A correspondent has sent an urgent request for information on Duct Tape.
Some things need to be made clear, right off the bat. Duct tape is not for ducks although it is sometimes called "Duck Tape". Duck Tape is a company that makes duct tape and they sponsor a competition for the most stylish prom wear made from duct tape. Really. Duct tape is used for quick repairs to cars, horses' hooves, clothing and equipment of all sorts. The cheapskate handyman's rule of thumb is: if it is stuck and it shouldn't be, WD40 it and if it has come unstuck, duct tape it. Even the high-tech iPhone 4 needed a duct tape fix:
if I'm left handed I have to hold it that way
Duct tape is said to have started as a military product to repair ammunition cases, and of course it was also used to repair jeeps and as a temporary bandage for wounds. Soldiers brought it home and used it around the house. When someone's cubicle at work needs to be filled with packing peanuts, duct tape is the tool of choice to seal the deal. Even NASA has used it for those vital bodge jobs in space: Duct tape on the moon
Similar products include things like gaffer tape. In Australia and New Zealand, what they call duct tape is different. If you give me money for a plane ticket and some expense money, I'll go check that out. In North America, duct tape refers to "Strong, cloth-backed, waterproof adhesive tape" usually in silver or gray but coming in at least thirty other colors and patterns such as pink zebra. See
a wide selection of colors
All these colors mean that it can be used in a variety of craft and art projects. Almost fashionable clothing, dorky wallets and shoes, a desperation bike lock and a sofa that can no longer be harmed can be seen at this link:
OMG these people are creative...but totally lacking in taste
There is a persistent rumor that duct tape can remove warts. The study that disproved this was flawed, say the wart-removal adherents, because the scientists used clear duct tape and only the traditional silver color, which is rubberized will work. TheFinalWord does not have any warts to test this claim on but notes that if a seven inch strip of duct tape is torn off the roll it will make an effective gag for the person telling you to put duct tape on your warts. No, really, this is a serious study, duuude...
The US Post Office discourages the use of duct tape on packages. People do use it and then laugh themselves sick thinking about the struggles of the recipient to open the package. (And yes, dear correspondent, I did get the box okay, but I have not yet opened it due to fatigue, extreme fatigue, you have no idea how tired I am of looking at that damn box with the damn duct tape.) The post office complains that duct tape messes up their scanners and also gently hints "Use tape that is designed for shipping. Do not use gift wrapping, cellophane tape, duct tape and masking tape as these are not strong enough to withstand temperature fluctuations during transit." It seems unfair to lump duct tape with such namby-pamby products. I believe the real issue is that when duct tape comes unstuck from its original box, it tends to stick to something else such as other mail, the mail man and the mail truck or even the mail box and possibly the post office itself...which is in bad enough shape.
Another use of duct tape that is strongly discouraged is duct taping the door of the dorm room shut and then pulling the fire alarm. This is against the law. For true amusement, put a roll of duct tape in the toilet paper holder at the party. The drunker everybody is, the funnier this will be.
Sadly, the one thing that duct tape is no good at is sealing ducts. The magic boffins at Berkley have said so and I do believe them: If it QUACKS like a duct
P.S. Simple instructions for making a rose from duct tape :Make a Rose