April 16, 2008

C.H. Hanson Chalk Hog - Review

hanson_chalk_hog.jpgHow 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.

At Amazon.com

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at April 16, 2008 5:00 AM
Recent Comments

Another interesting point to ponder would be the price of the product being compared. The irwin is what...around $6 with chalk, the hanson is $15-$20. Why not compare something with similar features- braided line and gear ratio. There are plenty of reels around with similar features that cost less. Your only benefit is chalk capacity, which in the end will be a pain to try and store in your tool belt.

Posted by: Chris at May 14, 2008 1:06 PM

I've wondered why the fuzzy string that is normal in chalk-lines is used,
instead of a clean synthetic line,
for years.

No the difference isn't contrived "Duncan",
and blowing-off the excess dust from the fuzziest line isn't going to make the difference worse,
it's going to *reduce* the difference,
as anyone who's use chalk-lines would know.

Compare even the cleanest chalk-line against an ink-line, though,
and you'll wonder why in hell we've been putting-up with the blurry chalk-lines
so damn long...

Ink-lines are *precise*.


Try USING the better-quality lines
before publically suggesting that others are committing fraud, &
maybe Scientific Method will prove to be interesting to you...

Posted by: Geek at May 2, 2008 6:30 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:

Posted by: Rob [C.H. Hanson Rep] at April 17, 2008 10:11 AM

Oh.. you blew on both lines once.. and then you blew on the Irwin line again, then took the photograph..

That explains why the photo looks so contrived.

Thanks for clearing that up.


Posted by: Duncan Margetts at April 16, 2008 9:17 PM

Are you implying that the fix was in? That we took out the tweezers and piled small amounts of blue chalk in a line-like pattern to prove the dominance of the Chalk Hog? It ain't so. We strung out each line with the same amount of tension and snapped them each in the same manner. We then gave the lines a blow off and took a picture. We thought that it looked pretty extreme at the time, so we blew on the Irwin line a bit more and took another picture (the one that appeared in the article). No joke. That's how it looked.

Posted by: Tool Snob at April 16, 2008 6:09 PM

Am I the only person who finds the image above with the comparison of the two chalk line imprints rather contrived?


Posted by: Duncan Margetts at April 16, 2008 7:29 AM
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