A journey into the workshop. #23: Starting to be an air head...

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 10-19-2009 05:26 PM 1936 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 22: Not much shop time this week. But a little bit of progress... Part 23 of A journey into the workshop. series Part 24: My head hurts for good reason... »

Okay I know, cheesy title for saying. Woo Hoo I finally got a compressor!

The piles, and piles of other stuff in the way are dwindling, and the dust collection is up and working quite nicely.

This is actually my Wife’s fault. She wanted to go to Big Lots, and has been after me to replace the Arrow electric brad nailer for a while now. A little background before I confuse you to death…

I have an Arrow ET200 electric brad nail gun, and it, well sort of drives brads. What exactly do I mean by sort of? Welll…

When driving 1-1/4” brads into SYP, it leaves the brad 1/4” proud of the surface. Requiring me to drive the brad home with a hammer.

Now Arrow Tech support says this is due to insufficient power supply, but I am running it off of a 20 amp circuit, with no other load, and have no problems with any other power tools I run off this circuit…

Read the Amazon reviews for this thing. I am FAR from the only person that has had a lousy experience with this thing.

A pity really… Arrow used to make nice stuff…

Anyway, I digress… So LOML notices, and asks me why it was doing that, and then she asks me the inevitable questions…

#1. What good is it if it doesn’t work right? #2. What would it take to get something that would work right? #3. What are you waiting for?

So I did my research, and even though I would LOVE to have a huge compressor, with tons of CFM, a big motor, big pump, and big tank. I simply do not have the room. I need something that is space efficient.

After reading the reviews, and seeing that the model I chose is identical to well reviewed Northern Industrial, and Campbell Hausfield models, I selected a Central Pneumatic #40400 2HP 8 Gallon oil lubed compressor, 50’ Goodyear hose, HF disconnect sets, and a HF #66872 16 Gauge Air Finish Nailer.

Setting up the compressor was a bit of an unexpected challenge as the axle bolts used allen head bolts, with a 3/8” allen head. While I happen to have that size, it was on a strip of sockets, not in my combo allen wrench thingy… Wasn’t expecting that…

Typical of Harbor Freight. Assembly instructions were horrible. and typical of this model and its clones, filling the oil resevoir was a challenge due to the location of the handle. A long spout funnel, along the lines of what are used to put transmission fluid in cars was what I was finally able to use to fill this, but it did not go it without putting compressor oil on the floor. (since cleaned up with some CRC Brakleen.)

First run of the compressor went exactly as expected, until I powered it off, and went to drain the tank… The stupid petcock would NOT unscrew… Until I figured out another undocumented feature of this compressor. The petcock works backwards. It WAS all the way out, and sealed. It screws IN to open the port and drain the tank… Once that oddity was figured out, the tank drained, and we waited for a few minutes.

The next step was to set up the hose…

I bought a 1/2” Goodyear hose. Mostly because it is what I am used to dealing with. Well that would appear to be too big for this setup. 3/8” is what I should have gotten. So the thread sizes on the fittings were too big. A trip to Home Depot fixed that. Yes I will grab the right size hose, but for now this works…

Now the first female thread x barb fitting did NOT want to seat all the way down in the quick coupler. I tried all the others, just that one… Good thing I had about 3 extras in my toolbox… So now the hose, compressor, and air tools plug and unplug quickly…

A drop or two of air tool oil down the fitting of each tool prior to test running them, run the compressor up to pressure, and get after testing the air tools…

HF Brad Nailer. Check.
Ingersoll Rand air hammer. Check.
Blue Point die grinder. Check.
Blue Point Air Ratchet, Check.
Blue Point 1/2” impact wrench. Check.

Tire chuck set up for this compressor too!

Now aside from brad nailing some scrap rough cedar 1×2 to a scrap 4×4, I have actually done something useful… Reinflated my flat basketball… Of course this reminded me of WHY the ball got flat in the first place. I stink at basketball…

LOML already knows I am planning on a pin nailer, and framing nailer for upcoming projects.

I know she will be ecstatic at the use of the framing nailer when I put the fence back up…

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5 comments so far

View a1Jim's profile


117328 posts in 3776 days

#1 posted 10-19-2009 05:34 PM

Having fun?

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 3618 days

#2 posted 10-19-2009 05:35 PM

pictures, pictures, pictures!

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View stefang's profile


16123 posts in 3533 days

#3 posted 10-19-2009 06:14 PM

That reverse thread drain is a very good safety idea. You don’t have the thing blowing out on you unexpectedly if you loosen too much before the pressure is reducee enough. You won’t regret getting a compressor, they sure are handy.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3431 days

#4 posted 10-19-2009 06:17 PM

LOL… I KNEW somebody was gonna ask for pics…

My shop is in such a, middle of the remodel project mess, I hate showing pics… Maybe I can zoom in REAL tight and at least miss most of the disaster…

Yeah, Jim, I am having fun. Mostly…

LOML had me hopping up and down the stairs to the attic most of the weekend. We are FINALLY putting the totes of wedding decor away. I got the area we are using decked earlier in the week, The Christmas totes will be fun for sure. I have to rip out where the original owner of the house put in 1/4” ply for decking. At my weight, I have to press down to see if the stud is right under my foot before I put any real weight on it or I go through…

I swear I am going to take my vacation this year just to finish remodeling the attic and the workshop…

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View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4251 posts in 3363 days

#5 posted 10-20-2009 01:23 AM

Today I coulda used some air. And a brad nailer. Putting together a benchtop downdraft table, ala Rockler. Except I am not going to use their downdraft tabletop sections. Gonna laboriously make my own. Screws, glue, and nails. And a novel top finish. No comment until I have used it a few times.

Worked this weekend, and had a flu, that I have mostly licked. Started learning Sketchup on Friday…..see my blog….assuming I get an entry in today. Just have the SPACE without the tools outlined…........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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