Using Gloves in the Woodshop

It’s starting to cool off for those of us in the NE of the country, and for those of you who work with tools outside or in unheated garage shops I thought this recent SMC thread would be of interest.

A ‘Creeker posted “to find out your opinions, advice, warnings etc. on using gloves in the woodshop. (with these tools, not with these tools, etc.)”

The best rule of thumb (this pun borrowed from Creeker…) is as follows:

1) Wear gloves ONLY for moving lumber and finishing.
2) NEVER wear gloves while operating machinery.

These are guidelines that I took from the forum thread that are backed up by OSHA: “Use gloves to protect hands from splinters when handling wood but do not wear them near rotating blades and other machinery parts where the gloves can catch.”

Some woodworkers reported very cold woodshops however, so cold that their hands get stiff. Some said they used gloves while using machinery, violating that NEVER in rule number 2 up there. My best suggestion is that you get a space heater for your shop.

Before I mention some ways that folks wear gloves while woodworking I want to post some possible horror story situations:

“After seeing someone lose three fingers in a drill press from wearing gloves, I only wear work gloves when stacking/unloading wood.”

“A buddy of mine was wearing gloves while chopping mortises on a horizontal boring machine. The official procedure was to blow debris off the table with an air hose after each piece. Well, the air hose missed a bit of debris and he flicked it away with his hand. The bit caught the glove (a high end, well fitting glove) and dragged his hand into the bit.”

“I saw an interview on tv with a gentleman who had been wearing gloves while using the drill press, and got his glove caught. His hand got broken at the wrist, and continued to spin axially along the length of his forearm multiple times (i.e. like a candy cane).”

YIKES. So please note that the official ToolCrib position is DON’T WEAR GLOVES WHILE OPERATING MACHINERY. From reading through the thread however I noticed a number of folks who wear gloves for the purpose of avoiding splinters and reducing vibration. And it appears that these are largely in production shops…

“I work with a lot of rough stock and wear gloves ripping on the TS. But.. my TS is set up so that my hands can never come closer than 10″ to the blade. And I have it “red-lined” as a reminder at 10″ marks on the infeed and out-feed side.”

“In my production shop, we wear the dipped knit gloves – thin ones for general handling, thermals for sanding. These things allow me personally to grip repeatedly with minimal hand fatigue. I’m prone to carpal tunnel syndrome, and without these, I would probably not be woodworking. But my equipment is well guarded, and assisted with feeders wherever possible. Awareness of glove and sleeve hazards is part of safety training.”

“I wear gloves all the time in the shop, have done it for years and years without incident. I don’t like cuts or slivers.”

I suggest you read the whole thread… Gloves in the woodshop? I came away from it having decided NEVER to wear gloves while woodworking. So how about you? What are your opinions about gloves and woodworking?

Resources:
Kid Gloves Aren’t The title’s a little silly but this is a good article and very strongly against wearing gloves while operating machinery.

Preventive Safety Measures for Woodworkers

Top Ten Most Dangerous Power Tools

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3 Responses to Using Gloves in the Woodshop

  1. KS Woodwork says:

    This is an excellent safety reminder. There was someone killed locally when their gloved hand was pulled into the drill press. From what I recall the drill press was not bolted down. This was a large unit an a commercial shop that tipped over.

    As Norm would say “Be sure to read, understand and follow all the instructions that come with your power tools…”

    I am sure the drill press manual stated it should be secured to the flooring with 4 anchors.

    KS Woodwork

  2. bg says:

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/5713869/detail.html

    Man killed in wood chipper as gloved hand is dragged in.

  3. bg says:

    wear gloves when the tool is taken to the work; do not wear them when the work is taken to the tool

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