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  1. #1
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    shellac on cork tape tutorial

    Hey Kids,
    I am iced in in north Texas (!), so of course my thoughts turn to tweaking bikes, red wine, that and overly violent video games, but that is another story.
    Anyhow. I have seen many examples of cork tape which have shellac applied to them. Could you kind people give some pointers on how to pull this off with success. Is it waterproof? Will it become sticky with sweat? Basically, could experienced users post their pros and cons of this usage of shellac on bar tape. I would like to know the details down to color of tape and type of shellac. I need a project!
    Thanks!
    j

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    Many coats of bullseye shellac, drying between coats is the trick. If you want a finish that has the dark honey color of Brooks leather, then start with the beige cork tape and use amber shellac. In general, the amber will darken all light colors and the shellac will waterproof the tape. The tape ends can be whipped with fine twine for a thoroughly old-school look. The finshed tape job is not sticky to touch.
    Last edited by CHenry; 12-02-06 at 04:09 AM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member oldokie's Avatar
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    How hard is it to remove the tape later? Does the shellac soak thru and bond to the bar?
    Inside every old person is a young person wondering what happened.

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    Nope: easy to peel off. Cleans up with denatured alcohol.

  5. #5
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    You can buy the beige (natural) color cork tape cheaply at Nashbar.

    My first attempt at shellacing did not go so well. It cracked after a few days. I think I applied the shellac too thickly and didn't wait for each coat to thoroughly dry. The tape ended up looking like old weathered leather.

  6. #6
    so much for physics humble_biker's Avatar
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    anybody have any photo's or historical websites referencing cork and shellac. I am only familiar with cloth being shellaced. I can't see the plastics of cork taking to shellac too kindly.

  7. #7
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by humble_biker
    anybody have any photo's or historical websites referencing cork and shellac. I am only familiar with cloth being shellaced. I can't see the plastics of cork taking to shellac too kindly.
    Shellac looks good on cork but how does the "plastics of cork tape" work over the long run. Shellac is hard and not at all flexible. Cork is very sponge like. If you apply a brittle finish over a flexible material you are asking for the finish to crack. In order to keep the finish and item painted undamaged, they both have to be either flexible or rigid. If not, you are asking for the finish to crack.

    Car bumpers are a good example. They are painted with a special paint that is flexible. If they weren't, they would crack the first time you flexed them. Actually, they use regular paint with an additive to keep the paint flexible.



    Tim
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  8. #8
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    The shellac needs to be re-applied over time, but it wears slowly. When dry, it is flexible enough that there isn't flaking off, if that was a concern. Removal is relatively easy, you just cut off the tape and it comes off the bar pretty much in one piece. Cleanup is with denatured alcohol.

  9. #9
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    A lot of people do the shellacing over cloth tape (versus cork). Perhaps it is for the reason you describe here?

    The Rivendel Reader often includes a tutorial for wrapping bars with cloth tape and finishing with twine. It looks pretty cool, and I think I'll try it this winter. I use cork tape on my commuter, and I'm tired of worrying about it whenever I lean the bike up against something.

    My only reservation is that I worry about losing that little bit of shock absorbing capacity. Is the ride considerably more jarring with shellaced tape?

    -D

    Quote Originally Posted by cs1
    Shellac looks good on cork but how does the "plastics of cork tape" work over the long run. Shellac is hard and not at all flexible. Cork is very sponge like. If you apply a brittle finish over a flexible material you are asking for the finish to crack. In order to keep the finish and item painted undamaged, they both have to be either flexible or rigid. If not, you are asking for the finish to crack.

    Car bumpers are a good example. They are painted with a special paint that is flexible. If they weren't, they would crack the first time you flexed them. Actually, they use regular paint with an additive to keep the paint flexible.



    Tim

  10. #10
    so much for physics humble_biker's Avatar
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    I was thinking more of a chemical reaction to cork tape since it is a rubber product and shellac is pretty powerful and can cause some rubbers to break down rapidly. The reason why it strips off of the handlebar is because the shellac doesn't soak through like it does with cloth tape.

    I also thought cloth tape was shellaced to make it stay in place (before adhesive backed tape). Thus the wrapping at the ends with twine too.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    On a related note, Velo Orange is selling cork grips for upright bars that have been coated with orange shellac. They look like they're a pretty good match for Brooks honey saddles. That gave me the idea of trying to stain cork grips to match the antique brown B18 I bought my wife for Christmas. I have a bunch of cans of stain left over from my woodworking days. The closest match I have is some Pennsylvania cherry. I applied a coat of that last night. There's a lot of red in the antique brown, but the PA cherry is a bit too red. I think if I apply a coat of stain with more brown over it I'll be very close. I'll apply clear shellac once I'm happy with the color.

    People keep talking about drying time between coats. That's really not much of an issue with shellac because the solvent is alcohol.

    As for flexibility, I applied cloth tape over gel tape and then put down six coats of shellac. The shellac remains flexible enough after a year that there's been no cracking.

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    I have shellacked cloth tape which was applied over cork tape for added cushioning. It works well and looks good, but recognize that the shellac has a slight stiffening effect and reduces the shock absorbing capacity of the cork beneath.

  13. #13
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    Just to follow up... I went ahead and redid my bars to go with the new brown B17 I got for Christmas. I used white cloth tape, finished it off with hemp twine and applied several (like four or five) coats of amber shellac. The colors match very well, and IMHO it looks awesome.

    With padded gloves I don't think I'll be able to notice a difference compared to my usual cork tape.

    -D

  14. #14
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    Will just add that different brands of tan tape give somewhat different colors & I got the best match to the Brooks honey saddle color with Bullseye amber shellac over Cinelli yellow cork tape. To me, the most pleasing finished color was amber shellac over some "Hot Pink" Cinelli tape. This was older NOS tape I got on e-Bay a few years ago & it yielded a pleasing dark red. Also, when cork tape is looking shabby a few coats of shellac will revive it for another season of use. Don
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by ollo_ollo
    Will just add that different brands of tan tape give somewhat different colors & I got the best match to the Brooks honey saddle color with Bullseye amber shellac over Cinelli yellow cork tape. To me, the most pleasing finished color was amber shellac over some "Hot Pink" Cinelli tape. This was older NOS tape I got on e-Bay a few years ago & it yielded a pleasing dark red. Also, when cork tape is looking shabby a few coats of shellac will revive it for another season of use. Don
    That is a nice looking collection you have. It looks like the yellow Colnago needs sum gum hoods on the brakes?

    Nice job on the bikes.

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