Cotton bar tape question

dirttorpedo

Senior Retro Guru
I've read that denatured alcohol is the thing to use for solvent. Sorry, can't help with UK supplier - I'm in Canada. Lee Valley Tools may do may order to the UK though - that's where I got my flakes.
 

Nabeaquam

Retro Guru
I've read that denatured alcohol is the thing to use for solvent. Sorry, can't help with UK supplier - I'm in Canada. Lee Valley Tools may do may order to the UK though - that's where I got my flakes.
Yes, soak an old broken 78 rpm record in denatured alcohol and you have free shellac. Probably be to dark, ha.
 

Big Block

Retro Guru
In Australia, hardware stores stock shellac flakes, but it is also available from ebay or Amazon (UK links provided). Also, woodworkers use it. So specialists outlets should stock it. Mixing it yourself with methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) allows you to use the consistency you prefer for its application. The cloth tape requires a greater volume of the shellac mix than a wood surface and should be considered in your decision. I often begin with relatively diluted coats to 'wet' the cloth tape, and then apply the standard mix in subsequent coats. I prefer a number of thin coats to one gloopy thick coat. Velo Orange has sound advice
 

finbar

Retro Guru
Thanks @Big Block, helpful. I'd seen the flakes on eBay but thought there might be a lower hassle way. I guess I'll bite the bullet and do it properly. Will report back with pics!

Do you recall roughly what proportion of flakes/alcohol you use please?
 

Big Block

Retro Guru
Pour some flakes into a glass jar, pour the methylated spirits to cover the dry flakes. Put lid on and shake. Shake the jar a few more times until all the flakes are dissolved. This would be over 24 hours, more if ambient temperature is cool.
The methylated spirits is merely the carrier of the dissolved shellac and evaporates. The mix I use is quite runny, allowing it to saturate the cloth, carrying the shellac through to the handlebar.
Multiple coats are applied to get the effect you need. I apply multiple coats not waiting for the earlier coats to be fully dried.
 

doctor-bond

Feature Bike
Big block has it: just to reiterate, using flakes is cheaper and no hassle at all - and you know what’s in it (a lot of the pre-made stuff I looked at seemed to have varying degrees of toxicity).

I get lemon ‘flavour‘ flakes and mix them with isopropyl in a jar. ratio around 1: 3.5 but it‘s not critical. Make as much as you need, but with a lid on the jar it keeps well. Brushes clean up easily with the low odour thinners from B&Q. (And shellac is made from beetles! I keep telling my kids this expecting amazement, and yet they look at me with bored fondness ….)
 

Big Block

Retro Guru
"... but thought there might be a lower hassle way."
If you want a lower hassle way, please overlook my posts.
My experience with shellac was gained when I was making or refinishing furniture for our home. Our 1920s home in a model garden suburb deserved appropriate furniture using the Gustav Stickley Arts and Crafts furniture designs, with period-appropriate finishes.
When I started messing around with old bikes, I played with recovering old saddles including making custom rivets, Shockstop 'honking rubbers', rubber cable bands, a Terry clip for a Pennine CO2 pump, Shockstop handlebar end plugs, the laser-cut chainring which went onto the 1948 Malvern Star New Look, which had embossed sewn pigskin handlebar sleeves, seat badge, and a handlebar flag. If I can get some Sugru to Germany I can then use the mould taken from a Blue Riband to then cast my reproduction metal head badge. I can't work out the European website.
Mixing some solvent with some shellac is straightforward.
 

Nabeaquam

Retro Guru
Pffft, I use flexible marine epoxy. Shellac is available at any hardware store in the USA but spray wax dusters like Johnson and Johnson make the shellac gummy and white. Shellack looks better but I can’t be bothered. You can cut the cloth with a knife and peel off the cotton epoxy. The secret is to use two light coats.
 
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