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Thread: Finish nailers - 15 vs 16 guage

  1. #1
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    Finish nailers - 15 vs 16 guage

    I am in need of a finish nailer to install household trim on doors, walls, etc. I currently have an 18 guage brad nailer and a 23 guage pin nailer - Sencos. What is more useful 16 or 15 guage? It does not seem that the guage compares to nail sizes. Should I stay with Senco? Thanks.
    Pete

  2. #2
    15 gauge has a larger head size, but markedly more holding power. I have a 15 gauge, and pretty much only use it for exterior trim, or thicker interior stock.

    The 16 gauge head is a bit smaller, which I think is fairly noticeable when it comes to puttying, especially stain grade. 16 gauge is decent all around, especially for interior trim.

    I don't know how the new sencos are, but some of the older models are supposedly quite reliable. How much use are you looking to get out of the gun?

    Dustin

  3. #3
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    16 gage guns shoot fasteners that are the same construction as your 18 gage brad gun. But the 16 gage fasteners are stronger than the 18s and you can shoot longer ones much more reliably.

    15 gage nailers shoot fasteners that are real nails with a nearly full round head. The latter has more holding power and the angle of the gun makes them easier to place when working with some kinds of moldings. The gun is larger and heavier, however. All of the 15 gage fasteners I've bought also have friction activated glue on them for increased holding power.

    I have the latter and use it not just for molding work but also for cabinet carcass construction when I need/want to shoot a sturdy fastener during glue-up.

    All my guns are Senco and I'm pleased with them. (most carry the Accuset label which was a line Senco sold a few years ago more aimed at the non-professional market)
    “Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

    If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep...

    Be safety conscious. 80% of people are caused by accidents.

    Equestrian Sports. The most fun you can have with your boots still on...


  4. #4
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    Now Jim - what are you doing with "non-professional" guns? For someone with 25,436 posts - you HAVE to be a pro!!!

    Usage will be occasional - woodwacking is my hobby. I believe in purchasing quality tools the first time - been burned too many times .

    I am leaning toward the 15 guage for now. Found that Senco has the FinishPro 42XP as the new "pro" model. Thanks for the feedback.
    Pete

  5. #5
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    Pete,

    I have a 16 guage Paslode and wish it was a 15 gauge. I've had trouble with the 16g holding trim tight to the wall. I finally resorted to drilling and nailing with finish nails. In all fairness, the trim is 3/4 hickory and it requires LOTS of hold down power if the boards are warped at all or uneven walls but I still think for my purposes the 15g would work better.

    Bryan

  6. #6
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    I have only shot a few hundred feet of base board ad molding so I am no expert but the only instances I have had trim pull back out when using an 18gage brad is where I had to wrap it around a bad wall. I guess it also depends on how big the trim is. Most of mine were small.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Kuhlman View Post
    Now Jim - what are you doing with "non-professional" guns?
    Honestly, it was more of a marketing thing...the features and quality are pretty much identical to the mid- to better Senco guns available concurrently. (Senco's first pinner was identical to the Accuset outside of color, in fact) They did get some traction (even Norm used an Accuset gun on a couple NYW shows, believe it or not) but like many efforts like that, it didn't pay out in the long run to have that differentiation.
    “Never raise your hands to your children, it leaves your groin unprotected.” - Red Buttons

    If you want your spouse to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep...

    Be safety conscious. 80% of people are caused by accidents.

    Equestrian Sports. The most fun you can have with your boots still on...


  8. #8
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    Yea - I remember the Accusets. I really liked them and wanted to purchase those when buying my brad and pin nailers but Senco dropped them. Thanks.
    Pete

  9. #9
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    I've got a 42XP. I've had no problems with it at all.
    Where did I put that tape measure...

  10. #10
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    Woodstock. Ont.
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    I have a 16 guage Paslode (2 1/2 brad)and an 18 guage that shoots a 2 in brad. I trim a couple of houses a year and can't imagine having a piece of trim that the 16 guage would not be strong enough in fact the 18 guage is probably used as much if not more than the 16 guage.

    Brian

  11. #11
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    I would go with the 15ga for finish nails to go through sheetrock/trim. The holding power will come in handy for trim against an uneven wall. I have the lightweight DeWalt...great gun. I drive it with a little Husky pancake nailer, perfect.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ross View Post
    I have a 16 guage Paslode (2 1/2 brad)and an 18 guage that shoots a 2 in brad. I trim a couple of houses a year and can't imagine having a piece of trim that the 16 guage would not be strong enough in fact the 18 guage is probably used as much if not more than the 16 guage.

    Brian

    4 1/2 inch x 3/4 hickory baseboard and a lousy drywall job = lots of 16g nails or a few well placed finish nails.

    Bryan

  13. #13
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    7/8 roughsawn cedar baseboard and 1/2 drywall needs more than a 2" 18 gauge brad. This is especially true for situations where you have to pull the trim tight because of bow in the wall.

  14. #14
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    Harrison Twp., MI
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    I have a PC 15 gauge and love it. The angled magazine gives you much more clearance in tight spaces, especially installing crown moulding. Also, the angled mags hold more nails. The round heads are nice if you're doing any kind of "rustic work", where the holes won't be filled, as the 16 gauge rectangular heads are obviously set by a machine. Even if the holes are filled, some people will notice the round filled holes instead of rectangles.

    Another benefit, is that the 15 gauge nails are easier to set by hand if necessary, and you can always break off a few from a strip to use, instead of having regular finish nails on hand also.

  15. #15
    Join Date
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    Each gauge size has its strengths:

    (smallest to largest)

    23 x 1". small, unpainted moldings where a tiny hole wouldn't be noticeable
    18 x 1.5". good for the casing-to-door-jamb connection where the casing is typically thinner than the outside edge
    16 x 2.5". good for the outer nail on casing (through drywall) and for base trim or other large trim
    15 x 2.5-3". good for a sturdy install of a door jamb, particularly heavy, solid-core doors, best if hidden where possible as it leaves a large, unsightly hole.

    All that said, I don't have a 15-gauge nailer (nor have I needed a 23-gauge) for the trim-carpentry jobs I've done here and there. I generally make do with 16-gauge and replacing the center screw of each hinge with at least a matching 3" screw and maybe one in or behind the strike plate. I'd have to say the 16-gauge (you can get them in an angled config, too) is the most useful all-around. I don't like 18-ga x 2" brads, as I find they don't hold well and do too much wandering as they're driven (cause a lot of splitting out or even u-turns).

    For setting the occasional nail/brad that doesn't sink, there's only one tool as far as I'm concerned:
    http://www.amazon.com/SpringTools-32...7822983&sr=8-1
    It works amazingly well. Once you get the hang of it, you'll probably throw your standard nail set away.
    Last edited by Jason Roehl; 12-16-2007 at 11:37 AM.
    Jason

    "Don't get stuck on stupid." --Lt. Gen. Russel Honore


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