Nail Guns! What Is The Difference Between Brads And Nails? - General DIY Discussions - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum

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Old 12-06-2009, 10:05 PM   #1
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Nail Guns! What is the difference between brads and nails?

I would like to purchase a nail gun, the kind that run off of a compressor, (pnuematic?) (that is why I didn't want to TRY to spell it lol) I am seeing 16 - 18 - 15 guage brads. (I do know what the staples are Thank God! haha) But is a brad the same as a nail? (finish nail?) Can these be used for construction, NOT talking about framing, but crown molding, base boards, building a faux fireplace, (pine)??? What can they be used for? A friend of mine has offered to lend me his 18v Dewalt nailer, to try out on some trim, but would really like to get my own. What lengths can you shoot? For example 6d 1.5 inch or 2 in or ???


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Old 12-07-2009, 05:50 AM   #2
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Webster says a brad is a thin wire naid with a small or cut off head. A nail is a pointed piece of metal commonly driven by a hammer. In wire gauges, the smaller the number, the larger the nail thickness. Brads are usually small, for nailing thinner materials. For crown molding you need longer nails with thicker wire. 16ga would work for smaller crown, but 15ga is better.


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Old 12-07-2009, 08:21 AM   #3
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For finish things like you mentioned you would want to use a brad nailer... for the small amount of use I assume you would get out of it, purchasing a Porter Cable should do the job fine. For larger things such as the crown molding take Just Bills advice.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:35 AM   #4
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Get a package with a 15 guage nailer and a brad gun. You won't be sorry. I got a Porter-Cable package a couple years back. The 15 guage nails are about the size of 8d nails. You can get them in lengths from 1" to 2.5". My brad nailer (18 guage) goes from something really short to 1.25". But if I could go back in time I might get one that shoots 2" brads instead, so it would work for some trim.

My house is old (nothing is flat), so I like to use the 15 guage nails on most of my trim so it holds better -- especially when I'm making the large baseboard bend to fit the wall.

You can use them for all sorts of things. Anything you would put together with 4d through 8d nails. Plus, since you're not beating on it with a hammer there are all sorts of other things you can use it for that you can't use nails for. Plus they countersink

I recently bought a framing nailer from Harbor Freight. It was really just to do the framing in one room, and it worked great. Now that I'm done I'm thinking about selling it, but maybe there's another framing project down the road.
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