I was rereading some back issues of Fine Homebuilding when I came across Herrick Kimball’s paean, The secret life of masking tape. I too have used it in all the various ways that Kimball describes, plus a couple of others. For example, I use it to make labels on short lengths of electric cable. Before coiling them for storage, I mark their lengths on the strip of masking tape that keeps the coil from unwinding. Thus marked, it’s easy to find a suitable hunk of wire without unnecessary unraveling.
Masking tape is also good for clamping awkward pieces during glue-up. I mended a badly splintered chair spindle by gluing it and wrapping it with masking tape. Once the glue on the spindle cured, I sanded and painted it. That was 15 years ago, and the patch is still invisible.
But my favorite use of masking tape is as a depth gauge. As shown in the drawing, I wrap it around the drill bit like a flag, with the ends sticking out. Then I bore my hole until the tape flag starts to sweep away the sawdust.
K. Burt, Corvallis, OR