How to not lose a finger when cutting

Cutting Ninjas
Cutting Ninjas

Hello boys and girls, still here but pulled in a thousand directions getting the factory running smoothly. Things are going well and we have some open production slots so call or email if you’re looking for low minimum production sewing. Moving on.

Mr. Fashion-Incubator (at right) has taken on the job of cutting and early on, we had a teachable moment.

Anyone who has been to my factory knows that I’m very strict about safety. Closed toe shoes will only get you in the door -there’s more to it. For example, stitchers are required to wear safety glasses for a few seams after changing a presser foot or needle. This policy protects the stitcher in the event the needle or the presser foot is not well seated.

Cutting with a knife requires a whole other level of vigilance. The cutter must wear a metal chain link glove and safety glasses. This is why:

Apparently, it wasn't Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick.
Apparently, it wasn’t Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick.

One distracted moment shouldn’t mean losing a finger. The glove requirement isn’t unusual but safety glasses are -those will protect your eyes in the event the blade shatters. And it will.

Keep in mind that the glove is only for straight knives, not the round knives. You shouldn’t wear a chain glove with the latter. The reason is that the glove will chink the blade (as it did above), causing your glove and the blade to interlock. This can pull your hand into the blade -at best- and at worst, the whole shooting match can come flying up into your face. In sum, it is more dangerous to use a glove with a round knife than not. The reciprocating blade of the straight knife, kicks your hand out and away from the knife. As to what protection you should use with a round knife, this is a big question and I don’t know anybody with an answer. Round knives are inexpensive and a great option for cutting low plies with relatively straight lines, but being able to protect yourself while using them, is dicey.

If I’ve convinced you that you need better protection, many suppliers carry these and at a wide price range. I thought I’d save a few dollars and bought one on Amazon -I do not recommend the one I bought for fabric cutting. It may be perfect for kitchens but not the cutting room. It weighed less than my previous gloves and was too large. Speaking of, sizing is important. Gloves typically run large so you may need to go down one size. Good gloves come with a retaining plastic thingie but truth be told, I’m the only one I’ve ever seen use it. In the end, I went back to the place I’d purchased the original glove and was pleased to see it actually cost about $20 less than the Amazon glove (didn’t include shipping tho) and quite a bit less than I remembered paying (the price listed in the photo is incorrect).

Happy cutting!

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4 comments

    • kathleen says:

      You mostly cut with the first three so I could see how someone would prefer the 3 fingered ones. I have never seen someone using those but they wouldn’t sell them if somebody weren’t buying them. For all I know, they’re preferable. Maybe somebody else has something to say about it.

  1. Good post!

    I once had to pick up a cutter’s finger and put in a cup with ice to rush him to hospital…
    You have NO IDEA how paranoid that little incident made me about wearing those gloves!!!
    Even with those gloves on, the team is FORBIDDEN from talking to the cutter or standing near him until he’s turned the blade off…

    • kathleen says:

      The bit of blade that shattered scared me enough that I’ve dictated that anyone in the cutting room while the knife is running, must also wear safety glasses.

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