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Wonderful Duct Tape

Colloquially known amongst racers as 'hundred mile per hour tape', or (more generically) racers-tape, Duct tape is a staple of the racer's diet. Not only do we hold parts on our bikes with it in emergencies, we hold our tow vehicles together with it for a season at a time. Many trailers, ramps, pit-tents and other racing accoutrements are adorned with duct tape, not to mention toe-sliders and leathers occasionally repaired or held in place with duct tape. Every spring you'll see some poor racer who's new boots don't agree with their old leathers and they sport duct-tape anklets.

So motorcycle racers usually think they know all about duct tape, but the usefulness of this material extends far beyond motorcycling. I've had a wider than average exposure to the wonders of duct tape, in part because my Dad (despite his monochrome suspenders) is occasionally mistaken for Red-Green, the Don of Duct Tape himself. And in part through a wide range of other sports; sailing, skiing, and horse-back riding amongst others.

Here are some household uses of duct tape that I've found are lesser known amongst motorcycle racers...

  • Lint-brush: An inside-out loop of duct tape makes an excellent lint and cat-hair remover.
  • No ironing board? You can duct tape a piece of cardboard into a megaphone, attach it to your electric kettle, and use it as a clothing steamer to avoid ironing.
  • Fly-paper: wipe duct-tape with a banana peel, hang where you have fruit flies.
  • A small scrunched up ball of duct tape and a cat can provide hours of top quality commercial free entertainment.
  • Arts and crafts! There are lots of duct tape craft ideas - see links below

Does it move when it shouldn't?

Anything that moves when it shouldn't may be a candidate for duct tape. The cutlery tray that moves back into the drawer when you open it, or the end ring on your shower curtain which wanders away from the wall. Windows that rattle and car interior panels that buzz can be silenced with duct tape.

Doesn't move when it should?

If you have a tool that doesn't fit right, like a metric socket on an imperial fasterner; or a fastener that is delicate or damaged, wrapping either the tool or the fitting with a small bit of duct tape can save the day. (Note: not suitable for torque-specific applications)

Duct Tape backing for the NS250's side number plate for racing

Modern Duct Tape

Once upon a time, duct tape only came in grey, but now a wider range of colours can be found. Both yellow and red duct tape are available, and my very first racing number plates were entirely constructed from duct tape. In Canadian Vintage motorcycle racing, classes are identified by the colours of their numbers and backing plates; for the P4/F3 class that means yellow backing plates with red numbers. Since my first all-duct-tape number plates were rather illegible, I've discovered it's easier to use red vinyl numbers on a yellow duct tape background. Both the NS250 Honda #418 and the Yamaha TZR250 #456 wear my duct tape work :-)

the unique asymetrical shape of the NS250 requires three different sized number plates, fortunately duct tape fits everywhere!

TZR250 wearing a number plate I built with a duct tape backing Duct Tape number plate on the front of Andrea's NS250 P4/F3 VRRA race bike

What Duct Tape can't do...

Even duct tape has it's limitations. I've never managed to get duct tape to hold tent fabric, although I've tried several times to effect temporary tent repairs with duct tape. Deep cold condtions render duct tape non-sticky, and salt-water conditions are hard on duct tape.

Removing Duct Tape...

Sometimes you want to use duct tape temporarily, and remove it later. The sticky residue left behind by duct tape can mark some surfaces if not removed promptly. Here are some tips for removing duct tape residue

  • Glass: use acetone or nail polish remover
  • Plastic: use WD40 or other oil
  • Unfinished wood: use fine sandpaper
  • Metal: WD40, alcohol or oil
  • Vinyl: armour-all
  • Skin: baby-oil, food oil or WD40 (in a pinch, peanut butter will work too)

More Duct Tape Reading:

3M Canada - product info:

Wikipedia on Duct Tape:

Duct Tape invention history and information links:

Duct Tape Activities in the Duck Tape Club:

Duct Tape is for Girls:

The Duct Tape Guys:

Duct Tape crafts links:

More duct tape crafts and ideas:

Duct Tape Rose instructions:

Duct Tape Wallet instructions:

Duct Tape Flip-flop instructions:

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