Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hockey Tape for Your Shop

A bunch of weeks ago, I got a strange request from Charles Neil.  He wrote me to ask where I get my hockey tape from.  How did he know I use hockey tape?!  He must watch the podcast... :)

He just got through a long week of clamping up cabinets so his fairly sensitive hands were sore from tightening up and slipping on clamp handles.  Ah, now you know the reason for the tape!

I use hockey tape a lot in the shop.  My parallel clamps and F-style clamps fortunately have great grips built in, but if I had those ones with the slick wooden handles, I'd have wrapped them in hockey tape long ago.  So if you have those handles, you might want to give this a read.

I use hockey tape anywhere I need to improve a grip or, as in the case of my shovels, avoid blisters (for my sensitive hands :)  This is the shovel I recently used to dig a foot-deep 30' long trench by the house to bury a power cable for the shop A/C unit (currently my favorite tool! the A/C not the shovel).  No blisters in the after-math.

Hockey tape comes in a variety of colors so grab a color pack and use it to wrap handles so you can easily identify a tool by the handle.  This is a plastic mallet I have; previously there were two different ones under there and I'd always grab the wrong one so I color-coded them...

...the other one, well, you know when you get frustrated during a glue-up cuz the glue seizes immediately cuz the shop is was 98ºF? Yeah, first disposable thing in reach gets that frustration.  (Lemme know in the comments how you've done the same! you have, haven't you?)

So how much will this shop wonder run ya?  Not a lot, actually.  I think the Canadians subsidize it to bring hockey to the masses.  You can get it from Hockey Giant.

But not all tape is the same :) From that page, here are some to consider...

Renfrew friction tape will stick your hand to the handle; meant to stay high friction with ice and water on it. This is perfect, only downside is that after grabbing it, you'll notice "friction tape" feel to your hands.  A little saw dust will likely kill that feeling.   I have a roll of this in the shop; people buy that high-friction expensive tape at the woodworking stores... this stuff is better and cheaper.  I use it often to make a surface less slick.  Couple strips parallel to each other and what you place on it won't really move much.

Another type is Renfrew cloth hockey tape.  This is general hockey tape in several different color rolls for marking stuff.  Feels great on your hands.  There are wider sizes, but if you are wrapping handles, you'll be wrapping in a spiral; too wide a tape and you end up with a lot of overlap that makes it all lumpy.   I use 1" tape for handle.  Also useful underneath stuff that tends to have sharp corners that gouge the bench top.

What you don't want is any of the 'stretchy' tape or 'shin guard' tape. Both are used to hold equipment on you so they don't really have cloth.

Naturally, I also use it to wrap hockey sticks for the best 90 minutes of the week.


  • Anonymous said...

    Paul: Enjoy your blogs and podcasts. As a fellow Canadian living in Windsor Ontario I guess I take finding hockey tape for granted. I did take Charles Neil's finishing class last September and it was a great experience, even though it was a long 10 hour drive one way from home. Keith

  • suggie said...

    Paul,I agree with puting tape on your tool handles..over 50 years ago I was tought that trick by a master mechanic and have used it ever since.Rob Cosman has been pushing that idea for years,some have made fun of the idea....but it works.

  • Unknown said...

    Love you site and cant wait for more viedos on your Angle Maddness project. .Per your request,the last thing to get tossed out of my shop was the cheap mitre gauge that came with my other great craftsman hybrid table saw(when I say it got tossed I mean it. I live in a coulda sac and I threw it 40 yards). Quick setting glue was not to blame it was the miter gauge being an overall piece of crap and the inaccurate cut meant a second trip to lumber store for and additional 5 BF of purple heart . The story ends well as "black Friday was a week away and I was able to pick up a Incra 1000HD for $129.00.

    As far as hockey goes: GO STARS!!!!
    Still pissed the stars traded Steve Ott to Buffalo for Derick Roy who just had shoulder surgery and will not be available till November.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Thanks, guys... I guess because I always have a stack of the stuff in my hockey locker, I never think that others don't use it around here :) Way cheaper and better than those specialty wraps.

    Nice miter gauge, Sean... maybe the frustrating incident was to make sure you didn't miss the sale!

    For our Coyotes, Shane Doan is still a trade rumor. Not someone we'd want to lose. I have a Coyotes jersey he autographed. Should send him mail to say he can't leave because I can't erase the autograph. :)