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If you want to reduce the risk of injury in the shop, the single most important piece of safety equipment is a good pair of work gloves. Now, partly that's due to statistics. There are simply more risks of injury to your hands. I don't want to discount the importance of eye, ear, foot, body, head, and torso protection, but most parts of your body are just not put into the kind of danger that your hands are put into nearly constantly in the shop. Cuts, abrasions, solvents, shocks, and punctures are all distinct possibilities, and can be direct results of what you're trying to do, not the collateral effect of some other accident.
Some people don't recommend wearing gloves while using high RPM tools like router tables, saws, and drills. The danger is that the glove material may get caught by the spinning parts, resulting in your hand getting pulled into the tool instead of just cut. With hand tools, though, gloves provide more protection than danger, so I recommend them.
I searched for a while before I finally found a brand of gloves that I really like. As a bonus, these are relatively cheap gloves from Harbor Freight. I see gloves all the time that cost thirty, forty, or fifty dollars. Those gloves may provide even more protection, but they don't fit me as well.
These gloves fit my hands closely, without much extra fabric that would allow my fingers to slide within the glove. They actually fit closely enough that I can pull nitrile gloves on over them when I am working with solvents or oils. The grippy spots on the fingers help grab things, and the knitted fabric actually provides more cut protection than leather. There's extra fabric on wear points, and some absorbent fabric along the thumbs for wiping up sweat. The stretchy fabric across the back and around the wrist provides the snug fit, and velcro closures keep the glove securely on my hand.
Once I found gloves that fit well, I went back to the store and bought three more pairs. I recommend you get at least one extra pair so you're not out of luck if one pair becomes dirty or damaged.
2010.05.11 at 12:00am EDT
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