Inexpensive Kevlar Gloves-- Read Please


Feb 17, 1999
Do you test knives? Do you practice martial arts with knives? Do you grind or polish knives?

This is not an ad, merely something I've posted on rec.knives that apparently not everyone is yet aware of or taking advantage of

WW Grainger, (an industrial wholesale supplier, sells very inexpensive Kevlar(tm) glass handling gloves that can save your digits when testing knives. They even sell some combination gloves that combine Kevlar(tm) and Spectra(tm) and stainless steel for incredible protection. They also sell some cut resistant sleeves to use in combination with the gloves for forearm protection.

I've been using a pair of their mid weight canary yellow knit Kevlar gloves for knife testing for a couple years and haven't yet managed to cut them or tear them even on purpose. Unlike the clunky chainmail type gloves that some sporting goods and department stores sell, these are made for professional tradesmen and offer greater flexibility and mobility.

I even used to use a set as liners for motorcycle riding gloves since their abrasion resistance is so high.

These gloves retail between $3 and $24/pair US, depending on which ones are selected. The pair I've gotten such good service out of has recently come down from $7/pr to $5/pr. If you're use is extreme, or even just practical, you can't afford not to be wearing something like this.

I do not have any connection whatsoever with WW. Grainger, Whizard Protective Wear, North, Perfect Fit, or Wells Lamont, (the different glove companies), but thought I'd mention this just as a public service for those that care to seek out these products. In a nutshell, it bugs me when I read of folks getting cut testing their knives.

Mike Turber: Want a natural product for the bladeforum store? WW. Grainger is a wholesaler, and many here won't have easy access to these products. They also give discounts for quanity purchases. Need I say more?

Another thing I ought to mention is eye protection. Grainger has a whole line of inexpensive eye protection as well. I would highly recommend some of the line of Uvex wraparounds that look like big sunglasses.

Get your gear wherever you want, but please, do get it. Nuff said.

Stay safe, have fun,
good post. I do not do a lot of "testing" but will definatly pick up a pair for sharpening my blades as well as drill and dremel work.
you are right about w.w. grainger as a company. their catalog is an excellent resorce for a huge cross reference of products. (and darned hard to keep other departments from walking away with!) if your company doesn't have an account, get one.
MPS, are these gloves solid enough to offer protection against a lock failure causing the blade to collapse and impact upon your fingers or are they just for protection against slashing type accidents? Either way I would like to see them added to the BladeForums store.

This is a very good post that might be useful to many of us here. Another sorce for these is McMaster Carr, another industrial supply house at They've got the kevlar and spectra goves you mention, as well as the kevlar/spectra/stainless ones. They also have the kevlar type and kevlar/spectra/stainless sleeves that run from wrist to mid-bicep, heck, even a kevlar glove/sleeve combo.
Around the shop here, McMaster Carr is our "yellow bible", and Grainger is our "red bible". You can damn near build a rocket in your basement with the stuff from these catalogs. Good stuff.

Don LeHue

The first sign of poor craftsmanship is wrinkles in the duct tape.


I got some inexpensive gloves (kevlar or spectra) from somewhere, I think maybe Gall's. They were the low-end versions, a few bucks per glove basically. I've never cut myself with them on, but just out of curiosity I laid on flat on a cutting board, and did a medium-hard chop with my 4"-blade TKK (not exactly the most powerful chopper in the world, but it's got a thin sharp edge). Cut through like it was going through butter! Now I wear two gloves on each hand. The gloves are so cheap, I ordered a medium and large for each hand, and slip one glove over the other.

I checked the "yellow bible" at work, and sure enough McMaster Carr has many of the same line and sometimes perhaps even a bit cheaper, though with the multiple price breaks that both co.s offer various entities and institutions, the best bet is to call if you have access to these co.s

Cliff, the impact resistance depends on the level of dexterity that you're willing to give up. As Don and I mentioned, these things come in a vast array of thicknesses, materials, lengths and prospective uses. There's at least 5 or 6 different companies with different model lines represented just in the WW. Grainger and McMaster Carr catalogs alone. My goal is not to recommend any specific ones, but rather just to make people aware that these are out there for lots cheaper than most folks might initially assume.

I don't have experience with the thickest and heaviest of the Kelvar + Spectra + stainless ones. But, I can tell you that I've had folders close on my mid-weight plain Kevlar ones and they will keep you from getting cut. You might get pinched or bruised, but you won't loose a finger.

What's funny is that when you first see them, you'll think they mistakenly sent you some of Grannie's gardening gloves. Just try out your newest, sharpest blade on them to convince yourself of what they really offer. I can't cut mine even by laying them on a board and trying. (Well, OK, I didn't get out the sheet metal snips or the pruning shears to see if dual jaws and raw force could defeat them.)

I purposely have not bought any of the thickest, heaviest, most extreme use ones, just because I think it might defeat some of my purpose in obtaining them in the first place, if they too radically changed my feel for the knives. I only really wear them for lock and stabbing tests, but they've proven their worth in those aspects many times over, as I can still type with all my fingers.


You can get similar gloves at stores around here like at Canadian Tire, they are often advertized for people who do a lot of filleting fish and who don't know what they are doing I suppose. If you have to wear the gloves I would not want to try to eat the fillet. Anyway I never thought much of the quality, but I will look into it now.

For your next review Mike/Spark you might want to grab a bunch of these gloves and hack them to pieces and see just how much force is need to cut each one up. That would be very valuable information for the bladeforum members and of course it would do wonders for selling which ever pair you pick to go in the store.

Yah, and remember to try some light chops. With my gloves, I can grab a sharp blade firmly and run my hand down it. But it came right apart with a quick whippy chop.

It would be interesting to see just how much chopping the heavier gloves would stand up to. If they were really sturdy I would get a pair for some woodworking - then again that probably would give me a tendancy to get sloppy.

Joe how much chopping resistance to do think is needed to protect against lock failure?

One slightly dangerous test would be to take a really resistant glove (a full chain mail one) and wear the other spectra/kevlar over it.

You could then take several non-locking folders and see how much damage they do to the spectra/kevlar gloves as the result of good hard stabs causing the blade to collapse on your hand.

Well, damnit, Joe's right. Using a relatively soft Forschner Chinese Cleaver, I just lopped off the finger of one of the mid-wt. Perfect Fit brand all Kevlar gloves, with little to no trouble. ;(

Interestingly, these same gloves have in the past protected me from slipjoint failures. I think that Cliff is right to wonder about how much chopping resistance is needed for lock failures. Since one's hand or fingers generally limit the arc of closure. Still it's a good data point to know where these things will definitely fail. Next, I'll have to try some of the Whizard Spectra types. (Rhetorical question: Do I really want to try to purposely destroy some $25pr gloves?)

One thing that admirers of serrations will surely want to know is that on the Wells Lamont web site there is a specific caution that these gloves are not proof against high speed machinery or serrated blades.
Clearly, not all of them are proof agaisnt deliberate chopping, either, but they still beat the heck out of plain leather for slicing resistance.

As far as this genre only appealing to those who don't know how to filet a fish, I suggest visiting a large scale production fish house or slaughterhouse. Of course the popularity of Kevlar and Spectra gloves in large meat packing plants could well be much akin to two of my pet peeves, the ineffective, (read dangerous) Velcro and elastic back braces that are so much in vogue as fashion statements at materials houses, and clumsy, klunky steel toed shoes that just guarantee that one aquires sloppy habits. ;( Still, the gloves make sense to me in conjunction with deliberatly putting one's self in harm's way as in knife tests and martial arts practice.

more later,
I use kevlar gloves when I scuba dive. they don't get cut if I have to grab a rock or (shudder at the thought) have to grab coral to steady or stop myself. I have never had a hand cut due to using them.