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The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

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  • The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

    OK, it's time for me to treat myself to the best chalkline there is. Question is, what is it?

    I must have bought a few dozen of the standard Irwin aluminum reels in my lifetime. They are OK but the string that comes with them is too cheap and breaks easily. Then you lose the hook end.

    I've also had a couple of their geared plastic ones. Same problem.

    Recently I got my first Tajima reel from Amazon, and I'm completely underwhelmed. For $25 you'd expect something nice. The winding action is stiff and the hook requires you to make a very long mark in order to actually see it thru the hole in the middle. The line does seem nice, though.

    The guy I'm working with has a nice, old, geared, aluminum box. Can't remember where it came from, and probably had it 20 years.

    My concrete guy has another nice old one. Holds a ton of chalk. No name on it at all.

    Googling for "chalk line" doesn't turn up much, and there is zero for sale anywhere around here other than the Irwin stuff.

    I suspect that masons have the best chalk lines, and maybe I need to hunt down a masonry supply.

    Whatcha' know??
    Bailer Hill Construction, Inc. - Friday Harbor, WA
    Website - Facebook

  • #2
    Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

    Originally posted by David Meiland View Post
    OK, it's time for me to treat myself to the best chalkline there is. Question is, what is it?

    I must have bought a few dozen of the standard Irwin aluminum reels in my lifetime. They are OK but the string that comes with them is too cheap and breaks easily. Then you lose the hook end.

    I've also had a couple of their geared plastic ones. Same problem.

    Recently I got my first Tajima reel from Amazon, and I'm completely underwhelmed. For $25 you'd expect something nice. The winding action is stiff and the hook requires you to make a very long mark in order to actually see it thru the hole in the middle. The line does seem nice, though.

    The guy I'm working with has a nice, old, geared, aluminum box. Can't remember where it came from, and probably had it 20 years.

    My concrete guy has another nice old one. Holds a ton of chalk. No name on it at all.

    Googling for "chalk line" doesn't turn up much, and there is zero for sale anywhere around here other than the Irwin stuff.

    I suspect that masons have the best chalk lines, and maybe I need to hunt down a masonry supply.

    Whatcha' know??
    I've got a couple of yellow metal ones that came with a tight braided line that doesnt fray or break, and holds chalk nice( a bit too much sometimes). Years ago I used to replace the line on chalkboxes with a gammon(sp?) line which worked well.

    Kye

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    • #3
      Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

      There are a lot of different types out there with different features. I don't think there is a "best" chalk line. What type works best for you is going to depend on the type of work you do.

      The one I use for finish work is in the link below. The important features for me are the thin line (most lines are too fat for layout work where accuracy is critical), and the drywall pin.

      http://www.garrettwade.com/jump.jsp?...&itemID=105834

      Do a search and you can find past discussion, too.
      Last edited by hdrider_chgo; 08-31-2007, 05:14 AM.
      "If you only have a hammer, all problems look like nails"

      Vintage wood window repair and restoration in Chicago
      Wood storm windows in Chicago
      Weatherizing vintage buildings in Chicago

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      • #4
        Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

        My last line that I picked up is a red Japenese line (drawing a blank right now). It has a fine braided line and wears a long time. The only thing I don't really care about it is it's only good for a couple snaps before rechalking and their is a lot of stretch to it. I'm sure there will be others mentioning the name, but i'll have to pull it out of my bag to remember it again.

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        • #5
          Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

          17 lb. braided fly line backing, in a Irwin Speedline is my favorite.
          Tom

          Support your country always, support your government only when they deserve it! - Mark Twain
          This fall, fire them all, DON'T RE-ELECT ANYONE!

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          • #6
            Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

            I used braided fishing line as well in Irwin speed boxes, that no longer seem to be made. I bought a bunch when I discovered how much I like them. I do that with all good tools.

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            • #7
              Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

              Dave
              I too had the same experience as as you.

              I am now using the Fat Max Extreme and am pleased with it

              http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-47-480.../dp/B000F99IHC
              Mark Parlee
              BESI(building envelope science institute) Envelope Inspector
              EDI Certified EIFS Inspector/Moisture Analyst/Quality Control/Building Envelope II
              EDI Seminar Instructor
              Level one thermographer (Snell)
              www.thebuildingconsultant.com
              www.parleebuilders.com
              You build to code, code is the minimum to pass this test. Congratulations your grade is a D-

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              • #8
                Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

                You guys that use braided fishing line, is there a certain brand you use? I tried it a few years ago with a black braided line and it wouldn't hold chalk.
                Geoff

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                • #9
                  Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

                  Light green/white braided dacron trolling line, any brand, 15-20 lb. Leaves a razor thin line and breaks maybe every 2-3 years with heavy use. The 50 lb shown below is too heavy.
                  Attached Files
                  Richie Poor

                  See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, value engineer your unit prices.

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                  • #10
                    Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

                    I have probably the last Irwin speedline w/ a metal case ever made, that was given to me to replace one that was broken when I loaned it on the job. I have no idea where the guy found it, but he did me a solid on it.

                    I use braided dacron trolling line just like a few others. (Rick, the guy who showed me that trick was from your neck of the woods, must be something in the water up there. Here in Fla. we don't "fish lazy" like you Colo. hippies do)
                    "I'll bend over backwards to help anybody, but I ain't bending over forwards for nobody"

                    Paul

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                    • #11
                      Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

                      Thanks Rick, I'll give that a try.
                      Geoff

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                      • #12
                        Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

                        Same here. There's water around here, and guys with boats... must be a fishing store too.
                        Bailer Hill Construction, Inc. - Friday Harbor, WA
                        Website - Facebook

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                        • #13
                          Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

                          For those of you searching for metal Speedline boxes, I saw a large sale display of them at our local Lowes yesterday. I've never noticed they were hard to find.
                          Tom

                          Support your country always, support your government only when they deserve it! - Mark Twain
                          This fall, fire them all, DON'T RE-ELECT ANYONE!

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                          • #14
                            Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

                            Are they "speed line" or just "strait line" Tom, I may have mis-spoke when I said speedline, but mine has the extra gearing to make it considerably faster than just the regular metal strait line.

                            This link is to a metal Irwin chalk box, my "speedline" is the same thing except w/ the faster retrieve gearing.

                            http://www.irwin.com/irwin/consumer/...e/64110_lg.jpg
                            "I'll bend over backwards to help anybody, but I ain't bending over forwards for nobody"

                            Paul

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                            • #15
                              Re: The World's Greatest CHALKLINE?

                              Paul,

                              I have a few of those straight line's and they leak a little if you fill them to much like I tend to do. It just means that my pouch is a little red.

                              i just got a Tajima CHALK-RITE Gear Drive i just filled it today i will let you know how it works out.

                              -Sal
                              -Sal
                              ___________________________
                              BSA Renovations
                              Bergen County NJ's Custom Carpentry and Renovation Service
                              www.BSA-Reno.com

                              Handyman - Flooring - Built-Ins & Custom Carpentry - Porch Renovation

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