Gaffer tape - clean, but for how long?

Started Apr 25, 2012 | Discussions
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Gaffer tape - clean, but for how long?
Apr 25, 2012


I want to tape my DSLR with gaffer in places easy to scratch. One thing bothers me though - I've heard that it doesn't leave adhesive after removing tape, but it's true only if tape isn't applied for too long.

Now my question to you, smarter and more experienced beings than me, is - what is the safe amount of time before adhesive becomes hard to remove?

Also, I would love to see how do you tape your cameras!

Thanks in advance for your answers.

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Re: Gaffer tape - clean, but for how long?
In reply to weakhead, Apr 25, 2012

There are many variables... brand and quality of the tape, the conditions (humidity, temperature, movement), the material it's sticking to, etc. So there isn't one straight answer.

In the studio we have a cable coming off of one of the flash heads that was taped using pretty good gaffer's tape to the floor for a day or two. It was removed from the floor with no problem or stickiness, but the person removing it, did not remove the tape from the cable and just wrapped the tape around the cable. 6 months later I go to remove the tape from the cable, and it leaves a very slimy, sticky residue that was very very difficult to get off.

Personally I'm not a fan of protecting a camera like that. To me it's either a tool that you're going to use and it very well may end up with battle scars (I feel that if you're afraid to get it dirty or breaking it you're going to miss the best shots) or it's a collectors item in which case it should be under glass and should only be pulled out every so often to make sure it's properly lubricated. I also had a strong distain for that trend in the early 90's where people would put "car bras" on the front of their cars to keep the front of their cars to keep the paint from chipping from road debris. I felt they made your car (which you pay good money so that it looks good) look silly with this black vinyl thing on the front for several years, and then when you take it off, the rest of the paint is sun-faded and you have a weird strip of brighter paint where the bra used to be. Of course I'm just being a grumpy old man, and people will have different opinions.

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Senior MemberPosts: 7,846Gear list
Get sticky off with Eucalyptus oil.
In reply to weakhead, Apr 25, 2012

It really works. You can probably get it at a pharmacy. Be patient, go at it slowly, and don’t use too much, it has a strong odour (good for using as a vapor treatment when you have a cold!) which might be objectionable for a day or two but will go away in time. Don’t ask me why modern, synthetic adhesives can be removed by extract of gum tree, but they can. Actually, a thought -- I don’t know how camera body plastic would stand up to eucalyptus oil. Probably fine. Check an out-of-the-way spot first.

As for protecting the camera with lots of gaffer tape -- nope! What bearseamen says. In my experience, most scratches, etc., happen in transport, in the camera bag. Just make sure there's a bit of padding around in there and you'll be right.

I do use a screen protector on the LCD however, to both protect it from scratching and to give me a matt screen.

Cheers, geoff
Geoffrey Heard

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