Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Prudent Prepping: Gloves

The dust has settled and the First 72 Hours have passed. Now we concentrate  on what to do in, and how to plan for, the long term via Prudent Prepping.

Keeping the "Eww" 
Off of You

Erin interviewed me on this episode of the Gun Blog Variety Podcast about gloves, and then she suggested a follow-up article with a bit more information than could be squeezed into a few minutes of radio.

Hand Protection
In a Shop class many years ago, I heard something that has stuck with me and I have used in power tool training classes ever since. The teacher always finished his instructions for the day with this: "Okay inventory time! Look at your hands, count your fingers and finish with what you started!" Which, at the time, seemed pretty funny coming from a guy missing parts of two fingers on his left hand. This doesn't lead directly into gloves and their uses, but it does remind me to pay attention to what I'm doing and where I'm putting my hands.

Most of my construction experience is in interior finishing: hanging and finishing drywall, painting and trim work. But since those jobs come at the tail end of the building cycle, I had to be familiar with foundation forming, framing, rough electrical work and any other trade that needed a "helper" on the job site. This meant that I spent a lot of time on the 'dumb' end of jobs catching, pulling, drilling or carrying things with hands that were less-callused than those of the skilled people. I wore a lot of gloves, and I wore them out. I have definite preferences, since some brands don't fit my short fingers well, so I am mentioning the brands that fit me (and my budget) best.

I wear leather gloves for most jobs not involving water, solvents or precise handling of parts. Leather gloves have prevented many injuries to me and possibly the loss of a finger or two.

Years ago I needed to pour some concrete and the recommended reinforcement was welded wire, otherwise known as 'hog wire'. This is heavy diameter wire welded in a 4"x 6"pattern and sold in 6'x50' rolls. These rolls are wound pretty tightly and secured in four places by wires running around the coil. Since it was summer and due to get very hot, I had to get the wire down before the truck came at 8 a.m. As I cut the last tie wire, my off-hand was sucked into the rapidly unwinding wire, all the way up past my knuckles. Luckily I was wearing gloves, and using my linesman pliers as leverage, I was able to work my hand out of the glove after about 5 minutes. There aren't too many people out to ask for help at 6 a.m. on a Saturday.

I find these Wells Lamont gloves work well for me and last a long time. If I know that the job is going to be moving blocks, bricks or demolition, I will use these cheaper gloves since a precise fit is not required for grunt work.

Spring is here and many garden chemicals are easily absorbed through the skin, meaning gloves should be worn here as well. When working with pesticides or other chemicals like bleach, stains, solvents or non-latex paints, I use nitrile gloves such as these. They are priced cheap enough to replace frequently during to job so the risk of puncture is much less.

Nitrile is also a very good choice for protection from automotive chemicals or cleaners such as carburetor cleaners, antifreeze, brake fluid and motor oil. If I am working with something really corrosive like acids, or I'm mixing concrete for long periods, I will switch to something like this chemical resistant style. 

I keep nitrile gloves in my first aid kit and as extras in my BOB and GHB because they will prevent contamination from someone else's bodily fluids or other hazards (biological or chemical) that you might find at an accident scene or other emergency situation. I recommend nitrile over latex because nitrile will not aggravate anyone with a latex allergy, whether it is the person wearing them or the person being treated. 

I suggest buying them in 100 count boxes and dividing gloves between friends -- unless you have cars that need regular maintenance and are using gloves like kleenex as I do. In that case, keep the whole box for yourself!

Cut Resistant
These gloves are made from kevlar or similar fibers like those in bullet proof vests and will prevent (most) cuts from knives, glass, sheet metal or plastics such as laminate countertops. Cut resistant means what it says, though: it resists cuts, but it isn't proof against them. If the item is sharp enough and you try long enough, you can cut through the gloves. 

I have a pair of gloves like these in my BOB. I used them for handling metal duct work under a house when installing new floor registers. Due to the odd places this piping had to run, creative trimming was needed and new, even sharper edges were exposed. The kevlar gloves realy saved my hands.

  • Be prepared! Have several types of gloves in your supplies. 
  • Buy bulk or multiples, so you can share. 
  • Wear gloves when performing tasks that require them; your hands are precious.
    As always, if you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!

    NOTE: All items tested were purchased by me. No products have been loaned in exchange for a favorable review. Any items sent to me for T&E will be listed as such. Suck it Feds.

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