snapping a chalk line on studs

Hello all, I'm putting up lap siding on a garden shed I'm building. I'm trying to snap a line across the studs of a standing wall to align the siding courses. It's the way I've read it's done, snap a line between your marks on the story poles.
Problem I'm having is that the line ends up as just a mess, like 2-3 lines and a big smudge of chalk. I'm not doing anything obviously stupid that I know of. I use quick clamps to hold the line in place over the mark on each story pole and get it nice and taut. Then snap it in middle.
Is there some trick to this? I mean I'm getting it done and the siding is straight and all it just seems that there should be a way to consistently snap a single solid line.
thanks ml
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The dread double line! There is some art to using a chalk line, believe it or not. Here your problem is probably that your studs are not in the same plane. When you snap, the line has room to oscillate and hit the surface several times. I don't snap from the middle unless I can hold the center down and snap either side separately. Just be sure you don't move the line when you do this (I once framed a house with the help of a homeowner, and he moved the line about a half inch off when snapping a second floor plate layout. We found it when we were siding--second floor wall had a half inch wow in it--way too late to fix it!). You should also snap gently if possible--you are not shooting a bow here--, and concentrate on pulling the line back in a 90 degree angle from the surface you are snapping.
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Oh yeah, if you are getting big smudges, you can flick the excess off of your line before snapping. Or buy a better chalkline. I'm using a $35 tajima these days.
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On Thu, 13 Dec 2007 18:08:11 -0800 (PST), marson

Especially, just after re-filling the chalk box!
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Love the Tajima stuff. Do you have one of their plumb bobs? This is the one I have, and I love it. http://www.toolauthority.com/product_info.php?products_id%12
R
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RicodJour wrote:

Every time that I think of chalk lines, a story comes to mind.
We had just finished putting up the rafters on a single story and I was preparing to pop the line for the first line of decking. My helper was walking down to the other end of the roof to hold the chalk line on 4'. I was yelling at the ground crew to start laying the decking up against the side of the roof on saw horses, when my chalk line starting rapidly zipping out of the reel. (My first thought was to jerk the line back to set the hook.)
I looked up and my helper was gone. I ran (as fast as you can on top plate) down to the other end of the house and my helper was laying on the ground, unhurt (as I found out a little later). He had landed in the pile of sand that the masons had brought. The thing was that he had about 30 feet of chalk line in his hands, and he was covered in red chalk, so it looked like he was really bleeding badly.
Scared me shitless.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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wrote:

To much chalk in the box. Pop a line will less chalk.
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trick is to flick the string to remove excess chalk before stretching into place, then have it tight, and pull directly up at a 90 degree angle. The multiple marks you are getting are from pulling it up at an angle and not making a clean release. And you can do it from the end, you don't have to be in the middle. two people will make it all kinds of eaiser also.
s

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skip the chalkline and just stretch a piece of string like the masons do
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Actually that's exactly what I ended up doing today. I just marched the chalkline up the story poles as I went. At the very top the clamps holding the poles were in the way of the siding so I did have to snap that one line and take the poles down. Snapping the line in the air to remove the excess chalk seemed to be the ticket item I was missing yesterday.
cheers ml
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Get a laser projector and pencil. Problem solved. Just don't trust the laser system to give you a level line. Straight, yes, but leave precision leveling to a bucket and tube water system.
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