Duct Tape Saves The Day

In the entertainment industry, duct tape holds wires and equipment in place safely and leaves no residue. Years ago, the duct tape used was a real problem for roadies and gaffers because extension cords became coated with residue over time, which made it too sticky to use, set up, and take down equipment. Duct tape also was used to fasten cords to the floor to eliminate a tripping hazard; however, it left both the floor and cord a sticky mess and cleanup time became a hassle.

Today, the problem is non-existent. Therefore, the product can still be used for concerts, plays or presentations in your facilities.

That solution opens a whole other spectrum for uses in the parks and recreation industry. For example, duct tape can be used to temporarily mark trails and then be removed without a trace. Or, since newer varieties can withstand weather much better than old tape, it can be left to serve as permanent markers. The same logic makes it useful for a variety of areas in and around parks and campgrounds. With the variety of colors, areas that need to be marked off for construction or denoting safety hazards can be done easily with a product that is both permanent and removable without ruining an existing finish. Hooks noted that it is also useful in sandblasting park signs—the sand or pellets do not penetrate the duct tape, making for an easier job and shorter cleanup afterwards.

Duct Tales

Aside from its practical uses, Hooks shared several stories in which duct tape played a role in outrageous outdoor situations. One unfortunate man canoeing down the Chattahoochee River saw a snake and accidentally shot a hole in his canoe. He was able to paddle to shore, dry off the spot, and fix it with duct tape. In another application, a person lost in a swamp at night in Florida strapped himself to a tree so that he wouldn’t fall out and be eaten by alligators if he fell asleep.

Hooks noted, “To be a connoisseur of DuckTape, you must have a wide palate.”

In researching duct tape, it became apparent that people have come up with several creative uses for the stuff–a wallet, origami flowers, ties ( those worn with suits!), hats and purses. There are even arts and crafts books specifically for projects made with duct tape.

Henkel Consumer Adhesives sponsors an annual prom event where young couples make their prom wear, tuxedos and prom dresses, out of duct tape for the contest. The prize is a $6,000 scholarship!

The Practical Side Of The Product

Along with Henkel’s wonderful sense of humor regarding its product (which also comes in purple), the company has a commitment to sustainability in the world community. Making products that are more friendly to people, animals and the environment elevates the silly to the profound.

Bethany Schmotzer, Henkel’s product manager for Duck Tape, gave even more uses for the ”marvel tool”: farmers can carry a roll of duct tape on their tractors or other equipment for quick fence fixes, seat repairs or any number of maintenance issues that might need temporary attention away from the barn and tools.

Wrapped like a rope, duct tape has been reported to be used to pull cars from ditches. It’s been used to cushion handles on shovels and other tools. It’s also been used at lumber yards to secure bundles. Hmm … so maybe it can be used for securing stakes, ropes or tent poles.

It is recommended that duct tape be wrapped on a pencil for use during back-packing adventures. It can be used to seal the leg ends of pants to keep out insects in areas of high infestation, to fix a water bottle, to patch a tent or other camping equipment. In emergency medical applications, it can be used to cover a wound (ouch!), and as a splint or a tourniquet.

Duct tape has become the new machine shop. In days past, people knew how to make tools to repair just about anything. It looks like duct tape has made a whole new generation self-sufficient–in its own tacky kind of way!

Sheryl Billman is a freelance writer in Medina, Ohio. She can be reached via e-mail at sheran8@msn.com.

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