Woodworking, electrical, plumbing, renovation, demolition, gardening, and just about anything else having to do with DIY home projects have one major thing in common: you work with your hands and your hands usually take a beating. This week's Toolbox Tuesday entry aims to help you reduce the wear and tear your aching hands probably experience.
When I was in college, I worked in Cleveland one summer for a guy named Tom Kofron. He is a master plumber, master electrician, master carpenter, and the guy who taught me the basics of just about everything I've used on our DIY renovation. Tom has been in the construction business for going on 30 years, and one of the things I always remember him talking about was the true torture his hands have experienced over the years.
Almost every project I work on that gives me an end result of pride, also gives me aching fingers. As a software developer in real life, my hands are quite an important part of my career. When my fingers are aching, that's all I can really think about. I can't type or mouse as effectively, which impacts my job because I can't think about the problems I'm trying to solve, only the fact that the tiny keys feel like they have small needles that keep sticking into my tired little piggies, each one just wants to go wee wee wee all the way home. At least that was the case, until recently.
After years of either sacrificing dexterity while wearing typical medium weight cloth and leather workman's gloves (the ones you see for $5 for a three pack), or cutting up my fingers when wearing no gloves at all, I was watching NASCAR one afternoon and started to notice that all of the pit crew members were wearing form fitting Mechanix brand gloves. It got me to thinking, if these guys are working in engines and on cars, a profession that can really tear up your hands, they must be a good lead to follow. From this, I decided to take the plunge and buy a pair of their fancy schmancy gloves.
The gloves I decided to try were a Mechanix brand commercial grade glove. The gloves fit, well...like I glove. They are made with a spandex material and thick synthetic leather on the palm and finger area, and are properly sized and form fitting. The padded but stretch material gives excellent protection to the back of my hand and knuckles, while the synthetic leather on the fingers protects from small cuts, splinters, and all of the ridges and bumps that usually result in pain after repeatedly gripping. These gloves are great, and have really put up with a fair amount of abuse with little wear and tear on my digits.
For me, the real test was the first time I spent the whole day doing electrical work while wearing the gloves. All day I was wire fishing, stripping, crimping, pigtailing, and twisting wire nuts on Romex. Normally a pain enducing endeavor, my hands actually felt nice, fresh and ready for day two of the project. These gloves are a real winner, and one of the "tools" I've stocked in my toolbox that actually lets me work longer and pain free. Since that day, you'll be hard pressed to find me doing anything hard on my hands without first wrapping my paws in my new trusty companions.
If you've been using the cheaper gloves, do yourself a favor and pick up a pair of the gloves I've outlined. They are a bit more expensive, but they'll last longer, give you more comfort, and are sure to put you and your hands in a better mood.
Spending over $2 on a pair of gloves was painful at first, but the pain relief in my hands will allow them to more easily fork over the extra cash. Are any of you work glove converts? Do you have a brand or style that you prefer over all others? Please let me know. My pair of gloves are getting worn and I need to start shopping for my next set.