If you love the rich butterscotch look of shellacked cork grips, but are worried about the DIY factor, fear no more. We gave it a shot, and it really is quite easy. Here we go:
Rodney the vintage Roadster came with these original Raleigh black grips. Although they look nice and we like to keep original parts, neither of us can stand the feel of plastic grips. So we decided to experiment with cork. Rivendell makes it seem so simple and fun!
Well, here is a "naked" cork grip. So far so good! The Co-Habitant secured the grips with strong double-sided tape, but most recommend to glue the grips. He rode the bike with the unshellacked grips for a while to see what this felt like. The unfinished grips feel good, but they get dirty very easily and are not protected from the elements. We wouldn't want ratty, filthy grips. Plus the colour needs some spicing up.
Here comes the shellac. Amber. This is from the hardware store, nothing fancy. Generic 1" paintbrush.
Here the first coat of shellac is being applied. This stuff is fast drying, so the work should be done fairly quickly.
Second coat of shellac. As you apply 2-3 thin coats, you will see the colour gradually grow darker, richer, and warmer. Uneven patches on the surface get smoothed out. Three thin coats should be enough, and you can always touch it up if you notice some unevenness later.
We decided not to add twine or tape to these grips, but to keep things clean and minimalist on the vintage black Roadster. The first photo in this post is the final result!