Nail guns for newbies?

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Forum topic by Brett posted 01-28-2013 03:20 PM 1044 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Brett's profile


657 posts in 1775 days

01-28-2013 03:20 PM

I’d like to build a workshop cabinet from 3/4” plywood.

If I use glue and a nail gun for the joinery, will that provide enough strength? What size nails should I use (gauge and length)? I also would like to use crown staples. Can I buy a nail gun that will work with both nails and staples?

Thanks for any help.

-- More tools, fewer machines.

10 replies so far

View crank49's profile


3900 posts in 2063 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 03:53 PM

Assembly methods for shop cabinets, in my order of preference:
Kreg pocket screws would be much stronger, and cost less for equipment.
Biscuit joints would be stronger, but cost more for equipment.
Even dowel joints would be stronger, but harder to build.

They make a dual purpose 18ga staple/16ga brad type gun. I have one.
And the cabinets in my kitchen were built (not by me) with crown staples and glue. I hate them.

If you go with staples or brads driven by pneumatic gun, be sure to keep your body parts away from the line of fire in case of a blow-out.

-- Michael: Hillary has a long list of accomplishments, though most DAs would refer to them as felonies.

View MonteCristo's profile


2098 posts in 1281 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 08:10 PM

Screws and glue would be better. Not as fast but better.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View 1thumb's profile


78 posts in 1249 days

#3 posted 01-28-2013 08:22 PM

I had no idea there was a staple/brad gun combo. Like Monte said, screws and glue, never fall apart

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 2251 days

#4 posted 01-28-2013 08:23 PM

I use screws for shop jigs and fixtures. But if your joints are still solid dado or halflap construction (anything other than buttjoints), then glue and brads/nails will be just fine.

But yeah, I wouldn’t use brads/nails on a butt joint of plywood, MDF, or particle board.

-- jay,

View lumberjoe's profile


2883 posts in 1340 days

#5 posted 01-28-2013 08:28 PM

dado/rabbet, glue, and 18awg brads is the quickest solution I have found. You get good experience cutting dados. Also your pieces are all indexed so you don’t need to worry about not having 3 or 4 hands when trying to drive screws.

-- Unplugged Woodworkers -

View BTimmons's profile


2284 posts in 1577 days

#6 posted 01-28-2013 08:36 PM

Nail guns are freaking fantastic for trim work, like quarter round, baseboards, and crown molding.

But like everyone has said so far, they’re not so great for cabinet joinery. I agree that the Kreg pocket hole jig is a great place to start for that kind of thing. You can get one for about $20 and you’re good to go.

-- Brian Timmons -

View MT_Stringer's profile (online now)


2656 posts in 2323 days

#7 posted 01-28-2013 09:23 PM

Kreg has some videos on their website that might help.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View nwbusa's profile


1017 posts in 1378 days

#8 posted 01-28-2013 09:27 PM

What Joe said. I’ve used that combo for all my shop cabinets, drawers, etc. and they are rock solid. Use good quality plywood!

-- John, BC, Canada

View cutworm's profile


1074 posts in 1885 days

#9 posted 01-28-2013 10:27 PM

I use a narrow crown stapler on the cabinet cases I’ve made. So far so good. Like Joe says. Dados rabbets, etc.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View pintodeluxe's profile


4191 posts in 1905 days

#10 posted 01-28-2013 10:34 PM

I use dados and glue when I can.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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