Friday, October 19, 2018

Duct tape takes a hit

Conventional wisdom has it that duct tape sticks to everything and is your go-to remedy for any kind of adhesive need.  Heck, even the astronauts keep it around for emergency repairs, such as the hail-Mary save of the Apollo 13 mission, fixing a moonbuggy and plugging holes in the International Space Station.  Certainly the roof-and-gutter guy who worked on our house many years ago loved the stuff, as we discovered when we started excavating to prepare the way for major basement waterproofing:

Yes, the guy took the downspout a foot under ground level and duct-taped the joint to the pipe that was supposed to take the water out to the front lawn.  Guess what -- the duct tape failed and the water made a nice big cave behind the pipe to wait in before escaping into our crawl space.

But I digress.  Duct tape is on my mind this week because it seemed like a good way to affix felt to foamcore boards in preparation for my show.  On Wednesday Vickie and I spent all morning on this task.  We thought about various alternative methods, but decided that duct tape would be the down-and-dirty way to get the job done -- and of course, duct tape sticks to everything, right?

Yesterday I got one of the boards and put it on the work table to pin the collages on.  But what's that spongy feeling under my fingers -- it feels like loose duct tape on the back!  Took all the collages off the board, flipped it over, and yes, the duct tape was coming loose.  Apparently it didn't like to stick to felt.  And it didn't even like to stick to foamcore board very much either.

So I did what I should have done in the first place: return to my roots.  Namely, if you want fabric to stay in place, sew it.  I stitched the corners shut and added more duct tape to the sides -- not holding tight enough for the space station, but I hope tight enough to get the boards to the gallery where I can nail them to the wall.


  1. I use masking tape. Works fine in that situation.

  2. Duct take really is my go to solution for lots of things. Sorry it didn't work on that felt.
    xx, Carol

  3. Whoa. I think you should probably avoid duct tape from now on, except for use on ductwork. That is crazy that your basement is leaking as a result of duct tape misuse. My faith in duct tape is kaput. Long live the thread!

  4. Duct tape is not even used on ductwork anymore. They use a thick paste called seam seal. My go to tape is Gorilla tape. I find that is sticks pretty good to almost anything. Then there is the tape that is used for seaming Tyvek which is very sticky, and my all time favorite the aluminum paper back sticky tape which is used for sealing the seams together for HVAC insulation.