Workshop Aprons - What Tools Do You Carry

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Forum topic by Pete Wadey posted 09-24-2010 10:16 PM 7579 views 0 times favorited 50 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Pete Wadey

31 posts in 3204 days

09-24-2010 10:16 PM

Topic tags/keywords: woodworkers apron shop apron

Looking for your input. What do you carry in your shop apron?

Along with woodworking I also enjoy spending time working behind my commercial sewing machine. I have made everything from heavy duty bags to carry the kids books to repairing car covers.

My latest endeavor – trying to start a side business offering a higher quality apron than is currently available.

See my blog –

Currently I am in the development phase trying to come up with a design that meets the following parameters:
• Made with quality/durable materials.
• Held together with strong stiching.
• Does not cause neck strain.
• Allows easy access to tools.
• Reinforced at stress points.

Ultimately I want a design that is kept simplistic. I do not want to create aprons that can hold 25 different tools and end up weighing 50 lbs. My hunch is that most people who choose to wear a shop apron wear it for the safety aspect of keeping any loose clothing from getting caught in machinery and to carry a handful of tools.

So….. I am looking to get some feedback from Lumberjocks to help with my design process. I want to know what you currently carry in your shop apron. Or what you wish you could carry.

My List : pencil, pencil sharpener, marker, scale, tape measure, glasses

-- Pete Wadey ,

50 replies so far

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 3288 days

#1 posted 09-24-2010 10:32 PM

Working in my shop, I use my carpenter’s apron a fair bit, as I did on the jobsite when I was finishing.

I did buy an apron from Lee Valley a few years ago and use it alot when turning (kept me cleaner), and recently received a complimentary leather (surprisingly very lightweight) apron from Laguna, so looking forward to using it.

Sounds like you have an intersting side business…but your model needs more sunshine, looks a little pale… :)

My List: 12 ounce hammer, pencil, 8” square, tape measure, knife, nails or screws in the pouches.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3478 days

#2 posted 09-24-2010 10:34 PM

I think you forget us that need prescripted glasses and run around with two sets
that pocket need a topclap the same does a cellfone pocket to prevent the things from
falling out when you bent over , those two things and the pencil and paperblock
always seems to me being in my two-three breastpockets in my workingclothe

just my 2 cent that people will give 1 daim for ….LOL


View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 3190 days

#3 posted 09-24-2010 10:38 PM

I dont generally wear one, although I have warn one in the past, as one of those homedepot Kids cheapos.

I always found them to create strain on the back, and to feel unevenly distributed, interms of weight.

I stopped wearing them, although I am thinking of picking one up tonight…. just to keep some dust off me..

I generally keep in a pocket:

Safety glasses(if working outside, building something)
Pencil(often behind my ear)
Razor Knife(works as a good penciil sharpener)
As well as possibly a rag

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View PurpLev's profile


8551 posts in 4011 days

#4 posted 09-24-2010 10:53 PM

I don’t wear one – my setup is pretty convenient and I have everything at hand.

however ,If I was looking for one – I’d try to use something like a photographer/fishing vest – lightweight, lots of convenient pockets, and worn on the shoulders, not on the neck

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Pete Wadey's profile

Pete Wadey

31 posts in 3204 days

#5 posted 09-24-2010 10:59 PM

Randy I agree …. I need to take him tanning.

How cool you got a free apron from Laguna.

-- Pete Wadey ,

View Pete Wadey's profile

Pete Wadey

31 posts in 3204 days

#6 posted 09-24-2010 11:06 PM

Dennis, thanks for the feedback.

2 pairs of glasses? .... good point .... it is hard to keep track of them all the time.

Cover for the pockets and a cellphone pocket … that’s a good idea.

-- Pete Wadey ,

View NH_Hermit's profile


394 posts in 3459 days

#7 posted 09-24-2010 11:13 PM

two short pencil pockets at chest level would be good. I generally cut my new carpenter pencils in half, since I am bound to loose one. Something to hold a box cutter too. I like the idea of a covered pocket, like a flap.

-- John from Hampstead

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4490 days

#8 posted 09-24-2010 11:20 PM

Although I have a dedicated studio building, I mainly work outdoors – bodger style.
Sometimes I do woodworking in the forests where I gather materials.
Instead of an apron, I’ve got a collection of safari vests that serve me well.
I pack a variety of hand tools, fasteners, and accessories depending on what I will be doing.
Though seldom used, I always pack a .357 S&W revolver. A handy tool for this part of wild Keniucky.

-- 温故知新

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3478 days

#9 posted 09-24-2010 11:50 PM

Pete maybee you shuold consider to types of aprones, one with very few pockets and the other more
over to a west type aprone
becourse Purplev have a very clever thought there I have both a fishingwest and a speciel photowest (ligtwaight net)

here is just to sites from some Danish workclothe compagnies just with wests and there is realy many other compagnies with other solutions and many have the option to have a shortwest they can make longer if
needed with different kind of pockets/toolbagpockets

you shuold realy take advance on theres resource to inspire your work with the aprone
and look at some of the fishing and photowests as well

hope this can help you

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3421 days

#10 posted 09-25-2010 12:43 AM

The problem with an apron, or tool belt or any of tha sort of thing for me is that, I keep putting stuff in it and after an hour or so, it weighs about 50 pounds. I exagerate a bit, and it is funny, but that sort of thing does happen. I grab a tool, use it, then stick it in a pocket in case I need it again, and it just stays there. Anyway, still, I often wear one because it beats going back and forth to grab a tool sometimes. The things that I commonly keep in my apron are:

Small block plane, 6” combination square, 16’ tape measure, pencil, knife, 6 way screwdriver, 12 or 16 ox hammer, awl, and more and more and more as the day goes on. I wish I had a picture of a guy with about 100 tools around his waste that I could post.

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Pete Wadey's profile

Pete Wadey

31 posts in 3204 days

#11 posted 09-25-2010 03:00 AM

Lots of good feedback. Seems that a vest type arrangement has been suggested quite a bit as an alternate to an apron.

Here is the list so far …. can you imagine trying to carry all of this?

12 oz Hammer
6” Combo Square
8” Square
Box Cutter
Note Pad
Pencil Sharpener
Razor Knife
Screw Driver
Small Block Plane
Tape Measure

-- Pete Wadey ,

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


733 posts in 3636 days

#12 posted 09-25-2010 04:15 AM

I carry a mechanical pencil, a 6-inch scale, a small notepad (or 3×5 cards), a 16-foot tape measure, 6-inch combination square, and a retractable razor knife.

The safety glasses stay on my face. They don’t do much good in the apron.

The other tools are in my toolbox or on tool boards.

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3219 days

#13 posted 09-25-2010 04:31 AM

I’m busy looking for an apron that can be worn sitting down.
It would need to be leather.
6” Combo Square
Note Pad
Small Block Plane
Tape Measure
I do most of my work on my lap as a normal bench does not work for me.
So I thought of the bottom half of the apron being like chaps.
I doubt that my one would be of any use to anyone else though.

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View newbiewoodworker's profile


668 posts in 3190 days

#14 posted 09-25-2010 06:16 AM

I think I am going to dust off my old tool belt, until I can get an apron(everyone and their brother seemed to have bought them up today… none left when I got to HF…) Since I had a rude suprise when I stuck a couple chisels in my back pocket.. then proceded to sit on a saw horse, maybe 5min later… Ya-ouch!

Dang my a*se still hurts… and they werent even “scary sharp”.

-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

View Dan's profile


3653 posts in 3243 days

#15 posted 09-25-2010 09:07 AM

I have never wore one but if I do someday I know I would like a small pocket for my chewing tobacco can. I don’t always have pockets and I am always setting it down somewhere and it gets covered up…

-- Dan - "Collector of Hand Planes"

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