Should You Wear Gloves When Woodworking?

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Woodworking is a fun hobby but can often leave your hands in pain with cuts and scrapes. Working with your bare hands is necessary much of the time but there may be times when wearing gloves can help avoid some of these inevitable problems along the way. Splinters, cuts, and dryness associated with woodworking are the price you pay when you leave the gloves off. Therefore, it may be a good idea to keep gloves handy during your time in your workshop.

Wearing protective gloves while handling, sanding, and finishing wood is great for avoiding splinters, cuts, and dryness. However, gloves should never be worn when operating table saws and other types of equipment that could easily pull your hand in if the loose glove material gets caught on a blade.

Using gloves while woodworking

Loose gloves can easily be caught up in saw blades or sanding equipment and pull your hand into it. The “cut protection” of the gloves won’t matter once your hand has been pulled into a table saw or band saw. At that point, it’s too late. It’s best to remove gloves before operating equipment like this and only wear gloves when no dangerous equipment is involved.

Gloves can also be a hindrance when doing intricate work with wood pieces. Since your sense of touch will be compromised, you won’t be able to work as accurately or feel exactly where you are at. In times like this, it may be better to skip the gloves altogether.

Personally, I use my gloves to handle wood after cutting and as I am sanding and finishing it. I have learned my lesson the hard way over the years from getting splinter after splinter, some of which are too deep to remove.

Reasons to Wear Gloves When Woodworking

They Help Reduce Splinters

Handling rough wood without gloves

I have a splinter in my finger that has been there for years. It’s too deep for me to remove so I have just left it there. Occasionally, it causes some pain when I push on it the wrong way. This splinter came from a piece of teak plywood. I was simply handling the wood and grabbed it in a way that allowed a splinter to stick deep into my finger.

This could have probably been avoided by wearing a good pair of puncture-resistant gloves. Because I just barehanded the wood, I paid the price with a permanent splinter.

Gloves can help to avoid small splinters like this as they likely won’t be able to puncture through a tough pair of gloves. The trick is to be sure and put them on during these times rather than being lazy about it.

It’s always a good idea to put some gloves on when you are handling rough wood.

They Help Reduce Cuts & Scrapes

Similar to splinters, cuts and scrapes can become a problem during the cutting and sanding process. Just the handling of the wood itself can pose a problem due to sharp areas that may cause a cut or two along the way. Hand sanding can be especially damaging to the hands if you aren’t careful.

Wearing gloves when sanding is a good idea and it will help to keep your hands free from scrapes and burns that may be caused by the sandpaper otherwise. Besides that, simply moving about in your workshop and handling tools and equipment poses a risk to cuts and scrapes.

Rather than just being tough about it, do yourself a favor and put on a pair of gloves when you are doing work that could result in nicks and cuts.

They Can Give You a Better Grip

Wearing the right kind of gloves can give you a better grip when you are handling equipment and wood pieces. Beyond that, a grippy glove can help to open cans and other things that may require a tool otherwise. The right kind of gloves for this is often those that are dipped in nitrile or some type of rubber and have a gripping texture on the palm of the hands.

Cloth gloves will not be much help in this area. If having plenty of grip is a concern, the gloves that I use are excellent. These Milwaukee cut level three gloves fit tightly on the hands and have an extremely grippy palm that allows you to carry items around and hold them tightly.

Besides being great around the workshop, they can also come in handy when opening that new jar of pickles. Just go grab your grippy gloves from the workshop and your family will consider you a hero!

They Help to Reduce Dry Hands

Working with wood can be brutal on the hands and can make them extremely dry. This is especially true if you work with wood in the wintertime. Just handling the wood as well as sanding will leave your hands feeling dry and sometimes quite painful.

Using a good hand moisturizer and wearing gloves while you work can help to seal in the moisture and ward off some of the dry air that causes the problem. Once you experience the pain of dry hands that result in the splitting of skin, it can be miserable to even work any longer. It’s best to keep your hands from getting so dry in the first place.

Just remember to take the gloves off when using machinery that could pose a safety risk.

Reasons Not To Wear Gloves When Woodworking

It May Be Dangerous

Wearing the wrong type of gloves and at the wrong time can be extremely dangerous. You never want to wear gloves while you are using saws that could pull your hands into the path of the blade. It’s easy for a blade to get hung up in a cloth glove and then pull your hand directly into the dangerous cutting area.

You wouldn’t want to wear loose-fitting gloves while operating a table saw or a bandsaw for example. Even tight-fitting gloves can be dangerous and it’s always a good idea to remove any kind of hand covering when you are operating equipment like this.

You’ll have a greater sense of touch without the gloves and will be able to better judge the work area.

It’s More Difficult to Work With Gloves On

Wearing gloves can take away the natural feeling that you have in your hands. This can sometimes feel awkward as you try to pick something small up. Something that would be simple with your bare hands can be quite a challenge with gloves on.

Depending on the type of gloves you’re wearing, you may have a difficult time as you struggle to pick up and hold onto the pieces you need. Sometimes it’s easier just to get rid of the gloves so you can feel with your bare hands.

If you are wearing a loose-fitting or thick type of glove, it may be more difficult to work with than it will be with a glove that fits tightly around your hands and fingers. Properly fitted gloves will be easier to work with.

There are plenty of thin, fitted gloves on the market that are perfect for working with wood and keeping in your workshop for times when you just need a little extra protection on your hands. There are times when these are needed but also times that call for work to be performed without using any extra layers on your skin.

Best Gloves For Woodworking

The best kind of gloves that you are going to find for woodworking is going to be those that fit your hand tightly and have some sort of gripping material. These kinds of gloves will make it possible for you to work effectively while wearing them.

Although I recommend using no-cut gloves or gloves that have some level of cut protection, don’t assume that this will protect you from a saw blade. These are not designed to withstand a power saw blade. They can be cut quite easily with any power saw. However, they are very effective at protecting your hands from hand tools and other sharp objects that could cut you from brushing up against them.

My preferred gloves when I am woodworking are the Milwaukee Cut Level 3 Gloves.

Milwaukee cut level 3 gloves for woodworking

These gloves are great for general purpose use and fit perfectly on my hands and give me the freedom of movement that I need when working in my workshop. They have a great amount of grip that allows me to grab something and easily carry it around without it sliding out of my fingers. The nitrile-dipped palms are perfect for this.

They aren’t like body armor so won’t protect you from cutting your hand on a saw. However, they are comfortable, tough, and useable for many different types of scenarios. I love the way they fit and how comfortable they are while wearing them.

Another great option is the Dewalt DPG20L All Purpose Synthetic Leather Palm Spandex Gloves

Unlike the Milwaukee gloves mentioned above, these are a bit more rugged and can withstand more without tearing. I use these when I am handling rough pieces of wood or hand sanding and don’t want to sand the rubber finish off of my other gloves. They hold up well and protect your hands from scrapes, cuts, and splinters.


Gloves can be helpful during your woodworking project but they should be worn with caution. Avoid wearing them when using machinery that they could easily get caught in. Handling un-sanded wood is the main reason I wear them in my workshop and they are effective in helping me to avoid splinters.

Don’t be afraid to put on gloves as needed to protect your hands. It doesn’t mean that you are soft, it just means that you want to protect your hands so that you can enjoy your hobby longer. By protecting your hands, you’ll be able to work longer and more comfortable without the cuts and scrapes that often plague woodworkers.