As I said yesterday, I was away for most of the day and didn’t return until late evening. It was however, a productive day and Keith and Bernie got a great deal of wood prepared for cutting on the scroll saw. We were running rather short of thin ornament wood and now we will have a decent supply that should last us for a while.
We were also able to do some errands while in town and went to Bear River to pick up the remaining pens that Keith had for sale in the gallery. Although he did do better than the previous year, the sales were still rather slow. He is realizing that in our current circumstances that while selling the beautiful turned pens will bring in a bit of extra income from time to time, it is nowhere near something he can consider a steady income and something to count on to sustain him financially. Perhaps later on when things are a bit better, finding the best market for them will be in his plans, but for now, we both need to count on our future with woodworking and painting patterns and plans.
While Keith was working on the wood with Bernie, I did some errands around town. One of my main goals was to look at the main stores to find the double faced painter’s masking tape that I spoke of in the blog the other day.
I don’t know if I made myself clear as to my objective of finding this tape at a reasonable price, but I feel that there was some misunderstandings.
I had a customer come to me and ask if I was able to locate it for him. Apparently there was an article in one of the scroll saw magazines which mentioned it as one method of attaching the pattern to your wood piece when scroll sawing. I wasn’t recommending that everyone do it this way, it just struck me when I saw the high cost of the double sided tape and I was wondering why in fact it would be as such.
Personally, I find that the best method to use for applying the patterns to wood is first placing a layer of blue painter’s tape directly on the wood (the blue tape is a high quality tape that leaves no sticky residue when removed) and then using spray adhesive to stick the pattern piece onto the layer of tape.
There are several advantages to doing things this way. First off, the adhesive from the tape helps lubricate the blade and eliminate burning caused by heat build up from the blade when using hard or dense wood. Prior to using this method, I applied the pattern directly to the surface of the wood and followed with a layer of clear packaging tape over the pattern. This achieved the same results as far as retarding wood burning.
However, I have recently been having trouble finding a reliable spray adhesive that didn’t clump or gum up. While there were formulas available like 3M Super 77 that were more reliable, they were quite costly at nearly $20 per can. In trying other brands, we found that it was difficult to obtain consistent results, even within the use of a single can, and there were times when either they didn’t stick at all, or the clumps that sprayed out left sticky residue on the piece which interfered with the finishing process. There were also times when the pattern was bonded to the piece so strongly that it was nearly impossible and very time-consuming to remove the pattern from the cut and very delicate fretwork.
By applying the blue tape first, we were insured that the removal of the pattern would be trouble free and were able to apply the spray glue with a somewhat heavier hand without fear of not being able to remove the pattern once the pieces were cut and volatile to breaking.
When the customer first told me of the double sided masking tape, I had not previously considered it as an option. But when I thought about it, using it would eliminate the need for spray adhesive altogether and with that, eliminate the mess and fumes that accompany its use. It would also mean that I would be able to count on a clean, and consistent surface in which to apply the pattern, without the fear of it being bonded on too much or conversely, falling off as I was cutting. Those who use spray adhesive know that it sometimes can be a slippery slope in figuring out the balance between using ‘too much’ and ‘too little’. To me, this would be a relatively fool proof method and make the job easier.
What I did not expect was the $50 price tag for the 2” wide 36” roll at Staples. While ULINE has their own brand that is much cheaper (the same 2” x 36” roll costs only $20 per roll), it is still a bit more than what I would expect to have to pay.
But then I got thinking again . . .
Is it really that much more in the long run?
These are NOT run of the mill ‘carpet tapes’ that you typically see at home supply stores. While I do appreciate the help of those who gave links to double sided carpet tapes, they would not do for the purposes that I am speaking of. That is probably my fault, as I wrote my blog in haste the other day and didn’t fully explain how I intended to use the tape, but it is imperative that these tapes release easily and with little or no residue left on the surface.
Obviously, carpet tape doesn’t fit this criteria. Most of the brands that I have used have extremely strong adhesives (as they should) and you would probably destroy the delicate fretwork pieces trying to remove it after cutting.
In the past, I have used double sided carpet tape to stick pieces of wood together for stack cutting, but I learned from experience that I needed to keep the tape only in the waste areas that would be discarded, as prying the layers of wood apart after cutting them out frequently resulted in damage. Now I have pretty much abandoned that method altogether, as I found that hot gluing the pieces together for that purpose (again – only in the waste area) was a quicker and easier method, as well as economical. The carpet tape that I have sits in the drawer and I seldom us it for scrolling.
But back to the cost of the double sided masking tape -
Seeing that the good spray (the Super 77) costs nearly $20 per can, and when using it you still need the blue painter’s tape, which can be about $10 per roll, I don’t think that it would cost that much more to use the $20 roll of double sided tape from Uline. They also have a roll that is 3” wide that goes for approximately $30. This obviously comes out to pretty much the same cost per square inch, but may be a bit more convenient using the extra width.
Since you are eliminating the spray altogether, you are saving not only the cost of that step, but also the taking the guesswork and aggravation out of having to mess around with it. This can be very helpful also if you are concerned about working indoors, perhaps in the winter when you can’t go outside because of weather conditions, as it will eliminate the fumes and over spray mess that accompanies using the spray adhesive. It may be worth the extra cost to you to invest in the tape after all.
For myself, I don’t do a huge amount of scrolling hard wood. While we do production work, that is usually done with Baltic birch plywood which doesn’t require packaging tape or blue tape because it doesn’t burn like hard wood pieces burn. In that case, the spray glue would do fine for us.
On the other hand, when making our prototypes for our patterns, we frequently use hard woods that do require the additional layer of tape over them. This may be a good alternative for us to use for those instances of scrolling.
As with anything, it all comes down to how much we are willing to spend for our tools, supplies and time to make our projects. I find that with dealing with so many people in so many different financial situations and with so many different goals as woodworkers, that there is no one perfect formula that suits everyone. While one may prefer to do the two step process and not be concerned with the slightly higher cost, another person may not feel it is worth the cost and rather take the extra time to use the spray and the tape.
I certainly appreciate the great amount of feedback that I received from these posts. I am going to compile all the information sent to me, and write a formal article to post on the site soon so that I can reference it to those who ask me in the future. Already this information has helped many people and I have received some great feedback from providing it. Thank you all who took the time to post.
Today I will be cutting my new ornaments out. It will be a good and productive day. I promise to keep you all up on things and hope you all have a wonderful weekend.
Remember to have fun with that ‘extra’ hour we get tomorrow!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"