When doing many DIY projects there's a strong need to protect hands against cutting by sharp part edges. Gloves seem a natural solution.

However recently I was mounting a countertop and wearing gloves and I needed to drill a hole in the countertop surface. I held my hand too close to the drill bit, so once I turned the drill on the drill bit somehow captured the glove and started wrapping it onto itself. I was lucky - the drill had a rather weak motor and it was adjusted to not achieve anything close to high torque, so I all got was a glove torn apart, but that could easily be a broken finger or two. If I had no gloves at that moment just nothing would have happened, except I could at most mildly scratch a finger.

So it looks like wearing gloves greatly increases risk of injury when using power tools. How to address this? How to protect hands when using power tools?


5 Answers 5


I have been doing a lot if drilling close to a brick wall, so I used tight fixing light weight gloves as I did not wish to grace my hands on the rough bricks.

I did not use heavy weight gloves, as that would have reduced the control I had on the drill so lead to more risk.

A powerful electric drill often has two hand hold positions for a reason, not just to give you more control, but also if you are holding the body of the drill with two hands, you can’t have a hand close to the drill bit. (It’s a shame that you don’t also have two switches that must be pressed to start the drill)

  • two switches Precisely why power paper trim shears have this setup. If it can go through 1000 sheets precisely, it can do the same for appendages. Safety often is a case of situation awareness with power tools. Don't put yourself in the work zone. Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 19:32

The wearing of gloves can be a terrible idea when using many power tools. In fact, it can be quite dangerous for the reasons you describe, although kevlar gloves might be a good idea when you are around a chainsaw. They might even be a good idea if you are working with sharp chisels. Even so, I would suggest that it makes far more sense to begin using good, safe practices.

If your fingers are getting too close to a moving powered object, then you are doing it WRONG! If you are taking risks with your fingers, then learn safe working practices!


Never get close enough to a blade for there to be a problem. Use a push stick or block on table saws. Use hold downs of all sorts. Use a table saw with a saw stop.

If you are using a drill, why are your fingers touching the drill bit?

If you can't control your fingers and other body parts, then perhaps chess is a better activity for you? There are always people willing to be paid to do your home repair projects for you. Or, learn to do those projects safely.

When I go into my wood shop, I wear a short sleeve shirt. No gloves. I am aware of the tools that I use. I use proper push blocks and hold downs where appropriate. And when my fingers get near a moving object, I ALWAYS know exactly where they are and I am in complete control of the situation, or I find a different way to do the job.

Finally, if you are tired, then stop working. There is always another day to finish the job, but you have only one life, only so many fingers, eyes, etc.

  • 1
    truer words have never been spoken! Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 12:46
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    +1: I couldn't agree more. Gloves can get sucked into rotary tools in a heartbeat, taking your hands with them. It's always better to have some missing skin rather than a mangled hand. The best bet is to avoid situations where you would need gloves for protection from power tools in the first place.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 16:05
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    +1. Gloves are for hand tools. If you're using a power tool, the tool should be doing the work, not your hands. Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 18:11

The only gloves I ever use are form fitting "mechanix" type gloves. They are no real protection from a powerful saw or drill, but help with sharp edges etc. As woodchips says, there is no substitute for safe practices and knowing how to use your tools properly.


Gloves differ. I wouldn't recommend loose-fitting gloves made of wool or something similar.

Gloves and clothes in general make life easier 90% of the time. Most of the remaining 10% is simply made of minor nuisances, like being unable to work with extreme precision on small, delicate things. Once in a blue moon, though, they can lead to horrific injury. If you are dealing with a rotating tool, consider taking off the gloves. Cordless drills are almost always fine, so long as you're the one holding the drill. IF YOU ARE WORKING WITH A LATHE, DRILL PRESS, OR OTHER LARGE ROTATING TOOL, LOSE YOUR GLOVES AND LONG-SLEEVE SHIRT IMMEDIATELY. If your glove or shirt gets caught in a lathe, your hand or arm is going to come off. Lathe accidents where clothing gets caught typically end in death or permanent injury.

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    Not to mention long hair and lathes. If you're lucky, you'll only lose a patch of scalp. If unlucky, well... ew.
    – Doresoom
    Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 16:08
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    very good advice for when working in a work shop, however this is harder when working outside with hand hold drills etc
    – Walker
    Commented Jan 24, 2011 at 16:42
  • The new principal that we got my senior year insisted that male teachers had to wear ties ... including the shop teachers. Most were a lab coat over top so it'd stay down, but it just seemed like an accident waiting to happen to me. (lathes, drill press, printing presses, etc.)
    – Joe
    Commented Nov 28, 2011 at 1:13
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    @joe - And that's where you turn the prinicipal in to OSHA for creating an unsafe work environment. A few soul cleansing fines later turns you into a "True Believer". Commented Apr 5, 2013 at 19:35

The single most effective way to protect you hands, in any situation, is to think. No amount of protective gear can give the same level of protection. Your example of the glove getting caught is avoidable by consider exactly where both your hand and the drill are in relation to each other. This is the stuff you get taught on the first day of trade school, or at least it was way back when.

Make no mistake, I have the scars, some pretty serious, to prove I haven't always thought properly about what I was doing but that doesn't change the fact that the brain is our best protection.

In regard to gloves, I don't wear them as a rule. I decide whether or not to wear them based on what I'm doing and what I'm handling. I'm especially careful about gloves near machinery. I personally prefer to risk getting cut than risk having a finger, hand or arm ripped off. As for kevlar gloves, I've always found them far too easily cut to justify the expense. Give me a good pair of properly fitting leather rigger's gloves any day.

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