• Friday, August 24th, 2018

double-stick tape

Double-coated tape earns Shop Miracle status for its simplicity and problem-solving versatility.

I prefer SpecTape ST-555H 1″-wide (Woodcraft item #15D25). This is a tough cloth tape with strong adhesion, yet it removes cleanly. It has a stiff, smooth paper backing that is easy to remove. I have used other tapes with soft paper backings that were annoyingly difficult to remove.

Its top uses in my shop are:

  • Template work on the router table
  • Bandsawing legs with three-dimensional curves: For taping the waste back on to restore the layout lines, double-stick works much better than wrapping tape around the leg.
  • Mock-up designs: Lightweight parts can be rearranged easily.
  • Bandsawing curves in wide boards: Tape an extra squared board to the back of the work piece for stability.
  • Holding small/odd-shaped work on the bench

Here’s an efficient way to work with this tape. While applying the piece of tape to the wood, fold up a tiny corner to create a little “ear” of separated backing. Rub your fingernail over the main area of the backing paper to seal down the tape. Then grab the ear to pull away the backing.

Clear packing tape

This works well as a glue barrier. For example, I wrap tape on the tops and upper sides of the wooden support strips used for gluing up panels. The forms and clamping blocks for bent lamination work also get covered.

Oh, and of course this is essential equipment for returning that tool you bought that didn’t turn out to be as cool as it looked in the online catalog, or that, nope . . . ya just don’t need.

Cloth friction tape (rightmost in the photo)

I wrap, hockey style, my coping and fret saw handles with Ace Hardware black Cloth Friction Tape to greatly improve my grip and reduce hand fatigue. I also flat wrap some clamp handles such as the outer handle on wooden hand screws.

This stuff is grippy without being too rough on your hands, as can be anti-slip tapes. It can leave a bit of black residue on your hands when new, but not significantly as the wrapping inevitably gets sprinkled with wood dust. It does not leave sticky residue on your hands.

[3M Cloth Friction Tape appears similar but I have not used it. 3M 1755 Temflex Friction Tape is different – it’s coated on both sides.]

Silicone “X-Treme Tape” (Rockler) (second from the right in the photo)

This interesting stuff stretches a lot and bonds to itself without adhesive. It is useful for some dust collection fittings where it makes a nice tight seal. However, it really only sticks well to itself, and therefore needs contour on both parts of the fitting that it can tightly conform into, and so create a mechanical lock.

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5 Responses

  1. Rob,

    A timely post, I’m thinking of using some double stick tape for trim repair in the motorhome and the Woodcraft tape sounds like the ticket.


  2. 2
    bill schwegler 

    Hey- Just a short comment of appreciation for this blog. I’m a senior (70) and while I’ve worked wood as a hobby since the mid-70’s its only in the last decade that I have truly learned proper sharpening methods and have seen my hand skill quality improve. This blog is one of a dozen or so I faithfully follow for inspiration, ideas, and common sense guidance. I have spent entire weeks ( recovering from emergency surgery) reviewing the entire archives. It was educational and relaxing/energizing in a way difficult to capture. So in my “golden years” I find myself full of woodworking goals and see your effort as one of my guide posts along the journey. Thank you. Bill

  3. 3

    Bill, yes, sharpening really is a gateway woodworking skill. There’s plenty to read on the topic here, though there are many good approaches to getting tools sharp.
    I hope your recovery goes well. You’ve got things to build!

  4. 4
    Tom Maki 


    Thanks for the great tips here. Using packing tape during glue-ups sounds very useful. I second your SpecTape recommendation and have used it for purposes similar to those you mentioned. I’ve also used it a couple of times for temporarily holding a part in place (such as during marking, or while drilling pilot holes) when working in an awkward position where I could use an extra hand and a clamp would not work.

  5. 5

    Yea, Tom, double-stick tape solves a lot of shop problems.