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Blog entry by Transition posted 07-09-2011 05:37 PM 2094 reads 1 time favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It gets a little warm in the shop during the summer. So for comfort I wear shorts. What I have found is that, as I work at the lathe, some of the copious amounts of sawdust gathers in the gap between my shoes and socks. With some woods (esp. Black Walnut for me) this is a problem. Mix the sawdust with sweat, grind into my skin over a couple of hours, and I end up with contact dermatitis (itchy, inflamed skin) on my ankles. It’s not serious but it is annoying. So I think I’ve come up with a solution – shoe covers. I made these myself out of an old pair of jeans.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

18 comments so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4514 days

#1 posted 07-09-2011 05:42 PM


You could go to the sporting goods store and pick up a cheap pair of gaiters, too :-)

-- -- Neil

View William's profile


9950 posts in 4182 days

#2 posted 07-09-2011 05:54 PM

I haven’t worn a pair of short in twenty years. Hoever, I understand the nuisance of inchy skin from turning wood. I’ve done some armatic cedar that does it for me.
It doesn’t eliminate the problem, but I have found that a fan help keep most of the chips from flying right onto your sweaty skin. Point it away from you, the way you want most of the chips to fly.
As for the heat, it is HOT here in Mississippi. I’m having to space my work around the “heat schedule”. Most work on most days has to be done early in the morning, late in the evening, or at night. Between mid day and early afternoon, temperatures are reaching well into the triple digits in my shop. I have four large fans, but lately they are doing nothing more than blowing hot air around.


View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4425 days

#3 posted 07-09-2011 06:04 PM

Those gaiters work just as good for keeping sawdust out, keeping snow out, and keeping the dew out
when mountain bike riding early in the morning with tall grass along the singletrack. I use an apron to keep
the worst of the dust from getting on me, but the temperature has only got above 90 once so far this year
and once it tops 75 shorts are my clothing of choice. I use a 20” fan with a filter in front of it to keep the
dust moving away from me and to keep what gets away from the dust hood from traveling too far.

-- As ever, Gus-the 83 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Transition's profile


340 posts in 3884 days

#4 posted 07-09-2011 08:10 PM

I searched the net but didn’t see the Gators. Great alternative. Although I’m sure you’ll agree that the Gators aren’t as slick as my homemade ones! Besides, it gives the neighbors something to look at sideways. I have a fan behind me and it’s great for small particulates. But the shavings still fall at my feet.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4514 days

#5 posted 07-09-2011 08:13 PM

The gaiters (the spelling did you in) are NOWHERE NEAR AS COOL (in any sense of the word) as your solution, but …. I DID want you to know what lesser mortals have resorted to ;-)

Who snowshoes in the Rockies, and OWNS gaiters :-)

-- -- Neil

View Grandpa's profile


3264 posts in 4016 days

#6 posted 07-09-2011 11:26 PM

The thing that makes the home made “shoe covers” better is they are cotton, a natural fabric. They can breathe. Synthetic materials are water proof and keep the water out of your shoes but it also keeps the air out. They would be more like wearing plastic bags over your feet.

View NormG's profile


6575 posts in 4344 days

#7 posted 07-09-2011 11:36 PM

Shop made, wonderful

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View jumbojack's profile


1691 posts in 3964 days

#8 posted 07-10-2011 12:33 AM

ahhh the mother of invention.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4425 days

#9 posted 07-10-2011 03:51 PM

Niel, who snowshoes in the Rockies, when a good pair of Backcounty cross country skis gets you there
easier and faster.

-- As ever, Gus-the 83 yr young apprentice carpenter

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 4514 days

#10 posted 07-10-2011 03:55 PM


On the list … believe me. My ultramarathon buddy skis circles around me, when we go out.

IF, on the other hand, I got into Biathlon, I could plink at him to slow him down a bit :-)

-- -- Neil

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 4030 days

#11 posted 07-10-2011 04:30 PM

Shorts do NOT qualify as “big boy pants”!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 4447 days

#12 posted 07-10-2011 05:51 PM

Barefoot int shop. Problem solved and all the cash still in the pocket. lol

View DonnyBahama's profile


243 posts in 3871 days

#13 posted 07-10-2011 06:02 PM

“Shop spats”! LOL! Great idea, but a dubious fashion statement…

-- Founding member of the (un)Official LumberJock's Frugal Woodworking Society -

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5392 days

#14 posted 07-14-2011 07:44 PM

I LIVE in shorts and a T shirt as much as I can…

In winter, I have to shift to sweat pants & T shirt… and if really cold, add a sweat shirt!

Whenever I use the weed eater string trimmer, all kinds of cut stuff gathers all around & over my socks!
It is a real job to get the stuff cleaned up…
I have gone so far as to take a food plastic bag (frm the super market), step into it, tie it up around my ankles, & cut up… Very slippery on the ground… Hard to work in… BUT keeps my socks clean!

I’ve wrapped towels around my ankles… bulky… yuk…

This approach would be better! I’ve got to remember this!

Thank you.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Transition's profile


340 posts in 3884 days

#15 posted 07-14-2011 08:41 PM

@Joe – My socks are a lot cleaner now too. And I no longer put on “clean” socks only to find that the washing machine did not remove all of the tiny splinters of wood.

BTW, these took about 15 min to make. I cut two rectangular strips from the pant legs of an old pair of jeans. They were sized to fit around my ankles with about a 2 inch overlap. I folded the top edge over about an inch. On the right hand side, outside face of this folded edge, I sewed a button. I wrapped the material around my ankle to determine where the button hole should go. I cut the hole, then sewed around the holes edge. I have worn them several times and they work great. It appears that I may have to trim the bottoms a little as they tend to get under my heel.

The gaiters posted by Neil run about $20 and can be ordered on Amazon.

-- Andrew, Orange County, CA -

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