Modification – Cooper work apron

Been doing contract work for a local company, here in Millarville. May-07-2019 was my 5th year.

Over the past few years, most of the projects – now focus on fixing machinery, design and fabrication.

Working with steel – cutting, grinding, torching and welding – I probably wrecked a dozen pair of jeans over the years. Maybe one should finally get some protection… 🙂

In Dec-2015, I purchased a leather apron on ebay – the Tillman_3836.

Tillman leather apron


After a few years of usage, it got a bit mangled…

Plus my jeans below the knees – were still affected by the sparks. Burning bluejeans have a unique smell… 🙂

Burnt leather apron.

It had a cheap plastic locking buckle on the side, the straps had a weird crossing design in the back – going thru a small leather guide. This always got jammed. The only thing I liked – was the front two-pocket pouch, which I cut out…

Had ordered a second apron, but the shipping got screwed up somehow and I got a refund…

Decided to make my own apron. Got the directions to the Longview Leather store and drove there. Purchased a large piece of black cowhide.

Cowhide on plywood, ready to cut a shape.

Would use the old apron as a basic pattern, but wanted it be longer – reaching down to my ankles. I’ve also switched over to using leather laces on my workboots. Have burnt and melted too many regular laces in the past…

After careful consideration and measuring, I could get two new long aprons from this piece of leather. Decided to only cut one out – for now…

New leather apron with straps.

Cut a few long long pieces of leather – into 1 inch wide strips. Used a sealing compound made by Sika called 1A (Sikaflex 15 LM). The neck strap was coated and allowed to cure – in behind the top area. One end of the waist strap was glued in the inside. On the other end – 6 inch piece of female Hook&Loop was glued. On the inside of the apron, another 6 inch piece of male Hook&Loop was glued in.

Using velcro to hold the apron together.

Using the Hook&Loop design, if was fast to put on – or take off. Sometimes when bending over – the hooking would let go… 🙁

On another project, I purchased some rivets, caps and a hole-maker.

Decided to put some rivets onto the neck strap – for more strength. The leather pouch came with its own rivets, so the brown leather was just glued into position with the Sika product.

Front pouch on apron.


Had a few spare pieces of hardware left over from the vest project, so I decided to remove the ‘Hook&Loop’ system from my apron.

Removing the Hook&Loop from the inside of the apron.

The next image shows both pieces of Hook&Loop pulled off…

Both pieces of Hook&Loop are pulled off the leather strap and apron.

Used a hand scrapper to remove as much of the glue/caulking as possible, since the waist strap would now slide thru a clamper buckle.

Scrapping off most of the glue on the waist strap.

Here’s a mock-up of how the waist strap would be attached to the apron…

Design layout of hooking system.

A small piece of 1 inch wide strap was cut and wrapped around the D-ring. I temporarily placed a rivet in – from the front – just to act as a guide, as I cut the 2nd apron hole.

Leather piece wrapping around D-ring.

Once the two holes were made thru all 3 layers of leather, rivets were pushed in – from the backside. Caps (placed on the front side) were then fitted over the rivet ends, and a few hammer taps – forces the rivet ends to deform inside the caps…

D-ring attached to the side of the 
apron with two rivets.

Next one needs to make the hooking and tightening system…

Pieces needed to hook and tighten.

This joiner strap – was folded over both metal ends – ending up with 3 layers in the middle. Used a one inch wide piece of steel – as a backer plate…

Completed hooker system.

Here’s how the apron now works. Quick to attach and easy to adjust the waist pressure.

New adjustable hooking system.

Here’s the final test – wearing the apron. I had to move the front panel a bit to the left – so that the linkage would be offset on my hip. It was too hard to take a one-handed cellphone picture sorta behind my back… 🙂

So – it’s very strong design, will never come apart by accident, and the waist tension is adjustable – depending on shirt/leather jacket combination.

One final consideration – because of the length, one needs to pull up and carry the apron – when walking up stairs… 🙂

Testing the new system on my hip.

End of project…


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