Duluth Split Front Apron - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

A decent light-duty tool belt - comfortable fit, and ample storage capacity

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Duluth Split Front Apron



If you're looking for a light weight, durable tool belt, then you'll want to check out Duluth's Split Front Apron. It's one of the lightest belts I've come across, obviously not meant for someone who needs to carry a bucket load of tools around all day, but for a finish carpenter, cabinet installer, furniture maker or avid DIYer, it's a versatile and very comfortable alternative.
 
While Duluth calls it an apron, in appearance and function it's more of a tool belt (or perhaps a tool pouch). In the shop I often wear a shop apron, but rarely a tool belt. I only need to carry a few tools around the shop with me (saves me time wandering around wondering where things are). The apron primarily serves to keep the sawdust off me.
 
If installing cabinetry or working around the house on small repair jobs I don't carry a big rig, because I'm concerned about knocking against or scratching walls or woodwork. Which is why I like the Duluth tool belt; it carries all the gear I need snugly around my waist. Right now it holds a 6" try square, small saddle square, 6" ruler, pocket marking gauge, 6" vise grip, adjustable wrench, compact screwdriver, block plane, pencils, pencil sharpener, pad of paper, and Stiletto 12" TiBar (hammer, pry bar and nail remover all in one). I clip my cell phone, tape measure and box knife on the belt, and a small flashlight on the second hammer loop. That still leaves the two large front pockets to stuff with whatever I need for a particular project (screws, nails, hinges and the like). Even with all the gear, the belt is quite light.


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Good selection of pocket sizes
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Quick release buckle
The Duluth Split Front Apron is made from 10.7 ounce Fire Hose canvas. This is the same 100% cotton canvas that was used to wrap rubber fire hoses. It has a double weave thread pattern running in both a horizontal and vertical pattern, which gives the fabric a lot of durability. It has a high impact ABS plastic quick release buckle that makes it a snap to attach or remove the belt. The belt is also adjustable to fit a variety of waist sizes.
 

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There are 10 pockets on the belt - four large and six smaller. The large pockets are big enough to easily hold a couple of tools each, or a goodly amount of screws, nails or whatever else you need. All the pockets, including the smaller ones, are just over 6" deep, which makes it difficult to retract some shorter tools - like the 6" ruler, marking gauge and pencils. To make it easier to retract shorter tools I put pieces of Styrofoam in the bottom of the pockets. There are also two hammer loops (to accommodate left or right handed people). The bottoms of pockets don't have any reinforcement, so sharp tools (chisels, awls, etc) are likely to cut through the fabric.
 
Still, for $20 this is a pretty decent tool belt. Light, very comfortable fit, and ample storage capacity.


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KEY FEATURES:

  • 10.7 ounce 100% cotton Fire Hose canvas
  • 10 pockets: 4 large, 6 smaller
  • Double stitched binding
  • 2 hammer loops
  • Quick release buckle
  • Adjustable nylon belt

MANUFACTURER:Duluth Trading Co
AVAILABLE FROM:Online
RETAIL PRICE:$19.50
MODEL #:96063
MADE IN:USA
NOTE: This item is no longer available

Carl Duguay, June 2010
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