Workshop

Barber Hair Cutting Cape

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A smock to keep wood chips away from your skin

A key piece of gear for woodturners is a smock to keep shavings and chips from going inside your shirt or filling your pockets. These need to have a fairly slick surface so as not to accumulate dust or shavings and an adjustable neck closure. I found a barber’s cape to be a very cheap solution to this problem. This can also work for other woodworking or dusty shop activities.

The cape also offers a few other advantages. Because it is very light and open in the back, it is quite cool in summer. The relatively long length falls mid-thigh, so it sheds shavings right onto the floor, not in my pants pockets. This is also a very cheap option.

Obviously there is a risk of a drapey garment catching in machinery, so it is important to tie this back or modify with some hook and loop tape to keep it back and out of the way. These are so cheap that I don’t feel any compunction to trim to size with a scissors. I have been using one of these capes for at least 5 years as a hobbyist. There are many different postings on Amazon and my particular item is no longer listed.

Key things to look for are (1) breathable fabric, not waterproof salon cape, (2) hook and loop neck closure, so that you get a good fit. I also chose one in white so I look like I just stepped out of choir practice when I am in garage. This link is to an equivalent in black fabric.

-- Jonathan Margolis 02/20/20