How to work with double-faced tape
I find double-faced tape handy for everything from template routing, to stack cutting, to attaching carrier boards for planing undersized stock. It's after those operations that the tape becomes a problem. Often, I can't pry the wood apart without damaging my template or workpiece. Am I using too much tape or what?
—Alan Price, Saint Louis
We go through a lot of double-faced masking tape in the WOOD® magazine shop, Alan. And we, too, have learned to respect its power. The trick: use it strategically and sparingly.
For template routing, where inline "shearing" forces are minimal, use small, widely spaced pieces of tape. When you've completed the routing operation, pry the pieces apart with a putty knife; then sand the workpiece to remove any marring. For smaller pieces, try twisting apart the template and workpiece like a jar lid or wiggling it side to side.
That strategy also works well when stack cutting on the bandsaw. Or, you can strategically place the tape in the waste portions of the pattern. Plan your cuts to remove the taped portions last.
When you're planing thin pieces on a carrier board, the cutterhead exerts much greater shearing forces. To minimize the risk of slippage, glue a backstop to the carrier board to keep the workpiece from moving backward. Use only a small piece of tape in the center of the workpiece to hold it steady side-to-side on the carrier. The downward pressure of the planer rollers does the rest.
Once you've separated those pieces, use a shop cloth and mineral spirits to clean up any adhesive residue.