Posted by: Michael Keller Woodcarving | February 8, 2015

The Other Woodcarving Glove

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.

L1060421Suede (makes me look “Cool”) Gloves

L1060422Heavy Gel Gloves

Thanks for reading, always be “carveful” and stay sharp!

Please visit my website at

¹ “Whittle carving” is a clever and well-aimed term coined by Don Mertz, an excellent “whittle carver.”


  1. Unlike Michael, my hands are already old and I have found these gloves useful for doing all types of woodworking and carpentry. Thanks for reaffirming my practice.

  2. Excellent post of a very necessary accessory for any kind of carving. Your words fits like a glove and is a good reminder for all carvers. Most of the nicks and slight cuts come when not wearing a glove on those “short cuts” taken while in a hurry or when being impatient. Yes, always be “CARVEFUL.” Thanks.

  3. What a great idea – May help my dainty lady hands from getting so many callouses from carving too 😉

  4. About the time I started carving again I was diagnosed with a condition that requires me to take blood-thinning medication. Add one to the other and I am one careful carver. No cuts are made at random. I do not recommend the motivation, but the result is better work.

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