Finish Nailer - What gauge should I get?

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Old 11-20-06, 12:40 PM
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Finish Nailer - What gauge should I get?

Hey All;

I am looking into buying a finish nailer to install base trim, window trim, some extension jambs and do a bit of cabinetry work....funny thing is, i've only installed a few pieces of trim before so I am very much a newbie.

2 questions;

1. What gauge gun do I buy?
2. I am looking at 2 dewalt guns...DC618K & DC628K. I saw another post where the user loved the DC618K. I wanted to see what other feedback was out there.

Thanks.
 
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Old 11-20-06, 01:34 PM
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Angled finish guns fire 15 ga and straight fire 16 ga. Not going to be much difference there. Some users claim the angled guns can be easier to fit into some spaces to use. Not going to be any help on selection, I have Porter-Cable, not DeWalt,
 
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Old 11-20-06, 02:40 PM
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Finish Nailer

If you will only have one gun, go with the 15 or 16 gauge. These will shoot nails up to 2 1/2 in. long. For more delicate work, an 18 gauge or 23 gauge works best, but maximum nail length is less. Good luck.
 
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Old 11-20-06, 02:58 PM
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Technically, only the 15 and 16 ga are finish nailers - 18 ga is a brad nailer and 23 ga is a pin nailer. You want a finish nailer for trim.
 
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Old 11-20-06, 09:28 PM
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If you're only getting one gun, then buy the 16 gauge. The 16's have a lot more holding power than the 18's and are much less likely to split thin pieces than the 15's.
 
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Old 11-21-06, 06:27 AM
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I was in Homer Depot the other day- they had a Dewalt compressor with 2 guns (brad & finish) on sale- if I wasn't already set up, that would have been a great deal.

Personally, I use both guns a lot, with the brad nailer getting the most use. I favor 18 ga brad nails (up to 2 1/8") everywhere possible (cabinetry, casing, thin baseboard, other odd mouldings) because of the small nail hole it leaves. I only use the 15 ga. angle nailer when the moulding is thick, heavy, wants to spring away from the wall, or if I need a longer 2 1/2" nail. Crown moulding is obviously a job for a finish nailer, not a brad nailer. Smaller crown can sometimes be attached to cabinets with a brad nailer however.

This gets debated over and over again in the forums- maybe reading older threads would help. (check in the forum: Tools and Power Machinery, which is where this topic is usually discussed.) It basically comes down to what you will be using the gun for the most.
 
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Old 11-21-06, 06:53 AM
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I agree with XSleeper. I do various home projects and I picked up a Bostich Compresser with 3 guns (finish, brad and narrow crown stapler) from Lowes for about $300. I am very happy with them!
 
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Old 11-21-06, 07:36 AM
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Thanks for all of the feedback. It is very helpful.

I forgot to add in that i will be doing crown molding as well. I will go back and take a look at some of the air compresor models where maybe i can get a multi gun set on sale. I just hate the clumsy hose.....
 
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Old 11-21-06, 10:11 AM
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Paslode makes finish and framing nail guns [maybe others] that run off of a gas cylinder and battery. No compressor or hose needed. They do cost more than the typical air powered nail gun.
 
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Old 11-21-06, 11:30 AM
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For occasional use, I'd go with air nailers. The gas powered models are much more suited to heavy use where you're actually going to use up a cylinder or three.
 
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Old 11-26-06, 10:43 AM
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OK. I have 2 choices...I can get the porter cable 3 nailer combo kit + 135psi 6 Gallon compressor for 220 (after discounts)(description can be found at http://www.coastaltool.com/cgi-bin/SoftCart.exe/a/port/cffn251t.htm?L+coastest+fgvm2949ff3cd63c+1164623285) which includes;

2-1/2 In. finish nailer drives 3/4 In. to 2-1/2 In. 16-gauge nails
1-1/4 In. brad nailer drives 5/8 In. to 1-1/4 In. 18-gauge brad nails
1 In. narrow crown stapler drives 1/2 In. to 1 In. narrow crown staples


Or a campbell hausfield 3 nailer combo kit (sold at costco..Brad Nailer, finish Nailer, Framing Nailer) for $150 after discounts + Coleman 1.5 Gallon 155 psi compressor ($79) for a total of $229....link to nailer combo kit is here...http://bfads.net/pop/8557

What would you guys choose? I assume porter cable is the no brainer, but figured i'd ask.

Thanks.
 

Last edited by gianni; 11-26-06 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 11-26-06, 08:57 PM
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I have the PC kit and the guns work fine. The compressor is very loud and I'm thinking of seeing if there's any interest in someone buying it from me so I can replace it with something bigger and quieter.
 
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Old 11-27-06, 10:11 AM
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I have the older PC 15-guage finish nailer. The tool itself is quite large, the nails are more expensive than the 16-guage but the magazine is angled which fits better into corners.
The nailer is well balanced and the nail heads are a D-shape which requires more to fill than the T-shape of the 16-guage nail heads.
 
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Old 11-29-06, 10:29 AM
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I'd go for the pc kit
 
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Old 12-04-06, 09:01 PM
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stick nailer

I bought a Bostich finish nailer and a stick nailer that does 8-16d nails
around 1985. They cost almost $600 each back then...boy have things changed.
 
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Old 12-19-06, 11:25 AM
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I have a brad nailer that Ive used for all of my moldings (never did crowns though) and the brads are fine.

But, whwnwver I do a project thatinvolves aloot of wood such as framing my basement, building a shelving unit out of 2x3s, it always drives me crazy to waste so much time with screws.

Would a 15 gauge nails be ok for this kind of stuff?
 
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Old 12-19-06, 04:43 PM
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15 ga. finish nails are basically for finish work only, not for framing or utility nailing. You definitely would not frame walls with a finish gun, it wouldn't be very good for nailing 2x3's together either. Since they are such small gauge, they should not be used where the possibility exists that the material being nailed could pull apart due to load or stress.

The thickest thing I nail together with a 15 ga finish nailer is brickmould (1" thick) onto exterior doors.
 
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