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Before you grab any old pair of cotton work or gardening gloves and launch into your spring checklist, take a stroll through your local hardware store. You’ll find superior hand protection in a variety of technical fabrics, specialized coatings, and form-fitting designs. What you may not find, especially if you have smaller hands, are gloves in your size. As a woman who renovates, I often have to buy online or ask the store to order my size. In general, choose a specialized glove that is geared to the hazards you’ll encounter.
While no work glove is completely impervious to cuts, some are far more resilient than others. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) scores cut resistance on a scale of one to nine. An A4 glove offers good protection for cottage construction projects.
If you’re planning to build a retaining wall or rock garden this summer, you’ll want a glove that protects you from scraped knuckles and bruises. Impact-resistant gloves offer padding on the palm and heavy-duty rubber on the back of the hand, fingers, and knuckles. There are three levels of ANSI impact protection—level 2 will stand up to most cottage chores.
Loose gloves chafe your skin, so don’t settle for oversized work gloves for repetitive tasks, such as clearing brush. Choose a form-fitting glove with elasticated material and padding for blister protection.
Whether you’re cleaning, painting, or pouring concrete, every cottager should own watertight and chemical-resistant gloves. A heavyweight 8-mil nitrile disposable glove will protect you from most splashes. However, if you’re going to be submerging your hands in anything nasty, a PVC-coated gauntlet glove is your best bet. Check the manufacturer’s label to see what chemicals a glove is approved for before diving in.
If you plan on welding, grilling, or managing a campfire, a specialized heat- and (possibly) flame-resistant glove should be on your shopping list. Materials like leather, silicone, rubber, and aramid fibres (including Kevlar) resist heat to varying degrees. Only use a glove that’s been manufacturer-approved and certified (ANSI ASTM F1060-08 or EN407) for your intended application.