Toolsday: Tape 2

Duct Tape.

I hate duct tape. I think that means I have to turn in my geek card or something, but there it is.

There are very very few tasks for which it is the right job. Certainly not for taping ducts; it goes strange after just a year or two on a hot duct. The plastic facing peels off, the adhesive turns to tufnel…it’s terrible. And when it’s new and sticky, if you get it hot the adhesive smears off onto everything and its impossible to wash off.

Most places where you think you want duct tape, you really want gaffer tape. Or aluminum foil tape.

Gaffer tape is what duct tape wants to be when it grows up. It’s sticky, but not too sticky. It tears easily, lays flat, has great shear strength (the amount of force needed to pull the tape sideways along a surface to which it is stuck) fairly good lift strength (the amount of force needed to peel it back up), leaves no goo behind…

The downside is that it’s about 10 times as expensive as duct tape. But it’s worth it.


A guy in his early 50s, living more or less alone in a 90-year-old house, trying to keep it all together.

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