Think of “gaffer’s tape” as the Cadillac of general purpose tapes — the king of half-assed repairs. (Duct tape is the “queen.”) “Gaff” tape — as the pros call it — is a cloth-backed tape often used in cinematic and theatrical productions. It outshines regular duct tape in both tensile and adhesion strength — without leaving as much nasty residue as duct tape.
Gaff tape is used by Gaffers to rig lights, wiring, and the like. Much like duct tape it has endless potential. But unlike duct tape, you can actually remove it later without the usual leftover goo. It’s easy to write on and even comes in various colors and sizes — though flat black is traditional for stage use due to its non-reflective nature.
The tensile fail point for gaff tape is usually around 45 psi, compared to around around 25 to 30 psi for duct tape. Its adhesion is superior, too, failing at about 55 ounces per one-inch strip. (Duct Tape fails at about 40 ounces per one inch strip.)
The only bad news is that the pro grade stuff isn’t cheap. A 2 ‘X 60 yard roll of 3M 6910 gaff tape goes for $27 on Amazon!. Other brands go for far less at around ten to fifteen bucks per roll. And the secret, of course, is to buy in bulk. Don’t worry — you’ll use it eventually.