A while ago, on one of the various groups created for coppice discussions on Facebook, I was asking around for an amazing type of glove I’d used but couldn’t find. After a comment I’d made about these gloves being “mythical” someone from the NCFed (National Coppice Federation – https://ncfed.org.uk/ ) asked me to write a “Tried and Tested” piece. The piece was for Cleft Stick, a very well put together, free online magazine made by skilled members of NCFed to keep us all up to date with what’s happening. Anyway, it was my first bit of writing accessible to the public so I thought I’d post it here…
When I first started coppicing and hedgelaying as paid work, I got myself all the basic kit, as I was just starting out I aimed for the cheapest I could find. Firstly I went with the commonly seen red gauntlets. I got on okay with them but they wore out quickly, it didn’t take long for the material to get slippery in the wet, and then having to beat them into submission when they’d dried and gone hard was getting tiresome. I think the only thing I liked about them was how easy they were to put on and take off, and in reality they didn’t stop many thorns from getting through.
I tried a couple of different gauntlets and wasn’t satisfied, so I bit the bullet and decided to invest in some more pricey gloves. I tried some made by Cutter which were okay for coppice work, but lacked wrist protection for hedgelaying. I tried the Rostaing Ripeur 2 gloves which were the best at keeping out thorns, but that’s not all I was looking for, like the gauntlets they didn’t keep my hands warm in the winter and I didn’t get on well with their grip and flexibility. I really wanted something that was comfortable, grippy, kept my hands warm in Winter and fended off most thorns.
I found my version of the perfect pair of gloves last season, I used them for months of hedging, and ended up finishing them off late into Spring. I’d only bought one pair, and ended up forgetting the name of them. I scoured different safety kit websites, online glove shops multiple times and tried to find old receipts looking for the name of them. I asked every other hedger I met about these gloves and was given some hope when I bumped into a friend at the Cheshire Ploughing and Hedging match. He’d been telling me about a batch of gloves he’d worked his way through, having been the best gloves he’d ever used. When he showed me his last pair, I saw that these were the exact gloves I’d been searching for. He’d had a box of them, but used them up and he also couldn’t remember the name of them. So I went online and started asking questions, asking around I could only describe them as “some kind of mythical glove” but after posting a video in which I’m wearing them, I was pointed towards the Polyco Granite 5 Beta gloves.
They’re not marketed for anything to do with gardens or work with thorny plants, according to the manufacturer, they’re meant for warehouse work, waste disposal, emergency services and glazing manufacturers. They cost just under £30 although I remember them being a bit cheaper. They are made from high quality grain leather with a reinforced Kevlar liner and adhere to the highest level of cut resistance, but the trade-off is that they do let in the occasional thorn. These Polyco gloves are brilliant, they’re grippy and flexible although they do take a little bit of wearing in. I’ve used them for everything I do, the first pair I had saw a decent amount of coppice work. I used them with the chainsaw, axe and billhook, and although it’s not advised to use gloves with swinging tools, they worked great, almost like a second skin. When bundling hazel they were up to the job, flexible enough for tying knots and keeping my hands dry and warm throughout. When I’ve been hedging in the Polyco Granite 5 Betas, they’ve protected my hands from all but the most sinister thorns and have been grippy enough to pull even large stems out of the hedge in the wet. I also used them for gardening as they’re not cumbersome when scything, cutting back bramble or using machinery. I think what finished off my first pair, after almost a whole season of coppicing and hedging, was scraping up leaves and weeds from paving flags and stone when I didn’t have shovel or dustpan with me.
You can’t tie your shoelaces wearing them, or scratch your nose, but they protect you from the majority of thorns, keep your hands warm and allow you to carry on working through most weather. The only way they have let me down this season is the stitching on the little finger went fairly quickly, but I have used them none stop. I’ll be trying out the more heavy duty version soon, the Polyco Granite 5 Delta gloves, basically the same gloves but with added layers of leather for extra protection.
If you’re interested in getting a pair of these gloves for yourself, feel free to use the link below, although I’m not sponsored to give any reviews, as an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases, and it would help me to continue to write and add content – https://amzn.to/3OdpQ0l
Thank you for reading!