Monday, April 6, 2009


In routing the grooves for some shallow tool trays, I ran into a problem with the edge of the board tipping off the workbench due to the downward pressure of the plane. Because I was working with wood that was thinner than the depth of the plane's fence, the edge of the board had to extend beyond the edge of the workbench.

Using a holdfast was not an option (without some finagling) because it would get in the way of the fence rods, and my dog holes are not lined up in such a way that I could use the end vise.

Geez, if only there were a way to secure the board from underneath.

Aha! Carpet tape (which has adhesive on both sides) to the rescue. It worked great. The only potential problem is leaving the workpiece stuck for too long. That would give the tape more time to latch onto the fibers which might tear when you remove the board. So don't leave for vacation mid-routing.

It worked so well, in fact, that I intend to try this trick when planing really thin boards.

In short: carpet tape now has a permanent place in my shop.


dpmohne said...

What a good idea, now I'm going to get some carpet tape.

Mitchell said...

Norm on New Yankee Workshop introduced me to carpet tape in one of his episodes - ok, not me personally, but it was the first time I saw it used in woodworking. Since then I look for excuses to use it. Yesterday I used it to finish off refacing my kitchen cabinets, using it to hold the drawer faces in place so I could remove the drawer and screw them into place. This morning I used it to stick an internet wireless sender/receiver to the top of a door jam for better reception. Great stuff that carpet tape.

David said...

Hi Kari, An other trik that I use when cutting grooves in tin stock, is to put a filler board(plywood works) and the securing the work piece the way you like, That way, the fence of your plane will have clearence!!

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Jeremy Kriewaldt (jmk89) said...

This is where I would use my fishscaler holders:

But you are right - carpet tape is wonderful stuff. I use it to stick long strips of sandpaper to a glass plate or a granite slab (old kitchen bench) for flattening plane soles or the backs of plane irons (another trick is to use a magnetic base attached to the front of the plane iron - you now have something to grab hold of when you push the plane iron along the sandpaper).

Woodfired! said...

Looking forward to seeing the new carpet tape storage cabinet! Martha probably has one.

Woodbloke said...

Kari - watch it though with carpet's evil, nasty stuff! As you say, if you leave it there for too long or if if apply too much pressure over the top of it, it'll rip out the grain on the timber...and then you've got to try and get the sticky residue off the wood. I use ordinary double sided tape, but tend to steer clear of the carpet could always use a router for the grooves though.... - Rob

Woodfired! said...

A router! And I thought my comment was irreverent.

Joey said...

My toolbox is never without a roll or two of carpet tape, its saved my butt a few times


The Village Carpenter said...

Thanks for the comments, everyone!

Jeremy, I saw your fishscaler holders when you first posted them on the forum--I bet they work great. :o)

Mark, how did you guess? It's next on my list!

Rob, I was wondering about double sided tape but wasn't sure it would have enough holding power. Sounds like it does if you're using it. Routers are too noisy and messy! (but I do use them sometimes...)

Joey, I think there's a funny response to your comment, but nothing's coming to mind. ; )

dpmohne said...

@David - I do this currently with my Stanley 50, but the spacer to use my 45 would be 2" thick.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kari, I have tried a similar trick using "turners tape". Search the Lee Valley site, they have two widths. I have also used this as a means to hand dress the bands for shaker boxes. Tack down the right hand end (for a righty) and plane to the left. Lift the left end up enough to slide on your calipers and check when you are approaching the right thickness for that size box.
Brilliant blog, thanks,

Woodbloke said...

"A router! And I thought my comment was irreverent"...just a little wind up!! - Rob

Anonymous said...

Hi, Kari,

Sticky tape is OK but has the habit of leaving residues, as you thought and in my experience, the bond fails when you least want it – i.e. when you are applying the most force to the smallest piece of wood!

Back to your bench holding problem; from the round 3/4” dog holes, you are (probably) using Veritas brass faced dogs? I have a pair of these and I find that they have a tendency to slip on smooth end grain, that’s why I use square wooden dogs in my European pattern bench, spaced at 4” and angled at about 3 degrees.
Your dog holes appear to be about 6” apart and about 2-1/2” from the edge, so why not drill another set, spaced in the middle of the existing holes and about 1-1/4 from the edge.

(I see that you are taking up turning; I have used hot melt glue to fix flat bottomed things to a home-made wooden faceplate in a chuck for years – it’s surprisingly strong and has the advantage that you can turn a bowl base to be flat, fix it with HM glue, turn the rest and pare off the glue when you are finished – no unsightly chuck rings on the base of the bowl).

Hope it helps,


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Anonymous said...

Carpet tape sounds like a good idea. I don't know how tough it is to remove from bench and workpiece. For drawer sides I keep the piece long, i.e. many sides from one long piece, clamp it to the end of the bench/table at the end opposite the direction of the 'travel' of the plane. At the other end, one only needs some minimal clamping/or benchdog to prevent it from moving sideways.


George Beck said...

Sticky tape works great for all kinds of applications. I use golf grip tape available at most Golf stores and i use it for well re-gripping clubs. I have even used it with templates for the router. One advantage of the golf grip tape is the glue desolves with mineral spirits. If there is a problem with residue some mineral spirits takes it off.


The Village Carpenter said...

Thank you for all the suggestions!

Patrick, I've never heard of turner's tape and will check it out.

Howard, I just have a cheaply manufactured workbench. The dog holes are only 5/8" in diameter in fact. I've started making them larger but adding another set along the front edge is a good idea. Someday, I'll build my own bench and fix all these annoying problems! haha I am really surprised to hear that hot melt glue has enough holding power for turning. I've used a type of super glue and even that makes me nervous.

Thanks for the suggestion, Alfred. I suppose I could have also left the pieces wider than I needed to give room for hold downs and then ripped them to width once the grooves were cut.

George, thanks for the tip. I've never heard of golf grip tape either, but being able to easily remove the residue is a definite plus.

Teresa Jones said...

I use double-sided tape in the shop all the time but never thought about this application!


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