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Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY! But WAIT!

Ok, don’t. But if you’ve got a second, click through the link below and check out the late night TV infomercial for Flex Seal. (No, I’m not kidding. The video that autoplays on the page appears to be their infomercial. They didn’t even bother to clip off the spot at the end where the people running the ad lay in the phone number to call.) As far as I can tell, it’s pretty similar to the spray version of Plasti-Dip, but with a different marketing schtick: They claim this stuff will seal roofs and gutters.

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You may have noticed a sharp spike in the number of limo-riding, formally-dressed high school kids in your locale a while back. But not all of them are wearing expensive custom dresses or rented tuxedos. The once-original idea of fashioning prom wear from duct tape has taken off — with the help of the Duck brand.

(A quick moment’s rant: While I can’t deny the marketing genius of naming one’s tape business after the most common mispronunciation of “duct,” I do get a little riled every time I see it. It was bad enough when folks called it “duck tape” because they didn’t understand its original application. For years now they can also head down to the local big box and buy some by that name. Doh!)

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Countless products are available for filling wood, but they all have their problems. They either dry out before you can use them, don’t expand and contract with the wood, aren’t stainable, are messy to use, or just plain don’t stand up to time. Could QuikWood’s two-part epoxy-in-a-stick be a better choice?

The base and activator are already measured out in the right ratio, so all you need to do is cut off a hunk of the stick and knead it in your hands for a minute until the putty-like epoxy is one consistent color. There’s no mess, no measuring, and no stirring.

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I am something of an adhesives enthusiast. If you can bind anything with goop of some kind, I’ve probably tried to stick things together with it that you shouldn’t. A few days ago I saw the latest “As Seen On TV” product, UGlu. For all intents and purposes, it’s tape-backed glue. I know I shouldn’t — but I must have some.

With statements like “Great for men, women and children,” or the infamous “One product that does it all” on the front page of the website, anyone with common sense should have been running already, but I don’t. The lure of new adhesive magic keeps my attention, much like the dancing flute of a snake charmer mesmerizes a cobra.

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I won’t pretend to be an expert here: Sean is the undisputed king of bull$#!& solutions with adhesive. And I say that with respect, as he can generally find a way to stick things together and save tons of time on any given project. Case in point: When I needed to quickly attach a cover plate over a hole in my ceiling — I moved a fixture and might want to move it back — Sean recommended Liquid Nails.

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Every week Toolmonger gets inundated with mail from various PR firms pushing the contest-of-the-week. And most of ’em end up in the circular file because seriously, do they really think Toolmongers are willing to shell out their personal info for a chance to possibly (maybe) score a $10 tool? But we got sucked in by this one. Why? It’s all about duct tape and the crazy crap you do with it.

Here’s the quick version: In order to promote their duct tape, the folks at Scotch/3M want you to send video or photos showing how you’ve solved the day with duct tape. To encourage you to do so, they trotted out their NASCAR crew guys to camp it up. It’s kinda humorous.

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I just love it when something interesting you see on the web leads you to something else that’s equally interesting. And that’s just what happened when the Make blog reported on Katrina (Kat) Jungnickel’s presentation on “Stickytape” (she includes anything that’s in tape form and is adhesive or sticky: Sellotape, Scotch, Gaffa, duct, fusion, packing, invisible, double-sided, electrical, insulation, and masking), and the realization that it’s “not only a technology you cannot live without but it is also a metaphor for life.” There are plenty of examples in her slides (at her blog link below), but I particularly liked the following statement by her:

The world is full of stickytape stories – and to some they are a poor fix, a lazy response. It is easy to mock them. But what I argue is that there is innovation at play in many cases. It gets you involved in making stuff – makes you think you can do things, change things – re-imagine how things might be. Stickytape epitomises an experimental approach. It is emblematic of being able to fix anything.

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Standard heat shrink tubing is pretty handy stuff, and the addition of an adhesive lining can make it even more so. Typically made from cross-linked polyolefin, which is stronger than PVC and does not burn like PVC, this tubing, with its heat-activated adhesive, provides a tight seal against water, oils, acids, and sunlight. The tubing’s major markets are marine, RVs, and campers, but I like it as a general-purpose heat shrink because of the better seal.

The main suppliers are Ancor, 3M™, and Raychem (Tyco).

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Scotch® has six new Tough Duct Tapes, pictured above. The Extreme Hold version has a double-thick adhesive layer (sounds like Gorilla Tape), and a temperature range up to 200° F. The Heavy Duty All-Weather has UV resistance and a waterproof backing. The Outdoor Painter’s Clean Removal claims you can take it off cleanly for up to 14 days after application on “most opaque surfaces.” The indoor/outdoor No Residue can be removed without residue after as long as six months, and is designed for securing cords, hanging signage, bundling, and labeling. The Poly Hanging & Tarps has high tensile strength good for general repairs, hanging poly, and securing or repairing tarps. The Transparent is “ideal for discreet repairs,” or for bundling, reinforcing, and securing lightweight loads.

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Permatex Flowable Silicone (item # 81730) is a low-viscosity silicone sealer that “seeks the leak.” It flows easily into little cracks and crevices, and, after a 24-hour cure, forms a clear waterproof seal. Typical applications include windshields, sunroofs, windows, headlight assemblies, RV vents, and marine glass.

I found and used it a few years ago to successfully seal a small, but annoying and persistent, leak at the top of the windshield in my trusty old pickup after an ever-so-helpful dealer said the windshield would have to be removed and a new gasket installed. I have also read about its use in sealing outdoor PVC active antenna assemblies for amateur radio.

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