“If women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

If you’re Canadian and of a certain age, then you know where I’m going with this. Red Green was the main, if not only, character on a TV show called Handyman’s Corner and by the end of each episode Red Green had fixed whatever problem he was facing with what he called the “handyman’s secret weapon,” which is duct tape.

Last week I wrote about binder twine, therefore this week it seems only fitting that I should talk about its sticky silver cousin, duct tape. Another staple that no barn is complete without.


With a piece of well-placed Duck/duct tape, you can make your plastic pitchfork with the missing tong far less annoying to use. That plastic shovel you have with the enormous crack in it? Duct tape will fix that, too. You can wrap some around the splintered handle of a broom to avoid splinters and you can use it to splint a finger and other small appendages.

Duct tape can be used to repair broken fence boards, crops, whips and jump fillers. You can tape up a suspicious-looking extension cord to prevent minor electrocutions or swing a few layers of duct tape around that small hole in your hose.

You can seal doors and windows with a well pressed strip of duct tape to prevent drafts and/or water from getting in and slap some tape on your leaky gumboots. You can use it to reattach the floppy sole of your shoe, tape your tall boots closed when the zipper fails and keep brushing boots in place when one of the Velcro straps falls off.  

Duct tape can help you keep all manners of things closed or reversely keep them open.

You can even make repairs to farm vehicles with duct tape, such as a loose headlight, rattling bumper or wiggly wing mirror.

You can use it to adhere things to a wall whether it be a list or a person and it works well if you need an impromptu name tag for some reason or for a halter number at FEI competitions.

People even make prom dresses out of this stuff.

This list, as with binder twine, is limited only by your imagination.

And you know what they say, “If you can’t duct it…”

Now, is it duct or duck?

It’s kind of hard to know and depends on what you choose to read and believe. There is no exact or even vague birth date for this tape. You see in the early 1900s there was a tape used to reinforce footwear, power cables and other such things, which some feel is the starting point. This tape’s adhesive was applied to duck cloth, a heavy cotton fabric, ergo duck tape.

But maybe you want the life of this tape to start during WWII when a clever woman by the name of Vesta Stoudt suggested that a waterproof tape would be more useful to seal ammunition cases than paper tape and wax. As there was allegedly no such thing, Vesta, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Johnson & Johnson set about making such a tape in an army green color.

It wasn’t until after the war that people began using said tape on ventilation ducts. Needless to say, this is where the name duct tape comes from as well as its characteristic silver color as nobody likes to see tape on their ductwork. At least I don’t.

Today, Duck Tape is a brand name, whereas duct tape is a catch-all term for tapes that fall under the waterproof, strong yet easily ripped and will fix almost anything category.

The truth is no one has settled on when this wonder tape sprang to life, so you can believe what you like and call it what you like.

For the Love of Duck/Duct Tape

And there you have it, all the things you didn’t know you wanted to know about Duck/duct tape.