C.H. Hanson Chalk Hog - Review
How much can you really say about a chalk line? Before today, we thought the answer was, "not much." But, after using C.H. Hanson's Chalk Hog for a while, we found that, with any finely-crafted tool, we can just keep talking and talking and talking...
The Chalk Hog is part of C.H. Hanson's ongoing Signature Series which kicked off last year with the release of the freakishly cool Pivot Square, and like that tool, the Hog is an innovative take on an old standard.
The Hog has all the basic features and functionality of a standard chalk line, but they're all better. The line is a poly-braided cord, as opposed to the fuzzy cotton shoelace that is found in a lot of chalk lines. The handle that reels the string back in is solid, and according to C.H. Hanson, pulls the string in at a rate six times faster than your average chalk line.
The best feature of the Chalk Hog is that you have the option of screwing a bottle of chalk right into the unit so you don't have to worry about constantly stopping and reloading. If you've ever spent a day laying out walls for new construction, you're aware of what a drag this can be. Although the Hog comes with a 4 oz. bottle of chalk, the threads can accept any 8 oz. bottle. We had no problem screwing in a bottle of Irwin chalk that we had kicking around. The added bonus of this bottle fed system is that if you decide not to screw a bottle directly into the Hog, you can load it like a traditional chalk line. The great part of this is that the opening to load the Hog is much larger than normal and you're much less apt to end up with chalk all over your hands.
Another great feature of the Chalk Hog is the design of the hook. Not only does it have some serious teeth on it, it can swivel around, so you can easily snap a line at an angle and not have to worry about the hook slipping. The Chalk Hog also has a little on-board pencil sharpener.
We tested the Chalk Hog against a standard Irwin line and the results were pretty interesting. The poly-braided line left a much cleaner mark which used far less chalk to make. There is no doubt which line we'd rather cut on.
The Chalk Hog costs between $15 and $20 and, like we said, it comes with a 4 oz. bottle of blue chalk. The price puts it at about double that of low-quality lines and less than other high-quality lines that have less functionality. That said, if you've in the market for a versatile chalk line, we suggest going with the Chalk Hog.
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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 16, 2008 5:00 AM
I understand your reluctance to take the image at face value, but having worked with the folks at Tool Snob I know their integrity is of the highest value.
When tool functions are not up to snuff, they do point that out and have been very even handed in their reviews.
That being said, the Chalk Hog chalk reels, the 150 and 100, both have cleaning pads that the poly braided lines passes over before leaving the main housing, which reduces the amount of excess chalk from the line when being pulled out.
Just as many guys will use fishing line instead of the old cotton lines that absorb a lot of chalk in the frayed areas, the poly braided line is clean and sleek.
To see the 150 in action, C.H. Hanson has a video posted at: