Woodworking Tips
Woodworking Tips Index
Carpet Tape
On his TV show, Red Green tells us that duct tape is the handyman's friend and secret weapon. But when it comes to woodworking, it's carpet tape (tape that's sticky on both sides).

There are three type of carpet tape commonly available: plastic, cloth, and fiberglass. We use cloth carpet tape in the Woodsmith shop to temporarily fasten templates in place, and to hold parts together during assembly.

Plastic carpet tape creates a strong bond -- but the surfaces to be joined have to be very smooth. Since templates are usually fastened to a workpiece that isn't smooth (unsanded), we use cloth carpet tape. It's also easier to reposition a workpiece if you use cloth tape.

There's also a special cloth tape called "Turner's Tape." It's used to temporarily hold wood to a lathe faceplate for turning. But it's so strong, you can pull out wood fibers when separating the parts.

Fiberglass carpet tape is also known as outdoor tape. It's moisture and mildew resistant. The adhesive is very strong and it also has a tendency tear out wood fibers.

The tricky part to using carpet tape is deciding how much to use. Too much and you may not get the parts separated without damage. Not enough and the parts can slip or come loose and cause an accident.

As a general rule, I use a 3" strip of carpet tape every 6" to 8". If I'm working with a large template, I run strips around the perimeter and also make an X in the center.

Tips: First, make sure both surfaces are clean and dry.

After you've taped the parts together, apply enough pressure to create a strong bond. To do this, tap the parts with a soft-faced hammer or apply a clamp to the tape joint for a few seconds, then remove it.

What if the tape holds so well the parts can't be pulled apart? To separate them, flow a little lacquer thinner down the joint. The solvent dissolves the adhesive and the pieces will come apart easily.

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