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post #1 of 17 Old 07-07-2008, 09:20 PM Thread Starter
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Nail Gun Question

What is meant by the "Gauge" on a nail gun? What does the gauge refer to? Thanks

Last edited by Tdragon; 07-07-2008 at 09:24 PM.
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-07-2008, 09:41 PM
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nail gun question

Hi Tdragon,
The gauge refers to the actual thickness of the nail. Usually more thought of in reference to finish nailers. The heavier finish guns shoot 15 gauge nails. The cordless guns normally shoot 16 gauge, slightly thinner. Brad nailers are usually 18 gauge, and the micro-pinners are 23 gauge. The higher the number the smaller the diamer of the nails (which are actually more square than round). The 23 gauge pinners are like little needles, no heads on them. They are great for pinning small moldings, toe kicks on cabinets, etc. They don't have a lot of holding power and are meant to be used along with glue. Together they work well, hardly leaving a hole. Hope this helps, I have all the above size guns, and then some. Each has it's own purpose.
Mike Hawkins
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-07-2008, 09:43 PM
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Diameter of the nail it shoots

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post #4 of 17 Old 07-07-2008, 09:46 PM
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I guess I was a little slow on that...nice post on that subject Mike

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post #5 of 17 Old 07-08-2008, 07:24 AM Thread Starter
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So if I'm looking at my first gun, being one that nails in trim, I'd need one that is 18-23 gauge then?
Any recommendations on a gun for a beginner, that is in a beginners budget?
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-08-2008, 10:23 AM
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I'm pretty happy with the 18 ga one I got from Harbor Feight.......
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-08-2008, 11:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tdragon View Post
So if I'm looking at my first gun, being one that nails in trim, I'd need one that is 18-23 gauge then?
Any recommendations on a gun for a beginner, that is in a beginners budget?
No recommendations on a particular gun, but one thing to look for is the angle that the nails are collated at. Most of the smaller guns shoot "stick nails" These are nails that are laid out flat, at an angle, and secured with paper or wire, or plastic. There are sevral different angles of collation, and each gun is designed to shoot nails collated at one angle. I don't know if there are any advantages to any given angle, but whichever you choose, make sure you have a ready source of supply for that particular angle, gage, and length that you are going to use. Some nails are not readily available in some areas.

Gerry
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-08-2008, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gerry KIERNAN View Post
No recommendations on a particular gun, but one thing to look for is the angle that the nails are collated at. Most of the smaller guns shoot "stick nails" These are nails that are laid out flat, at an angle, and secured with paper or wire, or plastic. There are sevral different angles of collation, and each gun is designed to shoot nails collated at one angle. I don't know if there are any advantages to any given angle, but whichever you choose, make sure you have a ready source of supply for that particular angle, gage, and length that you are going to use. Some nails are not readily available in some areas.

Gerry
Great advice, thanks!
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-08-2008, 09:36 PM
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nail gun part two

Tdragon,
For a first nail gun, you have to consider what you are going to be fastening. If you want to shoot traditional moldings, think about the length of the nail required and also what kind of woods you are going through. 18 gauge is fine for fastening wood to wood for thinner moldings. For door jambs, thick edge of moldings, crowns, etc, a 15 or 16 gauge gun will be needed for the added holding power plus being able to shoot through hickory or oak. Check the capacity of whatever gun you are looking at. By that I mean minimum length fastener and maximum length fastener. If you find a tool show nearby where you live, the factory reps are normally there and will be demoing the guns. If you have any nearby friends that have guns, go over and ask to try them. Any of the brand name guns are good, paslode, senco, bostich, etc. I would stick with one of these for a 15 or 16 guage finish nailer. I bought a couple of porter cable brad nailer and trim stapler for 39.00 each at a tool show. They were factory reconditioned. Looked and worked like brand new. So check around and buy them one at a time as you figure out what you need.
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-09-2008, 12:07 AM Thread Starter
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Much appreciated. Any other advice is welcome.
For a next question on the subject. I've seen both air guns and battery packs. Which is preferred? I assume air will get the most votes. Any one have experience with the cordless guns?
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post #11 of 17 Old 07-09-2008, 02:35 PM
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firehawk, that's interesting that you say a 16 gauge will be required for door jambs and such. I just redid my family room and used an 18 gauge finish nailer (actually 2) for everything including door jambs and thick molding. I definitely think the 16 gauge guns will be more suitable for some things, but didn't find a need for them (especially since I just borrowed the tools I used.)

I will say I prefer the air guns to the battery packs. I like the battery guns for the lack of a hose and convenience of moving around on a ladder/scaffold with them, but I've found the batteries really don't last very long, especially if you're shooting larger gauge nails.
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post #12 of 17 Old 07-09-2008, 05:36 PM
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nail gauges

Frank,
Many of the doors I hang are solid core, read heavy. If you want the doors to remain in the position you originally hang them in, I would recommend using a heavier gauge nail. I also use a long screw in the center of each hinge to secure the hinge side to prevent sagging over time. The other thing I do is shim the jamb side at the top, bottom, middle near the lockset, and two more points in between. I don't want to go back on a job because a door rubs or doesn't operate properly. I will use an 18 gauge gun to secure the thinner (inside) edge of the molding. Then I will use a 15 or 16 for the thicker edge of the molding. Most of the casing I use is a full 3/4" thick. I also have a couple of cordless guns. The 18volt dewalt is a 16 gauge, up to 2 1/2" length, and works great. I have a number of 18 volt dewalt tools with all the batteries being interchangeable. I also have a paslode impulse framing nailer and an impulse finish nailer. I bought these when they first came out and used them a lot back then. I don't use them anymore. I don't recommend them. They have to be kept clean, use the fuel cells, and smell during use. Air guns are fine as long as you have a portable compressor to go along with them. I have a 2hp porter cable portable, but it is a little heavy. It is made to run two or three big nailguns. I have a little 3/4 hp cambell hausfield that runs the finish guns just fine. I think it was $69.00, and probably weighs less the 10#. Hope this helps.
Mike Hawkins
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post #13 of 17 Old 07-09-2008, 07:07 PM
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firehawk, I see what you're saying now. I thought you meant the trim around the door jambs, not the jambs themselves. makes complete sense what you're saying... glad I asked/commented.
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post #14 of 17 Old 07-10-2008, 03:41 PM
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Quote:
Any recommendations on a gun for a beginner, that is in a beginners budget?
I picked up a Porter Cable 18ga nailer and 1/4" crown stapler as a combo set from Home Depot. If memory serves, it was about $150 for the pair. Both air powered of course.
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post #15 of 17 Old 07-10-2008, 07:45 PM
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What guns for a beginner? Here's my humble opinion.

15awg 2.5" Finish Nailer- 34 degree angle. The angle lets it get in between stuff easier.

18awg 2" Brad nailer. (not a stapler combo) Don't mess with a 1.25" Brad nailer- thats what i have and would much rather have the capacity.

23awg 1.25" Headless Pinner.

If its not clear, the 2.5", 2", and 1.25" are maximum nails- you can use anything shorter in those guns.

Thats a perfect combination in my mind. the Pinner is really just a bonus. the first two will accomplish about any task.

For brand... the other suggestions are fine... but I got my brad nailer at Menards (Tool Shop brand) for $20. I've shot a couple thousand brads with it and haven't had a single jam or problem. only complaint is the size, but they have a 2" for $30. My Pinner is one of the blue ones from Harbor Freight- $25. only used it for a couple projects so far, but no complaints yet- especially when a Grex is $300... I don't have a 15awg nailer yet, but I'd prolly go for a Grizzly- like $110. my point is... this isn't a drill with a motor or a chuck, its not a saw... it's just a valve to hold back the air till you pull the trigger... not too much to go wrong. I'm all about top quality stuff where it matters- I use a Ridgid drill and Makita 10" SCMS, but in this case... Cheapo has worked for me so far. I'd sure be mad if I bought a $150 brad nailer and then wish it were 2". as it is, my experiment doesn't have me out much.

just my $.02

jeff
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post #16 of 17 Old 07-19-2008, 01:57 AM
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After an extensive amount of web research, I went with the following two nailers. They may fit the bill if you're in the market for nailers. Beginner or otherwise, if you buy a cheap tool, you're just going to buy it again later...I learned that lesson long ago.

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...ctId=100088397

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/...ctId=100348528

The first is a cordless, 16 gauge, Paslode angled finish nailer. Firing system relies on battery to spark a butane cannister (basically a gun) rather than air. As a finish nailer, it's convenient to be able to use it in the house for trim work without dragging around a compressor. I haven't had a misfire with it yet. A bit pricey, but comes with a nice case and pretty much everything you need to get started. You do need to keep the tool clean, use fresh butane cannisters, and use Paslode fasteners or you may have misfire problems.

The second is an 18 gauge Rigid air brad nailer. It's an oil free tool, which means it's virtually maintenance free. Nice design, swivel connector, belt hook, very simple, tool-free jam clearing mechanism (although I've yet to need it), minimal recoil, easy load....all around great brad nailer.

I've been extremely happy with both of these purchases and can say that the reviews I found were accurate.
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post #17 of 17 Old 07-29-2008, 05:09 PM
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I think most trim guys would prefer air over elect. or gas. If it`s a small job...the fewer things to drag around the better!! For a complete trim package...air all the way...hands down!! much quicker! Rick

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