You may not think of a roll of tape as a woodworking “tool,” but sometimes there’s just no substitute. Whether you’re looking to bond something permanently or just hold a couple of parts together temporarily, odds are there’s a tape out there that’s perfectly suited for that application. Here are some of the tapes I like to keep on hand in my shop.
While “carpet tape” has long been a mainstay in many woodworking shops, I have recently become a fan of the double-sided woodworking tape made by Avery Dennison. This tape, shown in use above, has several advantages over standard carpet tapes. Because the two sides of the Avery Dennison tape each use a different adhesive, it excels at attaching a template to a workpiece. One side has a “permanent” adhesive that is fixed to the template first. Then the other less tacky side can be attached to the workpiece. Once in position, the tape allows no lateral movement, but can be repositioned on the workpiece easily. Another advantage of this tape is that it tears conveniently by hand, eliminating the need to track down scissors or a utility knife. Also, it leaves no residue when removed, something that can’t be said for regular carpet tape.
Masking tape has all but been replaced by the newer painter’s tapes available today. Because masking tape is notorious for being difficult to remove and for leaving gummy residue on worksurfaces, painter’s tapes are hands down the perfect alternative. Besides being useful for masking off areas when finishing parts, painter’s tape also helps to keep glue squeeze-out off of finished areas when doing assembly work. It can even double as a “clamp” when joining small parts. To prevent tearing out fibers when cutting cabinet-grade plywood, I prefer to use a low-tack painter’s tape like the FrogTape shown above. This particular tape is labeled as “delicate surface.” It provides a low adhesion to your workpiece and removes cleanly. Simply place the tape, mark your cut line, and make the cut.
When I don’t want to deal with the hassle of contact cement or a messy spray adhesive, I grab my roll of SpeedTape by FastCap (shown below). This double-sided acrylic tape is incredibly sticky stuff that provides instant adhesion. It sets up to maximum strength within 24 hours. Designed to adhere laminates, veneers, or edge banding to a worksurface, this tape is also strong enough to be used for cabinet refacing. To use, simply apply the tape to one surface, peel off the paper liner and press the material to the tape. A J-roller should be used to apply even pressure over the entire surface.