Our crew really likes the Tajima chalk boxes, but at $20 to $30 apiece, they’re pretty pricey. When it comes right down to it, however, what we really like about them is the chalkline. Unlike a typical chalk box, which has cotton line, the Tajima uses braided nylon line. It holds the chalk really well, allowing more layout lines to be snapped before reloading.
This has led to our hybrid chalk boxes. We buy Irwin boxes, which cost $6 to $8, and we load them with replacement Tajima chalklines for about $6 per line. Our local lumberyard stocks the Tajima line, but it’s also available online.
There are actually two line diameters. We use the 0.04-in. PL-ITOL line with blue chalk for framing layouts. We use the 0.02-in. PL-ITOS with white chalk for finish work and siding installation. If we’re top-nailing clear redwood or cedar siding, which is often the case here on the Northern California coast, we fill a dedicated chalk box with water for snapping temporary lines.
James Docker, The Sea Ranch, CA