Hand Protection While Whittling

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Forum topic by Leah posted 10-12-2015 02:49 PM 1150 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 381 days

10-12-2015 02:49 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I’ve recently taken up whittling and am very much enjoying it.

My first project was with cedar and it went well. However now I’m working with macrocarpa and have cut myself twice already.

I’m hoping that time and experience will help me get a better at preventing mistakes like that, but until then I’m looking into hand protection.

I’ve done a little bit of reading on it and it seems that thumb guards are popular, but so far my thumb has been fine and I’ve cut my two middle fingers instead.
I’ve looked into protective gloves a bit, but it seems that the more protection you have, the less flexibility your hands have. As I’m working with reasonably small bits of wood, flexibility is important to me.

Any advice, experience or information you can give me would be very much appreciated.

7 replies so far

View Bluepine38's profile


3336 posts in 2507 days

#1 posted 10-12-2015 03:31 PM

I got a great deal on kevlar gloves, they protect my hand and are very flexible. Have you looked at wood
carving vises and holding fixtures, they help to keep your fingers a little farther away from the blade. One
more thought, the sharper the blade, the better it cuts the wood, not the hand.

-- As ever, Gus-the 77 yr young apprentice carpenter

View helluvawreck's profile


22687 posts in 2288 days

#2 posted 10-12-2015 04:28 PM

Depending on what I’m carving I use Kevlar gloves or just a leather thumb protector.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View BasementShop's profile


69 posts in 722 days

#3 posted 10-12-2015 04:37 PM

Those that carve wear the glove on the holding hand and a thumb guard on the carving hand. It will save your thumb when pulling the knife to it in a paring cut.

You won’t lose dexterity wearing a glove. And you get to keep that red dye running through your veins inside where it won’t stain your work inappropriately.

And – learn this lesson early – sharp blades make carving and whittling a pleasure while dull ones make it a chore.

Here is a great place to get your carving and whittling goodies.

Basement Shop

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2390 posts in 2344 days

#4 posted 10-13-2015 02:08 AM

When I was taught to whittle I was told: “Wear a Band-Aid on your thumb now or for a week after whittling” Your choice Just put on finger guards over your cuts and keep them there while whittling.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View paratrooper34's profile (online now)


867 posts in 2374 days

#5 posted 10-13-2015 09:26 PM

There are some really nice (and reasonably priced) gloves out there that are cut resistant. We use them at work. They are very thin, thus you have very good dexterity, and they really work. They have a rubberized coating. One day, I took one and slashed it with a razor knife with a brand new blade. Zero penetration into the inside. Below is a link to one type.

-- Mike

View Aj2's profile


632 posts in 1220 days

#6 posted 10-14-2015 12:27 AM

Black pepper will coagulate your cut faster so you can get back to whittling.Just sprinkle a little on before the bandage.

View Leah's profile


2 posts in 381 days

#7 posted 10-24-2015 05:51 AM

Sorry for such late replies. I’ve been sick and busy, which is really not a good combination.

Thanks so much for all your input!

I haven’t thought about them at all. It sounds like they could be useful, thanks!

Thanks! Unfortunately Treeline’s overseas shipping costs are quite prohibitive. I might look for something closer to where I live.
I’m trying to keep my blade sharp, but I have a lot to learn about that. I have an oil stone, a steel, and a leather belt/strop. I’ve been sharpening kitchen knives for a year or so, and I’m slowly getting better. I’m finding my whittling blade more difficult to sharpen (it’s this) as it’s thinner, shorter, and has a strong curve. Any advice on this would be great!


Jim Finn
Thanks! I’ve heard that several layers of duct tape works too. I might try something like that while I work on a longer term solution.

Thanks! I see lots of different types of gloves, but it’s really hard to tell how well they hold up. It’s great to hear from someone with first hand experience.

Thanks! I’ll have to try that. I’m not so much worried about the cuts themselves, but rather the idea of accumulating a lot of scar tissue on my fingers.

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