Chalk line reels



Chalk line is a practical tool for marking straight lines on surfaces for interior and exterior construction, e.g. woodwork. Chalk line is an extremely inexpensive marking tool, easy to handle and application takes no time at all.


A chalk line reel consists of break-resistant plastic, aluminum or even magnesium casing. 15 to 50 meters of chalk line is wound on a winch in the casing. The chalk link can be easily pulled out of the casing and manually rewound using the handle. The casing is filled with colored chalk line powder through an opening. Chalk powder is added to the chalk line by pulling out the chalk line and winding it up. 

In order to mark a line, the chalk line is held on the surface to be marked and pulled until taut by holding it at two end points, i.e. at the end hook or also by wrapping the chalk line around your hand. The chalk line now needs to be carefully lifted slightly with two fingers and then released, making it strike the surface and mark a straight line with the adhering chalk powder. This process led to the name “chalk line”.


On the one hand, chalk line reels differ in terms of material and, on the other hand, in terms of the size of their casing or the filling capacity of the chalk. Other criteria include the gear ratio, which helps wind up the chalk line, or the material, length and structure of the line. Additional key features include the end hook used to fasten and stretch the chalk line, a robust handle and the case cover. 


The more chalk powder the casing can hold, the more lines can be made with one fill load. Standard SOLA chalk line reels can hold approx. 80g of chalk. However, larger models with a 340 g capacity are available to use wherever longer distances need to be marked, such as in road construction, timber or even facade construction.


The higher the gear ratio, the faster the line can be unwound and rewound. A stable and robust handle with free-wheel function is also key in this regard. Pressing the handle axle fixes the handle in place so that it is unable to turn when the line is pulled out.


The physical properties of the cord ensure optimum adhesion of the color powder to the surface with each stroke. As a result, cords of the same diameter and structure may act completely differently depending on the material used. A cord made of cotton absorbs more powder and releases more powder per stroke than a cord made of synthetic material. However, a synthetic cord typically lasts longer, is more tear-resistant and also less sensitive to moisture than cotton. 

The thickness of the cord also has an influence on the line's precision, visibility and even durability. For example, a thin cord can be used to strike an exact line, but it will only last for a short time and come off easily. A thick cord, on the other hand, will leave a clearly visible line that will last longer and be hard to wipe off.


  • For optimum use of a chalk line reel, the cord must not be tangled, dirty or wet. Otherwise, it can’t be correctly rolled up or unrolled, or won’t absorb enough chalk powder. 
  • When filling the casing for the first time, it's best to completely pull out the cord before filling the chalk half of the casing through the opening. Once the cord is wound up, it will absorb the colored chalk and be ready for use.
  • In order to mark long distances, it's best to press down approx. halfway along the string that is already stretched out with your finger, then strike a line on one side, followed by the other. 
  • To remove excess chalk on the cord, tap the casing a few times while it is being pulled out. This will enable you to mark a clearly visible, thin line. 
  • When pulling out the cord, pay attention to not touch the area to be marked so you don’t leave behind any misleading marks. 
  • Once used, the cord should be fully wound up to prevent it from getting wet or dirty.