A rare self-portrait of the Maker responsible all this nonsense…
Shop aprons are not as widely used as in the past. I believe this is related to our modern view on clothing and how it has changed over the past century. Not only are we training less in the trades, our clothes are ridiculously cheap in the modern world. Low prices and availability keeps our incentive to protect them pretty low. As I have reduced my quantity of clothing I have grown to appreciate the humble shop apron more than ever. In the past, my only incentive was for protection when grinding metal or welding but now I begin to understand the real role a good apron can play in the shop.
A good shop apron can cost quite a bit of money ($40 – $100 or more) so I present the above catalog page as a starting point for construction. Heavy canvas or leather are the obvious choices for material. Although heavier, I prefer leather as is it is fireproof and offers some protection against cuts. As for protection, here’s an image I found when looking for designs. It’s from a Navy singlestick exercise. Somehow the design seems familiar.
I finally got around to replacing my very old shop apron. It was the standard issue split-leather welder style and over many hard years had amassed large quantities of wood glue, grease, metal grime, blood and membrane (from brain tanning), and other unidentifiable smudges over most of it’s surface. It went into the trash a while back when an unexpected leak in my barn allowed it to saturate and subsequently get some very ugly mold patches in a funky tie-dye pattern. I expect it was fairly nutrient-rich and I wasn’t interested in trying to salvage it after all these years.
I had some fine oiled leather from a recent project (aprons take a lot of footage) so was able to cobble together a decent shop apron without too much difficulty. I expect this to last another 20 years or more; maybe the rest of my life.
The image is not great. Just a poorly lighted mirror shot “selfie.” Par for the internet I guess. And no, I’m not glaring. That’s just how I look. I guess I didn’t learn to smile well as a kid or it’s just not in the genes.