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I Forge Iron

chaps and Aprons

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Traditionally, horsehide is the material of choice, for heat and spark resistant aprons and gloves.

I made myself a leather aron that's knee length, and fits close around the neck, so that a welding helmet overlaps it, in that critical area, just under the chin. :mellow:

It sheds sparks like a suit of armor. :)

The pockets for a 6" scale, "Sharpie" marker and Soapstone, are on the inside, ... about where a shirt pocket would be, and are angled towards the arm openings, for easy access.

Yes, ... I am fussy about my aprons. :P

I also use conventional style Denim Shop Aprons, ... but insist that the pockets be attached only along the top edge of the pocket, ... so they will hang vertically when you bend over.

Having to bend over again, to pick up something that fell out of my apron pocket, ... just burns my biscuits. :angry:


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Wow - I wear shorts most of the time; guess I need to buy an apron...<LOL>. Try working in South Texas in July and you'll see what I mean.

I think farriers need them more anyone else for protection from nails and whatnot. Large hot work also exposes the body to the point where leather would be a welcome shield. General forging on handheld work doesn't require much armor.

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I tend not to use my chaps for general smithing and keep them mostly for my horse work. The one thing I do like is the extra padding when I'm upsetting into myself and brace the tongs on my thigh.

The inside pockets are great for farrier work but are a rare modification for some reason, I like them because when your under the horse its leg is sitting right on the pocket so its hard to access your knives from the outside, also it keeps the hoof filings from filling the pockets.

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My favorite apron for many years was a wrap around leather miniskirt. Easy to put on and move in and got it free to boot!

Most of my other aprons I have had to rivet on belt extensions as I've had some students in the 300 pound range needing to wear them. I usually don't wear one forging unless I'm forge welding or using an angle grinder or wire wheel

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I wear a leather apron that I picked up at my local welding supplier virtually everytime I'm in the shop. I've made a couple of minor mods to it that make it so convenient, I'm kinda lost without it. I have a couple of those retractable pen leashes clipped to the top edge that hold a silver pencil and a soap stone, and I keep a silver sharpy point down in the chest pocket. Marking tools right there whenever I need them.

But probably the most handy add on is shown below. A slot for my tape measure I bent up a out of 16g aluminum and riveted on. I carry a small 10'-12" tape there all the time. Right where I need it, just like it was clipped on my belt, but not, so the apron doesn't get in the way of it's use. I often just pull the tape out without unclipping and let it retract when done. Don't have to worry about it hitting sensitive areas because I'm wearing a heaving apron.

I find that when I wear the apron I'm more likely to sit and work at a bench or in my lap, which helps my back and legs over a long session.


Well, I couldn't get any pics to upload. Hopefully, this description will do. Pretty simple: slot cut in apron, Aluminum plate (16g) with tabs cut. Center tap bent through slot and down. Plate riveted to apron through two outside tabs. Clip on tape measure slips over center tab and through slot in apron. Works really well. (not a thousand words, but a picture would have been better!)

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Leather Kilts are nice, but don't move correctly. The "swish" just isn't there. And yes, I do forge in a kilt. I have pictures to prove it!

"I once forged a fish this big...."

I used to use a split leg apron from centaur,as seen above, but have traded lessons for a custom made apron from a saddler ( guy who makes saddles?) Oh man, custom sized and extras just how I wanted them! How nice is that!

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I attached a round magnet that holds 90lbs to the top left side for a quick place to slap a set of tongs or chisels, and a remot control outlet controller that my blower is plugged into. It's handy to have a shutoff at all times in case the neighbors want to chat you up in between heats.

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My favorite apron for many years was a wrap around leather miniskirt.

Oh my!
not a pleasant image...
I don't think I will be scouring the local thrift shops for a miniskirt anytime soon. Just kidding Thomas I am sure you looked fine.
Fritz, thanks for the tape measure idea, that is a keeper for sure!
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