Air compressor or not? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 03:27 PM Thread Starter
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Air compressor or not?

Hi all. New to this site, lots of interesting discussions.

I'm a beginner woodworker/weekend DIY'er. I don't own a lot of tools, only power drill, jig saw, circular saw, sander, router and a cool looking jaw horse. I am considering getting a nail gun as I'm building a kids bed (Thomas Train style) and screws are just too big for some of the curves/bends. To my surprise (ignorance), there's no such a thing as electric nailer - except those with gas cartridge. I saw some of the manual staplers can shoot brad nails too - but I'm not sure if they can even penetrate a half inch plywood and sink in.

So I'm contemplating whether I should get a compressor and a nailer. The question is, is compressor essential for occasional woodworking? What else can I use it with down the road?

Cheers
Rap
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post #2 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 03:33 PM
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A bigger compressor is better than a smaller one, but you don't need a monster. I have a 2HP 8 gallon compressor that is okay for everything I do. I would like a bigger compressor, but there is a difference between want, and need. Even if I could, I wouldn't want to go over 30 gallons just for space sake...

I use my compressor for driving nail guns, blowing up tires (BIG 4x4 tires), blow guns, spraying, impact wrench etc...

Long story short, a compressor is VERY useful. But the smaller the compressor, the less useful it is... (I personally would steer clear of those little 3 gallon pancake compressors...)

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post #3 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 04:15 PM
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I've got one of those 3 gallon pancake compressors dbhost mentioned. It's been good enough for what I needed, but if I was doing it over I'd buy an oiled type with a larger tank.

It's unbeatable for quick jobs pinning things together, but I wouldn't rely on the nails to hold anything structural: use glue or wood screws for that!
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 04:51 PM
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I have a small compressor that I use mainly for airing up tires. I do have a couple of nail guns and a stapler that came with it. I dunno if I have ever used the nail guns. I did use the stapler when I replaced the bunk carpet on my boat trailer. The compressor never leaves the garage so it dosnt get used in the woodshop at all. The way I see it, anything that could be fastened with a small nail or brad could also be fastened with glue and I dont have holes that I need to go back and fill. I guess it would have a place depending on your project but for me, I dont really have a use for it in the woodshop.

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post #5 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 06:08 PM
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I've got a 20 gallon compressor in the shop and a 6 gallon Porter Cable pancake. In addition to brads and staples, I use the 6 gallon for airing up tires, cleaning gutters, winterizing the power washer and garden hoses(blow all the water out of 'em before storage), clean paint sprayers, wife uses it for dusting doll collection (vacuum tears 'em up but 30 psi dusts them nicely)..... I'm sure I forgot something but it's in use a lot

John

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post #6 of 13 Old 01-24-2012, 10:04 PM
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If you are just wanting to inflate tires and use air nailers than I would go with a twin stack or pancake oil compressor. If you are going to use certain air tools or a spray gun I would go for a bigger size tank with appropriate SCFM or ACFM. If you do go with the pancake or twin stack I would shoot for at least 4 CFM at 40 PSI.

Bill
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 02:36 AM
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Nailers are great if you don't want or can't wait for glue drying time. I use mine for trim work and then putty the holes but I don't make any high quality stuff either... Yet. Stay away from the small oilless compressors like they've said, I have one and hate it, it's only good for airing up tires but it sucks at that too. It can only do one tire from 30-35psi every 10 minutes. Non adjustable too. But they do sell combo packs that might be good for your situation, compressor and a nailer in one.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 06:43 AM
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I think that a compressor is an essential piece of equipment in your garage/shop. It was one of the earleir pieces of electric equipment that I bought. I had the compressor long before I started wood work. Never had a nailer to go with it until I also purchased my smaller, portable compressor 5 years ago. Over the years I have probably had 4 or 5 compressors.

Once you have a compressor your requirements for it will grow. Get the largest that your space and budget will allow.

George
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 01:58 PM
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I keep running over to my father in laws next door to use his to blow all the sawdust off the pieces I sand before I stain anything.
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 06:14 PM
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An air compressor is worth it. I use mine on tires, drying things off, blowing things off, sanders, air ratchets, die grinders, paint sprayers, etc. Worth the value imo.
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post #11 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 06:40 PM
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Harbor Freight has a bad rap generally (and somewhat deserved), but their compressors are a pretty good value. I have a 2HP/8gallon (probably the same as dbhost) that has served me well in light duty thus far. Had good success with their 4-n-1 (no longer sold) nailer set.

If you have someplace to store it, consider a vertical unit. There's a ton of things you can do if you have enough air and enough air flowing. Sandblasting, painting, impact guns...very versatile tool, especially outside of woodworking.
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post #12 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raptor22 View Post
Hi all. New to this site, lots of interesting discussions.

I'm a beginner woodworker/weekend DIY'er. I don't own a lot of tools, only power drill, jig saw, circular saw, sander, router and a cool looking jaw horse. I am considering getting a nail gun as I'm building a kids bed (Thomas Train style) and screws are just too big for some of the curves/bends. To my surprise (ignorance), there's no such a thing as electric nailer - except those with gas cartridge. I saw some of the manual staplers can shoot brad nails too - but I'm not sure if they can even penetrate a half inch plywood and sink in.

So I'm contemplating whether I should get a compressor and a nailer. The question is, is compressor essential for occasional woodworking? What else can I use it with down the road?

Cheers
Rap
There is such a thing as an electric nailer. I have one and really love it minus the weight. DeWalt makes them in 18g, 16g, and 15g. I have the 15 gauge, and would love to get a 18 guage down the road. That's the nice thing about having DeWalt cordless tools they have some great cordless options that other brands don't.

DEWALT DC628K


However, if you don't have DeWalt 18v tools then I would counsel you to pick up a pancake compressor and some pneumatic guns as they are cheaper and will leave you with even more options down the road.

-luke
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post #13 of 13 Old 01-25-2012, 11:59 PM
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I would say to go with the pancake compressor also. You'll eventually accumulate a gaggle of nail guns.

AND

You'll be a hero to all the neighborhood kids when you fill their bicycle tires.

Use the right tool for the job.

Rich (Tilting right)
Huntington Beach, California
Remember that when we have the "BIG ONE" everything east of the Rockies falls into the ocean.
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