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Re: Should I wear a turner's smock?
Posted By David Walser
Date Saturday, 30 April 2022, at 5:01 p.m.

In Response To Should I wear a turner's smock? (Joe shelton)

David Walser
Joe -- I routinely use a smock. It helps to ensure two things: First, it keeps most of the dust and chips out of our home. Second, it prevents (but doesn't eliminate) my ruining the everyday clothes I wear under the smock. Both of those things help keep my wife happy!

I have two smocks that I rotate. When one gets too dirty, I blow it off well and bring it inside to be washed. The first is one that my beautiful bride made for me close to 20 years ago. It's patterned after the ones Craft Supplies USA sells. (We had attended a week-long class together. She liked the design, made a few modifications of her own, and made me one for my shop.) The other is one I bought from the AAW when the annual symposium was held in Phoenix. The AAW smock is made from lighter-weight material, which is nice in our hot summers. Still, I prefer the original.

As for what features make a good smock:

• Loose fitting. It should fit over your every-day clothes comfortably.
• Tight fitting, yet comfortable, neck. This helps keep dust and chips from getting inside your clothes. The AAW smock uses a tight fitting knit fabric at the neck. The original smock uses a velcro tab that closes the neck. Both work. I prefer the velcro tab.
• Appropriate sleeves. Both my smocks have loose fitting sleeves that extend just below my elbows. This keeps the sleeves away from the lathe, but still cover whatever shirt I'm wearing (as long as it has short sleeves). Long-sleeved smocks are also available, but they should fit tightly at the wrist to avoid getting caught in the lathe.
•Zipper closure. Both my smocks close with a zipper and the zipper is covered by the smock when it is closed. Since I take my smock on and off frequently, I find a zipper closure to be quick and easy. Velcro would work, but it wouldn't ensure that the both sides of the smock are properly aligned when closed. Buttons would just be a pain.
•Appropriate length. The smock should be at least long enough to cover the tops of your pants pockets. Otherwise, those pockets will get dust and chips inside of them. My CSUSA-clone smock extends to just past my hips, which is long enough. My AAW smock goes to mid-calf. That works, too. However, I need to be careful when sitting down while wearing the AAW smock. If I'm not careful, sitting on the smock will cause it to become uncomfortably tight in the back and shoulders. Not a big deal.
•Strategically placed pockets. You'll want a convenient place for carrying rulers, glasses, pencils, calipers, etc. You also don't want those pockets to fill up with chips. Any pockets on the front of the smock should have flaps to cover the top of the pocket. A pocket in the small of your back also works well. Still, I find I generally use my shirt pocket and just unzip the smock a few inches whenever I need something from my pocket.
•Durable, washable, fabric.

I usually wear my smock whenever I'm in the shop. However, I often find I've been turning for a few minutes before remembering to put my smock on. I always wear my face shield when I'm at the lathe. I have several in the shop. One hangs from the rafters just above my lathe. I put it on before turning the lathe on. I only have one good eye (and I read for a living), so I cannot afford to risk injuring that eye!



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