See-saw is not a bad idea. I was considering it for 110 film which I don't have a reel for.

I don't know if any old "aprons" would be brittle - but they are just rolls of plastic with wrinkly edges that you roll the film inside. Easy loading for sure.

I saw a video showing a dip and dunk processor where they lay the film over something like a curtain rod. (Richard Photo Lab).

Also encourage practice and learning to reel onto stainless steel. Practice is free and it will get easier. (People swear by "Hewes" brand but I don't have those and seem to do alright).

The mystery to me is - with all this fumbling, sweating and handling... I rarely saw fingerprints or scratches on my finished film when I used changing bag. I have no idea how it survives the trauma. (Disclosure: Now I wear gloves to roll film and have a full darkroom and Infrared viewing device).