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Selecting First Nail Gun

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Forum topic by pcox posted 06-28-2016 08:58 PM 875 views 1 time favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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pcox

25 posts in 232 days


06-28-2016 08:58 PM

Hello,
I am interested in a nail gun for woodworking. I will be using it for attaching cabinet backs, attaching face frames along with glue, maybe clamping 3/4” plywood glue joints, building jigs….etc. So mainly woodworking tasks vs trim carpentry. (This is a hobby but I also like quality tools.)

So my question is, which gauge should I start with? I have been considering 23, 21 and 18 gauge. 21 seems like a good compromise between the two but I am not sure if the nails are hard to find. Or if it is in fact I will end up wanting either 23 or 18 anyway so should really start with one of those two?

Thanks for your suggestions!

Pat


20 replies so far

View Kirk650's profile

Kirk650

295 posts in 216 days


#1 posted 06-28-2016 10:15 PM

I have 16, 18, and 23 gauge nailers. Don’t use the 16 much, but get plenty use from the other two. The pin nailer is a Porter Cable. The other two are Bostich. All work just fine.

View clin's profile

clin

514 posts in 464 days


#2 posted 06-28-2016 10:44 PM

From what you describe, I’d go with 18 GA. You get some real hold with those and I think it is just right for making jigs etc.

I have the Bostitch BTFP12233 and it works very well. Only had it about a year, but not a single misfire or jam. ONLY, issue I have had is a bad nail that wouldn’t allow me to close the slide. This nailer uses 5/8” to 2 1/8” . I haven’t found wood it wouldn’t nail into.

I think 16 GA is too big for what you describe, but is what you want for trim carpentry, like baseboards.

-- Clin

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teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#3 posted 06-28-2016 11:14 PM

IMHO 18ga as a minimum (or maximum depending on your way of looking at things…diameter of nails goes up as the number goes down). 18ga is great for temp holding or anything where they won’t have to hold much structurally. They are not that stiff and pull out easily. 16ga I use for baseboard and a lot of cabinet work where I want to back up the glue joints. I think if you look at the options you will see the nail lengths become shorter as the gauge increases…function of how much the nail can handle. I think my old PC 18 ga is limited to 1 1/4. The 16 ga is 2 1/2.

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teejk02

424 posts in 593 days


#4 posted 06-28-2016 11:20 PM



From what you describe, I d go with 18 GA. You get some real hold with those and I think it is just right for making jigs etc.

I have the Bostitch BTFP12233 and it works very well. Only had it about a year, but not a single misfire or jam. ONLY, issue I have had is a bad nail that wouldn t allow me to close the slide. This nailer uses 5/8” to 2 1/8” . I haven t found wood it wouldn t nail into.

I think 16 GA is too big for what you describe, but is what you want for trim carpentry, like baseboards.

- clin

You can drive 2 1/8 with an 18 ga Bostich? I bought one as part of a package because I needed the 16ga nailer while waiting for repair parts on my old PC…never used it! Now as a practical question, how available are 2 1/8” brads in 18ga? That is another consideration. I can find 5/8” to 1 1 1/4” (and everything in between) at Menards.

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Kirk650

295 posts in 216 days


#5 posted 06-29-2016 01:05 AM

I get the nails for the guns at Home Depot. Go see what they have or google it up.

View clin's profile

clin

514 posts in 464 days


#6 posted 06-29-2016 01:44 AM


From what you describe, I d go with 18 GA. You get some real hold with those and I think it is just right for making jigs etc.

I have the Bostitch BTFP12233 and it works very well. Only had it about a year, but not a single misfire or jam. ONLY, issue I have had is a bad nail that wouldn t allow me to close the slide. This nailer uses 5/8” to 2 1/8” . I haven t found wood it wouldn t nail into.

I think 16 GA is too big for what you describe, but is what you want for trim carpentry, like baseboards.

- clin
You can drive 2 1/8 with an 18 ga Bostich? I bought one as part of a package because I needed the 16ga nailer while waiting for repair parts on my old PC…never used it! Now as a practical question, how available are 2 1/8” brads in 18ga? That is another consideration. I can find 5/8” to 1 1 1/4” (and everything in between) at Menards.

- teejk02

I have some 2” 18 GA, made by Bostitch. The nail gun says it handles 2 1/8”. I’ve only used Bostitch brand nails, and don’t know if they actually make a 2 1/8”, but they definatley make a 2” 18 GA, because I have some.

I either got them at Lowes, HD, or Amazon.com.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever used these 2”, but I’ve used the 1 3/4” a lot, as well as the 1 3/8” (and shorter of course).

I find these 18 GA hold well. But it depends on what you are doing. Most times I use glue so the brads just help to hold things together until the glue dries. But if I nail something like Baltic birch plywood, it takes some real leverage to pull one out if it is 1/2’ or more in to the second piece.

But sometimes (like today) I use it for temporary work such as tacking down a straight edge for a router to follow. It can take some real effort to get these temporary assemblies apart. And that’s just with two brads. If I’m really looking for quick and dirty temporary, I make sure it only goes in to the second piece 1/4” to 3/8” so I can easily pop it apart.

I have no doubt these would be excellent for attaching a face frame to a cabinet. They aren’t going to come out unless you are trying. And after 30 minutes (probably 5 min) , your glue would be set enough the brads aren’t even needed.

I have a 16 GA I have used for baseboards and similar trim. I’ve never consider using it for smaller jobs like jigs or face frame. It would be overkill for that. Doable, if it is all you had, but larger than I’ve found necessary.

-- Clin

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cabmaker

1507 posts in 2276 days


#7 posted 06-29-2016 02:51 AM

from what u describe….. 16a

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1646 posts in 1784 days


#8 posted 06-29-2016 05:16 AM

18 gauge is my go-to nail gun for general purpose use. 16 is too heavy for precise work and 23 has almost no holding power. The Bostich 2” nailer is excellent. I’ve used two of them and both worked perfectly. One was at the furniture shop I used to work for and the second is the one I bought for myself.

I’ve got a 23 gauge pinner that’s used for delicate tasks and a 16 gauge nailer that I’ve not used for years.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View woodDuffer's profile

woodDuffer

4 posts in 258 days


#9 posted 06-29-2016 07:32 AM

I’m very satisfied with my Central Pneumatic 18GA nail gun from Harbor Freight. I used it to put up trim around ten windows inside my house without a single problem. I paid $15.99 just over a year ago, model 68021.

Don’t get a “combination” nailer.

-- Life support failure. Check oxygen levels at once.

View Waldo88's profile

Waldo88

188 posts in 764 days


#10 posted 06-29-2016 01:27 PM



I m very satisfied with my Central Pneumatic 18GA nail gun from Harbor Freight. I used it to put up trim around ten windows inside my house without a single problem. I paid $15.99 just over a year ago, model 68021.

Don t get a “combination” nailer.

- woodDuffer

Me too. I use it for all trim type stuff around the house, and also to hang T&G ceiling.

View Kelly's profile

Kelly

1114 posts in 2412 days


#11 posted 06-30-2016 07:07 AM

I have a framer, a siding nailer, a pin nailer, a sixteen gauge brad, a couple different staple guns and two eighteen gauge brad nailers. The latter are my go to nailers. After that, it would be the pin nailer

All mine are Paslode, Porter Cable, Ridged, something expensive and something expensive again. In the end, the PC and Ridged 18’s would be my first choice.

Just for reference, years back, I bought a knock off at a garage sale and it inspired me to invest more in guns. I don’t remember what happened to the cheap one, but I do remember it didn’t break down. It probably got donated to someone getting started (an excuse to go tool snob and get a name brand one).

The simple of it is, you might have really good luck with a Harbor Freight unit or two. If nothing else, they’d get you hooked.

By the way, I’ve built a lot of cabinets and I never use anything but the eighteens, until I get to the styles and rails. Then I go to the pin nailer.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4247 posts in 1666 days


#12 posted 06-30-2016 07:32 AM

The HF 18ga gun is on sale now, and with a July 4th 25% off coupon (can be found on the HF web site), you can get it for $14.99.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3081 days


#13 posted 06-30-2016 10:02 AM

One hot tip on the Harbor Freight guns – it may apply to any other gun as well. I picked this one up off the internet…
When I first starting using my HF 18 gauge nailer, it wouldn’t always set the head below the surface. It was frustrating. A few drops of oil in the inlet didn’t help and neither did increasing the air pressure. Following a tip on the internet, I took the piston head off and applied a thin coat of oil all around the rim of the piston. It has worked perfectly ever since with just a couple of drops of oil at the air inlet each time I use it.
Recently I purchased a HF 23 gauge nailer to trim out my kitchen – same problem, same fix.
Either they don’t apply enough oil to the cylinders at the factory or they “dry out” on their long boat ride from China.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View JIMMIEM's profile

JIMMIEM

39 posts in 309 days


#14 posted 06-30-2016 11:50 AM



Hello,
I am interested in a nail gun for woodworking. I will be using it for attaching cabinet backs, attaching face frames along with glue, maybe clamping 3/4” plywood glue joints, building jigs….etc. So mainly woodworking tasks vs trim carpentry. (This is a hobby but I also like quality tools.)

So my question is, which gauge should I start with? I have been considering 23, 21 and 18 gauge. 21 seems like a good compromise between the two but I am not sure if the nails are hard to find. Or if it is in fact I will end up wanting either 23 or 18 anyway so should really start with one of those two?

Thanks for your suggestions!

Pat

- pcox


For what you want to do start with the 18 gauge.

View bonesbr549's profile

bonesbr549

1176 posts in 2535 days


#15 posted 06-30-2016 02:20 PM

Well diff guns for diff purposes. Over the years I’ve changed my construction techniques to go more where you don’t see any fastners as I detest them. Don’t want to fill holes.

For heaver needs of binding 18. For cab backs, I’d go a crown, and for not to be seen, the pinner (23).

Now 90% I use them for is the pinner. The others for slapping together jigs.

Good luck get one of each.

-- Sooner or later Liberals run out of other people's money.

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