Channel samples consist of small chips of rock collected over a specified linear interval. The objective is to cut a linear channel across the vein or orebody for the most representative samples possible over the designated interval. Most of the time, chip channel samples are collected in succession along a sample line that is laid out in advance using a measuring tape and is designed to cross the area of interest. Often the chip channel samples are collected along surface trenches or the floors or walls of various underground workings.

Sample intervals are set at a specified width, usually ranging from 1 to 20 feet, commonly 5 feet. This allows for a representative sample to be acquired as the sample is not biased.