Kate's Track Shack. Recently I bought this and so naturally I had to acquire some tapes... and, yow, do they not age well. The foam pads dry up and crumble, and the splicing tape adhesive dries up, which can lead to all kinds of trouble. Today, for example, I was listening to an 8 track of Tommy, and when it went silent, I was surprised to see that the tape had disappeared completely into the cartridge! There was nothing for it but to go inside. And it was daunting! I ultimately had to spool the entire tape out onto the floor of my office, get it wound right, wind it all back, and splice it. And with the help from this book (okay, and a couple youtube videos) it totally worked!
8 track tapes are a kind of miraculous magic. The self-tensioning that happens due to the differential between the inner and outer radius of the tape loop is an absolute wonder. Think of it -- an infinite loop of tape that can easily be pulled loose, and automatically tightens itself without the use of springs. Rotation of objects in three dimensions makes for all kinds of magic, I think. I belive it's this reason that Einstein refused to deal with Galilean coordinates. (Note to self - it is likely that here lies the solution to resolving relativity and quantum mechanics. I should write about that, if I can ever find "time.")
Anyway, if you ever need to fix 8 track tapes (it's totally fun!) I definitely recommend this handy guide.