Help me pick a nail gun....


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Old 04-06-10, 08:02 PM
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Help me pick a nail gun....

I would like to buy a powered nail gun but I have no idea what to look for. My needs are fairly simple. I will be doing a number of carpentry projects over the next year or so including building some cabinets, benches and similar items from 3/4" birch plywood; installing baseboard trim and crown molding; and some smaller projects like building picture frames and the like.

My budget is modest but I'm willing to pay for quality if it's there. But like I said, I have no idea what I should be looking for. Some are powered, some are pneumatic; which should I look at first? (I have a small air compressor in my garage that I use mainly with a small sandblasting cabinet, if that helps with the decision.) I watch the various home improvement shows and I see all sorts of nailers being used but no real guidance on the selection process.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. I'll likely be buying in the next month or so.
 
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Old 04-06-10, 08:15 PM
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I have a Rigid finish nailer that is top quality and works great, after i got it fine home building rated it a 2nd place best buy for quality/features, just be carefull as the small finish nails sometimes curve on edges and pop out the side like on drawer sides or getting to close to edges and can snag a finger if you aren't carefull.

murphy was an optimist
 
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Old 04-06-10, 08:18 PM
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There are a few companies that offer deals on "kits", several tools for one price. Interestingly, some guys have bought a lot of these kits at a good price and then they turn around and sell the still new, unused tools one by one on places like Ebay. You might find a good deal there.

But as far as what guns you might want, I'd suggest a 15 ga. angled finish nailer, and an 18 ga. brad nailer. The finish nailer can shoot nails from 1 1/2" up to 2 1/2" long and it can be used for a wide variety of finish work, inside and out. For smaller work, you want a smaller nail, the 18 ga. IMO if you get one, be sure it can shoot short brad nails (5/8") up to long brad nails (2"). It's versitile and is mostly used for delicate work.

There are a lot of brands out there, and most of them work well. So I won't even attempt to name them all.

Any nail that has a head on it would require a different gun, either a siding nailer, or a framing gun. You need a head on the nail for holding power when installing siding, roofing, framing, most exterior trim, fences, and so on. Staplers are similar in that regard.

If this brings up any additional questions, by all means let us know. You've got a lot of guys here who can't get enough when we start talking about power tools!
 
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Old 04-07-10, 04:02 AM
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I'll second the comments so far. One of my helpers just purchased a small hotdog compressor and two nailers (finish and brad) for less than $200 at big blue.
I would stick with a fairly reputable brand if you intend on using it a long time. The cheaper ones may last for someone who uses it once a year.
I use mine daily, and as XSleeper said you tend to spark a flame when talking tools. I've got a rack built in my jobsite trailer just to hold 3 framers, roofer, finish, brad, narrow crown stapler. They all have their specific job, and you will find yourself buying what you need when you need it, so get ready. My favorite is the Dewalt airless angle finish nailer. No hoses. Easy to tote inside for small quick jobs.
 
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Old 04-07-10, 06:34 AM
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I also agree on the kits. Big orange has a Porter Cable kit with pancake compressor and three guns (Finish, brad, narrow staple) for about $270. I have a few of their guns the never had a problem with them. That would get you set up in one purchase.
 
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Old 04-07-10, 06:49 AM
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From what you are describing I would say an 18 gauge and a 16 gauge. The 16 gauge for the trim work and the 18 gauge for the really small stuff. I agree that the better tools will last longer but they also will cost a lot more. I have a Porter Cable 16 gauge but a Harbor Freight 18 gauge. The Harbor Freight 18 gauge cost about $18 dollars and I've gone through 2 boxes of 5000 brads so that's a lot of use. I think that you'll find that most of these tools are made in China but that doesn't mean they are all equal.
 
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Old 04-07-10, 07:26 AM
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I agree with the type of guns mentioned...except I would go with a 15 ga angled finish as was mentioned at least once. Easier to get the nose into tight corners sometimes.

Check out Senco on the 'Net and in stores......great value for the money. Don't think you can get a better price unless you go to HF tools or similar. I got a 3 gun kit in a hard case for about $119 on clearance as I remember....talk about a deal!

Any money you can save will mean more hoses, fittings, and nails.
 
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Old 04-07-10, 02:27 PM
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Vic, you don't "save" money when buying tools, you just divert it as you said. Leave home with a dollar, come home broke, that's the attitude to have. Sort of like gambling, but you know you won't have any cash left at the end of the day. No big deal.
 
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Old 06-21-10, 05:39 AM
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I'm also looking to pick up a new nail gun. I do a lot of wood floors and am looking for a gun that would work as a top-nailer in 3/4" hardwood floors and work well elsewhere.

Is there anything out there like that? I already have a floor nailer and don't particularly want to spend another 500 on a top nailer.
 
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Old 06-21-10, 06:18 PM
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Senco FN40 is a very good nailer, with an angled tip to allow close nailing. Of course Porter Cable, Ridgid and others make similarly good guns. Again, I'd stay away from really inexpensive guns if you plan on using it as you state you do. You'll spend less than $200 for a good quality gun.
 
 

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