Good morning everyone.
As most of you are well aware, I’m something of a tool enthusiast. I’m always looking for something to make my tasks easier or give me better results, preferably both. I’ve also been known to buy tools just because they look particularly enchanting, but we won’t go there today.
No, today I want to talk about what is probably the handiest tool in my shop: double-sided tape. This stuff is just amazing.
For instance, today I needed to change a brake light bulb in my wife’s HHR (yes, I know. She loves the bloody thing). As is what is apparently standard these days, you can’t just remove the taillight lens by removing a couple of screws with a screwdriver and replace the bulb. Oh no, you have to go inside the car and remove a trim panel without breaking the tabs, reach up into the resulting void and feel around until you feel something that has wires going into what could be a bulb socket, and twist it this way and that and hope that it doesn’t snap off in your hand. If you do it right, you can then pull out the socket and wires, which is just long enough to allow access to the bulb, which you can then extract. After a quick trip to Kragen’s to pay $6.50 for two 25 cent bulbs, you insert the new bulb into the socket and then try to insert the socket back into the taillight housing, where the bulb promptly falls out of the socket and into the taillight. Lovely.
Of course you can’t get enough fingers into the taillight to grab the bulb, and removing the taillight housing itself is a horror that I won’t even contemplate, so how do I get the damned bulb out of its trap? Double-sided tape, of course. So I tear off a short piece of DS tape and stick it to my finger, spend 10 minutes trying to peel off the backing, then stick my finger into the taillight housing and onto the bulb and extract it. Violá, saved by the tape yet again. After properly seating the bulb into the socket, the reassembly was accomplished without further incident.
Primarily, I use DS tape in my woodshop for all sorts of odd holding jobs for which regular clamping tools are either too big or just don’t exist, and using glue is a bit too permanent. The stuff is stronger than you think, too. Use a bit too much DS tape to stick a board to a template (or anything else), and you’ll be spending some time with a putty knife and/or a palette knife to work it free without breaking the board or the template. I’ve even used the stuff as an ad hoc chuck on the wood lathe. Marvelous stuff.
So what do you lot consider your most versatile tool, or the tool you go to when nothing else seems to work?