IA&O means Improvised, Adapt, & Overcome skill.  Yet they are simple as pie to hone.  It’s just that most people are too damn lazy and wouldn’t recognize a chance to increase the surrounding world’s conveniences and comforts if it smacked them in the face.

Last weekend,  I “invented” something I call “Shopaulettes.”  And with that, we’re into another slide into the Odd World of George (OWoG):

My latest honing of laziness – to optimize convenience – harks back to before we sold our airplane.  The old Beech Musketeer we flew on several trans-cons and just had gobs of fun with.

Part of the fun was I picked up several “pilot shirts” which, in keeping with their “uniform look” are equipped with  epaulettes (also spelled epaulets)

Pilots, and people in the right uniform in the military, know that the button-down shoulder belts, seen on the right here, can hold either a folding hat (useful) or, for me, a microfiber clothe that is perfect for keeping the glasses clean when I’m making sawdust in the shop.  I’m staring at the clothe on the left.  The right epaulette wasn’t being used…

As I sat there, thinking around how useful these things were, I was taken-aback by realizing how much more useful my shop apron would be if it only had a lot more pockets on it.

Always wanting to have one, and doing a fair bit of woodworking, I’d picked up a wax -coated canvas shop apron.  $30-bucks at the Zon for a Vulcan Workwear Utility Apron – Multi-Use Shop Apron with Pockets – Waxed Canvas Tool Apron.

Then I got to looking, since I was using the epaulettes so much, what could be added to the apron to make it more useful.  The inventor showed up with a pencil….

Not sure what you’re looking at?  Well…

At  “A” and on both of the straps I’d add about 1.25 in :D”-rings.  This would enable me to put both my glasses microfiber clothe (left) and a tack clothe (when painting) on the right.

“B” shows how a few more stitches would give me assorted pencil-lengths so everyone would stand up straighter and be easier to grab.

“C” is my master stroke:  A hook so I can take off the damn dust mask and remember where I put it.  It would hang there ready for use.  Maybe I’d use it once in a while.

And “D” shows a couple of additional pockets for screwdrivers and small pry bars.

Not shown are several other innovations:  One would be a 1.5 inch piece of metal that would be riveted to the chest just under (or to the side of) the pencil pocket.  My Fat Max tapes are scattered all over the garage because no one except me seems to be so addled that they can’t remember “When you go from the table saw to the chop saw stand, bring the damn tape.:”  Or, on arriving at the drill press, realizing the tape is back over at the chop saw.

A Sitting Apron is Also Needed

I picture something which would be a tool-infested chest-mounted rack for working on mechanical items.  About 8-across so you could have two slotted screwdrivers, a couple of Phillips, maybe an Allen wrench or two, and maybe a continuity-checker; depending on project, of course.

What would make the “sitting apron” unique would be a large “cuff” that would stand up at the end of the lap and around both sides.

I do a lot of small mechanical radio assemblies at my electronics/sitting bench and why in 10,000 years of human history we haven’t figured out how to catch lock washers for 4-40 screws is beyond me.  I must spend at least 2-3 times per project down on my hands and knees looking for things that hit the floor and immediately turn invisible.  DoD needs to use this as cloaking technology.

One more:  None of the shop (sitting or standing) aprons I’ve seen has a self-leveling coffee, water bottle, or soda pop holder.  Why?  It will be warm enough in  the shop for another two or three months that staying hydrated is a good thing.  Again, the water tends to be left on the “shipping bench” outside my office door, safely away from the saws which toss off lots of dust even with the built-in vac system.

I didn’t used to be all about  convenience.  But, when you get on this side of 70, you slow down a bit.  And that is turning what should be short projects into much longer affairs.  Not that the work is any harder, it’s just spending 50-years shagging 10 rulers and measuring tapes over time turns into a fair-sized building if you could use the time for something else.  Instead of wandering around looking for the disappearing tape measures.

If you know anyone at Vulcan, tell them to hurry up and patent the respirator hook and I’ll buy one of those aprons.  Maybe 2 if it has the D rings.  No question about the “sitting apron” with the 3″ hem to catch wildly-flying small parts!

Yessir, Shopaulettes will be a huge success as will be the mightily-cuffed sitting apron.

American productivity will soar, we will sail past China, and I’ll receive a Nobel for a huge leap forward for Industrial Arts.

In the meantime, which this innovation is our gestating, seen my measuring tape?

Write when you get the shop clean,