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?
Anything tool that rotates is generally something to avoid using gloves with. Tools to definitely avoid glove use for incude:
- Circular saws (including table saws, miter saws, and radial arm saws)
- 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:
- Long hair
- Loose clothing
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.
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.
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.