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Although it looks like a bib from an all-you-can-eat buffet, you might appreciate this apron if you’ve ever been working on a project with many small parts and lost a critical part on the floor. The apron attaches to the bottom edge of your workbench to catch any components that try to make a break for it over the edge.

Micro-Mark claims their apron is an adaptation of an old jeweler’s trick.  They make the apron from a 35″-wide by 45″-long sheet of 8mm vinyl which can be easily trimmed to size if required.  Two rows of Velcro let you reposition the apron for either standing or sitting.

Even if you don’t want to pay the $11 to buy one, you probably could fashion something similar from a heavy-duty garbage bag — just don’t embarrass the family and take it to the buffet.

Parts-Catching Apron [Micro-Mark]

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14 Responses to A Toolmonger’s Bib

  1. David Bryan says:

    This reminds me of that old feller who got a carburetor to work on and right away went down on his knees to work on it on the floor and somebody says to him “Wouldn’t it be easier working on it on the bench?” and he says “You can’t knock it off of the floor.”

  2. Mike47 says:

    If that were me in the picture and the phone rang, I’d hang myself…

  3. KMR says:

    If the goal is to stop parts rolling off your bench, simply add a small lip to the edge of your bench. All of the bench’s in my shop have a piece of 1/16″ inch thick aluminum angle strip screwed to the top / leading edge of the benches. This keeps stuff from rolling off easily and you don’t look stupid either like that guy in the photo.

  4. Joe says:


  5. rjerryc says:

    Maybe he ordered the lobster and someone handed him something to fix instead? Sure looks like an imbecile in the picture. KMR has the right idea and the comment by David Bryan is priceless.

  6. Brian says:

    It has some obvious convenience issues, but this would solve a problem for me that a lip on my bench wouldn’t. Inevitably, I am working on something small (inserting components into a PCB say) and I want to work real close to the work. I never remember to work over the table, I just bring it closer to my face. This always ends up being six inches in front of the edge of the bench so when I drop something, it falls straight to the floor.

  7. Zathrus says:

    @KMR – I’m guessing the point isn’t to stop things from rolling off, but (as Brian says) to catch things that may fall when you’re working on something small and delicate.

    As noted, it’s from the jeweler’s trade, where you may be working with very small precious stones while setting them in a ring, necklace, etc.

    I could see how this could help a watchmaker, clock maker, toy maker, etc. as well.

    The other alternative would seem to be to build the bench a lot higher so you could sit close to whatever you’re working on without killing your back.

  8. scott says:

    Such aprons have been used for a long time. Ben Franklin wore one made of leather. They probably go back at least to early watch/clock makers.

    I’d be tempted to use a hook and loop fastener to attach the hem of the apron to the bench bottom. That way, when the phone rang and I was sure there was nothing critical that needed retrieval, I could turn and go without too much risk to life and limb. rare earth magnets sewn in along the edges might be a good last line of defense.

    Cloth has to be cooler than leather. Printer’s ink would soak right through, though.

  9. paganwonder says:

    When I want to answer the phone I put it in my pocket.

  10. David Bryan says:

    I can’t get my head in my pocket.

  11. Shopmonger says:

    Try having a portable phone………..haa haa haa
    other than than have some hook and loop to attach the edging to your table…. then you can remove it when you want…..

  12. ray says:

    can not use one of the things , with the work that i do ,lol

  13. metis says:

    huh. everyone doesn’t do this with their apron? i just set a heavy rule on the apron edge on the work bench.

  14. Joe Daddy says:

    I got here trying to better understand Jeweler’s work bench design. Jewelers oft have a large u cut into the bench top and have a leather apron built in. The entire notion messes with my preconceived notion that a work bench is to be sat in front of, the Jeweler sits ‘in’ his bench.

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