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Chalk Lines, What say you ?

karteberry's picture

Having emptied my chalk line pouch of chalk that was once in my chalk line for the 8th time in 2 weeks because the door won't stay closed what do you recommend ? Budget is anything under $99.00.

(post #125185, reply #1 of 28)

A framer buddy of mine has two Tajima chalk-lines; one blue, one red.  They are heavy duty with braided line and gears for fast wind-up.  We occasionally joke with nervous laughter about using them as suspension devices (never serious about that one)

(post #125185, reply #10 of 28)


ok guys , I am sold. Went through to many in my day so I'll give one a shot. Now which one of these shall it be?

(post #125185, reply #12 of 28)

It's the gear drive one you want.


"A stripe is just as real as a dadgummed flower."

Gene Davis        1920-1985

(post #125185, reply #13 of 28)

The automatic retracting one looks like a Power Rangers toy.

(post #125185, reply #14 of 28)

Get the red one.  The auto rewind one is a litle too flimsy.  Also be sure to order the Tajima chalk.  It's finer and will give you more snaps.



Often in error but NEVER in doubt! 

(post #125185, reply #2 of 28)

I like the Stanley Fat Max chalk line. 

I broke two of the new Irwins and it deposited all the chalk in my bags. 



Matt- Woods favorite carpenter. 

(post #125185, reply #3 of 28)

the new irwin box's don't impress me, they are big and akward as well , but i strip the braided string out of them to put in my old box's. works great.

whatever the OP buys it should definetely have a braided string.


Every day is a gift, that's why it's called the present.

(post #125185, reply #4 of 28)

THe handles kept snapping off my Irwins.  They are on a plastic spindle that didn't hold up. 

I like the braided line in them,  and kept the line to put it in my stanley. 



Matt- Woods favorite carpenter. 

(post #125185, reply #5 of 28)

i have old irwins. they don't even make them anymore. wonder why not?? all of their new box's break after a months use. well, i guess they don't make things like they used to.


Every day is a gift, that's why it's called the present.

(post #125185, reply #6 of 28)

Tajima hands down but get the one with the fatter line if you don't wanna have to keep rewinding it. If one snap is good then OK on the fine line one.
The one that holds ink is GREAT for tile work. Get the red ink. that line is a little bit of a pain...sometimes not enough ink gets on the line and sometimes it leaks a little but what I do is ONLY use it for tile work. I empty the ink out when I'm completly done if I find its leaking at biggie. Its great for tile work only IMO.



"As I was walkin' - I saw a sign there
And that sign said - no tress passin'
But on the other side .... it didn't say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!" Woody Guthrie 1956




(post #125185, reply #7 of 28)

The Tajima is REALLY nice, it's more expensive then the Stanleys or Irwins but it is SOOOOO much better made. 



Often in error but NEVER in doubt! 

(post #125185, reply #8 of 28)

Ordered the "red" Tajima today, Thanks guys

(post #125185, reply #9 of 28)

I got the same advice months ago here on this forum and purchased the Tajima.  Thanks.


For good new rock music, click on:





(post #125185, reply #11 of 28)

been thru all but the expensive ones ...

I like this simple one from Sears ...


only one that slips into a tool belt w/o snagging.


Craftsman 100 ft. Chalk Line Plum 37734



    Buck Construction

 Artistry In Carpentry

     Pittsburgh Pa

    Buck Construction

 Artistry In Carpentry

     Pittsburgh Pa

(post #125185, reply #15 of 28)

  Buy a Tajima replacement line for $4 and put it in that box, best of both worlds. I've got the thicker line in red, the thinner in blue. Love that Sears chalk box. 

  My speedwinder is white chalk for lines on carpets and finished walls. buic

(post #125185, reply #16 of 28)

thanks for the tip.


I'm actually due for some new string.

I think I'm down about 24 or 32 ft ...

can't remember how many times I cut that 8ft fray.



    Buck Construction

 Artistry In Carpentry

     Pittsburgh Pa

    Buck Construction

 Artistry In Carpentry

     Pittsburgh Pa

(post #125185, reply #17 of 28)

We use the Tajima (red for framing, blue for finish, another blue for fine string line) and really like 'em, although the handles have broken off almost all of them from falls.

An email to the Tajima folk resulted in shiney new handles being shipped no charge.  Very cool.


Beer was created so carpenters wouldn't rule the world.

If I could edit my location it would say I'm now in Reno :-)

(post #125185, reply #18 of 28)

I just picked up the Tajima after going through old Strait-line and 2-3 of the Stanley FatMax boxes.  Haven't used it yet, but the fit and finish seems vastly better, and the lock is smoooth.  It's almost too pretty to use, if I didn't hate my Fatmax so much.



(post #125185, reply #19 of 28)

Personally one of the best. So good people forget to give it back!!!

(post #125185, reply #20 of 28)

Been very happy with the Stanley Fat Max chalk box (only Fat Max tool I own), I've been using one for about 12 mos with no malfunctions. By the way, I've given up on Stanley tapes. One local store sells Tajima 25 or 30 footers. Apparently, the concrete guys like them for their durability, which is saying a lot.

(post #125185, reply #21 of 28)

Ditto for the Fat Max. It has great string!

The only thing I don't care for is the handle is a bit tricky to pop up with gloved fingers.

Not to highjack, but why did you give up on Stanley tapes? What do you like? I'm always looking for a good tape measure.

True North

Edited 3/3/2007 10:13 pm ET by True North

__________________________________________________ I have CDO. It's like OCD, only the letters are in alphabetical order like they're supposed to be.

(post #125185, reply #22 of 28)

I wore out a Stanley in one month this winter, granted, in the worst, muddy, gritty conditions. I went back to using an old Tajima that I had "retired" and it lasted the rest of the job. I would definitely recommend these tapes. Here is a link to the Tajima site. BTW, not a Tajima rep.

(post #125185, reply #23 of 28)

I think it is Irwin that has come out with a chalk line that the chalk bottle just screws onto, saw it in my carpenters magazine under new products but haven't seen it anywhere yet.

 I like to get the old craftsman cast steel ones when I see  'em. I do layout more than anything else and I go through a lot of boxes in a year, for me the little handle usually busts off.


    Trust in God, but row away from the rocks.


    Small wheel turn by the fire and rod, big wheel turn by the grace of god.

(post #125185, reply #24 of 28)

i buy the cheap 1.99 ones. here on the Oregon coast there always wet and rot, I need 2 to 6 at all times and dry them in the house if my wifes not home. I still have a big round one i bought in jersey 25 years ago but i dont know where i got it, Of coarse the handle is broke off.

(post #125185, reply #25 of 28)

many years ago I read in a building mag. to replace the chaulk line with a braided fishing line. I get one good snap and a very fine line. I use this machine when I need accuracy. I search used tool and pawn shops for good tools at good prices. Ive found several good chaulk lines. Edd

(post #125185, reply #26 of 28)

My Tajima arrived today- too bad it is made in China. Chalk, too.

It appears to be nicely made, and worth a few more dollars if sourced in Japan. 

(post #125185, reply #27 of 28)

I got the red Tajima with the red Tajima chalk. I really like it alot. Well built, hasn't dropped chalk in my occy's yet. Snaps well. Winds up quick. Nice Finish.

Craftsman Plumb Bob/Chalk Line number 37734. (post #125185, reply #28 of 28)

My Craftsman 37734 Plumb Bob/Chalk Line is giving me trouble. Although the tool has worked great for many years, I now have a problem: To use as a plumb bob, it’s necessary to lock the winder in position, giving a fixed length of string. That was always accomplished by sliding the small metal tab into the edge of exterior winding wheel, holding it in place. After being freed up with WD, the tab now slides freely. But for some reason, the tab won’t engage the wheel at any point on its circumfrance that  I've attempted. Any thoughts?

Thank you in advance,

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