nail gun question

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Forum topic by Ntaskani posted 06-29-2015 04:13 AM 1306 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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17 posts in 2042 days

06-29-2015 04:13 AM

I’m relatively new to woodworking, am in the process of building my shop. I’m looking to buy a nail gun and wanted to see what you all would recommend. I want something that is easy to use and does not take up much space as I have a small shop.


14 replies so far

View Nubsnstubs's profile


1730 posts in 2579 days

#1 posted 06-29-2015 04:38 AM

Ok, the devil is making me ask this. Just how large do you think nail guns are? I don’t think even in the cases they come in they are over 2 cubic feet. .............. Jerry (in Tucson)

-- Jerry (in Tucson)

View Ntaskani's profile


17 posts in 2042 days

#2 posted 06-29-2015 04:44 AM

Sorry should have been more clear. As far as size I was referring to compressor . I have limited room around my assembly table. Thanks.

View pintodeluxe's profile


6205 posts in 3663 days

#3 posted 06-29-2015 05:18 AM

I think a mid sized compressor is worth its weight in gold. I recently switched to a 26 gallon vertical compressor, and it is quite compact. Of course any compressor will run a nail gun. As far as nail guns, I have everything from a framer gun, 16 gauge, 18 gauge, and pin nailer. They are all Porter Cable.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View exelectrician's profile


2339 posts in 3277 days

#4 posted 06-29-2015 06:44 AM

DeWalt make several electric nailers in various gauge nail sizes, I am now free from my noisy compressor…..

-- Love thy neighbour as thyself

View HokieKen's profile


15053 posts in 1988 days

#5 posted 06-29-2015 08:33 PM

If I could only have 1 nailer, it would be a straight 18ga finish/brad nailer hands down.

As for the compressor, if nailers are the only use, a 5-6 gallon “pancake” compressor is cheap, reliable and compact. I would steer clear of no-name or HF compressors though. Porter Cable and Craftsman are good choices in the small compact sizes.

-- Kenny, SW VA, Go Hokies!!!

View WoodNSawdust's profile


1417 posts in 2026 days

#6 posted 06-29-2015 09:10 PM

I use a verity of nail guns (10, 16, 18, 23 gauge) off of a small Harbor Freight pancake compressor. When money permits I plan on replacing the compressor with a 30 gallon name brand. Less noise.

-- "I love it when a plan comes together" John "Hannibal" Smith

View RogerM's profile


806 posts in 3248 days

#7 posted 06-29-2015 11:54 PM

Agree with HokieKen

-- Roger M, Aiken, SC

View Gopher's profile


27 posts in 2795 days

#8 posted 06-30-2015 12:05 AM

A good Pancake compressor. Framing, Roofing – Porter Cable. Stapling – Bostwick. Finishing, Brad nailer – Senco oilless.

-- Ted T. Aiken S.C.

View MrFid's profile


906 posts in 2754 days

#9 posted 06-30-2015 12:23 AM

Nail guns, even pretty big ones like a framing nailer, require a pretty small amount of air, which is why everyone is saying you can get a pancake compressor. I run a framing nailer down to a pin nailer on my 10 gallon portable without issue or constant refilling. However, once you have a compressor you realize how useful they are and you want to do other stuff with it, some of which requires more air. Spraying is a common example for woodworkers. My pneumatic impact wrench is a huge air hog as well. So, I guess my recommendations would be to either: (1) figure out what air-demanding job you MIGHT someday use a compressor for and see what size compressor you’ll need for that and get one that’ll handle it, or (2) buy a secondhand small compressor for real cheap (they’re all over Craigslist) that you can nail with and that you wouldn’t mind selling again once you need a bigger one (or give it away to a lucky relative, as I plan to do when I get a bigger one someday). Hope it works out.

-- Bailey F - Eastern Mass.

View Jimarco's profile


15 posts in 1956 days

#10 posted 06-30-2015 12:30 AM

I didn’t have good luck with Craftsman’s and replaced it with the DEWALT Portable Air Compressor — 1.6 HP, 4.5-Gallon Tank, 200 PSI, Model# D55146. It’s just strong enough to run a small HVLP sparay gun and plenty strong for Pneumatic guns.

I have a 5-year-old cheap set of Campbell Hausefeld (Framing-Finish-Brad and Staple) and have had no problems with them.

I’ve noticed sales and it seems like Bostich and Porter Cable run some good deals on Pancake compressors with nailers/staplers. Looks like they have gone up some in price I imagine a big sale is coming soon Found one

View Stewbot's profile


199 posts in 1933 days

#11 posted 06-30-2015 01:48 AM

I personally really like Hitachi nail guns, I have the 15G angled and 18G brad, and often use their framing gun. You can sometimes get their 18 gauge brad nailer for as little as $50 and IMO its worth every penny. USually its i think like $70, but if your tight on funds, I think there are cheaper brands that will perform well enough. I agree that if I were to only have one finish nail gun, it would be an 18G brad nailer, as the nail sizes have a lot of range in length. Arrow has a line of finish guns, that seem alright. If you have a Dixieline near you (not sure where you are, or how far they range) they have hot deals on Arrow guns. I got a 23G pin nailer for like $30, its a little heavy but pretty nice i must say.
Pancake compressors are often oilless, but are generally louder than oiled compressors (in my experiences). Bostich and Porter cable often has a deal on a 6 gallon oilless compressor with 16G, 18G and stapler for a couple hundred dollars, sometimes less. (Looks like ^ covered you on that one) I mostly use my compressor for finish guns, and have a little Makita MAC 700. Its VERY quiet, and smooth. And although its uses are limited because of its tank size and PSI limitations etc, depending on what you need it to do, Its very nice to own.

-- Hoopty scoop?

View Kazooman's profile


1539 posts in 2802 days

#12 posted 06-30-2015 02:11 AM

It all depends on what you mean by a nail gun and what you intend to use it for. I agree that an 18 gauge brad nailer is great for holding things together after gluing or for securing medium sized pieces such as an edge band of hardwood onto plywood after gluing. I have one and use it all the time. It is probably the best overall choice. However, it won’t hold 2 X4’s together. Probably my favorite gun is my pin nailer. Perfect for holding very thin or small pieces in place after gluing and the holes are virtually invisible. I have owned a cheap brad nailer and It regularly jammed. I now have Bostich brad and pin nailers and they are great.

I own two compressors. The larger one never gets turned on when I want to use either nailer. I don’t need that much capacity. My small compressor builds up the pressure quite quickly and it can keep up with the work. It is also much quieter. About the only uses I have for the larger compressor is to drive my impact wrench to remove the wheels on my car and my annual Fall lawn sprinkler blow out. For a small shop, go small, unless you have other uses for a larger capacity compressor?

View robscastle's profile


7324 posts in 3053 days

#13 posted 07-01-2015 10:04 PM

I have a an air brad nailer with all the safety devices to prevent free firing.
But I still managed to do this !!

Anyway back to compressors I have two compressors one is a small portable (Its off site at the moment so see the book only)

Its a unit that I can carry inside houses it works well, as you can see !

The shop one is bigger

It runs everything OK except My needle gun, which makes it run constantly

I also have a stapler, it doesnt have any sefety devices to prevent free firing, go figure.
Very odd so I stuck a warning label on it,

-- Regards Rob

View Kazooman's profile


1539 posts in 2802 days

#14 posted 07-01-2015 10:24 PM

Hear ya on the free firing guns. You have to be extra careful with them. My pin nailer is free firing and I have occasionally surprised myself by shooting a pin off into the bowels of the shop when I picked it up. The guy who built the addition on my house shot himself in the leg with one and the Docs decided to just leave it.

I guess that brings up the question of safety when using pneumatic nailers. There is a real allure to holding the trigger down and just banging the gun safety trigger on the workpiece to shoot the nail (think roofers nailing shingles). It is easy to see how that can go wrong. Another local builder friend was doing that and nailed his hand to the wall. Very embarrassing to have to call for your buds to cut the nail head off to get you down prior to your trip to the emergency room.

The main problem I have experienced with the lighter gauge brad nailers is that the brads often do not have enough strength to overcome the grain in the wood. They will enter the piece and then will bend to follow the path of least resistance. That path might well take the brad out the surface of the wood. That’s not so good for cosmetics, but it is worse when your finger is there holding the joint in place.

Wear safety glasses!

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