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There are some things I hate to do. But if I rationalize the task hard enough, I’m fine with it. Sometimes, the rationalization even makes sense.

When I paint or varnish trim right up against another surface that must remain clean, I never use masking tape. I’ve always considered it kind of a crutch. I much prefer going slow and steady with the brush, and feel the results are better. But when I was varnishing hardwood trim on a newly laminated top a couple weeks ago, time was a factor: I didn’t have much of it. In fact, if I couldn’t finish by a specific time I’d have to put the whole task off till some later date and didn’t want to do that.

So in the interests of time I used masking tape to protect the laminate and wall, and varnished away. It came out fine – and before my self-imposed deadline – which should have been enough rationalization right there.

However, I further realized that using masking tape in this instance wasn’t a crutch at all, but simply availing myself of a jig. After all, I use jigs all the time in the woodshop. And once I’d hit on that excuse I not only sold myself on it, but realized it was 100-percent true.

What is a jig but a mechanical means of doing a job faster, easier and more efficiently? It didn’t take much to recognize that masking tape fulfills all three of those things. And with that, my attitude toward masking tape reversed completely. I’ll probably still do without when I have the extra time, but I don’t think I’ll ever hesitate again to use it if I really need to.

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