I hate double-sided tape. I mean with a flaming red passion. Why? Pull up a chair and I’ll tell you. [expand title=”Read More”]

In my experience, the double-sided tape I’ve used to mount a project or template falls into two main categories; either the adhesive is too weak, allowing the material you’re trying to hold to move, or it’s too strong, requiring you to use extreme measures such as open flame or blasting to get the material off after you’re finished running it, or abandon the project in place and move on. Nope – I don’t like it at all.

I plodded along in life, using the horrible stuff, figuring I had no alternative, until I happened upon a YouTube video posted by Ben Crowe, owner of Crimson Guitars in the UK. In that video, he demonstrated a technique an apprentice luthier showed him that involved using cyanoacrylate (CA) glue, an activator spray, and common masking tape to mount a template to a guitar body blank. Ben, being the experienced luthier he is, at first scoffed at the idea. Upon first glance, I admit that I did the same thing. How ridiculous – it’ll never work. The thing is, it DOES work. It works very well.

I tried it myself, and became hooked, and no longer use double-sided tape at all in my shop. I use this technique in every instance I would have otherwise used double-sided tape, and it’s never failed me.

I think the secret of its success is the fact that you burnish the tape to the material you’re going to cut, AND burnish it to the work surface or template you’re going to stick it to. You can’t do that with double-sided tape – you can only burnish it to one or the other. Double-sided tape has to be mounted on a flat surface for it to work. With this method, the glue spreads out and will bond to the surface of the tape it’s contacting, no matter how irregular that surface may be. If the two taped surfaces touch, it’ll stick.

In the video, I demonstrate the technique on a piece of ¼” thick material I cut some cigar box guitar pickup trim rings out of. As you can see, they hold fast, never move, and release easily when the operation is complete. Yes, I’m basically making my own double-sided tape, but it’s tape that I can control and can rely on. THAT’S what really matters.

I’ve been using this method almost exclusively for well over a year, and it has never failed me – not once. On larger panels, I’ll still screw the material down to the spoilboard and use the tape and glue to keep the parts I’m cutting in place on the spoilboard.

By request, here are some links to the tape, glue, and activator I used in this video.  In my experience, the brand of masking tape, glue, and activator don’t really matter. These are what I used in the video – your mileage may vary.

Scotch Blue Painter’s Tape

FastCap 2P10 Medium CA Glue

FastCap 12 oz Activator

Try it! No, seriously!