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Home Air Nailers

Using an air nailer can make a construction project go more more quickly. Air nailers have tremendous power behind them, so instead of hammering multiple times you just have to engage the gun. There a few different options when it comes to the type of air nailer you use, so think about what jobs you'd like to tackle before choosing one.

What is a nail gun?

A nailer is a power tool that's used to drive nails into a material. While some nailers can be driven by electromagnetism, flammable gas, or explosive powder, most of those used at home are run with compressed air or battery power. Pneumatic nailing power tools use a separate gas-powered air compressor to create pressure. That pressure can be released on demand to create the hammering force. Electric nailers have Lithium-ion batteries, and many of them are cordless. The two types of firing modes are the following:

  • Bounce-fire: With this type of air nailer, you squeeze and hold the trigger during operation. The nail will only eject when you bounce or press the nose of your nailer against the material. This type of firing mechanism allows for quick and efficient nailing. Many professionals use bounce-fire framing nailers.
  • Sequential firing: When using an air gun that has sequential firing, you pull the trigger each time you want to fire. This gives you time to line things up before firing. You still have to be pressing on the material in order for the gun to fire.
Should you go with a cordless nailer or pneumatic nailer?

There are benefits to using either type as a finish or framing nailer.

  • Cordless means you can free yourself from having to have gas, a compressor, and hose on hand. You can bring your cordless nailer with you, whether you're working on flooring or roofing.
  • Pneumatic nailers are typically more powerful. Their cords and hoses are often long enough for the job. With air (rather than battery) as power, a pneumatic tool can be used indefinitely.
What do you use a brad nailer for?

Brads are thinner and smaller than most nails. This can make them a better choice in certain situations, including those that involve thin pieces of wood that are vulnerable to splitting. You often use brad nailers to attach lightweight trim. After brads have been fastened, you can skip the step of using wood putty to cover the heads.

What does gauge mean?

It's a term that indicates the size of a nail. The number of the gauge increases as the nail diameter gets smaller rather than larger. A 10 gauge, for example, has a shank diameter of 0.134 inch, and a 20 gauge has a shank diameter of 0.072 inch.

  • 15g and 16g finish nails are versatile, commonly used for installing frames, rails, casings, and moldings. Some framing nailguns are angled so you can get into corners and small spaces more easily.
  • 18g nails are usually associated with brad nailers. They're practical during trim work.
  • 23g nails are used with pin nailers. Even smaller than brads, they can be used with thin, delicate pieces of wood. People often use these in combination with wood glue.
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