Masking is an integral part of the finishing process and can make or break your project. Masking is tedious, requires real attention to detail, and you usually only find out after the fact if it was done properly. The Team at 2Sand.com can’t do anything about the fiddly details of masking off, but we can offer some help to make the process more efficient. Small details such as how easily the tape comes off the roll can make a big difference by the end of a large project.
For many of us who are a bit older, masking tape was light tan crepe paper and usually stuck way too well to a project for our own good. If left in place for more than a few hours, much of the glue was left behind to be cleaned up. There are lower tack tapes available at the home center these days, but if your finishing involves more than latex house paint, you may want to upgrade your tape.
Automotive, fiberglass, metal and plastics finishers often need tape that can stand up to heated environments, and many finishing processes involve solvents that can bleed under ordinary tapes. Professional grade masking tapes are heat, UV, and solvent resistant. Additionally, they are designed to separate from the roll more easily. This may not seem like a big deal until you find yourself holding a masking sheet in place while trying to get the next section of tape. Being able to pull the tape from a simple holder is the type of detail that becomes more important as the jobs get more involved.
And tape is not the only product suited to masking. Furniture is often easier to finish before assembly, and while tape is excellent for masking the tenons, the dados, groves and mortises need to be filled without covering the face of the part. Masking foam is made just for these situations. It is soft enough to fit into and conform to a range of voids, and it has a mild tack to stay where applied until you are ready to remove it.
The tape comes in widths from 3/4 to 2 inches wide, and the foam comes in ribbons that can be used as a group or split by hand into the width needed. Just as with sanding, having the right materials on hand when you start masking will cost less, save time, and help prevent mistakes.