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diy alternative to chalk for chalk lines?

Started by NCEric, March 16, 2024, 05:17:22 PM

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I have a vague memory of watching a Mr. Chickadee video where he used something black for making chalk lines.  I think it was something like charcoal or creosote, but I think he must have processed it somehow to make it fine enough to be chalky-like.  Does anyone here know how to do something like that?  Thanks!


Maybe try a mortar and pestle with a lump of charcoal?


John Sawicky

Just North-East of Sacramento...

SkyTrak 9038, Ford 545D FEL, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/36" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Joe Hillmann

This summer I was straightlining a lot of lumber by snapping a chalk line then cutting it with a skill saw.

One day I ran out of chalk and didn't want to waste an hour or two to drive to a store and back to get some.

I fished some charcoal out of the fire I had burning to get rid of scraps.  I crushed it into powder between two cinder blocks.  It only took a couple minutes to crush enough to fill up the chalk line.  I didn't work quite the same as chalk. It kind of gave me 3 lines, two dark black lines about 1/8 of an inch apart with a lighter gray one in the middle. 

I don't know how permanent or temporary the marks or how well it would mark on smooth surfaces, like tin.


The Japanese use ink lines, I've watched some the Mr. Chickadee videos but don't remember a chalk alternative.

The carpet shop uses talcum powder so it doesn't stain the carpet. 


At 1 minute in it shows a good view of his chalk line, looks like charcoal.


6 min on this one he uses a different line and rubs something on it, looks like charcoal too.

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