talk to a lawyer before applying for workers’ compensation. A good attorney can help go through your paperwork, keeping it strong and increasing the likelihood that you will receive your benefits.

If you’ve been hurt on the job, call us today at (704) 376-1616, or contact us online. We have years of experience protecting the rights of North Carolina workers.

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