The best gloves for wood carving are those that allow you to carve safely, comfortably, and easily without losing any blood!
At some point, every wood carver will be "kissed by a knife." Even expert carvers can slip up every now and then.
Most of the time, you won't even see it coming.
When we were first learning to how to wood carve, we were very lucky to experience only a few superficial cuts.
But it was enough to convince us that we definitely needed full-time protection.
So we searched for (and found) what we think are the best gloves for wood carving.
Now, wearing a glove is just a normal part of our carving routine and we can't imagine working without them.
A lot of carvers simply use a Kevlar cut-resistant glove on their non-carving hand. They are light and not too expensive. But if you are "kissed" by the sharp point of a knife, you're gonna shed blood.
It happened to us and it wasn't pretty. If your slip is deep enough, you may even need stitches.
Standard Kevlar gloves are also not the best gloves for wood carving because they do not protect your hands from slips with gouges, which is something to consider, too.
While no glove can claim to be 100% failsafe, leather-lined Kevlar gloves provide extra protection from knife-point jabs and cuts.
They also provide added protection for slips when using gouges, which can cause serious damage if you slip up. The extra layer of leather goes a long way to help protect your hands. We can say this from experience.
The down side is that these gloves are about twice as expensive and they are a bit bulky.
The upside is that they provide a lot of cushioning that makes carving for hours quite comfortable.
Since our leather-lined Kevlar gloves get pretty ratty, we use a regular Kevlar glove when taking pictures for our tutorials.
Sometimes we forget to switch back to the leather-lined Kevlar glove. Carving is so uncomfortable! We have come to appreciate that the bulkiness serves a good purpose.
Of course, it's a matter of personal preference. But now that we are used to the bulkier, cushioned glove, we cannot carve without it.
But are they the very best gloves for wood carving?
They are with one simple add-on.
We have learned from experience that wrapping a leather-lined Kevlar glove with duct tape protects fingers even further and extends the life of the glove (the knife cuts the tape and not the glove).
Over time, the glove looks like crap, but dang, it sure protects well!
With this simple hack, duct-taped, leather-lined Kevlar gloves are definitely the best gloves for wood carving.
Yes... they are super bulky, but easy to get used to, as long as you stick with them. They will also soften up fairly quickly as they are a bit stiff at first.
We always use the leather-lined Kevlar glove on our non-carving hand. Sometimes we will wrap the thumb of our carving hand with tape (hockey stick tape or vet tape works good) if we know we're going to use a lot of pull cuts.
Some carvers just use tape on both hands, but we feel it would be flirting with potential disaster.
When we are stropping a knife, we wear our reinforced glove and a standard Kevlar glove on the hand that holds the knife.
Why, you may ask?
Imagine getting a paper cut on steroids. That only had to happen once for us to cry "uncle" and always wear the glove on our carving hand for extra protection while stropping.
The best gloves for wood carving aren't much help if you don't wear them every time you carve. You need to make wearing gloves a (good) habit.
We have a few other rules for ourselves that have served us well (no stitches to date), including:
Our source for leather-lined Kevlar gloves is The Carving Glove Guy.
Once you find what you want, shoot over an email and and they will call you to take your order over the phone. They do not process credit cards through their website.
They are great to work with and can help you determine what size is best for you. They may even send you a free gift with your order.
Tip: Gloves are sold separately (not as a pair). Check the codes carefully to be sure you are ordering the right glove for your non-carving hand.
We think so. In fact, we had the (not so) bright idea to buy cheap leather gloves at the flea market, remove the leather with a seam ripper, and re-sew it onto regular Kevlar gloves.
Well, that was a disaster. Turns out making those gloves are a lot harder than it looks!
Amazon is a great place to shop for different Kevlar gloves. There are many different styles and some have rubber grippy dots that help secure the wood in your hand.
Some gloves may have a higher cut-resistant grade level of protection, and there are different standards for US and European products.
We thought these might be a great idea. Unfortunately these chainmail gloves (think medieval days) have holes and will not protect against knife punctures.
They are also expensive (even more costly than the leather-lined Kevlar gloves).
Some carvers really like using thumb guards. We find they tend to fall off easily. If that happens, tape may be a better bet.
No matter what type of glove you use, it is always safer to make all your cuts away from your hands (and your body). You should also always protect your lap.
We like using a wooden vegetable box on the lap, but a wood carving board works well, too.