"Clamping" with tape

I’m having trouble using tape to “clam” my projects to the wasteboard. I have tried both double sided tape and the painter’s tape/CA glue methods.

My waste board is a typical MDF that I’ve flattened and carved a 2" x 2" grid into it.

The double sided tape (XFasten) won’t stick to the wasteboard at all. I’ve used compressed air to blow the dust off, paper towels to wipe it off, shop vac to vacuum it off, and a whisk broom. Apply the tape, press firmly, and it slides right off.

The tape/CA glue method worked for my first project, but I just ruined a beautiful piece of curly cherry with only about a minute left. It had one pass left on a profile cut and it just peeled the painter’s tape right off the wasteboard.

Anyone have any thoughts on why this might be happening?

I know you said you wiped it off, but the only time i have had this issue when it is dusty. Possibly try wiping with a damp towel. Are you sure you are using enough double-sided tape/blue tape?

Pictures are helpful for next time.


Hi Mike.
I saw a YouTube video from Garrett Fromme about using Shurtape which is carpet tape. Since then I have been using it with excellent results, but you do need to put some pressure on the piece for a few seconds to make sure it adheres. The other thing to realize is that delicate pieces may not pull off the tape very easily and could break. Also if the board is a little rough and grainy, like unsanded Oak, you might have tape residual left on the board. I used Mineral Spirits to remove it quick and easy though so I don’t consider it an issue. It comes off the MDF easily. Hope that helps!

The blue tape method has always worked perfect for me. It changed my clamping life.
Maybe the roll you have is old or off brand.
If its something on your waste board, try clamping another waste board on top of that one.
Got to work the problem till you figure it out.

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I use 3M blue painters tape. Quality here matters.

For double-sided tape this is the one I use:

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I would suggest sealing the surface of the waste board with shellac or polyurethane, I noted this improved my work holding when using double sided tape. I would notice when I pulled up the tape I had bits of MDF still stuck to the tape, after sealing it that issue has gone away.


I have switched from painter’s tape and ca, to a tape by Taytools. It is called the “Double Stick Tape Paper Backing Natural Rubber/Resin Adhesive for The Machinist, Woodworker, Crafts-Person or DIYer” Flashy name, right? I have not had any failures, but I do pay attention when using upcut bits.

I used Suretape (carpet tape) and was awesome, I bought at Lowes over a year ago. But now can’t find even online. Now I use blue tape, with clamps holding the edges down because the wood will bow on long carves.

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I’ve been using Duck brand carpet tape. I have to be careful not to use too much because it can be a pain to get the workpiece unstuck. It always comes off clean though.

Did you use a downcut bit and quality tape? How deep did you plunge?
A downcut, 3M blue tape and titebond have never failed me but I have never dare plunge more than 10mm at a time, less deep in hardwood.

I hope one day someone will do an exhaustive tests of all the conditions for the tape to fail, when it pushes too far, etc. but for now I just err on the side of safety.


@WaywardWoodworker Ooo I want to try this. I have noticed that the lower left hand corner of my machine noticeably gets lower from pealing so many layers off this point.

A couple things worth trying:

  • Use a rubber roller to adhere the tape to the MDF (The glue is pressure sensitive, just like duct tape)
  • Wipe down the MDF with a damp towel (Use IPA)
  • Seal the MDF
  • Use a stickier tape, there are different glues, all the way up to “masking tape”

Also most MDF is variable in density, with the middle being less dense and grainy… once you cut into this area it does get harder for tape to stick to it.


Gio, I think you are right, about the density. I have the ultralight MDF and after pealing off 5 or 6 layers of tape, I have to reflatten the wasteboard with skim pass. Also the Xfasten tape doesn’t seem to hold nearly as well as it does for everyone else.

This has worked very well for me.

I havent heard of others doing it but how about sealing the mdf with something thin. WOP or arm r seal

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That’s why I went with shellac, it’s very thin and absorbs into the surface of the MDF and since it’s not water based it limits the effects on the wood fiber. I also considered using thin starbond after seeing how well it absorbed on a spot where I spilled it, after resurfacing the MDF the spot is still there.

I have also used that tape and it works very well, even when you cut through it there is no adhesive gum left on the bit.

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