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LBJ 03-12-2012 09:51 AM

Finish Nailers
I'm looking to replace the baseboards and window trim in my house. I want to purchase a nail gun to do the job. Is there a difference between a brad nailer and a finish nailer? From what I've been reading, a 16 guage nailer will do the trick. Any help, tips will be appreciated.

AtlanticWBConst. 03-12-2012 10:09 AM

The abbreviated version: Its best to have 1 of each.

Finish Guns (Straight & Angle Nailers): 15 gauge to 16 gauge nails up to 2-1/2" in length. Best for door/window casings (nailing OUTSIDE edge - into the wall surface), baseboard (In General), wide trim boards, crown moldings, and other similar molding (thickness and widths). The large gauge nails have a tendency to split and blow out narrow and smaller dimensioned trim & moldings (see next point on brad nailers).

Brad nailer: 18 gauge (more narrow of a fastener) up to 1-1/2". Best for nailing thinner and smaller dimensioned moldings to reduce splits (splitting of the wood) and blow-outs. Good to use when nailing the inside edge of door/window casings (along the narrow edge - into the door/window - sided of the wood jamb).

There are also other nailers that are better suited for finer and reduced dimensioned moldings - such as pin nailers.

Pnuematic Staplers also have a function and use for other types of materials & installations.

BigJim 03-12-2012 01:18 PM

Just a tip, look at the nails and see how they are sharpened, the Senco nails are sharpened from front to back of the nail, which is good. You need to hold the gun up right when nailing door and window mold. The Paslode nails are sharpened from side to side, you will need to hold the gun 90 degrees of the trim you are nailing. The reason for this is the nails will sometimes run out the side or curl back toward you if the nail isn't shot in with the nail sharpening pattern shot in with the sharpening edges back to front not side to side 90 degrees of the trim grain. If the sharp point is side to side and is shot in with the grain the point will follow the grain of the wood and a lot of times shoot out the side.

princelake 03-12-2012 06:12 PM

i totally agree with the way you hold the gun. i just think of the nail/pin being an axe head and which way you dont want to split it. i find 18ga nailers are the best for baseboard and casing. i'd use a 15or16ga for jobs like hanging doors and for something that needs to be more ridgid. the 18ga makes alot smaller holes and is alot easier to fill.

woodworkbykirk 03-12-2012 06:47 PM

very good point jim, not too many guys know that about nailers. i did about paslode nails but not about senco ones. i hardly ever use senco nails unless its for our 15 gauge which we shoot stainless steel nails with for azec installs

as for 18 gauge for baseboard intsalls,well it depends on the baseboard itself. how thick it is and how dense it is. for really thin mdf or pine base i use a 18 gaug, but for thick mdf or stain grade hardwoods i use a 16 gauge. the 16 has more driving power and holding power

AtlanticWBConst. 03-12-2012 08:46 PM

I agree with the previous poster: 15g and/or 16g for most wood baseboard (over using 18g) = for better hold, and tighter install.

For MDF, 18g is better for less mushrooming effect.

As stated earlier (Getting back to the OP's original question) = I'd advise getting both an 18g AND either a 15g or 16g finish nailer - for the points (and tips & reasons given), and mentioned thus far in this thread.

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