Scotch Tough Duct Tape - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A good selection of very strong tapes for a range of jobs around the home or shop


Scotch Tough Duct Tape

Duct tape, ('duck tape' as the defenders of the realm call it, or 'the handyman's best friend' according to Red Green), has been around since the 1940s. It's one of the more popular general purpose tapes. Essentially, if something that needs to be stuck together isn't, then you can likely duct tape it.

Scotch_600 copy
The new Scotch Tough Duct Tape is pretty tough stuff. There are six types of Tough Duct Tape:

Extreme HoldA double-thick adhesive layer with a temperature range up to 200° F
Heavy Duty All-WeatherUV resistance with a waterproof backing
Outdoor Painter’sRemovable up to 14 days after application on most opaque surfaces
No ResidueRemovable without residue after as long as six months
Poly Hanging & TarpsHigh tensile strength good for general repairs
TransparentDiscreet repairs and securing lightweight loads
I recently tried both the No Residue and the Transparent tapes. Duct tape isn't to be confused with the commonly available clear cellophane packing tape available at most hardware stores. Cellophane tape is the least expensive, and the weakest of general purpose tapes. It measures a mere .03 mm thick, and is good for sealing light packages and boxes. However, you can easily tear the tape by hand.
No-name, generic duct tape is a better choice for more demanding taping tasks. It's typically made of a layer of polyethylene plastic bonded to a fabric mesh with a rubber-based adhesive. The tighter the fabric mesh weave used, the stronger the tape. I measured my generic duct tape at .18 mm thick. While it's significantly thicker and more durable than cellophane tape, I can still easily rip it by hand. I've been using this tape in the shop and on job sites for years. My major complaints are that the tape leaves a sticky residue when you remove it, and the tape loses some of its holding power after several weeks.

(L to R) Cellophane, Scotch Transparent, generic, Scotch No Residue   
The Scotch Transparent tape measures .19 mm thick, only marginally thicker than the generic tape. It's designed for discrete repairs - you can use it to surreptitiously tape down carpets, wires and the like. It's also suitable for securing light loads. The tape is just as strong as the generic tape, holds very well and doesn't look as garish. I've had it holding some cable on carpeting and oak flooring for the past month, with no signs of letting go.
At .26 mm the Scotch No Residue is the thickest of the tapes. It's an indoor/outdoor tape that is supposed to have excellent holding power, yet peel off residue free after as long as 6 months. I left the tape on various surfaces (lumber, drywall, plastic, copper piping) for four weeks, and it did indeed remove reside free. This tape requires a bit more effort to tear than the Scotch Transparent or generic duct tapes, so I suppose it's stronger. And, it's made in Canada.
For all three of the duct tapes I wrapped a single layer around a bundle of oak boards, and then tried to pull the boards apart to burst the tape. It took the same relative amount of effort to tear the generic and Transparent tapes, but noticeably more effort to burst the No Reside bound bundle.
If these Scotch tapes continue to hold up over the coming months, then I'll likely look to purchase more of them (particularly the No Residue tape) in the future. With a price starting at $3.29 (Transparent tape at Home Hardware) they're well priced.



  • 1.88" x 20 yard rolls
  • .19 mm thick - Transparent tape
  • .26 mm thick - No Residue tape

AVAILABLE FROM:Canadian Tire, Home Depot, Home Hardware, Lowes, Reno Depot
RETAIL PRICE:from $3.29
MODEL #:None
Carl Duguay, October 2010
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