Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Comparing adhesives

Okay, it's spring break over here, so I've been spending some time shopping with my girls rather than crafting this week. I was browsing one of my favorite sites earlier though and in response to a poll, I decided to make a quick post here comparing adhesives. I've been a fan of my ATG since I bought it. When I'd been researching, the numbers had convinced me. Here's what they are now in a nutshell....

Tombow permanent refill 472" (~13 yds) $2.99 USD
Duck 4 pack 335"/dispenser (~9 yds ea or ~36 yds total) $9.00 USD
Scotch double-sided tape roll for dispenser 900" (~25 yds) $4.00 USD
3M gold acid-free 1/4" width ATG transfer tape 36 yds $3.00 USD

So, of some of the more popular adhesives, the ATG tape was the least expensive, sometimes by a considerable amount. There is an initial outlay of $35-38.00 USD for the gun itself. The numbers convinced me that it would pay for itself before long though.

Other pluses....

~*~ATG tape is very sticky and will hold heavy and/or textured cardstock or embellishments in place easily. No failures over time.
~*~ATG tape holds ribbon down nicely. For this reason I really like the 1/4" tape! If I need 1/2" for some reason, I just make two passes. I don't do that often. Don't need to.
~*~If the tape should break for some reason, it's easy to rethread it and the rest of the tape is not a total loss as with some other dispensers, and isn't THAT frustrating! Been there, done that.
~*~I never misplace my ATG--yeah, it's big. :-)
~*~Since I mentioned the size, I need to say that it's very light and well-balanced--hey, framers have been using this gun for years! I find it very easy to use. So do my girls. Even my lefty.
~*~It's fun to alter your ATG.
~*~It's easy to load--note that there is a handy diagram inside the gun that shows exactly how the tape should be threaded--very helpful since you don't load it often.
~*~I don't have to throw out a plastic dispenser every time I run out of adhesive, so less waste and that's a good thing.
~*~Less time spent looking for a new dispenser or refill when tape runs out in the middle of a project because it takes quite a while to work through 36 yards of adhesive.

I bought my ATG at framing supplies. I've never had a problem with my ATG or with the customer service at that site. I've ordered and reordered ATG refills from them a number of times. That said, I've heard of folks having problems with their ATGs since the beginning of the calendar year--something to do with the uptake wheel not functioning properly. It seems that framing supplies has not been helpful. BOO! :-( On the positive side, 3M is standing behind their product and calls made directly to them have resulted in prompt and very satisfactory resolution of problems along these lines. Gotta like that! Hooray for them!

So that's my quickie adhesive comparison and the reasoning behind my ATG purchase. I've not regretted it. :-)

Addendum: I bought my ATG long before the Glue Arts Glue Glider Max was released. The refill for that is a cartridge that you just drop in the gun. From what I understand, the refill holds 2 more yards of adhesive than the ATG but costs a whopping $15.99 USD! I've also heard of some initial problems with the tape breaking. Yikes! Very pricey if you have the bad luck to have one break, eh? Plus there's that added waste to be tossed out for what for me would be minimal added convenience.

Another addendum: Another place that stocks the 3M ATG is the Armel Company. I've heard good things about this place at some of the discussion forums at 2 Peas in a Bucket. I've not purchased from them myself, but it sounds like it would be a reasonable place to check out since framing supplies' customer service seems to be letting folks down. I think it's good to have alternatives. :-)

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