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Old 11-05-2012, 12:36 PM   #1
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


One room done, but those first two and last three rows took, I swear, an hour each. What with the pre-drilling and hand nailing. Time to invest in another tool, I believe.

So the question becomes: 15-gauge finish nailer or palm nailer?

Having used neither, the palm nailer looks like it could be used closer to the wall I'm blind nailing towards - but would I still need to pre-drill (3/4 hickory)? A nice, pneumatic finish nailer sounds like it would eliminate pre-drilling, but would I find myself back hand-nailing that next-to-last row? With a palm nailer, would I still be pulling out the nail set and hammer to set the nails?

Or is there another way that I'm overlooking?
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:03 PM   #2
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


finish nailer, 15 or 16 gauge. usually with a finish nailer you can get a few courses nailing the tongue before you have to face nail.
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Old 11-07-2012, 06:44 PM   #3
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


I have been using one of these since they came on the market about 6 months ago. They will nail the tounge to within 4-5" of the wall. I only have to face nail the last board except on 2 and 1/4" flooring, where I have to glue the 2nd one from the wall and then nail the last board. This is a flooring palm nailer the=at shots L-cletes.

http://www.chicagohardwoodflooring.c...ail-power-palm
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Old 11-08-2012, 08:30 AM   #4
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


Would I still need to set cleats installed with a palm nailer?

Is there a difference between the $150 nailer you linked and, say, one that costs half as much from the BORG? If the difference is the ability to use cleats instead of finish nails, is there a real difference (e.g. movement differences that would show up somehow)?
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


You cannot use a regular palm nailer. They use a nail with a head, not a finish nail. This would split the wood. The clet palm nailer sets the nail flush with the tounge.
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Old 12-24-2012, 05:39 AM   #6
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


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You cannot use a regular palm nailer. They use a nail with a head, not a finish nail. This would split the wood. The clet palm nailer sets the nail flush with the tounge.
I'm curious here. Does the nailer you're referring to work equally well on face nailing? Can it drive a face-nailed L-cleat through 3/4-inch hardwood without pre-drilling? If so, is there a need for any hand nailing anywhere on the floor?
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:01 AM   #7
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


It can drive a clete through the face of the 3/4" wood. The only problem I have with it, is that it will not get close enough to be covered by the base board. It would have to be filled. I don't like filler.
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Old 12-24-2012, 04:00 PM   #8
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


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It can drive a clete through the face of the 3/4" wood. The only problem I have with it, is that it will not get close enough to be covered by the base board. It would have to be filled. I don't like filler.
Nor do I. I guess it still beats hand nailing 3 or 4 courses when the nailer won't fit.
But I also wonder how expansion comes into play. I've read many warnings about failure to leave 3/4 inch at the edge of the floor for expansion, but how does this movement take place when the starting or ending boards are nailed?
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Old 12-24-2012, 09:03 PM   #9
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


The hardwood expands and contracts at the same extent. With most base board being 3/8" to 5/8" you can not get the 3/4" gap you need around the edge. To install the wood properly you have to cut the bottom of the dry wall or add shoe mold. With most houses being climate controlled, (heat in the winter and AC in the summer), you can get by with a lessor gap, but it is not reccomended by any manufacturer.
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:14 AM   #10
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


I used one of these http://www.powernail.com/home/model445sn.htm
They also have a manual top nailer. http://www.powernail.com/home/model101sn.htm

I've also used a finish nailer, but the powernailer provids better holding power, with the cleats.
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Old 12-25-2012, 12:22 AM   #11
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I've read many warnings about failure to leave 3/4 inch at the edge of the floor for expansion, but how does this movement take place when the starting or ending boards are nailed?

Expanding wood, over the length of the room, can create enough pressure to pull or bend cleats or nails.
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Old 12-25-2012, 05:27 AM   #12
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Expanding wood, over the length of the room, can create enough pressure to pull or bend cleats or nails.

This normally would only happen in extreme water (not just moisture) present. I have seen a gymnasium floor buckle 4 feet in the air when a water line busted.
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Old 12-25-2012, 08:15 AM   #13
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


I would go with the finish nailer, it may be a little more PITA now but unless you are planning on doing a lot more flooring you won't have a lot of use for the palm nailer later. While a finish nailer could see a lot of use in the future for different projects.
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Old 12-25-2012, 01:41 PM   #14
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Nailer for hardwood end rows


I agree with tool seeker. You would likely find uses for a regular nailer in the future. Whereas the palm nailer probably wouldn't get much use after this.
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Old 12-26-2012, 04:16 AM   #15
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I would go with the finish nailer, it may be a little more PITA now but unless you are planning on doing a lot more flooring you won't have a lot of use for the palm nailer later. While a finish nailer could see a lot of use in the future for different projects.
Good point, sir. Heck, why don't these Powernail palm nailers come with interchangable hammers to allow you to use them for both purposes? The machinist that lives within me wants to make an adapter so that the Powernailer can accommodate a regular hammer head.

Last edited by SleazyRider; 12-26-2012 at 04:20 AM.
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