How Useful is a 23 ga Nailer?

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Forum topic by DavidNJ posted 01-12-2013 02:57 AM 2596 views 0 times favorited 45 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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389 posts in 1963 days

01-12-2013 02:57 AM

The nails are short…other than a very expensive GREX a max 1 3/8” The nails are pins, headless…and very small. They can hold small trip and make a barely noticeable hole.

I have 18ga brad gun, 16ga nail gun, and 18ga stapler (oddly, all used within the past week). How useful is a 23 ga pin nailer?

45 replies so far

View cutworm's profile


1075 posts in 2763 days

#1 posted 01-12-2013 03:08 AM

I’ve got 4 guns and use the 23 gauge the most. Mostly to hold things in glue ups. Banding, etc. A 2” GREX would be great but $$$.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4062 days

#2 posted 01-12-2013 03:11 AM

I love mine. Great for attaching molding. I also pin tenons and dust panels.

-- Nicky

View Wiltjason's profile


56 posts in 1932 days

#3 posted 01-12-2013 03:24 AM

I have a porter cable and love it, I like it for corners on crown molding and for some reason I’ve been working with allot of thin stock lately ( like 3/8 and 1/4 ) and it works great for that too

View Kimchi4u's profile


18 posts in 1966 days

#4 posted 01-12-2013 03:31 AM

Very useful. I just got one a couple months ago. It’s great for glueing up miters (helps hold pieces in place). I also use it in some casing around windows and baseboards. The painters love us for using it, less time filling the holes left by bigger gauge pins.

-- Project Coordinator at Nord Alta Construction

View Wdwerker's profile


333 posts in 2203 days

#5 posted 01-12-2013 03:58 AM

Since I got my 2” capacity Grex 23 gauge pin gun I rarely use my 18 gauge gun. The Grex pins are also better than the other brands I have used. They have a coating that resists being pulled out. I have had a small 1” cap. 23 gauge for years . Glue does the long term work, pins hold till the glue dries. Very hard to find the pin holes after finishing, fill them and only a magnet will tell you where they are.

-- Fine Custom Woodwork since 1978

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2648 posts in 2892 days

#6 posted 01-12-2013 04:19 AM

I use mine when attaching raised bands on rounded trunk lids among other uses. Harbor freight has one for about $20.

-- Website is

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 2080 days

#7 posted 01-12-2013 04:28 AM

I love my Grex! Unfortunately I purchased it just before they came out with the 2” long nail model. I was just using it on a project. I had 40 pieces I needed to nail together. Given the location it would have been almost impossible to clamp (1 inch round piece in the center of a 10 inch board. I just put a drop of glue on one piece, placed it where I wanted it and drove two 1 1/4 inch nails from the back. No clamping

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View DavidNJ's profile


389 posts in 1963 days

#8 posted 01-12-2013 05:18 AM

So it seems everyone loves 23 gauge. The Harbor Freight is $20 with a 20% coupon, it is 1/2 to 1”. HD has a Ridgid 23 gauge from 5/8 to 1 3/8” for $80. The Bostitch is $120, but I can use a 10% Lowes coupon; also 5/8-1 3/8”. The high end Grex is just not in the budget now.

What size range is best? How far do you sink the pins in if they don’t show? does that favor the shorter pin? Or is the longest the way to go.

View Loren's profile


10283 posts in 3618 days

#9 posted 01-12-2013 05:26 AM

I have a Senco.

The Grex is the best.

Cheaper ones may misfire. The Grex is known for reliabiliy
and also shooting longer nails.

Go with the shortest nails that will do the job. Less chance
of crumpling and blowouts that way.

I would use it for applying solid wood bandings, but I have
a hot edge press for that now. The little brads
are way easier to manage than clamps and the holes
practically disappear. Place the nails in irregular
patterns and the eye doesn’t notice the filler
much at all.

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2474 days

#10 posted 01-12-2013 06:01 AM

My pin nailer gets used as much as my brad nailer. Make sure we continue to call them nailers vs guns…

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View Fettler's profile


200 posts in 1967 days

#11 posted 01-12-2013 11:18 AM

I have a refurbished bostitch I bought from CPO outlet during a sale ( I think they’re sellin g it for $79 now). I use the pin nailer far more often then the brad. Depth is adjustable. Seems to work fine.

-- --Rob, Seattle, WA

View Woodendeavor's profile


276 posts in 2576 days

#12 posted 01-12-2013 12:03 PM

I have a 2” Cadex pinner and I love it for applying trims as many other have stated. On the length I have found that the 2” pins have a great tendency to follow the grain. I thought I could use the longer pins to attach molding from the back side in some furniture applications. The 2” pins would bend and not attach the molding 50% of the time. So I went back to face nailing the molding. If I went back to buy again I would look for a pinner with 1 1/4” capacity

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2648 posts in 2892 days

#13 posted 01-12-2013 02:29 PM

I have a $150 Senco. I wish I had seen the harbor freight one first. The Senco works well. It will take 1” pins or shorter and suits all my needs for this nailer. I needed a repair part for it once and they sent me one at no charge.

-- Website is

View BentheViking's profile


1782 posts in 2534 days

#14 posted 01-13-2013 01:29 AM

never had an issue with my harbor freight…for 20 it was a great investment

-- It's made of wood. Real sturdy.--Chubbs Peterson

View kiefer's profile


5618 posts in 2637 days

#15 posted 01-13-2013 01:35 AM

I have sold and used the CADEX and a TAIWANESE pinner for many years and it is nothing new around here .
Some of my customers have used the 23 gauge with a headed brad which leaves the same size hole since the driver makes the hole larger then the brad .
The newer 21 gauge nailers are the nailer of choice for several reasons .
Slightly larger nail/brad with better holding power ,great for MDF trim as there is no puffing around the nail hole,which makes the painters happy and the brads are selling for about the same as 18 gauge brads .
We sell several different brands and all are doing the job well .
In my opinion the 21 gauge will replace the 18 gauge which is a very slow selling tool now .

-- Kiefer

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