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Why Is Gaffers Tape More Expensive Than Duct Tape?

I'm often asked what the difference is between gaffers tape and duct tape. After all, gaffers is more expensive, and duct tape seems to be adequate for many types of jobs. Duct tape is a good option for projects that require tape to permanently hold something in place. But if the tape is only intended to be in place temporarily, gaffers may be the better choice.

Gaffers tape is preferred by people in the theater, event, and audio/visual industries because it can be removed without leaving behind an adhesive residue, but another benefit is that it doesn't reflect light.

Some applications for gaffers tapes – such as the Polyken 510 Premium Grade Gaffers Tape – include protecting and anchoring wiring in the photography and film industry; bookbinding; vinyl school bus seat repair; wrapping or bundling of wire, metals, and plastics; protecting and anchoring electrical wiring; and moisture and dust-proof sealing of equipment cases and film canisters. This is a high-tack tape that works well in both low and high temperature applications, and has a clean removal adhesive.

Other gaffers tapes, such as the Pro Tapes Cable-Path Tape or the JVCC Wire-Line Cable Cover Tape, have an adhesive-free zone in the center of the tape which allows for cable and wire to be easily pulled through – and there’s no adhesive left behind after removal. This tape is perfect for events and productions where you need to tack running wires onto floors and need the flexibility of adjusting length.

Duct tape is well known for its versatility and strength. It will hold together almost everything, making it a very reliable tape to use when you want to be sure that your project doesn't fall apart. Polyken 231 Military Grade Duct Tape is used for military and aerospace packaging and other demanding applications. Nashua 357 Premium Grade Duct Tape is the duct tape professional contractors choose when they require a consistent, trouble-free product. Its uses include HVAC (heating, ventilating, air conditioning) and refrigeration applications, the sealing of seams and joints in metal air handling systems, and the manufacture of flexible duct equipped with metal collars – among many others.

The high adhesion properties of duct tape means it typically will leave behind residue, so it's not the best choice when you need to remove the tape once your job, event or project is over.

Watch the video below and I’ll show you the difference in adhesive residue left behind by each tape.

Tape Tips for Your Easter Production

event gaffers tapeEaster is just a few short weeks away, and church production managers and media ministry are well underway with planning some of the year's biggest productions and events.

Churches with memberships of several thousand or more already put together events of significant size. But holidays like Easter and Christmas put big demands on their creative and production teams. The holidays draw far more attendees than regular weekly services, requiring most houses of worship to hold additional services on Saturday to accommodate the larger crowds.

But it's not just the crowds that are bigger. Easter services are usually more elaborate productions as well.

Liquid Church, a contemporary Christian church in Mountainside, NJ, aims to put on a bigger, more elaborate show for Easter, along with adding Saturday services. The ministry is a multi-site church with 3,500 attendees across all sites each week. With three portable locations and one permanent in Mountainside, the church sets up three stages every week.

Technical Director Joel Freeman, who oversees all the audio/visual systems and gear, says they'll bring in a lot more lighting for the weekend Easter services. And because the productions are more elaborate, they'll require bigger props.

At Easter, as he does throughout the year, Freeman will work with members of the creative team to understand what they need to put together the production and whether a new staging or video element is required.

His biggest challenge is time and complexity, something that is more challenging at Easter. "We want to do the best show we possibly can," he says.

That's especially challenging at Easter - a time to focus on families. That means fewer volunteers than usual, and Freeman needs to lean more on regular staff to get sets, lighting, and props in place in a short amount of time - and on multiple stages.

With about three hours to get ready for each production, set up needs to go smoothly and quickly. At Easter, the ramped up complexity includes more doorways to cross and more lines to prep. Freeman uses Scapa 425 gaffers tape in 2- and 3-inch widths to hold down wires, trussing, and cables, and to hold carpets together so that no seams are showing. His teams use it to mark off the stage for props and performers, as well as to hold back drapes.

Scapa 425 is one of the most adhesive gaffers tapes we sell. It adheres longer and more securely than other gaffer tapes, and also has high tack, high tensile strength, and an easy unwind. It has an extremely low gloss finish which causes it to reflect the least amount of light. This makes it a good choice for stage production.

Every Easter production is slightly different, although all are likely to require lighting, audio, and video. The choice of tape will vary depending upon the type of set up and individual preferences. Here are a few tips and suggestions for helping your Easter service run smoothly by choosing the right tape for your needs.

Start planning early

A great way to begin is to ask what worked and what didn't in your last production, according to Shaun Miller in Church Production Magazine. This applies to the type of pressure-sensitive adhesive tape you used. Did you have enough for what you needed? Did you have the right type of tape for each job?

For example, a gaffers tape like Pro Tapes Pro-Gaff Gaffers Tape is ideal for holding down wires and carpet, removes cleanly from most surfaces, and is available in a wide array of colors. Because it's very dependable, it’s used throughout the entertainment industry and is a good choice for large productions.

Map Your Lighting

Creating a visual for your stage production will help you better understand the types of lighting supplies and materials you'll need.

"If you are doing a dramatic production that will have different lighting requirements from a normal service, consider working up a lighting plot. A lighting plot is a drawing of your stage area along with each light and its location," suggests Mike Sessler at ChurchTechArts.org.

Setting the Stage

Keeping performers safe as they move on and off the stage is a priority. Shurtape P-661 Glow-In-The-Dark Gaffers Tape can be used to mark stairs and exits. It's hand tearable, so it's easy to use and quick to apply. An added benefit is that is photoluminescent after the tape is activated by an artificial or natural light source.

Plan Your Media Production

Video producers will also map out their camera angles and shots ahead of time. Once you've created your shot list, you can work out the path of wires and have a better understanding of what needs to be marked and what needs to be invisible. Commonly referred to as AV cord tape, JVCC J90 Low-Gloss Duct Tape is a good economical choice.

Budgeting For Your Needs

Once you've settled on the type of tape needed for your production, you can visit FindTape.com to order the right sizes and amounts. If you need help, contact us at questions@findtape.com, and we'll work with you to place your order.

Colors Being Discontinued for Some Gaffers Tapes

Some gaffers tape manufacturers have recently announced that they are discontinuing colors in a few product lines.

Berry Plastics will no longer be providing dark blue and green in their Polyken 510 product (olive drab and burgundy had already been discontinued). Limited inventory in a few sizes of dark blue and green are still available on the web site. For gaffers tape in those colors please see Pro Tapes Pro-Gaff.

Scapa will no longer be making Scapa 225 in blue, brown, burgundy and green. Limited inventory in a few sizes of blue and burgundy are still available on the web site. Scapa has also discontinued Scapa 200N (fluorescent gaffers tape) which comes in four neon colors - green, orange, pink, and yellow. Our converter currently has a good supply left in all four colors so it should remain for sale on the site for several months. After it runs out Polyken 510 will then be available for sale in those 4 fluorescent/neon colors.

Shurtape will now only be offering P-672 Professional Grade in standard colors: black, grey and white (similar to what they did last year in their P-665 product). However, inventory still remains for the non-standard colors. In the future for 2 inch red you can see Shurtape P-68 and for the other colors see Pro Tapes Pro-Gaff.