LAWRENCEVILLE — As the sun rises over the eastern fringes of Lawrenceville, master barber Wayne Magness is forging a milestone in his one-chair shop, a utilitarian space he calls a “mall” because it shares a roof with a service center and T-shirt printing business. Wayne splashes Osage Rub — a burst of eucalyptus and menthol — on the tidied-up neck of his client, Ty Tippett, and now it is official:
Wayne has been Ty’s barber for exactly 40 years.
In this throwback, first-name-basis kind of place, where they chew the fat about high school football and God, Ty is hardly alone in his devotion.
Since Watergate broke and “The Godfather” debuted, no other human being has cut the former attorney’s hair. Once a month he has a ritual — french toast at Cracker Barrel and a “Roffler cut” from Wayne. From his Buckhead home to Wayne’s chair is a 60-mile round-trip, but Ty doesn’t care, because he knows what he wants, and he knows nobody has the surgeon’s tact and ministerial fellowship of Wayne.
“It makes no sense logistically, financially and otherwise,” says Ty of his monthly jaunt.
Wayne joins a handful of master barbers who champion a dying tonsorial art known as the “Roffler Sculptor Kut,” a method of using a razor and comb to lift and slice hair to such fine points it grows out in locked uniformity, like shingles on a house. One official estimates that only a dozen “Roffler men” still operate in Georgia.
Wayne and clients swear he’s an anomaly in Gwinnett and across metro Atlanta — so rare that Wayne can’t get a Roffler cut himself after another stalwart on the southside bowed out. So the devotion to Wayne is nothing short of extreme.