One of the many benefits of having a professional blacksmith and educator as a husband, besides all the beautiful ironwork in my home, is that I get to see how Forge-Aprons hold up to the rigors of a blacksmith shop. This knowledge has helped me morph my line of blacksmith aprons into the most durable, comfortable and safe aprons on the market. Here is just one example of how being a blacksmith's wife has affected the design of Forge-Aprons' shop aprons.
I am a kid at heart and one of my favorite movies is the cartoon, The Incredibles. I love the part where Bob, aka Mr. Incredible takes his super hero suit to Edna Mode, the suits creator, to mend a rip. Edna, whom I totally identify with, is suddenly designing him a new suit as the old suit is technologically outdated and too small after years behind a desk have grown Bob's girth. Bob starts listing some of the aesthetic features he would like his new Mr. Incredible suit to have including... a cape. Edna firmly says, "No Capes!" due to the accessory having a history of contributing to the deaths of superheroes in the past. Like Edna, when it comes to trim or edging on personal protection equipment, I say, "No trim!"
Edge trim does give a beautiful, finished look to the raw edge of leather work but here's why I refuse to add trim to Forge-Aprons.
1. Budget Breaker: Edging or trim is applied to the entire circumference of the apron. That process takes time. Time is money. You may be the exception to the rule but, all the blacksmiths I know are the frugal sort. They will pinch a penny to hear it squeal! Given a choice, every blacksmith I know will forego this budget breaker in order to save the $20-$25 it costs in time and material.
2. Slag Snag: Hammer scale, or slag is a natural byproduct of blacksmithing. The thin flakes pop off as you hammer hot steel. Usually, the hammer scale succumbs to gravity and ends up on the floor but every once in a while, a hot piece of slag finds its way into a pocket, fold or crevice and slowly smolders. Edging is the perfect slag snag! Does anyone smell something burning?
3. Footloose and Fancy Free: Forge-Aprons exclusively uses Kevlar thread on their aprons largely because it is heat resistant but also because Kevlar thread possesses a high tensile strength which provides excellent abrasion resistance. Still, Kevlar will decompose at 800°F / 425°C. I'm sure you know where this is going. Once the thread decomposes, the trim is footloose and fancy free. Now you have something that can snag on the edge of your layout table, your anvil horn, your vice stand or worse, can get snatched up in a grinder wheel!
4. Pretty Is As Pretty Does: As a kid, whenever I got a new pair of tennis shoes, I would immediately go out and get some dirt on them, scuff them up a bit. No blacksmith wants to look like its their first day at the forge. They want the long, hot hours and hard work they have put into practicing the craft to be evident. Therefore, it seems counter-intuitive to put edging on an apron just to make it look pretty when coal and iron dust, hydraulic oils and patina fluids, burns and scratches will become badges of honor like black, calloused hands to be proudly displayed.
The Incredible's Edna believes that a superhero suit needs to be the perfect synthesis of form and function. I believe the same thing about the shop aprons built by Forge-Aprons.