Darkroom Apron or Coat Recommendation

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Rafal Lukawiecki

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The (there was a url link here which no longer exists) 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?
 

jp498

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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.
 
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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
 

gleaf

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Thank you for the tip. Online store front link below. Still $10.00
Even with shipping it is a good deal.

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And yes I have one on the way.
 

nworth

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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.
 

fotch

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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.
 

Gerald C Koch

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

sepiareverb

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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?
 

DREW WILEY

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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.
 
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Rafal Lukawiecki

Rafal Lukawiecki

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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.
 

Andrew O'Neill

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Go nude. You will be more careful. And if your a guy you have a built in dodging tool

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...
 

ROL

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...And if your a guy you have a built in dodging tool :tongue:

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.
 
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Curt

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Thank you for the tip. Online store front link below. Still $10.00
Even with shipping it is a good deal.

Dead Link Removed

And yes I have one on the way.

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