The Offshore Voyaging Reference Site

We Can Never Have Too Many Gloves

I have been doing a bunch of work on our J/109 with epoxy resin lately. Nothing structural, just mounting some hardware, and improving the mounting for a couple of turning blocks. Stuff that requires replacing core and bonding backer plates.

This kind of work involves handling things covered in epoxy and then handling tools…and then handling things covered in epoxy…repeat as necessary…

And then moving around the boat to the next place that needs to get sticky.

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Karl Lewis

Way better than using, and breathing, a bunch of volatile solvents in a vain attempt to clean our hands as we switch from sticky, to not sticky.

With most volatile solvents breathing them is only a small part of the problem. Most/many/some of those volatile organic compounds just pass right through your skin as if it were not there. Avoiding contact is important.

John Comer

Don’t forget that vinegar works well for epoxy cleanup as well.

Wilson Fitt

If you put multiple layers of gloves on, you can pull them off one at a time as you work and continue with the clean ones underneath. This saves fooling around when you are in a sticky situation.


James Chase

John, I’m sure you are neater than I am,… but I do the two-layer glove trick too- the inner layer is just there to keep my skin sticky-free while I change the outer layer. Otherwise, just changing gloves seems to be enough to get resin on my hands somehow.

Star Tracker

I combine the double suggestion with a lower cost outer glove to get the best of both worlds.
Size L gauntlet style nitrile grease monkey gloves in black. The cuff is the gauntlet taped to the tyvek suit cuff. Starting at the edge of the sleeve so as the sleeve rips during removal it can still be used again after bathroom/lunch etc. This box stays far from the work area.
Then whatever cheap blue nitrile gloves are on sale in size XL go over top. When grinding these will take the damage first so any nicks are easily spotted. Same principle as the indicator coat of bottom paint. When glassing they get sticky and are swapped without stress and fairly often. Trying to swap gloves on sweaty hands can get messy and it is always slow. If things start to get to sticky and time is short like often happens near the end of a job, the inner pair will save you from bare handing that last step.
30 pairs of the good gloves will run over $15, 30 pairs of the cheap ones around $3.
That pairing will stand immersion in solvent for about 4 minutes.
As a side note I dislike acetone with epoxy. I use Lacquer thinner instead. Much faster at dissolving epoxy and cleaner.
Since it’s an acceptable thinner for many epoxies I don’t worry if my tools are perfectly dry when starting again. I keep a bucket and lid with grate to allow settling of waste, and throw all epoxy tools in it when stopping. No real effort to clean and minimal exposure to fumes. Even chip brushes last weeks. The solvent itself is good for months. Every 4-6 months I move the tools and grate to a new bucket, then pour off the solvent slowly and top up with fresh. The last couple inches of muck get poured on cardboard and left to dry.