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Gloves Technical Information

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Basics of... Gloves

There are a variety of factors that influence proper glove selection. Follow this general guideline to assist in the process.

  • Analyze and evaluate the conditions to which you will subject the glove and thoroughly analyze any chemicals handled.
  • Determine the types of physical contact, such as:

*Sharp objects *Abrasion *Cuts and slashes

  • Temperature: If high heat or cold conditions are a factor in your work environment, three questions need to be considered to choose the proper hand protection:
  • What is the size and weight of the object you are in contact with?
  • What is the duration of contact you will have with the object?
  • What is the potential temperature range for the application?
  • Choose the glove with the highest rating for chemical and physical conditions.
  • Determine application needs and glove requirements:
  • Breakthrough Detection Time (BDT): time it takes for a chemical to pass through the glove material measured in minutes.
  • Dexterity: select unsupported (unlined) gloves for extra dexterity and sense of touch. If cut, snag, puncture, or abrasionresistance is important, match the application's critical factors to the glove's physical characteristics - whether supported or unsupported.
  • Grip: select a grip pattern that provides grip needed for the job. Common patterns are diamond embossed, pebble, patterned, dipped or smooth.
  • Length: choose glove length by the depth to which the arm will be immersed or exposed to chemical splash.
  • Size: correct size will ensure optimum wear comfort, dexterity and employee satisfaction.
  • Glove colors could be a factor in work areas for identifying product exposure.

Glove Styles

Glove Styles
  • Clute Pattern - sewn with seams on the back of the glove at every finger and straight thumb.
  • Gunn Pattern - features fully wrapped leather index fingers and thumbs, leather fingertips, leather knuckle straps, wing thumb design, shirred elastic back and continuous pull. Open cuff design allows the wearer easy on/off. Usually very generously sized.
  • Reversible (Ambidextrous) - allows the glove to be worn on either hand, thus doubling the wear surface. Available in a variety of materials. All disposable gloves (vinyl, latex, nitrile, polyethylene) are reversible. Reversible gloves are also available in machine knit, cotton lisle inspectors, natural jersey, Kevlar knit and most of the reinforced cut-resistant gloves.

Thumb Patterns

  • Keystone Thumb - an inset thumb on full leather glove patterns. Keystone thumbs provide additional wear and greater comfort.
  • Straight Thumb - a glove thumb that normally lies straight with the index finger. They are common in most fabric gloves and drivers' gloves.
  • Wing Thumb - glove construction that angles the thumb diagonally across the palm. Frequently found in leather palm gloves, wing thumbs improve comfort similar to inset thumb designs.

Cuff Styles

Cuff Styles
  • Knit Wrist - machine knit cuff material using elasticized fabrics to close around the wrist similar to that of a sweatshirt. Minimizes soil that can get inside of gloves.
  • Band Top - 1 1/2 to 2" cuff which enables easy on and off while protecting the wrist.
  • Safety Cuff - 2 1/2" cuff that allows for protection of the wrist and easy, fast removal.
  • Gauntlet Cuff - 4 1/2 to 5" cuff that protects both wrists and forearms.
  • Slip-On Cuff - Open-end gloves that make on/off easy. This style is usually found in drivers' gloves.


There are a variety of leathers used in the manufacture of industrial gloves. The types of leathers used include:

  • Cowhide: strong and supple leather that is slit to obtain both top grain (smooth) and split (suede) cuts. Once it is tanned, cowhide is used in drivers, leather-palmed, welders and specialized heat gloves.
  • Pigskin: tanned for ruggedness and flexibility. Large pores characterize top grain pigskin where the coarse hairs of the animal have been removed. Perform well in wet applications because they remain supple even after drying.
  • Goatskin: used to make leather gloves where dexterity in a leather glove is the most important aspect of the glove. Goatskin has high lanolin content, which keeps the leather very flexible and durable. The lanolin makes goatskin gloves feel the best of any leather glove a wearer can use.

Chemical Resistance

Both unlined and coated gloves intended for chemical protection come in a variety of materials. Depending on what you are protecting the wearers hands from, the application will dictate which form of hand protection is best suited.

  • Unsupported - gloves are either unlined or flock lined. Flock lining makes it easier for wearer to put on or take off.
  • Coated - linings are typically made of knit or jersey materials. Both absorb perspiration and insulate, however, jersey is thicker than knit offering better protection in hot or cold applications.
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