I do some of my soldering in a place that’s cold (in winter), and
would like to wear a pair of gloves with the fingertips cut off. I
bought a cheap pair of knit gloves (80% acrylic, 17% polyester, 3%
“other fiber”) which fit fine. Then I took the cut-off fingertip,
set it on a firebrick and put the torch to it. Well, it burned so
cheerfully and so long that I reasoned that this could be the wrong
fiber content for gloves used near heat.
Can anyone suggest a better fiber for cheap gloves to use to keep my
hands warm? I don’t expect them to be 100% fireproof (I have
never burnt myself with my torch). Would cotton or wool or plain
polyester be better?
(80% acrylic, 17% polyester, 3% "other fiber") which fit fine.
Then I took the cut-off fingertip, set it on a firebrick and put
the torch to it. Well, it burned
The problem with synthetic fabrics is that they melt when they burn.
Even if you get the fire out, the hot molten fabric sticks to the
skin. By the time it cools and solidifies the burn is serious. Wool
absorbs gases…if it absorbs welding gases before the torch is
struck, it can literally explode.
Welder’s clothing of choice is cotton and leather. I would recommend
leather gloves… avoid synthetic fabrics and wool. Both are unsafe.
Not sure if this will be of help or not, but thought I would pass the
along. McMaster Carr carries several fire resistant or
fire-proof gloves, mostly comprised of kevlar or similar materials.
The last I knew the cost was rather reasonable. If you do not have
their URL it is listed below:
As usual, I have no affiliation with the company. They are good
people to deal with and carry an incredible number of products and
Don’t use synthetics or blends ( other than kevlar or zetex) for
any hot work protection. They melt and stick to the skin and can
cause very bad burns… Washed Cotton tends to get very likely to
catch and spread fire but it is not as dangerous as the polyester or
acrylic synthetics. Wool will burn but it doesn’t tend to propagate
flames. To keep your hands warm wool might be best. I have seen knit
wool gloves without finger tips but where? You might want to consider
getting some infra red radiation type local heating to keep warm.
These heat the person and surfaces not the air so they make working
in cool places more pleasant and not too expensive.
For hot work gloves will get bulky and can get very expensive.
Judy, I don’t think you want polyester – it can melt in a fire,
spread over your skin, and give you a terrible burn. And you can’t
get it off! I think I’ve heard that wool is pretty good for
something like this, but I really haven’t had any experience with it
in a fire) fortunately!)
Can anyone suggest a better fiber for cheap gloves to use to
keep my hands warm? I don't expect them to be 100% fireproof (I
have never burnt myself with my torch). Would cotton or wool or
plain polyester be better?
Leather. The pale tan leather work gloves that one gets from the home
centers works just fine. I do an outdoor casting demo every February,
and the older worn pairs get the fingers cut off and used to keep my
knuckles and wrist very warm. Leather has the advantage of not
burning easily, and not fraying at the cut edges. Also, they fit
closely enough that I can put on welders gloves without taking off
You could also try adding a silk glove liner, if you are very cold
sensitive (I have a pair of the ones sold by Wintersilks). I don’t
need them in FL very often, but I don’t handle cold well, so they are
I’ve just recently seen an advertisement (a late nite, brief
commercial) for special oven gloves made for chefs who handle hot pan
handles and racks from the oven. They looked to be a fairly loose
fit. One of the fibers I recalled being used in the gloves is kelvar.
Kelvar is also good for protecting oneself from cuts. Now whether or
not you would be able to cut the fingertips off or not, I don’t know.
They were the usual $19.95 price of virtually every commercial
product out there. If you watch any of the cooking shows, you should
be able to find them. These gloves are fire/heat resistant, not
One thing I do know is that anything that is derived from a plastic
or a polymer will melt on your skin and continue melting long after
the fire is removed. Very nasty burns can happen. There is a fire
retardant solution in which you can soak cotton gloves to increase
the flame resistance. Again, as in children’s apparel, this is fire
resist, not fire proof. I don’t think we have anything available to
the average consumer that is actually fireproof.
SO glad you thought to test before wearing! Many of the synthetic
materials are quite flammable and will, as you found, burn
cheerfully. Others will melt to your skin fairly quickly at
relatively low temps – long before they would catch fire. One
night I went to casting class and had forgotten my casting clothes –
only had my nice meet-the-public clothes, which that day featured one
of my favorite blouses. The blouse is a polyester/nylon blend, and
when I went to open the door of the burnout oven, I could literally
feel the material of the blouse “change” instantly when the hot air
hit it (it actually moved, and was the oddest feeling). I quickly
backed off and had someone else do my actual pour for me that night.
I have no doubt based on what I felt that the blouse would have done
something really nasty had I continued.
I was taught in welding class to wear 100% cotton shirts and pants
(denim, preferably) and/or 100% wool. No synthetic blends. Reason
being that both will smolder and smell long before they will flash
and catch fire. Denim is fairly protectant against sparks that may
fly, as well.
The other option, but more expensive, would be leather. Perhaps you
could find a scuffed up pair of well-fitting leather gloves in a
second-hand store (pardon the pun) and sacrifice their fingers?
Leather is one of the best protective clothing materials (ask any
motorcycle enthusiast) and won’t catch fire easily at all.
While we’re on the subject, I have a bone to pick. There simply are
no manufacturers of fireproof gloves who make any for small hands.
The large standard assumed no women would be doing dangerous things
with fire!! I’ve size six and a half hands. That would translate to
small or extra small garden gloves. If I use the giant sized things
for casting, for instance, it seems I’m far more at risk than
protected, as my hands don’t even touch the insides, much less get a
grip. What is one to do? I latched onto some sort of fire-resistant
terry cloth gloves years ago from Swest. Now they aren’t even to be
As for warmth while soldering outside, I believe the only reasonable
solution is to acquire some thin cotton or silk liners and get a
good fit with really heavy cowhide suede work gloves from the
I’d love to hear from all the ladies out there who need smaller sized
gloves for all purposes. Perhaps there would be a maker impressed
with numbers. Women’s Work brand, for instance. They make wonderful
gloves! Just no fireproof ones - yet.
My college metals teacher convinced all her students that it was
hazardous to wear synthetic fibers while working with hot metals, as
the fiber could melt and stick to the skin, causing a more severe
burn than cotton, wool, or other natural fibers. While I’ve never had
this happen in the shop, I did have a chance to observe the
phenomenon (and get some minor burns) when wiring from a deployed air
bag (reversible lanes - who came up with that bright idea?!) melted
part of a polyester(?) corduroy shirt I was wearing at the time.
Plus, it stank to high heaven.
So I’d steer clear of the synthetics - maybe the wool would be best,
or how about leather? I seem to remember that www.campmor.com used
to carry grey deerskin womens’ gardening gloves at a very reasonable
price. These would be fairly insulative, and they’d protect your
hands and stay flexible even after soaking in water.
While we're on the subject, I have a bone to pick. There simply
are no manufacturers of fireproof gloves who make any for small
hands. The large standard assumed no women would be doing dangerous
things with fire!!
Boy, did you peg that one right! Are the glove manufacturers
listening? I agree that if it almost impossible to find anything for
smaller hands let alone asking for something so “unique” as
fireproof. I have the same problem as I’m sure many women do. If
anyone has knowledge of where to buy or who manufactures smaller size
glove, please speak up.
Yes, you are correct, they are not made for women. I add my voice as
one who would love to know a company that would make some usable
sizes for women and maybe numbers can effect that change…a petition
that might add our names to a request perhaps?
I’m only too happy to pick that bone alongside you - why is that
clothing and PPE manufacturers assume that women never play with hot
things, go outside in winter, work with power tools, or even walk on
the occasional unpaved surface?! I’ve had the same problem finding
gloves (of almost any kind) that fit, and safety glasses, and hiking
boots, etc., etc. Moreover, when you finally do manage to find such
things designed for women, they tend to come in stupid and
embarrassing colors. I fly into a bit of a tizzy every time I see a
catalog with things like “Men’s All-Weather Parka - color:
khaki/olive drab. Womens’ All-Weather Parka - color: lime/fuchsia.”
Right, rant aside, maybe it is possible to pressure the folks
responsible for such things to make us chicks some properly sized
protective equipment. Just let me know who to e-mail…
(Oh, and the “Safety Glasses for Small Faces,” with the little boy
on the packaging, fit just fine!)
My suspicion is that there is a country out there with smaller sized
hands than the average large North American, perhaps Japan, where
smaller glove sizes are available. Anyone have any experience with
In Alexandria, Indiana is a company that makes firproof suits and
gloves for alot of the race drivers in professional racing. I grew
up there, and back then it was called ‘The Glove Corporation’. I
don’t think it goes by that name anymore, but I am pretty sure its
still in business. If you want to do a little research, it may be a
possible source for your needs. Its located at the corner of
Harrison(main NS) and Church(EW) Streets in Alexandria Indiana. I’m
sure the local chamber of commerce could give you their name and