2019-06-12

Tape, Adhesive, and Patterns - What tape do I use and how I stick my patterns to the wood?

I use 3m ScotchBlue Painters Tape. Yep, it sticks tight. I used to use a cheap knock-off tape that didn't hold so tight. I can't find it anymore around my local area. When I first started using the cheap blue tape, I had to use a roller on it to get it to stay in place. Out of habit, I rolled the 3M tape. Not a good idea. It pulled chunks out of the pine when I removed it. I learned that you need to rub it lightly to get the bubbles out, and that is it. The adhesive on the 3M tape is pressure sensitive the harder you press, the tighter it sticks. I spent $80 US on tape last year.

3m Scotch Blue Painters Tape
3m Scotch Blue Painters Tape


I cover the top wood entirely with the tape neat and trimmed. I don't want any tape hanging or sticking on anything while I'm cutting. I can mess it all by myself I don't need a poor taping job to help me.

Patrick Speilman talks about using tape for lubrication of the saw blade in one of his books. According to Patrick, the manufacturers put silicon in or on the top of the tape to keep the layers from sticking together. It should be evident that adhesive isn't a lubricant, yet you will not need to look far to find someone who claims the adhesive on the tape is what lubricates the blade. I'm not totally convinced that lubrication is what is going on, but I do know from personal experience that it helps keep the wood from burning. I don't use tape for its lubricating properties. I use tape so I can get the pattern off with as little drama as possible.

I attach the pattern to the tape with 3M Super 77 Spray adhesive. It only takes a tiny bit, and you better be sure of where you are going to put the pattern because you are not going to remove it. This stuff sticks tight even the edges. I have never had it come loose while I was cutting. I started out using rubber cement many years ago and tried just about everything all of them come loose but this one.  For me, not coming loose while I am cutting trumps everything else. A can lasts me a long time. I remove the nozzle from my spray adhesive and store it in a jar in mineral spirits. I always start with a clean, unclogged nozzle. I use this for my shipping labels too. Steve Good Recommends 3M 45 General Purpose Adhesive. I haven't tried it. It is cheaper.

3M Super 77 Multipurpose Adhesive.jpg


I use double-sided carpet tape to hold wood together for stack cutting. I don't know what brand it is. I wish I did. This roll of tape must be 30 years old, and it still works great. I use four tiny 1/4-inch square pieces, one in each corner. After everything is in place, I squeeze each section where the is tape in my vise. Remember pressure sensitive, the harder you squeeze, the tighter it sticks. I have never had one come apart. I've had it stuck in the wrong place before; you don't want to do that. It is challenging to get it off.