Nail Gun Types & Features

How To Use a Finish Nailer

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Let’s face it: finish nailing guns are some sort of Holy Grail; you learn to use one, and you will never want to hit a nail with a hammer again! And for good reason. They deliver impeccable nailing with little or no hassle. If your interested in how to use a finish nailer and so much more than keep reading!

Much akin to any power or pneumatic tool, learning how to use a finish nailer however, hasn’t always been a walk in the park. Well, it isn’t exactly rocket science either. So, buckle up as I am going to walk you through a quick guide to how to use a finish nailer. Whether you are a rookie or an expert nailer, we can all use a few tips once in awhile. Let’s get started, shall we?


But..first What Are Finish Nail Guns?

In essence, finish nail guns are set up to nail small trim boards and molding onto wood projects without much hassle. These tiny finish nails can be hammered through the trim board into plywood, softwood, hardwoods. Other specialty wood products like MDF  can be nailed with little or no footprint. The finish nails usually leave a small hole behind, but these can be filled using a wood filler right after or before applying the paint or finish.

Why are finish nails so attractive? They have gained traction with woodworkers over the years because they are far unlikely to split the subtle trim, like wood screws and other larger framing nails. It’s also for this reason that finish guns are far much more useful for this kind of wood projects. Another allure of finish nailing guns is the ability to use a single hand above your head hand to hold the gun, leaving the other to keep molding or trim in position without fatigue. Also, there’s no need for predrilling to avoid splitting the molding or whatever you may be fastening.

Features of a Top Finish Nailer

Finish nailers use a variety of nails, ranging from 15 to 18 gauge. They come with either straight or angled magazines, implying that you can hold them in both the nailing direction or at a 20-degree angle. As you might expect, finish nails come in strips comprising 50 to 100 pieces, typically in boxes of approximately 200 nails in total. The nails used here come in a range from 1-¼” to 2-½” in length. Finish nailers can also accommodate smaller pins called brad nails.

Safety Features

Much like other pneumatic or cordless nail guns, finish nailers are fitted with a safety nose. This feature prevents accidental nail firing. This nose must be depressed before engaging the gun. Other finish nailers also boast a raft of security features including rubber, anti-marrying tip. This rubber tip is designed to slip over the nose of the finish nailer, and is meant to prevent damaging of trim or moldings.


Learn How to Use a Finish Nailer

Again mastering use of a finish nailing gun isn’t exactly climbing Mt. Everest but if you follow these steps and you will take your nailing skills from a drab to fab in no time.

Step #1: Avoiding Nail Blow Out

The first step to garnering suitable nailing techniques is to avoid a common pitfall among newbies: nail blowout. More often than not, this problem is caused by the lopsided angling of  trim, molding or by the gun itself. Simply put, a nail blow out is a scenario where the nail comes out in the wrong direction. How to avoid nail blow out? Start off by positioning the center of the finish nail tip exactly where you want to drive the nail. Now, carefully align the gun in the direction you want the nail to go to making sure that you don’t displace the position of the tip.

Step #2: Dealing With a Nail Jam

Nearly all nailing guns experience bouts of nail jams (thought only printer’s jam, right?) Though it’s a rarity when it comes to finish guns, you need to know how fix this problem. The good news is that finish nailers – and indeed other nail guns – have a latch that effortlessly easy to open. So you just unlatch the front of the finish nailer and simply remove the jammed nails. If it’s a pneumatic nailer, however, you need to disconnect it from the air compressor for safety reasons. The same goes for cordless finish nailers; remove the battery before addressing the nail jam.

If after reading this article you are unsure if a finish nail gun is the right nailer for you, read this quick guide on nail guns types.



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