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Who wears a shop apron?

6695 Views 21 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  GrizzlyBagWorks
Hey Guys,

So I'm hoping to get a little input from those of you that have a little more experience than myself. I'm making a shop apron for a friend to give as part of a wedding gift but am not really sure what features I should build into it for him. Since it's a surprise I can't exactly ask and I'm really not experience enough in the shop to know what is practical

I made the apron seen below for myself and like it but am wondering what things a more seasoned craftsman looks for. Half the time I'm just shoving in my digital calipers, a pencil, a pocket square

I guess most basically:

  • What tools do you keep in your apron?
  • What kind of strap, or retention system do you like?

Thanks so much for your help guys!

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Yours looks awesome. What kind of tools anyone carries varies greatly with the type of work they do. General purpose is the best you can probably do.
Ive been wearing the Veritas shop apron on and off for a few months. Ive found that I like to keep a sharpie and a couple of pencils in the upper pouch and a tape measure or rule in the lower pouches. Occasionally ill tuck a block plane in there too.

The one thing I like about the Veritas version is the criss cross strapping that doesn't hang around my neck. It puts the support more on my shoulders. My only beef is that most of the time in the winter I wear a hoody in the shop and getting the apron on and off is a pain with a hood.

I like the stylings of your apron.
I definitely need a damn pouch. Im constantly losing tapes, pencils, squares, and small block planes. What is the faric you used?
I wear an apron or a shop coat. One thing I found is that when I use the coat for turning, I sewed flaps over the pockets so they did not fill with chips
thanks for the feedback and compliments! I really appreciate it. I'll look into the x-strap setup a little further. I discounted it initially because I thought it would be a nuisance to put on and take off but it sounds like it might be a good option. I was considering adding a flap over the large pockets on the waist that could be pulled over the top to keep sawdust from filling the pockets but then tucked behind the opening for quick access. Looks like the veritas apron has something similar.

Do you think those loops for hammers/tape measurer are really worth it? Seems like people just add them on to the aprons for looks or "added features" but I really wonder how useful they would be. I'd rather make it as minimalist as possible.

@lateralus, the fabric is a midweight cotton canvas with polyester inner lining to "class it up" a bit. The first one I made was out of denim, which I also liked. I ended up remaking it in canvas since I felt this one was a little too narrow across the chest and a little too long.

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Great job! It's very clean. My M-I-L owns an alteration shop, was thinking of having her make one. Now that i see this i should just try it myself!
Grizzly, when I had loops on my work clothes they kept on catching on the machines I worked on. Most inconvenient.
i'll chime in as i was recently looking into one.. Trying to get a tape onto a strap is not happening. If your right handed..The tape would be on your left and pencil on your right..Square on the left ..Pencil on your right.. nails on your left..hammer on the right side..
I don't use an apron unless I'm on a job site. I'm Left Handed, have never had a problem with Standard Aprons, which I assume are designed for Right Handed People. OR Maybe they're Universal.

Excellent Workmanship on Yours!

The one below is Lee Valleys Largest One. On Site they have Other Details of this one.

They also have 4/5 other types.

This Is THE LINK for the lead in page for all of them.
Clothing Outerwear Sleeve Collar Blazer


My Personal Favorite is the Cotton Canvas One As Below.
Active shorts Neck Sleeve Gesture Collar



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Grizzly,why don't you make a few and sell them to members here? I like the one you made ,it looks tough and durable.
I have cheap one I wear ,got it for free from Pizza-pizza,but I would hate to be seen wearing it I look like a bloody cook.
For the "criss-cross" straps check out the aprons they wear at Home Depot. I wore one for 7 years. You can adjust the way it hangs on your body (higher or lower) and also how tight it is around your stomach area by adjusting the length when you tie it on.

Another thought… is your friend right handed or left handed? The way you have the narrow space for a pencil angled on yours appears to be for a lefty.
I have the Lee Valley apron - an it is comfortable.

I find I mostly wear an apron when I go to a woodworking class, and not as much at home… just because I need to keep my crap together more at a class, and can't leave pencils on the table saw fence - and I like to keep setting my ruler down, and walking away.

in my shop, I can put stuff where I want rather than needing to wear it.
You guys are awesome. Thank you so much for the feedback and suggestions!

I think I'm going to broaden the top of the apron a little more and widen that top pocket so there are too narrow pockets on the outside. He's right handed and so am I but I put the pocket on the left for the pencil to see if it was more comfortable reaching across the chest to grab it.

I'll go ahead and try the cross strap style with a quick release buckle on the back. I do like the look of the leather with copper snaps/rivets but function is more important than form in this case, so I'll give it a try. I'll do a flap that can be tucked in behind, or pulled over the front to keep shavings/sawdust out of the larger pockets as well.

How low do you guys think the apron should go? Mid thigh? Right Above the Knee? Below the Knee?
Frizz, go to Lost Art Press blog and search for apron hooks. There are some pretty cool hooks out there.
You might also check out the Duluth Trading Company apron. I like their design for keeping strap off the neck. A modified design could work on yours.
I have a selection of aprons I buy around ten for a reasonable price from toolgear in England. I also have a few leather ones which are nice bought online and I have a special jacket designed with the woodturner in mind it has a large pocket at the rear ad velcro's up to the neck and at the cuffs.They are not cheap but well worth it imho as nothing penetrates them. Alistair
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