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December 21, 2020
If you’re not used to working with nail guns on a daily basis, purchasing your first will be a little challenging. Researching for the right gun for your particular application can lead to more questions than answers. The industry does offer many choices and selections. Therefore, finding what you need should not be a problem. Today, let’s discuss the different types of nailers in the market. Look at nails and fasteners, as this does play a major role for specific applications. Lastly, compare pneumatic and battery powered guns. Let’s get to it!
MOST COMMON NAIL GUNS
All nail guns or nailers (depending on who you talk to), have one job and that’s to sink in nails fast with no effort! It’s an alternative fastening method to your traditional hammer and nails. Its proven that nailers are extremely quick and a whole lot less strain on your body versus swinging a hammer.
Roofing Nailers – These are heavy-duty guns and can really push in nails with authority. Roofing Nailers are usually operated by tradesperson for roofing jobs, hence the name “roofing”. It’s a straightforward gun with not much versatility.
Framing Nailers – Just like a Roofing Nailer, these are also heavy-duty guns. They are powerful and robust. These guns can be found in construction sites or during the framing process, thus the name “framing”. Besides building structures, these are also great for wooden deck projects.
Finish Nailers – Finish Nailers are not as brute as Roofing or Framing Nailers. That doesn’t mean they are not powerful, they are just a little bit more nimble in comparison. This characteristic makes this gun excellent for “finish” carpentry.
Brad Nailers – This gun is great for woodworkers. This universal nailer can assist with most woodworking builds and other related projects. Not only can it easily nail in delicate trim like crown and baseboard, but it’s also great for cabinetry. A very well-rounded power tool!
Pin Nailers – Pin Nailers is a niche tool but can serve a purpose. They don’t pack a lot of power, making it easy to handle. Some might use a Pin Nailer just to hold a piece of wood or material in place until the adhesive or glue dries out. This nailer is also great for thin and delicate trim.
For most woodworking builds and projects a Finish, Brad, and/or Pin Nailers are a great addition to your workshop. Try to stay away from Roofing and Framing Nailers as these mighty nail guns have the potential of damaging your projects.
WHAT KIND OF NAILS SHOULD I USE?
What most woodworkers look for in fasteners or nails is gauge (diameter), length, holding power, and the size of the entry hole. Looking out for these factors makes them less likely to split or damage the wood and easier to camouflage with a filler. Before moving on, it's important to know how nails are referred to. When we talk about gauge, we're specifically talking about the diameter of the nail itself. What trips most people up is the number. The smaller the number, the bigger the diameter of the fastener.
15 & 16-Gauge Finish Nails – These nails are very similar and offer great holding power. It may be a little more difficult to conceal the hole after its nailed into place, but its not impossible. This is a good range to be in for finish carpentry jobs like baseboard, paneling, and crown molding.
18-Gauge Brad Nails – These fasteners are smaller in diameter when comparing it to the 15 and 16-gauge, which makes the holding power a little weaker. However, this gauge can be extremely useful for woodworking projects as you can easily cover it with a filler.
23-Gauge Pin Nails – These nails are tiny and offer no structural integrity to a build. These fasteners or “pins” are designed for very light duty work. Mostly just to hold a piece of wood in place, but the biggest advantage of this gauge is the hole it leaves behind. Almost undetectable.
PNEUMATIC VERSUS BATTERY POWERED
Pneumatic has been around much longer that battery nailers. It’s been tested for many years and found to be reliable. Pneumatic nail guns are generally a little more affordable. However, you NEED an air compressor to operate it. If you don’t have one, consider that as an added expense. You would also need an airline/hose to connect the nailer directly to the compressor. Lastly, the compressor must be connected to a power outlet in order for the tank to recuperate air. As you can quickly tell, pneumatic tools limit how portable you may want to be, but this may not be an issue for some woodworkers. What’s great about air guns is that they tend to be lighter and shoot a lot faster than battery powered nailers. They also make a cool sound when you pull the trigger, a plus in my book!
Battery powered nail guns on the other hand offer the portability most consumers are accustomed to in today’s modern world. Several years ago, battery operated tools couldn't keep up with electric or pneumatic tools, but a lot has changed throughout the years. Battery technology has really changed the way we function, and the power tool industry took advantage of this tech. Giving us longer runtime and compact powerful batteries that seriously rival corded tools. Besides portability, another advantage of battery nail guns is maintenance, these guns are oil free. Pneumatic tools would need to be oiled on a regular basis to prevent any internal damages. The air compressor itself also needs to be serviced to ensure proper optimal performance. Battery powered tools is as simple as charge and GO!
So, what's the best nailer for woodworking? After all, this is why you're reading this right? For someone who is starting out and wants ease into the idea of owning a nail gun, I would say to pick up an 18-gauge Brad Nailer as your daily driver. It's a great gun to start off with and you’ll quickly learn how versatile this power tool really is. Here are my recommendations for Brad Nailers!
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Having a nail gun for your woodworking projects is a huge advantage. Of course you could definitely get by without one, but using one will change your workflow. You’ll quickly learn how easy and satisfying it is to operate it, and once you complete a task, you won't want to work without it. In fact, most woodworkers would start off with a Brad Nailer, but that arsenal will quickly grow into Finish and Pin Nailers, they're that useful around the shop. Always remember to put safety first when operating power tools. Stay safe everybody!!!
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