It goes without question that when one is whittling or whittle carving¹, one should be wearing a good quality carving glove. The best kind have a micro steel wire, often stainless, sewn into the fabric. Also, avoid those bulky ones… look for a good fitting glove. But, here, I want to mention the “other carving glove.”
I am one of those folks that like to have their work fastened securely in a vise or attached to a work positioner. Doing so, keeps my hands out or ‘harm’s way” and as my hands have aged… it’s just plain easier on them.
Often, when using gouges I tend to use the palms of my hands as a mallet to provide that little extra nudge. I know, not too smart… especially for aging hands but its fast and easy. To help cushion the blow, I wear one of a couple of bicycling gloves that I have. One has a minimal amount of padding in the palm (but they are suede and cool looking with a woven back) and the other pair has a generous gel pad on the palm. I use the latter for heavy work. The suede pair is pretty much for lighter work and for when I want to look cool. Although cycling gloves come with and without fingers, my gloves are both fingerless so I have good control and can pick up small things easily.
Gloves also provide a better grip both on gouges and mallets and being leather, I don’t get sweaty with them. I have seen folks wear those rubber or neoprene faced gardening gloves but they do get sweaty. I’ll take leather any time.
While they do not replace a “real” carving glove, simply because they provide a layer of leather on top of my skin they do offer slight protection. However no protection for the forward part of one’s fingers. I am proud to say that my gloves are many years old and neither have no slices or blood stains on them.
If you are holding your work in your hand and carving or whittling with the other, put on a real carver’s glove.
Thanks for reading, always be “carveful” and stay sharp!
Please visit my website at www.MichaelKellerWoodcarving.com
¹ “Whittle carving” is a clever and well-aimed term coined by Don Mertz, an excellent “whittle carver.” www.woodbeecarver.com