Chris Schwarz's Blog

New Shop Apron from Lee Valley Tools

I’ve never been satisfied with any shop apron. They have been too flimsy, too hot to wear, poorly designed and uncomfortable (for starters). For about a year I’ve been tinkering with my own design for a shop apron that I was going to commission my sister-in-law to make for me.

The only problem is that my seamstress is also a lawyer by day, and so her hourly rate is a bit steep.

But now, after a few weeks of trying out a new redesigned shop apron from Lee Valley Tools, I just might be able to put my shop apron plans aside. This new apron is comfortable, cool to wear all day and holds tools in an intelligent manner (most shop aprons spill your tools everywhere when you bend at your waist).

The only question mark is the long-term durability of the apron , I’ll let you know how it stands up in a year or so.

Here’s why I like it: The Mk. II Canvas shop apron has the cross-back shoulder straps that take the weight of the apron off your neck and place it on your shoulders. This is a big deal if you are a tool marsupial because your neck gets tired. I can wear this apron all day with no neck fatigue. Plus, the apron attaches snugly with plastic clips, which is faster than tying strings behind your back to secure the apron.

The cotton canvas is lightweight. So even after a long day of planing and chopping (such as today, which is why I look like such a tired dork above) I don’t have a sweaty, apron-shaped patch of moisture on my midsection.

And the lower two pockets are deep enough that when I bend over, the contents don’t spill everywhere. And the upper pencil pocket works as well as an upper pencil pocket can.

If you’re in the market for an apron, this is as good a one as I can recommend. That is, until I can afford $200 an hour from my sister-in-law. (The Lee Valley Mk. II sells for $27.50.)

– Christopher Schwarz

4 thoughts on “New Shop Apron from Lee Valley Tools

  1. Andy

    I currently have the Duluth Trading shop apron, and I really like the cross-back shoulder straps, but I don’t like the open outer pockets that tend to collect sawdust and dump their contents when I crouch down or bend over. The wider straps of the LV version would also be nice if the pockets were loaded up. Also, I’m glad other mfr’s are finally putting a quick-release clasp on the waist strap – I added one soon after I bought my apron, and it was a great improvement.
    Andy

  2. Christopher Fitch

    I’ll have to try it out…I have the Mark I and my complaints are the same as yours with the largest one being the neck fatigue.

  3. Michael Rogen

    Chris,
    The only apron I have liked was Kelly Mehler’s. He sells them and they sound very similar. It too has the cross backed shoulders relieving your neck of any fatige, and if you’ve had four cervical disk operations as I have it isn’t a little thing any more. The pockets have flaps so you tend to end up with the same tools that you started out with. Last and certainly not least is the buckle type closure in the back. Having physical limitations I could never be able to tie it behind my back. So since man cannot have just one shop apron, it sounds like Lee Vally’s is my kind of apron.
    Thanks for the information.

    Michael

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