Woodworkers: Are You Wearing the Right Gloves?
By Jay Ackers | Posted: 04/22/2013 1:52PM
Woodworking is among the most ancient professions in human history, with archeological evidence showcasing woodcutting tools dating back to the Neanderthals.
Today, woodworkers are some of the world's most talented craftsmen, casting products ranging from deeply ornate furniture to fundamental architecture structures. But to work all sorts of machinery, from household to high-end industrial, there is one major risk: your greatest tool is made of flesh and bone – your hands. Anyone wishing to make a lifetime career out of this intricate profession needs to keep their hands safe, because while your hands are with you for life, so can an injury.
We've assembled some information on how to take advantage of the most hands-specific protective equipment there is – gloves – in order to maintain your hands in tip-top shape.
Gloves have been protecting our hands for ages, and progress in design has developed all sorts of varieties for all sorts of safety hazards. Before you can even begin to select the correct pair of gloves, you need to consider what exactly what kind of work you'll be doing. Consider the fundamentals of what gloves protect the hands from:
• Cuts, punctures, and abrasions;
• Electrical or chemical burns;
• Harmful substances;
• Bloodborne pathogens; and
• Extreme temperatures.
Are you going to be using woodworking machinery that involves exposed sharp elements? Will you be working with a lot of heat-producing friction? Are there harsh treatment chemicals as part of the task? What is the state of the piece of wood with which you're working? Is it freshly cut and loaded with splinters? How prone are you to contact dermatitis? Ask yourself the right questions and take the time to evaluate the task ahead of you, and you're already on the right path to selecting the proper pair of gloves.
The most common materials used for gloves appropriate for woodworking jobs are metal mesh, leather and canvas. Those made of synthetic materials and light fabrics are generally designed only for protection from filth and some minor cuts, and should be mostly avoided in this trade while working with raw materials.
Metal mesh and other cut-resistant materials such as Kevlar will protect you from sharp objects and punctures. Leather is durable, good against splinters and rough surfaces, and protects against moderate heat. Canvas is resistant to heat, practical for gripping smooth surfaces, and protects from moderate cuts and abrasions.
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