Darkroom Apron or Coat Recommendation

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by Rafal Lukawiecki, Nov 24, 2013.

  1. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    The thread on dust (one of many here) made me want to upgrade my current black apron (cook's type). I'd like one that is:
    • Black and not too reflective, to help with contrast control while in front of the enlarger, D&Bing
    • Not linty, and able to stop dust from clothing
    • Good with occasional splashes and minor spills (I flip prints energetically while processing in trays)
    • Washable
    • Looking nice would be a bonus but doesn't have to come straight from a Milan catwalk, or with its price tag
    So, what's your apron, coat, smock etc, and where could I get it?
     
  2. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I don't wear an apron. If I did have to buy one to your specs I would visit my local commercial fishing supplier for a work apron.
     
  3. Doremus Scudder

    Doremus Scudder Member

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    On the west coast (at least) there is a chain of discount leather stores called Leather Works. I bought a black patchwork leather apron from them years ago and it has served me well in the darkroom since then. It is a smooth enough finish that chemical splashes stay on the surface and is easy to wipe off with a damp cloth. It has side and front pockets for holding accessories and the side pockets are lightproof, so I can keep my cell phone in one and not worry about fogging anything if it rings at a critical time.

    Best of all, I think I paid 10 bucks for it. Last time I was in a store (last summer) they still had them in stock.

    Best,

    Doremus
     
  4. gleaf

    gleaf Subscriber

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  5. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Thanks, indeed, Doremus. I wonder if it is heavy. Shame they won't ship outside of US—time to set-up that myus.com account again.
     
  6. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Unless you are handling very corrosive things (like concentrated sulfuric acid, concentrated solutions of sodium hydroxide, and the like), almost anything will do. For the corrosive stuff, polyethylene aprons are available from scientific supply stores. For routine stuff, photo stores, woodworking supply shops, and hobby stores all have very good aprons from time to time. I've seen good ones offered by Freestyle and Photographers' Formulary. I use either one I got from Freestyle or one I got from Shopsmith (woodworking tool company). They are almost identical.
     
  7. fotch

    fotch Member

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    I use a vinyl apron sold for photography use. It was cheap, has lasted 30+ yrs, & is light weight. The last point is important since most such items hang from your next. In the wood shop, I have one that hangs from the shoulders which is a lot more comfortable for the heavier cloth types.
     
  8. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Comfortable old clothes, if you stain them it really doesn't matter.
     
  9. sepiareverb

    sepiareverb Subscriber

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    I have one I got years ago from Lab Safety Supply, cloth with a waterproof black coating. Just checked, they've been bought out by Grainger and their easy website has become impossible to search easily. Too big for functionality…

    Perhaps Edmund Scientific if they still exist?
     
  10. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    If possible, keep your enlarging and film station completely apart from the sink and processing area. I use completely different rooms. Something like a neoprene apron is nice if you're worried about splash. But for lint-free applications around the enlarger, what you want is a 100% dacron
    true cleanroom smock or lab coat that never comes in contact with your chemicals. They don't come in black, but are otherwise ideal, washable, and almost zero lint. Most cleanroom suppliers will have them, or a general industrial supply like McMaster.com.
     
  11. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Thanks, everyone. I've ordered the black leather apron Doremus suggested, as it seems to fit most parts of the bill. Incidentally, a thought to consider, just for a moment: wearing leather in the darkroom. Perhaps this post will get blocked by some filters out there.

    In another lifetime, or perhaps a little later in this one, I will follow Drew's suggestion to use different rooms for different activities, fingers crossed. And if I find black dacron one in the meantime, so much better.
     
  12. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Go nude. You will be more careful. And if your a guy you have a built in dodging tool :tongue:
     
  13. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    Oh dear.
     
  14. smithdoor

    smithdoor Member

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    I use a shop coat
    I also use for machine work to and no gloves

    Most do not gloves but back 1977 I found some that need gloves do to reaction from the wet chemicals

    Dave
     
  15. Andrew O'Neill

    Andrew O'Neill Subscriber

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    Sometimes my darkroom in Japan was unbearably humid, so I'd be forced to work in my gonch. Never thought of using that as a dodging tool, though...
    Seriously though, I have never used an apron. An old shirt has worked for me. Hope I don't get belly button cancer one day...
     
  16. gordrob

    gordrob Subscriber

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    I use an Ilford apron that I picked up some time back. It does the job
     
  17. ROL

    ROL Member

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    That is known more colloquially as the "third hand dodge".


    I use a Freestyle apron only occasionally for mixing chemicals, and tray sheet film developing (splash!) with pyro. It really isn't necessary for enlarging and normal silver processing, unless one just wants to look like a "photographer" in the DR. It still looks nice after 10+ years.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 28, 2013
  18. Rafal Lukawiecki

    Rafal Lukawiecki Subscriber

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    The Freestyle one looks good, too. Thanks for the suggestion.
     
  19. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    This looks fine but I was unable to find the add to cart. Any ideas?