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I don't use gloves when operating my power tools, but I know a few people who do--for instance, when operating a router with two hands (not in a router table). Is this safe, and if so, what other power tools are safe to operate with gloves?

  • This is a great question. Looking at the site, this question seems to be one of the most useful questions for a beginner. – Blue Ice Mar 17 '15 at 21:26
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Anything tool that rotates is generally something to avoid using gloves with. Tools to definitely avoid glove use for incude:

  • Lathes
  • Circular saws (including table saws, miter saws, and radial arm saws)
  • Bandsaws
  • Routers
  • Planers
  • Drill presses
  • The list goes on...

Gloves can give you a false sense of security. They will do little to protect you from a cut, and pose a huge hazard of getting caught in the tool and pulling your hand in to get mangled.

The only tool off the top of my head that I'd consider using gloves with would be an orbital sander, since it may help with vibration absorption, and the sander doesn't provide a big risk of mangling your hand. If you need a minimal amount of protection from splinters, you could try nitrile or latex gloves, which will cut/break away before pulling in your hand.

In addition to gloves, the following can also be a hazard around power tools:

  • Rings
  • Watches
  • Long hair
  • Loose clothing
  • Ties

The best way to protect your hands is to be very deliberate about every movement you make around the saw, and keep your hands away from the blade by using a push stick or push block. If the cuts you are making are simple straight lines, get a miter gauge that slides along the miter slot that is present in most saw tables.

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    Add drill press to that list. I don't even like long sleeves around power tools. – CoAstroGeek Mar 17 '15 at 18:32
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    I will 100% support this answer. Safety is key, and most gloves will not protect you from a power tool with a fast, spinning cutter (or object like in turning). I would also add any time you're using a heated/open flame type tool to not wear any gloves with synthetic fabrics as they may heat, melt and adhere to your skin, worsening the burn (ask me how I know). As a caveat, any time you could be dealing with fast moving splinters or surfaces rough and hard enough to cut skin, a thin but tough pair of gloves can be beneficial. – BrownRedHawk Mar 17 '15 at 18:36
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    I added "ties" to the list of clothing that can get caught in machines. You'd think that most people would know not to wear ties in the wood shop, but I've seen it happen :) – Blue Ice Mar 17 '15 at 21:29
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    There is little risk of fabric being sucked into a table saw: youtube.com/watch?v=UeQzIzj3j_Q – antony.trupe Mar 18 '15 at 19:55
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    @antony.trupe Good to know that someone actually did some experiments. However, I've got enough other tools in my garage (drill press, for one) that would pose a problem with loose clothing that I think I'll still avoid it. Plus, the fabric used in the video seems to be pretty lightweight. I'd like to see the same experiment with leather. – Doresoom Mar 18 '15 at 20:24
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There is one case where it is safe and beneficial to use gloves with power tools: when the tool is weak enough to stop without causing damage to your body parts.

For example, I use cut resistant gloves when carving with Dremel. The bit is sharp enough to cut through skin (even quite badly), but the motor is weak enough that it will stall if it hits the glove.

Same can apply to many power tools used for detailed work. Also when working on details of small parts, it can be harder to keep adequate distance between hands and the cutter, in which case the additional protection is quite useful.

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Some gloves are designed to work with a specific power tool, such as chainsaw gloves. In these cases, it is OK to use those specific gloves with their corresponding tool.

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