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Which Type of Leather is Right for Your Welding Gloves?

Which Type of Leather is Right for Your Welding Gloves?

Today’s guest post is by Mark Williams of the John Tillman Company.

Leather is the most commonly used product in welding gloves for many reasons. It’s very flexible for its weight, and it provides the most economical protection for the features and protection it offers. Leather is extremely durable and comfortable and has some inherent fire resistance.

Many different leather types and qualities are used throughout the welding industry, and it can get confusing trying to figure out which leather is right for each welding application. It’s important to know that each leather has its own unique features and benefits depending on the type of welding you do.

Elkskin Welding Gloves

Elkskin is the top of the line in comfort, feel, and performance. It molds to the hand and doesn’t harden as fast as cowhide when exposed to high heat, resulting in less hand fatigue. Elkskin is proven to be one of the best leathers available for welders working in higher heat conditions; therefore, it’s primarily used in STICK welding gloves.

Cowhide Welding Gloves

Cowhide is tougher and more durable that elkskin but not as pliable. It’s the most commonly used hide because of its broad range of qualities and uses. The hide can come from several different places on an animal. As its name suggests, top grain cowhide comes from the top layer of a cow’s hide. It is the highest in quality and lasts the longest.

Split leather comes from either the shoulder or side area of the cow, resulting in side split leather or shoulder split leather. Side split leather offers better uniformity and greater strength than shoulder split. Shoulder split leather comes from the shoulder of the cow, where more movement takes place, therefore weakening the leather and making it a more economical option.

The various hide qualities allow cowhide to be used for many purposes in the welding glove line. It is primarily used in STICK and MIG welding gloves, since durability is key in these applications.

Pigskin Welding Gloves

Pigskin is a tough hide that’s great in wet and oily conditions because it’s naturally breathable and feels soft, giving welders all day comfort. Pigskin is primarily a top grain hide found in STICK, MIG, and TIG welding gloves. It’s also commonly used as a reverse grain with the top grain on the inside and the rougher part on the outside, making it soft on the hands and good for gripping.

Deerskin Welding Gloves

Deerskin is an ultra-soft, supple hide that provides the best feel, fit, and dexterity possible. For this reason, its split leather form is primarily found in TIG welding gloves.

Goatskin Welding Gloves

Goatskin provides the best abrasion and tensile strength for its weight, while still remaining soft and supple. It works great for TIG gloves where dexterity is needed. Kidskin, the hide from a young goat, offers the best feel and dexterity. TIG welders tend to prefer kidskin gloves because the kidskin allows the wire to pass smoothly against the leather.

Keep in mind that the better the leather quality is for your welding gloves, the longer it will last, the more comfort it will deliver, and the more protection it will offer. 


Ed Cyzewski


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