More from the anti-splinter front
A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the splinters I got when working with Baltic birch to make a set of kitchen cabinets. I honestly thought the comments would be split down the middle between opposing “You’re a wimp, Rob!" and “I hate splinters, too!” camps.
Either folks took pity on me or I hit upon an agreeable stance on a subject. Either way, I’m pleased to see so many other woodworkers and DIYers get splinters. too. Well, that’s not really what I mean. It’s more that I’m glad I’m not the only one who has to pull shards of embedded hardwood out of their flesh while woodworking. If I were the only one, I’d know I was doing something wrong. When we’re all suffering, I can at least feel like I’m a part of a larger anti-splinter movement.
I received a few glove recommendations last week, via online comments and emails. I picked up a pair of Wurth Tigerflex Ergo Plus gloves and have been using them ever since. They’re a bit thinner than the Milwaukee gloves I had, so they allow for more dexterity when writing and manipulating hand tools. I still find it hard to find the end of the masking tape, but the gloves aren’t hard to remove for these sorts of tasks. I’ve since had only one tiny splinter, but that could very well have been from one of the few times I handled some material without my gloves. Putting them on isn’t quite second nature, but I’m getting there. I have a feeling I’ll continue using them for breakout and other rougher tasks around the shop, but likely not wear them while working with hand tools.
My New Gloves
These new Wurth Tigerflex gloves are what I’ve been wearing in my shop over the past week. They’re a bit thinner than most of my other gloves, which makes them great for writing and other finer shop tasks.
One of the commenters mentioned how oak was also great at poking holes in woodworkers, and I have to agree. When I used white oak for the first time a few months ago, I didn’t find it troublesome, however red oak can be one of the worst culprits for splinters. But that’s not the worst thing about red oak.
What’s the worst thing about red oak, you ask? Between its weird smell, its wild and eccentric grain, its unattractive colour, and the fact that it’s just about everywhere you turn, what’s there to love about red oak?
It’s not all bad
The only thing I enjoy about red oak is when it’s quarter cut, because its medullary rays are quite attractive. Strangely (or maybe not so strangely, considering I don’t like its natural colour), red oak is about the only wood species I apply wood stain to. I like a rich dark brown stain on red oak to cover up its natural colour. I’ve also been known to give it a white wash from time to time to cover up that reddish tint I so dislike.
Another commenter mentioned wenge, and its propensity to puncture woodworkers. No question, it can cause lots of pain and suffering, though I don’t often work with wenge solid. I use wenge veneer in the odd project, and it gives off a splinter here and there, but solid wood is where most splinters come from. I just realized…that’s yet another benefit of using veneer over solid wood!
The worst splinters
I’m no expert when it comes to metal, but I’ve had to machine it from time to time. I’ve made some steel and brass brackets, and used sheet copper in a few projects. Brass and copper are quite soft, but steel sure isn’t. I remember getting a tiny shaving of steel embedded in my finger after drilling a few holes. That felt even worse than wood splinters.
Valentine's Day P.S.A.
Over the past three years I’ve made an initialed wooden heart for both of my kids. Each time I used a different wood and a different method of adorning it. Don’t worry, they get some chocolates too. They don’t suffer.
I’m partially adding this note so you can consider doing something similar in time for Valentine’s Day. I’m also mentioning this so I don’t forget, as I’ve got lots on the go at the moment.
I made these Valentine’s Day hearts over the past three years for my kids. They’re an easy and unique way to show them they’re loved.