What Nail Gun Oil Won't Interfer With Finish

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Forum topic by HillbillyShooter posted 10-16-2013 04:25 PM 1265 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5544 posts in 1382 days

10-16-2013 04:25 PM

Does anyone know of a nail gun oil that won’t cause polyurethane to leave birds-eyes around the nail hole because the nail gun has injected oil into the area around the nail? I use a 23-gauge pin gun to attach false drawer fronts, but the area around the nail hole has absorbed the gun oil and blocks the adherence of the finish. I wipe the surfaces with thinner before attempting to finish, but it doesn’t seem to remove the absorbed nail gun oil. Should I try lacquer thinner, acetone or something else to dissolve this gun oil? Any suggestions would be appreciated, thanks.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

21 replies so far

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

4625 posts in 2284 days

#1 posted 10-16-2013 05:04 PM


I’ve got 3 nail guns, and I’ve never had that to happen to me…Wonder if you might have a “leak down” in your gun, or hose….? Usually after I shoot the nails (a hair below the surface), I just check it for a splinter or something, then put a tiny dab of filler over the nail hole, wipe it smooth to remove any access, and blend it with the wood…..let it dry for a bit, then I’m ready for the finish…...You might try that just to see if it helps, but I would check the gun also…...That’s strange…...!!!!

-- " I don't makes my coffee spill...."

View Tedstor's profile


1599 posts in 1723 days

#2 posted 10-16-2013 05:21 PM

If thinner didn’t work, the only thing stronger would be acetone. Probably worth a shot. As always, test on an inconspicuous area.

Crazy question, but are you over-lubricating your nail gun? When I was an auto tech, I’d see co-workers dump a healthy squirt of oil into their air tools everyday. The tools ran well, and lasted forever, but had oil sweating out of every seal. I probably lubed my tools 1-2 times per week, and only with 2-3 drops. And even now, I lube my nailers every 4-5th use (at most), and never had a problem. Just food for thought.

View chrisstef's profile


13588 posts in 2096 days

#3 posted 10-16-2013 05:23 PM

Thinking out loud here …. could you place a piece of paper towel over the area you want to nail? It would soak up anything that came out of the gun and in theory, the nail would shoot right through

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View Earlextech's profile


1155 posts in 1780 days

#4 posted 10-16-2013 05:30 PM

2-3 drops per week – In 30 years I’ve never had that problem.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View gwolfe1977's profile


228 posts in 900 days

#5 posted 10-16-2013 05:35 PM

I agree with Tedstor. It sounds like you may be over lubricating your nail guns. To clean them out, use a shot or 2 of brake cleaner in the air inlet and then shoot a few nails into a scrap board. Then recoil them with just a drop or 2 of air tool oil. Then shoot a few more nails into something and all should be good again.

-- Gary,Nebraska

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

4625 posts in 2284 days

#6 posted 10-16-2013 05:40 PM

Thinking back on it, John, I don’t oil mine everytime I use it, either….And like was said, I only put 3-4 drops in.

They say to do that, but I’m not so sure you have to oil them after each use….It just depends on how much you use the gun, and then only a few drops…..Uou know the old saying…”A little dab ‘il do ya”.....

-- " I don't makes my coffee spill...."

View TheDane's profile


4575 posts in 2753 days

#7 posted 10-16-2013 05:40 PM

I put a strip of masking tape on, then shoot the nails. I dab a little filler over the hole in the masking tape, give it a finger swipe and let it dry.

A few hours later, I peel off the masking tape, leaving a neat, filled hole that is almost undetectable.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Tedstor's profile


1599 posts in 1723 days

#8 posted 10-16-2013 05:55 PM

Good idea Dane. I don’t have any issues with the oil. But for a non-fussy way to fill nail holes- that’d be tough to beat.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

4625 posts in 2284 days

#9 posted 10-16-2013 06:00 PM

Gerry…...Why didn’t you tell me this a couple of years ago….? And here I’ve been doing the hard way all along…..!!!!!!

-- " I don't makes my coffee spill...."

View pintodeluxe's profile


4185 posts in 1903 days

#10 posted 10-16-2013 06:15 PM

I use oil-free guns for that reason. Bostitch makes some.

Another strategy would be to use double sided carpet tape and screws from the inside to attach the drawer fronts (I realize this doesn’t help you now!)

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

View Hammerthumb's profile


2112 posts in 1065 days

#11 posted 10-16-2013 06:17 PM

+1 for TheDane’s suggestion. Thats how I have been doing it for years.

-- Paul, Las Vegas

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5544 posts in 1382 days

#12 posted 10-16-2013 06:25 PM

Thanks everyone! Hope everyone picked up or learned something from this thread, I know I’ve learned that I’ve been over lubricating and I’ll be using Gerry’s suggestion of a little masking tape in the future. Willie, the idea of an oil free gun sounds great, but I really like my Cadex and will first try the great advice everyone has been kind enough to share.

I guess the real lesson is not to always apply the manual literally, but remember to use a little common sense (which isn’t very common these days).

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

14410 posts in 2195 days

#13 posted 10-16-2013 07:04 PM

Hi John. sounds like you got some sound advice. I rarely oil my nailers- maybe a couple drops in a year. I have never experiences what you are talking about.

But to get to your current state of things, I’d try lacquer thinner and let it dry and resand the area. I use Bix wood stain filler to fill all nail holes, It can be sanded and stained and that way I don’t have the dimples for the finish to try to “bridge” across

Take care, my friend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!......................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View GrandpaLen's profile


1622 posts in 1362 days

#14 posted 10-16-2013 08:32 PM

If you can’t rid your project of the offending oil, let it cure for a couple of days and use a little shelllac on that area to seal the oiled wood, then proceed with your finishing.

Best Regards. – Grandpa Len.

Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View gfadvm's profile


13944 posts in 1780 days

#15 posted 10-17-2013 01:08 AM

Nice tip Gerry, thanks.

I agree with Len, shellac should seal that oil away from your poly.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

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