Woodworking often requires being close to cutting tools and drills that produce wood chips and particles. The close visual inspection and concentration required presents opportunities for injuries to the eyes. Woodworking safety glasses can help protect them.
Types Of Woodworking Safety Glasses
#1 Wrap-Around Woodworking Safety Glasses
You can buy woodworking safety glasses with curved corners that wrap around the temple areas. These are often one-piece designs and will help protect your eyes from flying wood debris entering on the sides.
#2 Glasses With Side Shields
These can be a curving plastic part or an angular plastic piece attached to the side of the front lens. This will protect the temple region and any debris from flying into your eye area indirectly. Protecting the sides is important because debris can come from another person in the shop, or bounce off of objects and fly towards your face unexpectedly.
#3 Men’s and Women’s Woodworking Safety Glasses
Both men’s and women’s woodworking safety glasses are available. These differ mostly in the color scheme for the lenses and frames. Men’s and women’s woodworking safety glasses are mostly interchangeable.
#4 Shaded Woodworking Safety Glasses
These function similar to regular sunglasses to keep your eyes from being blinded by the sun on hot days when you work outside. They can also be quite fashionable and have a mirror or flat lens finish. Different shades of the lens include:
Woodworking safety glasses can also have different colored temple and nose pieces for added fashion. These can also make them easier to find after you have taken them off and set them down amongst shop tools and materials.
Alternatives to Woodworking Safety Glasses
#1 General Purpose Safety Glasses
You can wear any type of safety glasses made for indoor or outdoor construction when woodworking. You do not need a special pair of woodworking safety glasses.
#2 Extra Large Industrial Safety Glasses
Wearing large industrial safety glasses will help expand your range of vision while also keeping you protected when woodworking. This can be useful when you want to keep a better eye on your shop and surroundings. This adds convenience and comfort and a greater feeling of freedom. You can also get different types of safety glasses that are designed with wide vision lenses.
#3 Regular Prescription Glasses
Regular glasses you wear to improve your eyesight can also be used as woodworking safety glasses. They can also be worn underneath safety glasses to enhance vision. However, it is recommended to wear special woodworking safety glasses instead or over your prescription glasses. They will also protect your prescription glasses from scratches. Woodworking safety glasses are cheaper to repair or replace than prescription glasses.
#4 Medical Safety Glasses and Goggles
You can wear medical safety glasses or goggles when woodworking. However, there is no guarantee these will be able to withstand shop debris impacts. Make sure to check the safety specs on the packaging before deciding to wear them in the shop.
Straps For Safety Glasses
Many types of safety glasses come with straps to attach or built into the design. These can be easily adjusted to fit the head and face. If you want to make sure your woodworking safety glasses stay fit, perhaps purchase a pair that includes straps. If not, you can always get a pair of straps to attach to your glasses later.
Straps are also great for taking off your glasses and having them hang on your neck so you do not lose them. Straps can be uncomfortable if they are too tight, thick, or if you intend to wear a ballcap or other head covering while working.
Always use woodworking safety glasses that are scratch-resistant, anti-fog, UV protected, and meet or exceed the ANSI Z87.1 standards. You can learn more about woodworking safety glasses standards here.
Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree in Economics from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use.