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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    Question How do you pick out a nail gun?

    I'm going to be doing some kitchen remodeling soon. I'll be removing a wall and putting up a header, working with 2X4's , Etc.. I want to add a nice nail gun to my arsenal of tools. I already have a huge air compressor which I use for working on cars so I wouldn't need that. I have no idea what makes one nail gun better than another. Can you guys point some things out? I'll also need to be using brads and finishing nails so don't know if I need a separate gun for that, or 3 guns (one for each) or if one gun can use all.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: How do you pick out a nail gun?

    The first thing I'd recommend is to define your needs. You do not need a nail gun to install a header or minor repairs around the house. You would even be hard pressed to need a gun for an addition, remodel, or even a new build, here's why. Framing nailers are designed for production work. They are faster at things like nailing sheathing, fencing, or production framing, though if you think about the hassles of dealing with a hose on a construction site, hand nailing framing materials is much faster. So, for the average homeowner, a framing nailer really isn't a necessity.

    Roofing nailer, by it's very definition is for roofing, and unless you've got an entire tract to do, you'd be better off renting one for your roof project than buying. Side note, nails are far superior to staples when it comes to roofing.

    Finish nailers and brad nailers - These do actually have plenty of uses for the average handy-homeowner. Guns of this type are used for trim work around the house, especially if you're doing crown moldings. Finish nailers will shoot nails from 1" - 2", brad nailers range from 1/2" - 2". You've also got nail gauge (diameter), finish nails are larger and leave a bigger pecker mark to fill than brads. If you are also a wood worker you'll find plenty of uses for a finish or brad nailer around the shop.

    I have also found that a 1/4" crown stapler has many uses around the shop. Some brands have brad/staple combo guns that are pretty slick.

    Now for the brand of gun itself. Stick with name brand products like Senco, Bosch, or Hitachi. NEVER under any circumstances buy from Harbor Freight!!!!!! The quality of the gun ABSOLUTELY makes a difference in it's ease of use, safe use, and quality of the finished product. Cheap tools do not produce good results - ever!
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
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    Jun 2007
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    Default Re: How do you pick out a nail gun?

    I have to agree A. Spruce, I bought a framing nailer years ago because I had a lot to do on the old house we bought. I used it quite a bit for about a year and since then it set idle almost all the time. Mine is self contained so I don't have to deal with air hoses but it save little time unless I building something large.

    A far cheaper way to go is to get evry thing ready and rent roofing nailers and framing nailers. Pin nailers, staplers,or finish nailers will get a lot more use.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #4
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    Apr 2012
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    203

    Smile Re: How do you pick out a nail gun?

    Quote Originally Posted by A. Spruce View Post
    Finish nailers will shoot nails from 1" - 2", brad nailers range from 1/2" - 2".
    From what I've read I would get more use out of a brad nailer than a finishing nailer. Do you guys agree? I'll generally be using it for crown moldings, floor moldings, kitchen cabinet work, Etc.

    Are all brads the same (not the nailer, but the brads themselves) or are certain brands better?

    If a brad nailer is best than what do you think about this one? I keep seeing great reviews about it (and the brand) and it seems reasonably priced for all the use I'd be giving it.

  5. #5
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    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: How do you pick out a nail gun?

    All the big name brands are about the same as far as quality, accuracy, and durability go. Where many of them differ is on the cost of the loads, Paslode, for instance, tends to be on the expensive side.

    That Hitachi looks very much like my Senco. One thing I would recommend you do is go to a tool store and feel the different brands in your hand. Fit the tool to your hand, both the size and the balance, as these things will make a big difference in your enjoyment of the tool and your experience in handling it. As an example, if the grip is too small and the gun weighs 400 pounds, you're not going to want to use it. Conversely, a comfortable grip and a balanced light weight will be a joy.

    There is another difference between finish nails and brads, and that is holding power. Finish nails generally hold better because of a slightly larger head and heavier gauge wire. Brads tend to pull through if there is pressure to do so. For crown moldings I always use a finish nailer, for base I can go either way. For cabinetry face frames brads because you are using glue to actually hold the frame to the cabinet, the nail is only holding it until the glue dries. The benefit with a brad in this instance is a smaller blemish to conceal.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    SoCal
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    Default Re: How do you pick out a nail gun?

    Hammers never failed me - all the above work can be done with hammers costing less that $20. And I still have all my original fingers.

    For a one or two times jobs, rent them.

  7. #7
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    Apr 2012
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    Smile Re: How do you pick out a nail gun?

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    For a one or two times jobs, rent them.
    That doesn't make sense. For a little more you could own one.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How do you pick out a nail gun?

    Quote Originally Posted by MyMilan View Post
    That doesn't make sense. For a little more you could own one.
    Rental, no maintenance, no storage, no cost of replacement.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  9. #9
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    Apr 2012
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    203

    Talking Re: How do you pick out a nail gun?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    Rental, no maintenance, no storage, no cost of replacement.
    I hope you're not trying to sell me on rental, Jack, because none of those things concern me

    Home Depot wants around 70 bucks for only two days of rental. For around another 70 bucks I could own it outright, and sell it one day if I ever get tired of it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Default Re: How do you pick out a nail gun?

    Times of use vs shelf price vs rental price = the decision to buy or rent.

    For me, I left most of the large ticket items that I only use once or twice a year to rental. Smaller items like nail guns, airless paint sprayer, etc. I use the above equation to determine which is best for me.

    Regardless, as long as you stick with good quality tools, your investment will be worth it. Buy a cheap tool is like buying toilet paper, once you get it out of the store it's worth less than half of what you paid for it, once you've used it no one want it back!
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

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