Electric Brad Nailer

cfmuehlingOctober 14, 2010

Hello all!

I have to trim my entire house, plus I'm building cabinets and assembling some store-bought. I need a nailer. I have several of those gas+compresser guns but am afraid of them. (I know, but it is what it is.) I also don't want to nor purchase a compressor.

I've heard mixed reviews on an electric nailer. I'm working with maple, and maybe some of the PVC trim for higher up, nonexamined areas.

Any opinions on these? I'm looking at a Craftsman here.


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Just a quick look on Amazon shows a reconditioned Bostitch brad nailer and compressor combo including an air hose delivered to your door for $3 less than the Craftsman model. Quite frankly, it's a better choice as it gives you more options. A compressor is great for blowing up flat car tires (albeit slowly with this model) and footballs.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 8:58PM
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Trim nails normally need to be at least 1&3/4" long or longer.

An electric nailer capable of sinking a small finish nailof that length(in 16 gauge) in maple is going to cost $300 and up.

A 16 guage nailer/compressor combo by Porter Cable ot Stanley Bostich(other brands are also available) can be found for the same or nearly the same amount as the one you linked.

That combo is more than adequate for your use.

Now, the compressor will be noisy. Even VERY noisy. But, with a 25 or 50 foot long hose, the compressor can be put in an adjoining room.

So, the quiet electric that will not work---or the noisy air combo that will work?

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 1:24AM
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I have ear muffs. I hate loud noises, which I hadn't even considered in a compressor. But I'll take a look at what you've recommended. I kind of figured that might be the answer. OK.

Thanks for your advice.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 7:49AM
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What do you think of this? I've actually looked at this at Lowe's. It was $324 before, so it's actually gone down.

Air Tool Kit

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 10:09AM
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That looks like a good kit. The Bostich brad nailer is nice. I have one. Just make sure it shoots the 2" nails. There is an identical one that shoots short nails; totally worthless.

When I need to keep the noise down, working late, or around sensitive people, I put the portable compressor in the cab of my truck and run a long extension cord and air hose through the rear vent window. This really eliminates the noise completely. And it is quiet even in the street so the neighbors don't complain.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 2:33PM
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Attached is a link to a review of 18 ga. nailers.

Personally, I'd never use brad or finish nailers to assemble cabinets. They just don't have the strength to hold much together. I see furniture nearly every week with failed joints held together with brads or staples. For holding up trim it's fine. For anything subject to stress, use a proper joint.

Also I've never seen an electric consumer grade brad driver that had enough power to push through much more than pine.

Here is a link that might be useful: Toolmonger review

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 9:35PM
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For cabinets, I'm planning to glue and screw wherever I can. Installation will be between two walls so they'll have extra support.

For the molding the house needs, which would be better suited? Brad, finish or trim nailer? Are finish and trim nailers the same thing?


    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 9:41AM
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Experience point 1: 18 gauge nailers are too small for most trim. Why? The nails are simply too short and do not have enough head holding power.

Now, I personally feel 15 gauge nails are too big---although they are the size of 8 penny finish nails. Which were/are the size used when hand nailing trim. Leaves a bigger hole which requires more filling.

I had good service using a 16 guage finish nailer with 2" or 2&1/2" nails. That allowed me to install any kind of trim with one nailer. I have an 18 gauge and a stapler, so it was not a cost factor.

As for the trim/finish/brad question.

Generally 15 and 16 gauge nailers are called finish nailers because of the size nails they use. 18 gauge nailers are called brad nailers, although the nails they use are identical to the other two nailers, the nails are much smaller---and qualify more as brads than nails.

Trim nailers is probably a term used to differentiate the three nailers described above from framing nailers and staplers.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 11:04AM
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Why not a Paslode gas-actuated 16 ga gun? It shoots up to 2.5" nails. If the explosive pop bothers you, wear earplugs/muffs. It's a nice tool, no compressor, hoses, smaller footprint overall.
Upon completion, if you decide not to keep it, you can easily sell the kit for ay least 50 cents on the dollar.
In painted softwood, 15 ga holes are ok because you'll fill them anyway. For hardwood, stick with the 16 ga and use glue if you're really concerned. I started trimming a room in cherry using a 15 ga, and very quickly abandoned that idea, resorting to the 16 and 18 ga guns. The tearout damage extended beyond the nailhead itself, leaving a really jagged mess at every one. The t-shape of the 16 ga can be oriented with the grain so the holes are much less apparent.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 11:25AM
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I agree wit the mongrel...

Just broke down and purchased a Paslode gas 16 ga. gun and love it. Its quick, easy and very light.

I've run about 400 2" and 1 3/4" nails through it and just cleaned it. Easy.

Get a 2d battery and keep it charged up. I didn't and had the battery run out just as I started to pin down two long pieces with glue between them. Bad words were said...

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 4:08PM
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I have had a Paslode 16 ga and framing nailer for a pretty long time.

They are about as heavy as compressed air nailers when you add in the weight of the hose you are holding up, and far more convenient for small to medium jobs.

The batteries are the same for the units, so if you have both you can keep a battery in the charger while using the other.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 9:56AM
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"I'm working with maple"

You are going to need a higher end gun of ANY type to deal with maple, or most of the hardwoods except maybe poplar.

If you are scared of the noise use ear plugs (EAR brand, the ones you roll up tight and then then let expand in your ear canal) and then put muffs on top of them.

The gap safety glasses produce in the muff seal at your temples lets a lot of noise in.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 2:58PM
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