What to Wear... Shaping and Clothing

I have recently started shaping in my basement and can’t seem to figure out the best thing to wear while the dust is flying. I live in New England so going shirtless is out of the question. I have tried sweatshirts and tshirts but both seem to get totally ruined, and then the dust carries over to the laundry. Do any of you just keep one outfit as your “designated dust clothes?” More importantly, for all of you home shapers, what do you do when the lady tells you to she needs help with something outside of the basement? Spray yourself with Can Air? I don’t have the money for compressed air.

Luckily for me, I seem to have more questions about this topic than I do with actual shaping. Any tips from you fine professionals?

i typically rock an old pair of boardshorts and whatever stained up t-shirt is nearest… but i live in florida.

Go to a paint store and get a paper jumpsuit, it works great for sanding too.

Designated work clothes are a good idea. I change clothes when I get to work, and when I leave, the work clothes stay there until I have a laundry load and then get washed together, seperate from anything else.. Some types of materials (like sweatshirts) seem to grab and hold dust like magnets, avoid them.

A leaf blower will substitute for compressor/air hose, Greg Loehr used to do that one. Thrashing yourself with an old towel works for the final bits.

NEVER wear loose-fitting clothes when working with power tools. We could probably do a whole thread on the associated horror stories.

Agree on the paper jumpsuit. May have saved my marriage. Best $10 I ever spent.

Get the one with the hood. As a New Englander, you’ll feel right at home.

The most dangerous things are the hanging strings on hoodie sweat jackets…

You can get a one piece jump suit from Dickies. Wash it by it's self one a week. Most economical.

I have Japaneese friends that wear paper one piece suits when they step into the shop. Since there clothes are pretty nice they protect them by not using them in the factory.


I have been using the same “track”/wind breaker ensemble for years, and I have some of those old school “chucka”/desert shoes - two pieces of leather no inlet for dust.  Nice tight nylon resists most the dust, and a nice soft bench brush takes care of as much of the rest as I’m worried about.  

But, as has been pointed out, I leave the jacket in the shed, and I leave the shoes, pants, shirt, and socks in one place just inside and behind my bedroom door.

Do any of you fine folk know if those “paper”(Tyvek - I’ve seen.) painter coveralls keep resin from penetrating?  I admit, I glass in overalls, over the same pants, and I occasionally still get some drips soaking all the way to my thigh… Ha!

Yeah Taylor, the  Tyvek suits are the choice of some of the best laminators in the world (wherever it's cool enough to wear them).

Late entry, but doing most of my past work in Aus we always raided the local op-shop for good old clothes to wear working. Op-shop's, second-hand stores, St Vinnies, whatever you want to call them.


Often I would be wearing Pierre Cardin long sleeve shirts, classic casual long trousers, even good quality wool jumpers (pullovers, heavier tops) in winter.


You knew after a few work sessions the clothes would eventually be toast, but they only cost a dollar or two. They lived and stayed at work, and by the time they could stand in the corner on their own you knew it was time for new attire.


Same goes for shoes. Just cut the back out so you can slip them on and off, and when they are too resin encrusted and heavy to wear, go get another pair.


It's recycling and it's good value. Just don't wear them home.

Thanks Mike - I may go that far some day, but for now… I’m with Greg, even more tertiary, I am pretty sure, save the socks, everything I wear in the shed I got for free.  

Well, upon reflection, I think the “wind breaker”/track jacket I bought on employee discount about 20 years ago…   :wink:   Sentimental -  Explains why I have “gorilla tape” on some of the wholes, and put up with a zipper that takes some serious finesse to get going… Ha! 

I have a long sleeve shirt and an old pair of jeans I wear over a short sleeve shirt and shorts. I try to use these whenever I have to shape, do a lot of sanding, or glass. After I’m done working I take off the long sleeve shirt and jeans and shake them out a little then leave them outside. One of these days they’ll have enough resin and crap to stand on their own, but I don’t want to throw them into the washer. Sometimes the rain washes them off, and if they’re wet I bust out my backup set. 

tank top

bush shorts

flip flops

welcome to SoCal

gotta love it!

As another New Englander, I'm with ya. Dust gets into everything, especially the damn-itchy fiberglass dust, and it's something that makes really lovely itch powder when it goes through the laundry with absolutely anything else.

Okay, so what you gonna do? Maybe something like I do.

First off, separate clothes for this. Reasonably tough, reasonably close fitting and not your best. Long sleeve t-shirts are good, the ones that always seemed a little too tight because as has been mentioned it do get real ugly when clothes get hung up in a tool. Soft coton turtlenecks are even better. Myself, I can't get away from long sleeve shirts, but the sleeves should either be all the way down and buttoned or else rolled up to the elbbow, tightly. Long pants, I like permanently stained khakis for glass work. Basic canvas basketball sneakers or running shoes or worn out workboots, that won't bother you if they get resin on 'em. Don't go too cheap on those, working in a cellar. Cheap shoes on concrete make for back pain.

Thrift stores and such are good sources for these, flea markets and so on.

Wash 'em separately from anything else and wash 'em twice to flush the dust out of the washer, lest your significant other's undies get itchy which is not necessarily a good thing.

Coveralls...are not a bad idea. But I never seem to use 'em in warm weather though I like the well-insulated ones for working outside round this time of year. Some like the paper/tyvek ones but again I have never got used to 'em, always felt like I was about to be packed in a lunchbox like a sandwich in wax paper. But you can whip 'em off and do the honeydos ( "Honnneeeeyyy, can you help me move the piano upstairs?")  without it becoming a big deal or leaving a trail of dust every-damn-where. Fabric coveralls- www.wearguard.com or look for 'em in flea markets, factory seconds or those that weren't picked up after they had 'Louie' embroidered on 'em, they have a factory store or did on Rt 3 a little south of Boston.

Don't blow the dust off, remember that the Shop Vac is your friend there. Blow the dust off and it goes everywhere, including back on ya, but vac it off and it stays in the vac.

hope that's of use


If it wasn’t for paper jump suits, my wife would have thrown me out. I found them at the contractors Sherwin Williams store for $5.

I never liked foam dust in my clothes or resin on my clothes.  I used to wear a plastic apron when laminating and just put up with the foam dust mess. 


Running an errand after shaping for a few hours…. Sure you dust off but I’d still feel like Pig Pen if I went anywhere.  Reach in my pocket for some change at the store and with the change comes a hand full of foam dust.  Embarrassing .


Then I found the Tyvek suit. Perfect!  Great for shaping and laminating.  Step in them, step out of them, and stay clean on the inside.  Where the same one for days on end.


On cold days they keep me warm. On warm days I cut the arms and legs down and stay cool. 






what I choose to wear

or I guess what not to wear

personal temperature control/air condiitoning  plus fume and dust mitigation

made for asbestos abatement

shoot the tyvek off with hose and let it air dry for the next session

breathe cool suit and air pump1