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Thread: Brad or Finish Nailer

  1. #1

    Brad or Finish Nailer

    I am wanting to purchase my first nail gun. I want it right now for nailing quarter round to my baseboard, BUT I think I would like to use it for woodworking projects when I can.

    Since brad guns shoot from 5/8" to 2" brads I was thinking that it would be fine for doing the quarter round (even though finish nailer is probably better suited) and then I could use the shorter brads for wood projects.

    Does this sound like it would work or would a 16ga finish nailer that shoots 1 1/4" as the smallest be the best route.

    Do you guys use a nailer for wood projects, I never have since I don't own one but maybe I would not use it as much as I am thinking or would I use it more than I am thinking. Suggestions?

  2. #2
    IMHO, start with a brad nailer. You're right, it'll be good for light molding work. It'll actually be fine for anything but the heaviest of crowns.

    A 16ga finish nailer is a waste of $$. It's not as delicate as a brad nailer and doesn't have the holding power required for anything more than molding. A 15ga is a much better investment.

  3. #3
    I think you'll like having a brad nailer. I got my Porter Cable brad nailer in a kit with their oilless pancake compressor. The nailer has been great. The compressor's capacity is okay for my purposes and easy to carry around but it's very loud -- even not pleasant when I'm wearing ear protection. If you don't think you'll use it much or if you can put your compressor outside when you use it, the loudness may not be an issue for you. If I were doing it over again, I'd strongly consider investing in a quieter compressor -- albeit more expensive. Also consider picking up a pin nailer for less than $20 from Harbor Freight. I've had excellent experience with mine for the small number of circumstances when I've used it. I've read others praise it as well.

  4. #4
    I'm with you on the quiet compressor.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    The 16 gage gun is also a brad nailer, despite being called a "finish nailer" by most. It's only when you get to the 15 gage guns that you are shooting "real" nails.

    That said, 16 gage was what my finish contractor used for nearly all the trim work in our addition with a little help with an 18 gage gun on the shoe moldings.
    “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...


  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    The 16 gage gun is also a brad nailer, despite being called a "finish nailer" by most. It's only when you get to the 15 gage guns that you are shooting "real" nails.

    That said, 16 gage was what my finish contractor used for nearly all the trim work in our addition with a little help with an 18 gage gun on the shoe moldings.
    Jim, what about woodworking, wouldn't the 16ga leave larger holes, not much I know, but when you don't want them to show. Brads come in smaller sizes which is what got me to leaning toward the 18 ga in case I work on small type stuff where 1 1/4" brad would be overkill. Just trying to get the best of both wolds gun I guess.

  7. #7
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    I was only explaining that the fasteners shot by the 18 gage and 16 gage guns are identical format except for size. Yes, the 16 gage gun will leave larger holes as the "tee" at the top of the brad is larger. Where this is a problem you can use the 18 gage gun as long as that's enough holding power. For smaller moldings, no problem. Larger might require a bigger fastener to do it right. And note that "long" fasteners in 18 gage are much more prone to following grain and causing blow-outs than heavier fasteners. Be careful where your "free hand" is during the work.
    “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
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Central Ky.
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    Aaron, I have 3 Harbor Freight brad nailers. I keep 2 filled with different length brads and 1 with staples. At $20 each I figure if they wear out I'll just chuck them. However I've used them alot for 5 years and they work great. Buy one you'll be hooked too. Happy Wooodworking, Craig

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Southeast
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    The suggestion of starting with the 18 ga then getting the 15 ga to accompany it is sound advice.I bought a 16 ga and never use it, because the holding power is similar to the 18 ga.You can do just about any trim work with these two guns.These and a cordless screwdriver are the handiest tools I have.
    Chris

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Vancouver Island, Canada
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    50
    Aaron, I started with the PC combo kit consisting of oil-less pancake compressor and 18 ga. brad nailer. As noted by JV, the compressor is loud but this kit "gets you in the game". I subsequently purchased a 15 ga PC nailer and a 23 ga King headless pinner.

    For trim work around the house as well as light WW, 18 ga is probably the way to go. For example, in addition to installing baseboard and shoe moldings, I used my 18 ga nailer to nail shiplapped boards to the back of a bookcase that I built. I was going to do it the old-fashioned way with a hammer and nails, but the pneumatic nailer helped ensure that a nail started on an errant angle wouldn't blow out the top/bottom of the middle shelf.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Beaver View Post
    I am wanting to purchase my first nail gun. I want it right now for nailing quarter round to my baseboard, BUT I think I would like to use it for woodworking projects when I can.

    Since brad guns shoot from 5/8" to 2" brads I was thinking that it would be fine for doing the quarter round (even though finish nailer is probably better suited) and then I could use the shorter brads for wood projects.

    Does this sound like it would work or would a 16ga finish nailer that shoots 1 1/4" as the smallest be the best route.

    Do you guys use a nailer for wood projects, I never have since I don't own one but maybe I would not use it as much as I am thinking or would I use it more than I am thinking. Suggestions?
    Aaron,
    PM me with you snail mail address and I'll send you a free combination 18 ga brad nailer and stapler. Was getting ready to give it to one of the charitable resale shops but your more than welcome to it. I believe it is a workforce brand. It will get you started anyway.
    "Seldom wrong, but NEVER in doubt!!"
    Registered EZ "Trac Head"


  12. I love my 18 gauge, it is great, paid a little more than needed to though. Bought a Bostich for $90 at HD years ago. I do mostly light cabinetry, dressers, some larger stuff and it has done great, I use wood glue so I figure the wood glue is the main source of holding power. It comes in great for around the house trim work also.

    Just wanted to mention, my parents bought me a small husky compressor that came with a husky brad/staple gun. They got a day after thanksgiving deal last year and probably did not pay much. I never even use the husky gun but I use my bostich with the husky compressor, it is quite, sounds like a bee buzzing. I love it. I used to use my big craftsman compressor which is way too loud. I still use that compressor for spraying and I just hate the noise. The husky is quiet enough and small enough to lug around to customer's homes.

    Anyway, have a great woodworking time.

    Jerry

  13. #13
    At our HD BORG we just got in a small Husky outfit, it has a 18ga nailer, 18 ga stapler, coiled hose, blow nozzle, tire inflator and a mini 2 gal compressor. Haven't heard it run so can't speak to loudness. However, price is good $89.87. It is a special buy, so supplies will be limited.
    "Seldom wrong, but NEVER in doubt!!"
    Registered EZ "Trac Head"


  14. #14
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by chris yount View Post
    The suggestion of starting with the 18 ga then getting the 15 ga to accompany it is sound advice.
    I agree...and forgot to mention that earlier. That's my combination and the two do everything I need. And with the pinner in my arsenal, I can do "invisible" attachment of small moldings and even face frames where glue is involved for the actual holding power.
    “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...


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    South Windsor, CT
    Posts
    3,304
    I have the Porter Cable BN200A 18 gauge brad nailer and the DA250B 15 gauge angled finish nailer. The brad nailer is definitely the one to use for attaching quarter round to your baseboard. The combination of the 2 guns is great. The BN200A will shoot from 3/4" to a 2" brad, so you could use it to attach light trim. The DA250B will shoot up to a 2 1/2" nail and there are times when you need the extra length, for example putting uo crown moulding where you need to get at an angle through the moulding, through sheetrock and into the wall's top plate.

    I agree that a 16 guage finish nailer will be less useful than the combination of the smaller brad nailer and larger trim gun.

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