Shop aprons that cover your torso are great, but they can be impractical during the summer, in heated shops or for people who do a lot of physical handwork. For years, we tried using tool belts for carpentry, but those are designed for a ridiculous amount of equipment and a 50’ tape measure.
The solution that we love is a waist apron. And we have designed ours from the ground up to be ideal for woodworkers. It is compact and breathes – it won’t leave a giant sweat stain behind like some shop aprons. And it is designed for the tools that most woodworkers need constantly – but not much more. A 12’ tape measure, a 6” combination square, 6” rules, pencils and maybe a knife or a small block plane.
All these fit nicely into the waist apron without feeling too bulky.
The Lost Art Press waist apron is made from 10-ounce cotton canvas, with reinforced pockets that will withstand heavy workshop use. The two main pockets are 6” deep and about 8” wide, with a side pocket on the right for a pencil or a 6” rule. You secure the apron to your waist using two canvas ties, which can be easily tied around an apron hook if you prefer. (The total length of the apron including the two ties is 67”, and the ties have a nice amount of elasticity.)
The front of the waist apron is printed with our favorite “Never Despair: Nothing Without Labour” woodcut in blue, just like an old fashioned nail apron you could buy at the hardware store. Unlike those cheap aprons, though, ours uses much tougher materials and is sewn to last.
The aprons were designed by Tom Bonamici, screen printed in Eugene, Oregon, and expertly sewn by Terry Shuck in Springfield, Oregon. The price is $48, which we think is remarkable for a garment of this quality and complexity.
— Christopher Schwarz
13 thoughts on “New: Workshop Waist Apron from Lost Art Press”
A welcome addition to the shop wardrobe! I have been using a similar apron that my father obtained from the local Hardware Store in 1965. It has held up well and I can even identify the color he painted the kitchen back then.
For future versions, if I may, I would suggest a pencil slot on the left side for us lefties. I can only imagine having to reach to the right side for one to be quite cumbersome while your right hand is occupied holding a piece or a rule.
Making a left-handed variant like that is difficult for short-run production. But making the apron so there are pencil pockets on both the left and right is possible and is a good idea. I’ll bring it up with our designer if we are able to do a second run of these waist aprons.
As a righty, I’d like a second pencil slot too because the first pencil always disappears. But no doubt that only happens to me.
There is an unknown location in an alternative dimension where all pencils go.
When I started out as a carpenter in the early 80’s, the truck driver from the lumber yard would hand out that style of apron and also carpenters flat pencils to us on the job site when dropping off our house lumber.
Over 20 years ago, on my first real construction job, I was told to meet the driver from the lumberyard and offload the materials. When I started putting my bags back on, the Lead carp yelled,”Where are the pencils- NEVER let them get away without giving us all pencils!” I made sure that never happened again. Today, drivers rarely give them out. Thanks for the good memory.
Yea! So true!
I drove lumber truck and gave out the aprons and pencils. Showing my age as I was going to college and worked when I could. The truck was a little more than 8 feet wide and would be loaded with 2 slings of 2×4’s. No precut studs as the wood was “mill run” random lengths. The carpenters had to cut every piece to length with hand saws. The flat bed truck had a roller at the rear edge which was turned by a ratcheting hand crank. Click, clich, click, the lumber would move back until it rolled off the truck hitting the ground. Time to give out pencils n aprons. The carpenters would take a smoke break and sharpen their saws.
Chris, Rudy, Klaus, or anyone else on here who loves chairs,
This is question is related loosely in that I sometimes wear an apron (loosely) while making chairs. I understand if you dont want to answer this question now (in which case I await the first issue of The Stick Chair Journal) but in regard to hexagonal legs, is it an issue of strength? Because you definitely get more bulk on there in the one direction. Plus they look fly as hell. Just a curious inquiry because I was processing up some walnut legs yesterday and started taking pie shaped splits out and thought wow I might be able to get more legs out of here this way as well. Then I thought of the strength thing. By jove I am excited about chairs these days.
Small differences in width and thickness make enormous differences in the visual bulk. The best way to ascertain that is to look at the area of the end of the hexagon and octagon in terms of area in square inches. These calculators will answer a lot of those questions and cut down on experimentation with good wood.
In terms of strength, the straightness of the grain is the most important thing. Then the amount of mass in the leg. Here’s the shortcut answer: if you want hexagonal legs that have the same visual and actual mass as 1-3/4″ x 1-3/4″ octagons, make your hexagons from 1-5/8″ x 1-7/8″ stock.
Thanks Chris, those calculators will be quite helpful.
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