Using Carpet Tape When Woodworking


Many people see duct tape as something funny, or something to use as a catchall when things are broken. I myself keep a roll handy for such occasions. Yet many woodworkers call carpet tape their tool of choice.

You can get carpet tape as plastic, fiberglass, or even cloth. They’re all great for holding the parts you’re working on together, creating templates to work from later, and even more.

Carpet tape has some of the strongest bonds around. The only issue is that you have to make sure the joining pieces are very smooth. If for some reason the pieces must be unsmoothed or even unsanded, then use cloth carpet tape.

Using cloth tape lets you reposition your pieces while you’re working. Turner’s Tape is a special kind of cloth carpet tape. It is specifically made to hold pieces to the lathe’s faceplate so you can turn the pieces out. This is temporary, of course.

Fiberglass carpet tape is usually used as an outdoor kind of tape. It’s great outside because it’s both mildew and moisture resistant. Since the adhesive is so strong, it’s known for tearing out wood fibers if you’re not careful.

The trickiest part is knowing how much carpet tape you need to use for your project. Using too much will mean damage to your parts when it comes time to separate them.

Luckily, I’ve got some tips for you. The first one is to use a 3-inch strip of tape every 6-8 inches on the piece. Have a much larger template? Put the tape on the perimeter of your piece and then put a giant X in the center.

It is important that both surfaces are clean and dry. Make sure that bond of the tape to the piece is strong by putting enough pressure on it. For joints, use a clamp. For surfaces, use a soft-face hammer. Either way, your bonds will be made stronger.

So what do you do if you made the bonds too strong and now they won’t separate at all? Use some lacquer thinner beneath the carpet tape right at the joint. This will dissolve the adhesive and send you on your way.

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Updated: February 16, 2017 — 11:56 pm
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