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Text & Photos by Tom Hintz
Posted - 10-19-2005
OK. It's not electric, has no cutter and doesn't work in a mobile base. However, Gorilla Tape is rather unique in that it does what it is intended to do, and more. That is strange enough but considering that it is tape, something we routinely use for jobs other than those for which it was designed, Gorilla Tape excels at most of them as well, including a few uses around the shop we hadn't thought of.
Before founding NewWoodworker.com, I spent nearly 40 years involved with stock cars which gave me more than a passing familiarity with duct tape. Of course, to make it sound cooler, we called it racers tape or 200 MPH tape. It is a well-known fact that any racer going to the track without several rolls of duct tape simply is not prepared, nor are they likely to finish the scheduled events. The other reality of 200 MPH tape is that it usually blew off around 70 MPH or so. We knew that but 200 MPH Tape sounds way cooler than 70-something MPH Tape.
When the box of Gorilla Tape arrived, I immediately subjected it to my high-tech, comparative adhesion test. I stuck a foot-long piece of common duct tape to the hood of my wife's Toyota and then stuck a piece of Gorilla Tape (same size, no cheating here) next to it.
I grabbed the tail of each sample (separate hands) and pulled. The common duct tape fell right off as I expected. The Gorilla Tape resisted coming off enough that I was a little concerned that I was stripping paint from my wife's hood, something for which I would not have a good excuse. The paint stayed put but the Gorilla Tape had a definite advantage in stickiness. While wadding up the Gorilla Tape sample, I noticed that it felt substantially thicker than the regular duct tape, meaning I needed to read the literature that came with it.
Gorilla Tape Differences
Gorilla Tape has noticeably more adhesive than common duct tape, explaining its adhesion advantage. What is interesting about the adhesive is that it sticks to the tape better than it does whatever you apply it to, so there is little clean up needed if the Gorilla Tape is removed in the relatively near future.
The tape itself is heavier, in part because it has a tightly woven, reinforced body that is surprisingly compliant to surface irregularities. A side benefit of the woven body is that Gorilla Tape actually tears straight across easily, without stretching out of shape, as duct the cheapo stuff we call duct tape today does.
The combination of adhesive and body is covered with a weatherproof black jacket that protects the layers below it.
In The Shop
Though Gorilla Tape works great for sealing up ductwork in the house and my dust collector, I found other uses for it in the shop.
Because Gorilla Tape stretches so little, actually none I could notice, it works great for clamping oddly shaped things normal clamps do not want to. I was making a tool with a rounded handle that defied my common clamps attempt at staying put. A couple wraps of Gorilla Tape held the pieces in place tightly. Pressing a turned mallet head onto the handle and have it stay that way overnight was a no-brainer for Gorilla Tape.
If you do not have the 57 clamps necessary to hold a curved lamination to a jig, pulling it down with Gorilla Tape and then adding a few wraps for good measure works at least as well. In addition, you can probably buy a few hundred rolls of Gorilla Tape for what it would have cost for all those clamps.
Whether Gorilla Tape is a new innovation or a welcome (and improved) reincarnation of what duct tape used to be, it is remarkable in how well it works. With a street price of around $10 per roll (10-17-2005), its usefulness in a woodworking shop may be somewhat limited. However, when you find yourself in a situation Gorilla Tape can handle, it's worth its weight in figured walnut.
Gorilla Tape is in stores now, wherever that old, junky duct tape is sold. To find Gorilla Tape in your area, use the handy Zip code locator by Clicking Here.
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