Barnwood Picture Frame Pinailing Wonkiness

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Forum topic by JohnnyCanuck posted 04-20-2021 12:25 PM 349 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JohnnyCanuck's profile


13 posts in 117 days

04-20-2021 12:25 PM

Topic tags/keywords: pin nailer barnwood

Has anyone experienced 23 ga. pins popping through the face of your wood? I bought a pin nailer to secure my picture frames while the glue dried. The frames are 2 in. wide, mitred on 45 deg. The wood is barnwood and pretty hard. I applied my glue and popped a few pins on ea. side of a given corner and when I flipped it over about 1/2 of them were sticking out like a pin cushion. I think root cause is hardness and grain but I am a noob with this tool so maybe it was me.

I tried toe nail clippers (edges are too soft) and bought some small clippers at Harbor Freight (pins too hard) but nothing works well for neatly removing them. Any ideas?

10 replies so far

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

2925 posts in 1247 days

#1 posted 04-20-2021 01:02 PM

thin gauge pin nails will follow the grain and often come out where not intended.
such as a finger or thumb.
take that into consideration and try to “see” which route the nail will follow before pulling the trigger.

-- there is no educational alternative to having a front row seat in the School of Hard Knocks. --

View MPython's profile


358 posts in 896 days

#2 posted 04-20-2021 01:13 PM

It is not uncommon for 23 Gauge pins – and sometimes larger fasteners – to follow the grain. If the annular rings run out to the surface of your workpiece, you’ll likely find that the pins will follow them and break through the surface. It’s difficult to clip them flush with the surface once they’ve broken through. I find it easier to grab the protruding end with a pair of pliers and pull the pin completely out. If you’re careful, you can usually remove a 23 gauge pin with very little damage to your workpiece. You can sometimes avoid the problem by firing the pin at an angle away from the runout, but not always.

View Madmark2's profile


2662 posts in 1672 days

#3 posted 04-20-2021 03:12 PM

Use a band clamp instead of pin nailer.

Nails are not a substitute for clamps!

Norm convinced too many that a pin nailer is a legit substitute for clamps — just until the glue dries.

Many of us take pride in not using metal fasteners in a project.

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

View SMP's profile


3990 posts in 990 days

#4 posted 04-20-2021 03:29 PM

18 gauge brads will do the same thing as John Smith described. The worst is when they come out where you don’t expect and go through your finger. Don’t ask me how I know.(i had a ton of 2” brads and used them for everything to save money)

View Loren's profile


11193 posts in 4732 days

#5 posted 04-20-2021 04:27 PM

I use end wire cutters and a file if that happens.

View LeeRoyMan's profile


1736 posts in 811 days

#6 posted 04-20-2021 04:44 PM

Pins have a chiseled points.
This causes the pins to turn. (especially if they hit hard grain)

If you hold the gun parallel with the work surface, the pins are more than likely to come out the top or bottom.

You need to hold the gun perpendicular to the work surface, so that the pins go left or right staying in the wood.

I’ve never had luck getting them out. If you can get on the end with some needle nose pliers, wiggle them back and forth until they break. Usually they will break a hair below the surface, might have to take a punch to set them. Going to leave a hole no matter what you do.

View splintergroup's profile


5133 posts in 2306 days

#7 posted 04-20-2021 04:56 PM


Blowing out the side is not uncommon (great reason to not have your fingers in that area!)
The chisel point exasperates the problem. Turn the nailer 90 degrees and try again.

View Aj2's profile


3843 posts in 2882 days

#8 posted 04-20-2021 07:57 PM

I agree with Lee Roy pin nails need carful attention to the firing angle.

-- Aj

View northwoodsman's profile


553 posts in 4830 days

#9 posted 04-20-2021 08:05 PM

I would also use shorter pins. I don’t generally use pins longer than 1”.

-- NorthWoodsMan

View JohnnyCanuck's profile


13 posts in 117 days

#10 posted 04-24-2021 01:56 AM

Thanks to everyone for your replies. John Smith – perfect illustration of how grain will vector the pin. Okay I’m gonna get myself a band clamp and try that for the next one(s). At least it won’t be expensive. I think I’ll also play with turning the gun 90 to see if that makes a difference. What else? Oh yeah, gotta try and salvage my frame. Unlikely I can pull the pins out or thru the wood without marring it too much. Maybe just nip and file as suggested.

Added pressure – this frame is a house-warming gift for a finish carpenter friend so he won’t be impressed if it’s got obvious flaws. Good time to try my first picture frame, right?

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